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Anticipating Spring, Donor Feature with Minna Resnick
(April 5, written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Minna Resnick’s full resume is ten pages long.
Her artwork appears in over 50 public and private collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Kunsthaus Grenchen, Switzerland, and at the Brooklyn Museum. She grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, NY.
Her lithograph prints, some combined with drawings, are imbued with cultural statements, some funny, some not. They have wonderful titles: “Practice Optimism,” “It was different now,” “Flight to Eden,” and my personal favorite, “Rewrite your Story.” She notes that her work “has always focused on language.”
She received her BFA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute.
Minna and her husband, Sid Resnick, came to Ithaca in 1987. “It’s been the longest we have lived anywhere,” Minna said. The couple has lived in Indiana, California, and Colorado, with two years in Haifa, Israel, one year in England, one semester in Australia, and four semesters in Holland over several years.
“It is the first time my studio is in a warm interior space,” said Minna Resnick. “I’m privileged to have my own full print shop.” There, she has started projects with her grandkids, who are now 13, 11, 7, and 4. She noted that the younger ones have to climb on a step stool to reach the handle of the lithographic press.
She is a long-time supporter of CAP. “I donate to CAP yearly, since they support the entire artistic community in every way. I’m not sure how I first learned about them, but I can’t remember a time without knowing the wonderful, encyclopedic Robin Schwartz, who I must have annoyed early and often about everything art -related in Ithaca. The organization is an especially great resource for newcomers and continues to be immensely relevant for continued informational resources. It’s also a great place to donate works of art that you no longer have room for, in the CAP-a-palooza art sale!”
Minna Resnick has shown her work in the CAP ArtSpace gallery, has served as a juror for CAP grants, and was on the Greater Ithaca Art Trail for several years early in its inception. Through CAP, she also discovered the Ink Shop, a cooperative for printmakers. Although not a member, because she has her own studio, she helped consult with the founders.
When asked what she sees as the role of the arts in our community, Minna responded “Everything!” then added, “We are lucky in Ithaca to have a large, functioning arts organization, which provides so much to create a vibrant arts community in Tompkins County.”
As her career took Minna Resnick all over the world, she also raised two children, Rachel and Nathan. Both attended Cornell.
Along with all the artworks she no longer has room for, Minna Resnick is known for her extensive earring collection. In fact, she said, “I still have my original pair of hand-made earrings which I bought after my ears were pierced at 18.” However, she added that, “during the pandemic, I haven’t felt I can wear them 1) since I was afraid of losing one due to mask wearing and 2) a sense of sadness in events, globally and nationally. Wearing my earrings has always been a mark of celebration and there’s not much to celebrate these days. Hopefully I will proudly start putting them on again soon!”
Meanwhile she gardens, walks with friends and, “reluctantly,” goes to the gym. “If I can continue this pattern, I will be a very happy and healthy camper,” she concluded.
She also continues to create her lithographs/drawings. A recent one is called “Anticipating Spring.” So say we all!
2022 Celebration of the Arts
It's our 30th year!
Join us via Zoom
Sunday, April 24th, 7pm to 8pm
Free and Open: Registration Link HERE
1 hour! Short and fun!
* Welcomes from Megan Barber, CAP E.D.
* A Few Words: John Saunders, President
* Recognition of all 2021/2022 CAP grant recipients!
* Featured Grantees willl tell us about their funded projects:
- Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers with some great video!
- Sarah Gotowka, Luna Fiber Studio with video
- Ann Reichlin, working at Caroline Elementary's "Make Way for Play" project.
* Community Catalyst Award to Dr. Nia Nunn
* CAP Friends of the Arts Awards to Jamie Ferris, P.W. Wood & Son
More News and Feature Links!
* Support Your local Arts: Guest Editorial by Emma Plotkin
* Giving Affirms Our Own Values: Donor Feature Margot and Fred Schoeps
* Art Brings People Together: Donor Feature Emily Russell, The Frame Shop
* Creative Entrepreneurship: Donor Sue Perlgut, filmmaker
* Keeping the Arts Vibrant: Donor Diana Nathanielsz
* Supporting the Arts Through a Bookstore: Odyssey Bookstore
* Art and Science Meet - Donor Werner Sun, visual artist
* Now More than Ever - Donor Pamela Tan
* Succeeding Together from Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director
* February 2021 Celebration of the Arts - watch the video
* Dr. Christine Kitano is the latest Poet Laureate
* Ithaca named 4th most arts-vibrant medium sized community
Support your Local Artists and Arts Organizations!
Thank you to Rachel Lampert for sponsoring our Guest Editorials!
The arts are integral to our community and they’ve been greatly impacted by the pandemic. I want to suggest some ways to support your favorite local artists and arts organizations.
It has always been tough to be a non-famous artist, in fact, most of us will never reach the level of prestige that entitles us to assistants, grant writers, and angel investors; we’re everyday folks trying to make a living doing what we love. Like many, our industry has been affected by the pandemic - for many of us, it has meant a lower income and fewer opportunities.
Why support local? We’re your neighbors and friends and co-workers. We bolster the surrounding local economy through increased foot traffic, tourism and cross-promotion. Local arts organizations and artists can also have a huge impact on the regional culture. A gallery night encourages creativity and discussion. A children's play teaches your kids to respect each other’s opinions. A music concert lets you sit back and relax, perhaps with some friends and family.
Here are some great ways to support local artists.
(Please note working artists! This may also act as a guide for new streams of income you may not yet have considered.)
● Contribute to local arts organizations - these organizations rely on many sources of funding, some of which stopped during the pandemic, so your dollar can go a lot farther.
● Volunteer! Whether you’re a great copy editor or have an extra hour to lick stamps we can use the help.
● Provide skilled labor and trades - For example, shout all to all the super generous wineries who have been supporting local theatre lately!
● Provide educational resources - Gig workers could really use information about how to do our taxes for example...
● Host or organize an event - (cross-promotional events)
● Donate to a Patreon - this ongoing support allows us to make plans into the future. Visit Patreon.com.
● Buy physical goods - art, merch, swag, you want it? We got it!
● Post about an artist/org on social media and encourage friends to support them - and make sure to tag, like and share us too!
If after all that, you are still looking for ways to help, you can start by contacting your favorite local artists organization (like CAP). I’m sure they’d be happy to have another volunteer or point you in the right direction!
Emma Plotkin was born and raised in Ithaca. She is a voice teacher, singer-songwriter, playwright, and composer whose work was most recently featured at the Hangar Theatre. Emma is passionate about supporting local arts and arts organizations and is thrilled to be writing for the CAP ArtsLetter. For more about Emma’s composing/writing, visit https://emmabrennerplotkin.wixsite.com/website-1. To learn about her work as a voice teacher visit https://emmabrennerplotkin.wixsite.com/voice.
(February 7, 2022, written by CAP Board member Judith Pratt)
“Imagine if tomorrow every local non-profit no longer existed.
A community’s non-profits are an expression of what we value.
Giving affirms our own values.” Fred Schoeps
Between them, Fred and Margot Schoeps have supported many Tompkins County non-profits: Ecovillage, the Social Services League, Groundswell, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the Social Services League, and the Community Arts Partnership.
Margot grew up with classical music in her home. Her father played in a dance band, and her grandfather and brother sang beautifully. “Both parents modeled volunteer work and being of service,” she said.” Music, dance, theatre and art have always been meaningful parts of my life.”
When he was eight years old, Fred’s parents moved to Geneva from their native Germany to work at Geneva Forge. Moving to Ithaca, he said, is “coming back to the Finger Lakes.” In his volunteer work, Fred is concerned with sustainability, a robust downtown economy, and supporting his “lifelong passion for art in all of its many forms.”
Fred worked at IBM in systems engineering, management consulting, and marketing.
Margot worked as a nurse practitioner with mental health training. In fact, she was part of a disaster team at Ground Zero. “It was a vital role for those deployed, serving the distraught families,” she said. “I feel really blessed to have served in that way.”
Fred and Margot Schoeps retired to Ithaca in 2008, after working and raising children in White Plains, NY. “Back when we talked about retirement,” Margot said, “we wanted to move to a college town, with the vibrancy of youth.” Fred added that “we both have a sense of the importance of re-inventing oneself. You have to move to create an adventure!”
Each of the couple has their favorite art form. Fred finds the experience of a piece of art or sculpture particularly moving. In fact, the Schoeps hired Mary Beth Ihnken to create the sunflower murals for the alley between the Ithaca Times and Cornell Store building on Cayuga Street, just south of the Commons. Margot also painted the passage way green in memory of Fred and Margot’s parents. Fred explained that “Alleys should be beautiful, not segregated from the beauty we create throughout downtown.”
Margot loves theater, dance, and music. “I always want there to be live music, the coming together of people, being present with the experience, she said. “It’s the unity amidst the diversity.”
Both Margot and Fred are eloquent about the importance of art in the community. When asked why they support CAP, Fred said: “ Simple. Expressed in three words C- Community, A – Arts, P-Partnership. It’s an investment in our community in partnership with others to assure services and resources for local artists and art in all its many forms will always be there. “
“There’s nothing different than investing in a business, in stock, in a 401K, in a savings account for our family’s well-being. Would I rather have another meal out or sustain our vibrant art community? Is this community worth investing a few hours a month? Is this community worth a few dollars a week to have the vibrancy that we are blessed with? Yes and Yes.”
Margot added: “It’s about community . The arts are a vital element of human expression . . . a unifying force. Wherever we live I want to make certain there are opportunities in the arts for all people now and for long after I can participate. “
Asked about the impact of the arts and the role of arts in the community Margot said:
“The arts enliven, open, and bring color to our routinized lives. This community has so much to offer. Every day there is an opportunity. The arts can bring people together--people that might not connect otherwise. Music, dance, art, theatre can lift us out of our perceived separateness and everyday concerns.”
Fred added: “Look around – The impact of CAP--support, programming and services--can be found in every corner of our community. How many artists have been touched in the twenty-nine years of CAP existence? I don’t know. I do know it would take hundreds of hands to begin to count the number. “
“Art is an essential part of the DNA of a community – to its vibrancy, creativity, to its spirit. Art in our community reflects the artist in every one of us. Art connects us; art is part of the DNA of everybody. Art is an expression of our humanity.”
We at CAP couldn’t have said it better. Thank you Fred and Margot Schoeps, for your support and your eloquence.
(December 7, 2021, written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Emily Russell gives to, and volunteers for CAP because “I believe In the mission of the organization. CAP does a wonderful job of supporting the arts in the community and provides many opportunities for everyone to have art in their life.
“Art plays a huge role in our community. Art brings people together.”
Emily owns The Frame Shop, which she took over from her mother, Nancy Russell. There, she said, “I have the good fortune of working with many talented artists each day, while being surrounded by beautiful artwork.”
The Frame Shop has served Ithaca for 65 years. Beginning in 1986, Emily’s mother, Nancy Russell, worked then-owners Hugh and Adele Cheney. In 1988, the Cheneys retired, and Nancy purchased the building.
The Frame Shop is a third career for Emily Russell--although they all add up to managing the Frame Shop, along with her energetic volunteering. She studied hospitality and hotel management at Penn State University, then spent four years working for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. In 1997, she returned to Ithaca, and began a career in development / fundraising. In that role, she worked at Cornell, the SPCA, and Ithaca College.
As a volunteer, she has served the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, Hospicare, the Tompkins Sports Council, the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca, and the Tompkins Center for History and Culture. Her main focus now includes the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and the SPCA of Tompkins County. She is also on the board of the Community Arts Partnership.
“I grew up in a philanthropic family” she said, “so it has always felt natural for me to give back--whether it is giving my time, gifts in kind, or a monetary donation. I like knowing that I’m helping others.”
Somewhere between volunteering and managing The Frame Shop, Russell spends time with her teenage son, two cats and a dog, her parents, and her friends. “I love to hike on our beautiful trails,” she said. She also enjoys photography. “I photograph heart-shaped images that I see on my everyday travels,” she noted. “I have over 250 images!”
Thank you Emily for being a supporter of CAP and for loving art!
(November 1, 2021, written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Sue Perlgut is a long-time and generous donor to CAP. Why? “I live in Ithaca, I used its resources, I get the benefit of its resources. It’s a community that I love. So, to the best of my ability, I give back.”
She is also a creative entrepreneur in the arts. That began in 1970, when she co-founded the It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre Company in New York City. For six years, the group traveled to women’s centers and college campuses across the U.S. The group was inspired by, and part of, the second wave of feminism. (The first wave was those women who met in Seneca Falls in 1848.)
A graduate of NYU with a MA in Educational Theatre, Perlgut has been a director, performer, playwright, storyteller, puppet maker, teacher, arts administrator and producer of theatre in New York City and Ithaca NY. In the 1970’s and 80’s she owned and managed two retail businesses: Djuna Books, a feminist bookstore in New York City, and Lucia, a women’s clothing store in Ithaca, NY. ("Full disclosure: I wore an outfit from Lucia for many years--including as a “costume” for a theatre performance.")
Today, Perlgut directs the Senior Theatre Troupe of Lifelong, a group that focuses on performing stories from their own lives. We talk about the importance of telling stories--in performance, on video, and in writing.
How does Sue manage all these undertakings? “Creative people make something, then move on to the next interesting thing,” she explained.
The stories Perlgut chooses, in film and theatre, often focus on women, and always on the community. She founded Close to Home Productions in 2007, with 101 Ways to Retire--or Not, based on interviews with people’s experience with retirement. It appeared on WSKG-PBS, at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, and received a 2008 Mature Media Award. That year her company also worked with Debbie Bosanko to film Stay Strong: Lift for Life. Next came Beets and Beans: Living and Dying with Hospice.
In 2015, Close to Home produced Connie Cook: A Documentary, which was an official selection of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF). In the summer of 2020, Ithaca’s History Center showed that film here in Ithaca. Cook served in New York State Assembly, where she co-authored a bill signed into law that legalized abortion in New York--three years before the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court.
Close to Home Productions is made up of Perlgut, and talented filmmakers and consultants: Nils Hoover, Ann DiPetta, Jack Reynolds and Christopher Julian. Samples of their work can be seen at https://closetohomeproductions.com/video-production/
But even Sue Perlgut can’t create videos and stories all the time. “I love mystery novels,” she said. “I have a list of books I want to read, and keep track of the authors I like.” Favorites include Jaqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Alexander McCall Smith."
We thank Sue for her continuing support of the Community Arts Partnership!
(October 4, 2021, written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Diana Nathanielsz explains that she supports the arts in order to “keep Ithaca’s eclectic character vibrant.”
Her own life might be called eclectic. She grew up in England, worked in medical science, then moved to California. When she came to Ithaca, her interest in the arts became primary.
She grew up in Bedford, England, as Diana Crawford. She notes that her extensive volunteering may have come from her parents. Her mechanical engineer father helped their local church, and visited prisoners. Her mother also volunteered through the church, mostly in support of women and children--and the arts.
After high school, Ms. Nathanielsz decided to study business --that is, get secretarial training-- because her mother “always said that such training allowed one to go into any profession.” Diana’s life has proved her mother right.
After working for physicians at the local hospital, she moved to London to work at a medical teaching hospital. She married endocrinologist Peter Nathanielsz, and the couple moved to Cambridge, where Diana continued to work for various physicians. Her medical experience “allowed me to help my then-husband to self-publish his research and that of other specialists.”
The family, which now included two small children, then relocated to California, where Peter did research at the University of California Los Angeles. It was, Ms. Nathanielsz said, “a shocking change from life in the classical university town of Cambridge UK.”
In Los Angeles, Ms. Nathanielsz began to volunteer, first in the primary school classroom, then for an organization that promoted arts appreciation and encouraged local visual artists. She also helped to put on an annual outdoor music festival that raised funds for the LA Philharmonic.
About twelve years later, the family moved to Ithaca, where Ms. Nathanielsz volunteered in the office at the Community School of Music and Arts ( CSMA), “because it was a resource for all ages in all of the arts.” She also joined the Ithaca Community Chorus. There she began her service as a board member--first for CSMA, next for the Ithaca Community Chorus, and for the board of CAP. She was invited to join the board of the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, where she ultimately became president. She remains very involved in the Ensemble.
Her children were both interested in the arts. Her daughter Julie studied ballet, then modern dance. Now Julie teaches and performs around the Ithaca area. She also loves to travel, and has studied modern dance all over the world.
Her son, David, “briefly thought he would go on the stage, but soon discovered how difficult that would be.” Instead, he got an MBA, and worked for several video game companies before starting his own company. Ms. Nathanielsz recalls her “mental picture of David, now an adult, and his brother-in-law, a composer working for a video game company, sitting next to each other on the sofa, playing video games with each other at Christmas time.”
Although a singer and music lover, Ms. Nathanielsz also likes going to CAP art shows, noting that “they are enjoyable and intimate, and it’s always good to see others who enjoy these presentations.”
“Giving to CAP means that local arts organizations, young artists, and those new to the area are able to access funding. CAP has their finger on the pulse of ALL the local arts. Those living in Tompkins County benefit from art generated by our neighbors.”
Diana Nathanielsz’ eclectic life has benefited all the arts. Thank you Diana!
(September 4, 2021, written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Laura Larson returned home to Ithaca and opened a bookstore. She calls it the Odyssey Bookstore, in honor of Ithaca’s place in Homer’s Odyssey. You may have read the many articles written about the Odyssey Bookstore when it opened in June of 2020. Or perhaps you browsed books there, in that interesting stone building at 115 Green Street.
“I have always loved bookstores and libraries,” Larson says. “Corner Bookstore was a childhood favorite. I had dreamed of one day returning to Ithaca and opening a bookstore of my own. Some changes in life about four years ago opened that door for me—and I decided to take the plunge.”
Along with that plunge, Larson has supported CAP by becoming a Spring Writes Literary Festival Sponsor. “I was very excited about supporting the Spring Writes Festival. I love that it celebrates local authors and brings the community together around storytelling. I think that a thriving literate community requires a variety of ways in which people interact with stories, storytelling, and books.” (Right: Laura Larson)
Larson grew up in Ithaca, and graduated from Cornell in 1985 with a degree in history. Before returning to Ithaca, she spent 27 years in Seattle, Washington. There, she raised three children, now in their twenties. During that time, she volunteered as a literacy tutor, and as part of a non-profit focused on changing attitudes about math education. “We worked to ensure that kids do not opt out of seeing themselves as math capable before they turn ten,” she explains. “I love to work on projects and with organizations which help people find their own voice through education.”
She also took an introductory improvisational theater class at Seattle’s Jet City Improv. “It taught me so much about listening and creating true conversations, with each person building on the other’s statements. I tell everyone that improv is the most self-esteem boosting thing I’ve ever done! It’s all about affirming each other."
At Odyssey, Larson wants to affirm all peoples and all cultures. Their website states: Our number one priority at Odyssey is to create a space as diverse as our community, where all voices feel included.
The arts are an important part of this. “I have supported the arts for as long as I can remember,” she says. “As a high-school student in Ithaca, I volunteered as an usher at the Hangar Theater. Ever since then, I have either volunteered or financially supported theaters, orchestra, or arts organizations working for the literary community. The arts are the spaces in which a community comes together to share its culture and the ways it processes the communal emotional experience."
“We experience and ponder the works of those who came before, as expressed by people standing in front of us. In that shared experience and conversation we create a mutual language, which helps us make sense of our own lives and the times in which we live.”
At CAP, we might just use that last paragraph to describe our own work. Thank you, Laura!
One of my favorite parts of my job is administering our grant programs to local artists and organizations for artistic events, significant opportunities, and community impact. CAP has distributed of over $5.6 million since 1993!
I recently collected quotes from artists who have received our latest Specific Opportunity Stipend (SOS) for a "Thank You" to the SOS funders. I've love to share some of these wonderful quotes with you, which apply to all of our CAP supporters!
I am writing to thank you for your tremendous support of Tompkins County artists, and to let you know how much your influence creates practical and inspirational effects that travel far into the future and into the rest of our communities.
I cannot thank you enough for providing the seeds that blossom into such abundance! Not just for myself, but the many artists I meet and work with in Tompkins County who have also been supported, uplifted, and pushed forward in their work by CAP and CAP's supporters.
Art is made better in a community of flourishing art, and flourishing art makes a better community. I’m grateful for your commitment to make that so.
Art is what keeps me going in these times. I am proud of living in a community where generous supporters for the arts exist.
Good philanthropy is crucial in building a community of people whose collective work has an impact on our culture, our lives, our creativity, and our happiness. CAP is fortunate to have the support of forward thinking benefactors who enable them to make their amazing programs available.
Great, right?! We do good work, thanks to you! If you haven't already (or lately) donated to CAP, please join us as a Partner in the Arts HERE.
Program and Grant Director, Robin Schwartz
(written by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Werner Sun is the IT Director at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education. He is also a well-known visual artist, and a wonderful CAP supporter!
Dr. Sun has a PhD from the California Institute of Technology. When talking about his art, however, he’s called just Werner. His work has been exhibited in Ithaca, Rochester, Brooklyn, and Cambridge MA, among other places, and most recently Aon’s offices at One Liberty Plaza in New York City.
He’s often asked what science and art have in common. To begin answering that difficult question, he quoted American conceptual artist Sol Lewitt: “Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.”
In an interview with Carol White Llewellyn of Rochester CTV Media Center, Werner debunked the notion that scientists are only logical and artists are only intuitive. “Where does the idea for a scientific experiment come from in the first place? If you have a problem with the experiment, where does the solution come from? Also, artists’ ideas may come out of nowhere, but then they have to know their materials and how they behave.” Just like scientists.
For more on this interesting notion, read “Strange Attractors: Art, Science, and the Question of Convergence,” an online symposium held by the CUE Art Foundation in 2017, which has more of Werner Sun’s thoughts about this.
Werner has always had a passion for the arts, playing piano when growing up in Connecticut, and working as a visual artist for the past fifteen years. He began by making mobiles, then became interested in folding paper, taking photographs of those objects and, finally, manipulating the photographs.
“One piece is the seed for the next piece,” he says. “A single image transforms into something unrecognizable from the thing you started out with. To me, the importance of a piece of art is when I’m making it. Once I’m done, I’m impatient to go on to the next one. I think of each piece as a record of my own curiosity.”
A recent piece is called The Marks we Leave Behind, because, Werner says, “As humans, we’ve always had the compulsion to make marks, from plowing a field to making computer chip.” Art, science, and many other human activities come from the need to make things.
Werner gives to CAP because “It is a hub of arts information and programming, serving as an anchor of the local arts scene. CAP brings artists together, and it gives them new ways to connect with the public. This past year in particular, artists and arts organizations have been devastated by the pandemic, and I want to do everything I can to help.”
After all, Dr. Sun concludes, “The arts enrich our community (and our sense of community) by giving them collective meaningful experiences that transcend the everyday.”
(by CAP board member Judith Pratt)
Pamela Tan didn’t think she was an artist. She’s Deputy Director of Admissions at Cornell and has a degree in conservation biology.
Then, a few years ago, Tan received a Specific Opportunity Stipend (SOS) grant from CAP, to produce a film about local artist Alice Muhlback. She co-created it with Muhlback, by animating her drawings and collaborating on the story.
(It's on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/170421468) She produced it with her husband, filmmaker/writer Chris Holmes. Together, they are Little Whale Productions.
“I never would have considered myself an artist at all before that,” Tan said. “The grant gave me the confidence to try things I never would have attempted before, like creating radio features and acting in the One Minute Play Festival at the Kitchen Theatre.”
She also gives back to CAP in many ways.
“My family and I give primarily to local organizations to support our neighbors and community,” Tan explains. “My mother set that example, quietly, when I was growing up. No matter how tight things were at home, she always found a way to help when she could.”
Ms. Tan was born in New York City, lived with her grandparents in the Philippines for a while, then spent most of her childhood in Florida before returning to New York for high school and college. “My parents speak Tagalog,” Tan said. “It’s one of over 100 languages spoken in the Philippines. Alas, I can understand it and translate it when I hear it, but I can’t speak it!”
Tan studied conservation biology at Cornell. While working for the College Board part time to pay for graduate school, she ended up doing research on the Mongolian Wild Horse at a national park near Ulaanbaatar. “Let’s just say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I was not cut out for field research,” she said. “It was tough to confront that what I thought I wanted was not a great fit. But my work at the College Board opened the door to a new pathway, especially issues related to access to higher education for under-served and under-represented students.”
After a stint in admissions at Vassar College, Tan came to Cornell Admissions in 2011. “I am absolutely passionate about what I do,” she said. In fact, her bio on Little Whale Productions, reads, “Pamela Tan produces films when she isn't growing kale and fighting the good fight to increase access to college.”
CAP also has a special place in her heart. “Part of the reason I love living in this area is that it’s truly a great place for all artists. My friends who are painters, writers, comedians, poets, filmmakers, puppeteers, songwriters, actors, dancers, and cartoonists have all be supported by CAP in some way, shape, or form. Ithaca and Tompkins County would not be the same without CAP.”
When not working, or producing films, Tan volunteers for WRFI Community Radio on the news team, the Board, and as the host of “8 Song Memoir”, where people share their lives through eight songs and stories. Somehow, she also finds time to manage her son’s team at Ithaca Youth Hockey.
“Now maybe more than ever,” she concludes, “empathy, connection, and the openness to the lived experiences of others is crucial. Art plays a significant role in that.
The Community Arts Partnership administers the Tompkins County Poet Laureate Program. On July 19, 2020, the Tompkins County Legislature appointed Dr. Christine Kitano as the County’s 10th Poet Laureate.
Explains Megan Barber, (E.D. of CAP), “We received nominations for eight outstanding local poets, each with unique ideas about how to put poetry in service to the community. We are so excited about Dr. Kitano’s appointment.”
In her letter nominating Dr. Kitano, Dr. Eleanor Henderson, Robert Ryan Professor in the Humanities and Chair of the Dept. of Writing at Ithaca College, praised Dr. Kitano’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and antiracism, adding “Dr. Kitano has a calm, confident way of bringing people together around language, and I could imagine her doing so again and again in the position of Poet Laureate."
Amanda Champion, Tompkins Co. Legislator, had this to say: "The talent and beauty of our community never ceases to amaze me. We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Kitano in this role and look forward to a year of poignant prose that will capture the moment and inspire us all.”
READ MORE about Dr. Kitano
The Arts Vibrancy Index Report, compiled by SMU DataArts, ranks more than 900 communities across the country, examining the level of supply, demand and government support for the arts in each city. And Ithaca ranked 4th most vibrant in medium-sized communities!
The findings help illustrate the critical role of the arts, both socially and economically, in cities and towns around the nation. At this historic moment, the report serves as a pre-pandemic benchmark of where the most arts-vibrant communities are located.
CAP Executive Director Megan Barber says: "The recognition of the Ithaca area as a top arts-vibrant community underscores the importance of the arts to our region, both in terms of quality of life and as an economic engine. During the pandemic, our local artists and art groups are helping people process emotion and maintain connections, and are bringing in new audiences through creative virtual and live events. The fact that Ithaca has been named the 4th most arts-vibrant community means it’s critical that all of us support this vital segment of our economy.