Roxbury Arts Group kicks off winter season

Staff report
Plenty of things have been going on at the Roxbury Arts Group, including the launch of “Winter 2012 Postcard Show” on Saturday.

Wine and laughter flowed freely as more than 100 people showed up for the exhibit. It was held in the Walter Meade Gallery of the Roxbury Arts Center on Vega Mountain Road.
The event features postcard-size artwork, just in time for holiday gift giving. “We had an idea for a small works show, so people could cash-and-carry and since they’re the size of postcards, we came up with the theme, ‘Wish You were Here,’” said the show’s curator Amy Metnick. The works were hung with help from volunteer Chris Durham.

But the exhibit isn’t the only new development for RAG. The administrative offices, which were located for years in the Old Bank Building on Main Street, moved to the second floor of the Arts Center in mid-September. “The move is permanent,” said Executive Director Jenny Rosenzweig, who will mark her first anniversary with the non-profit on November 17, after serving as general manager for the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith for about three years. “My goal is to make sure this is a stable artists’ organization that will continue to serve the community for a long time,” she said. With that in mind, RAG still operates four locations, said Rosenzweig. In addition to the Arts Center, there’s the Old School Baptist Church in Denver-Vega as well as the Coffee House and the Carriage House (theater) at 76 MAIN! in Stamford.

“We really got lost in that (Old Bank) building,” she said. “Funding being what it is for the most part, we were reluctant to cut programs, but we can cut our oil costs.” The move, according to Rosenzweig, was “scary” at first. But she believes the new offices are a good fit. “We’re closer together and we talk more and we’ve breathed life into this (Arts Center) building,” she said. As for the Old Bank Building, it’s not officially on the market. “We’re exploring the possibilities,” said Rosenzweig.

Look for RAG to announce its line-up of events next February or March, said Program Director Maggie Cullen. RAG will be bringing back its popular music and theater program, its much acclaimed radio plays, and continue to work with afterschool art programs in seven school districts, including CROP in Roxbury and Margaretville. Debra Barsha, who is the associate conductor of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys,” is expected to return to lead another Rock ‘N Pop Musical Camp. It’s been a summertime hit with kids for years.

One of RAG’s longest running hits, “Fiddlers!” which is a square dancing extravaganza, is also expected to be back for its 19th year. The event, which is largely funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, was not held this year due to state cuts. But next year, RAG expects the show must go on. “We’re really committed to this,” said Rosenzweig. Even as winter sets in, the spread of culture continues as RAG holds its monthly Open Mic JAMS and Writers’ Evenings at 76 MAIN! in Stamford.

As for the postcard show, you’ll find more than 100 small works of art by more than 30 artists, including some who have never shown their work locally before. “Delightful!” said Laura Hussey of Delhi, when she learned that some of her farm animal paintings sold at a brisk pace.  Nikki Alvin-Smith is a Stamford oil painter. “This is the first time I’ve ever shown my work and it’s so exciting,” she said.  The show runs through January 12th. Prices range from $75 to $100.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, check out the RAG website at www.roxburyartsgroup.org/.