Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for 30 years

CAP News

Links to News and Features (on this page):

For our latest grant awardees, visit our "Recent Grantee Page"

Read our latest (March 26, 2024) ArtsLetter!

* Welcome Kenneth McLaurin as our new team member!
* Ithaca Ranked in Top 40 Arts Vibrant Communities
* Nov. 2023: CAP Honors Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Rachel Lampert and Sue Perlgut
* THANK YOU for an amazing 2023!
* To Help One Person, Donor Judy Barringer
* Returning to the Theatre, Guest Editorial, by Rachel Lampert
* Delight and Energy, Donor and Artist Torie Tiffany
* Creative Recovery Fund Grantees
* Anticipating Spring, Donor Minna Resnick, artist
* Support Your local Arts: Guest Editorial, by Emma Plotkin 
* Giving Affirms Our Own Values: Donors: Margot and Fred Schoeps
* Art Brings People Together: Donor 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, artist Werner Sun, visual artist
* Now More than Ever: Donor Pamela Tan
* Succeeding Together from Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director


Welcome Kenneth McLaurin!

The Community Arts Partnership is thrilled to welcome Kenneth McLaurin to our team as our Program & Communications Specialist.

Sir Kenneth is known as a quintuple threat as a comedian, storyteller, playwright, and actor. His unique humor, insightful social commentary, and the ability to connect with diverse audiences have made him a beloved figure in the arts scene.

Sir Kenneth's work extends beyond entertainment; he's a community builder who has played a pivotal role in developing the local comedy landscape. His motto, "Life's a joke, find the funny," captures his approach to both life and work, using comedy not just to entertain but to bring people together, challenge norms, and enrich the cultural fabric of our community.

Sir Kenneth's rich experience in comedy, storytelling, and community building uniquely equips him to drive our mission forward. His work is set to enrich our programs and initiatives, making the arts more accessible and engaging for everyone in our community.


Ithaca Ranked in Top 40 Arts-Vibrant Communities

Ithaca has been listed in the top 40 most arts-vibrant communities in the US and ranks in the top 10 most arts-vibrant medium-size communities, according to the SMU Data Arts’ Arts Vibrancy Index Report.

The Report celebrates arts-vibrant communities across the US even as they grapple with the ongoing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and examines the level of supply, demand, and government support of the arts in more than 900 communities across the country.

Of particular note, Ithaca was ranked 1st in the nation in Government Support, and is within the top 1% on sub-measures related to state art dollars, federal arts dollars, and federal art grants per capita.

“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,” says Megan Barber, CAP's Executive Director.

Adds Barber, ““It’s wonderful to receive this recognition, and yet our local arts sector, particularly the performing arts, is in crisis right now as audiences have still not come back in sufficient numbers. To keep the Ithaca area arts-vibrant, I encourage everyone to support our local arts organizations!”


2023 CAP Honorees

On November 14th, CAP held a Celebration of the Arts for our 2023 donors, sponsors, and grantees. 

At the event, we gathered everyone into our CAP Artspace and presented three awards to three community leaders who have spearheaded and supported the creation of a vibrant arts community. We thank these recipients for their heartfelt and wonderful comments.

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and Rachel Lampert were the recipients of CAP's Community Arts Catalyst Award (for spearheading the creation of vibrant art and arts opportunities in Tompkins County), and Sue Perlgut was the recipient of CAP's Friend of the Arts award for her generous support of the Community Arts Partnership’s mission to advance the Arts throughout Tompkins County.

(L to R: Sue, Rachel, Leslyn)

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne is many things in Tompkins County. She has been the Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) for 7 years, prior to which she served as the Deputy Director since 2003. She has served the community as a member of the Tompkins County Legislature for over 20 years and was vice-chair for three years and Chair of the Legislature for 2 years.

Leslyn has been an important advocate for human rights and diversity in Tompkins County through her work at GIAC and the legislature. She is also a trained actress and performer, spoken work artist and narrator, has been seen in many local stage productions and has written and performed her own theatrical work. Most of her self-composed work focuses on introducing audiences to the Black experience and to Black history.

Under her guidance, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center has a truly amazing staff that provide the community with exceptional and innovative arts programs, many funded by Community Arts Partnership grants. Those include monthly performers for the Senior Breakfast, the GIAC Jumpers, Phat Flow Factory (a rap and spoken work group), the Urban Art group, and local performers at their Black History Month and Festival of Nations events. In addition, she has worked with staff to offer a Performance Arts school-year group with emphasis on creating music, playing instruments, and voice training.

Rachel Lampert is a playwright, director, and choreographer who began her career in NYC. In 1997, she was appointed Artistic Director of the Kitchen Theatre Company and during her twenty-year tenure, she focused on expanding the repertory to include new plays, alternative theatrical formats, solo performances, movement-based work, and original musicals.

A strong advocate for young theater artists, she gave first-time directing opportunities to many young directors, mostly women, who continue to make theater nationwide. She championed playwrights by producing early-career writers on the Kitchen Theatre Mainstage and broadened the experience of the audience by hosting Kitchen Counter Culture, a series devoted to BIPOC solo performers. She has directed and choreographed at the Hangar Theatre, and has served on the INHS Board. 

She started her own company, Fitz&Startz Productions, in 2015 to have a home for her plays for younger audiences.

She retired from the Kitchen in 2017 and then came out of retirement and returned to lead the theater for their 2023-24 season and to help it find a sustainable future.

Her solo work is vast! Read much more about Rachel at her wikipedia page.

This year's recipient of our CAP Friend of the Arts Award is local artist Sue Perlgut. 

In addition to being a supporter of Tompkins County arts organizations, Sue has created a large body of work with lasting and local impact.

She has worked in theatre in NYC and Ithaca for more than 40 years as a teacher, actor, director, storyteller, puppet maker and playwright. Sue co-founded It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre in NYC in 1970, a troupe that performed stories from their lives and is now featured in a documentary by Sue and Nils Hoover. She founded The Senior Troupe of Lifelong, where for 23 years she directed, wrote, and sometimes performed as the troupe told stories from their lives. In the 1980's, Sue was director of our predecessor, the Tompkins County Arts council.Sue was one of the organizers of the Women’s March in Ithaca in 2017 and made a short video to capture that day. This past fall Sue was one of the organizers, along with End Abortion Stigma, of Ithaca’s first Reproductive Justice Film Festival held at Cinemapolis. Sue has, in the past, served as board chair of GIAC, the Kitchen Theatre, and the Tompkins County Tourism Board. She is currently co-Chair of the board of Cinemapolis.

Sue formed CloseToHome Productions in 2007 to reach a wide-ranging audience with videos that feature topical and socially relevant issues.  See them at


Thank you to our supporters, sponsors, and friends for a powerful 2023!

Because above all, the Community Arts Partnership is just that – a partnership. And it takes all of us working hand in hand to make our community a work of art.

  • The arts groups and organizations that collaborate and adapt and make opportunities for all of us to experience the arts.
  • The artists that through their creations help us make meaning of the world, understand our interconnectedness, and light a way forward to the world we want to live in.
  • The audiences that open their hearts to art and allow themselves to feel, learn, grow, and connect.
  • You, the donors, whose combined generosity gives energy to help the arts flourish.

  • Engaged more artists than ever before in 2022, supporting them in their careers through outreach, one-on-one brainstorming, workshops and opportunities to sell and share their art with the public.
  • Grew each of our programs with more artist, more access, and greater audiences.
  • Created a new vision: A world where the arts and artists thrive.
  • And a new mission: To strengthen the arts in Tompkins County by supporting artists and arts groups, ensuring equitable access to the arts, and cultivating a creative culture that reflects our community’s diversity.
  • Distributed $685,000 through six grant programs that funded over 500 local artists, arts organizations and community organizations.

Image Captions: L to R Clockwise:  Nicole Costas ArtSpace exhibit, Mary Ann Bowman on the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, a Spring Writes Literary Festival workshop, The Underground Railroad mural with Dr. Nia Nunn and CUMEP students; yen ospina at the Ithaca Artist Market, the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, Bree Barton (l) and Rayan (r) at Bree's Naming the Unnamable exhibit at the CAP Artspace.

We wish you the best for an artful and creative new year!


To help one person, that’s your purpose. That’s art.

(2023 by Judith Pratt. Photo credit: Robyn Wishna, Spirit of Tompkins project, 2021)

Judy Barringer notes that she never had a “career”--as in staying with one job for years. She has, however always loved making art and cooking.

“A career is what culture tells you that you have to have,” she explained. Among other jobs, she has detasseled and shucked corn, worked “at the Book Sale Gallery on W. State Street, a bookstore of somewhat questionable repute,” and stage managed for Third Floor Productions. She has also worked as a graphic designer.

Barringer was one of seven people who founded the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant. “I came to Ithaca to visit a friend, and never left,” she recalled.  Her story of wandering by a “for rent” sign in the old DeWitt school and deciding, with her friends, to open a vegetarian restaurant, has often been told. They were trying to be vegetarians, but in 1970, it wasn’t easy.( When briefly working at the old Kentucky Beef restaurant, Barringer noted, she lived on their “3-bean salad, macaroni salad, and potato salad.”)

When Moosewood opened, they had only three cookbooks, Diet for a Small Planet, the Vegetarian Epicure, and the Ten Talents Cookbook from the vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists. “Now it’s easy to find vegetarian recipes,” Barringer said.

Between 2003 and 2007, she was the chef at the Saltonstall Foundation. In 2007, she was “bumped up to Director,” a position she held until 2011. “I went from scullery maid to queen!” she quipped.

As Director, she said, “I would chat with people about the place and its artists. It’s important to think about what if the arts were all take away. Take the art off your walls, the books out of the bookcase, unplug all your music-making devices. How would you relate to the world without the arts?”

She pointed to some medieval brass rubbings on my wall. “Look at everything they tell you about a world of Christianity and chivalry. They were the recorder of their times. Without art, the world would be devoid of human experience. The first artist did a handprint on a cave wall to say---I am here, I did this! That’s what art is--it documents one person’s interpretation of our realities.” “I will stress this forever,” she concluded.

“I’m not an art snob,” Barringer noted. “I’m loving the murals around town. One of those mural projects celebrated the opening of the Hip-Hop Collection at Cornell. Many graffiti artists from around the world were invited to paint their art on the blank exterior walls of the old Cornell University Press building on Cascadilla Street. Sally Grubb from Tompkins County Library had a graffiti artists sketch the murals, and then the whole community was invited to help color them in. Each person had a section to color in, using spray paint. Just fabulous!”

Now Barringer is board president at the Ink Shop Printmaking Center. Her own art includes printmaking, painting, collage, and altered books. She showed photographs of one of her altered books, with pages folded or torn, the edges painted or burned. She found photos of Ukrainians learning to shoot with wooden guns, because there weren’t enough soldiers to me the initial Russian attacks. Then she attached copies of these photos to pages where the “bad poetry in the book had similar images.”

“I was taught to take care of a book!” she said. But she finds books no one wants, or that are already partly destroyed--such as an old Bible stored in the cellar of her house. “It’s been chewed by mice, the pages are glued together by moisture--but I can’t destroy it, even though I’m not formally religious.” Instead, she copied the pages to use in collages. Barringer gives to the arts, “because it important for all the reasons I talked about, and because I have more than I need to live. 97% of my giving is local. That’s where you make the most difference”

Along with CAP, Barringer gives to the Ink Shop and the Saltonstall Foundation, as well as to Loaves and Fishes. When I mention that her giving to Loaves and Fishes makes sense, because she feeds people, Barringer laughs. “I have a hard time cooking for one or two people!”

In conclusion, Barringer notes that the Dalai Lama said that you only have to have an impact onone person, that’s what your life is worth. “To help one person, that’s your purpose. That’s art.”


Returning to the Theatre
by Rachel Lampert

Sometime in Spring 2020, when the pandemic had closed down and my life irised into a tiny circle, I searched for my community. It was out there, but the community no longer gathered in the unique performance venues Ithaca enjoys.

Determined by a need to make work and survive, stage directors learned to direct plays on zoom; actors learned to be set designers for do-it-from-your-home productions; playwrights adjusted their work for this new, uncharted territory; and musicians figured out the time delay so they could play together.  

I did my own pandemic producing when a live performance of a new family musical I had written was COVID-canceled. I used paper puppets designed by visual artist and designer, Rose Howard, with moveable joints at the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and foot as my cast. Exteriors were from painters I found on the internet and got permission to use their artwork. 

Many YouTube tutorials later, my on-the-job training resulted in a 30-minute video. Filmed on my iPhone for more hours than I ever imagined; the months of isolation went by. The songs and the dialogue were recorded remotely by actors.  It felt like a triumph. I was still a working artist, employing and collaborating with actors and designers! And in the end, I had something I could share with an audience, albeit an audience not in the same room.   Watch "The Memory Book, a new Aunt Mae story HERE

For a while, this kind of innovative making-the-best-of-it was intriguing. I watched all sorts of things on my computer from around the world. But I was missing the joy of live performance. The gathering of people to share an experience.

During the pandemic, every performing group, theater, concert hall, and cinema venue was forced to assess the future and make whatever adjustments were needed. Changes were made in air delivery systems, audience capacity, masking, distancing, and more. All invested in audience safety and comfort as they readied for when the doors opened again.

In the summer of 2021, CRS Barn offered outdoor concerts; the Hangar did their season outside, and the Kitchen came back with one outdoor production, as did several others. I was delighted to attend live performances and cherished every minute, bug spray in hand, umbrella ready; I was so grateful.

But even as more doors began to open in the fall of 2021, attendance in our cherished venues has been slow, affecting many arts organizations.

I have an ample quotient of fear of getting sick, and I take only calculated risks.  And, I have gone back to the theaters, the cinema, and indoor concerts. I wear my mask to fortify my goal of not catching anything and keep up to date with boosters. I have conversations outside the venues and skip the lobby chats. And I am so thankful to the arts leaders for making live theater and cinema possible.

Everyone must make their own decision for their comfort and safety. But I want to encourage more thought about returning to the theaters and cinema because they need us. If you can’t attend, you can buy a ticket and take advantage of the streaming options the Kitchen, Cherry Arts, Civic Ensemble, and others offer. If you have gotten out of the habit of going to the theater, try again. For our performing arts and cinematic resources to be there in the future, I encourage support in any way you can.

A play may be fantastic on the page, an opera or concerto gorgeous as a score, and a film can be watched from the couch. But I am thrilled to return to the shared communal space of watching, listening, and enjoying with others. Hope you will join me.

(RACHEL LAMPERT has been writing, directing and producing plays for the past fifty years.  She served for twenty years as artistic director of Kitchen Theatre Company.  Since retiring she has been spearheading Fitz&Startz Productions, where she can continue to share her enthusiasm of theatre, music and dance with audiences of all ages, and gigs around whenever exciting projects come her way)


Creative Recovery Fund Grantees.

CAP's Creative Recovery Fund provided funds for Tompkins County community-focused arts projects that will make a difference in our communities in the focus areas of racial justice, public and mental health, and economic recovery.

Thank you to the Community Foundation for seeding this grant with $11,000, to the Legacy Foundation for a $2,500 award, and an additional $3,700 from generous individuals.

Local YA Fiction Author Bree Barton: "Naming the Unnameable," an audio/visual installation featuring local youth sharing their stories.

For me personally, receiving this grant is a beautiful affirmation that the work I am doing with young people matters. So many kids are hurting—and this grant helps provide one of the most invaluable gifts we can offer another human - space to speak. This grant tells them that they matter, and that even their darkest moments can help guide them toward the light.

Circus Culture: BIPOC circus artists come to Ithaca to work and create with Village at Ithaca youth.
Community Unity Music Education Program: for video and camera equipment for local artist Resana Malone to capture and document CUMEP's programs and activities.

Civic Ensemble: "Community Soup, Storytelling Toward the Beloved Community"
In order to face the seemingly insurmountable challenges and divides of the current moment, we need to connect and listen to each other and appreciate and honor each other's stories. Together we can define what our beloved community looks like, and what actions we need to take to make it a reality.
Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers: "Good Trouble" musical commission and performances.
Greater Ithaca Activities Center: Black History Month Talent Show performers.
Mama's Comfort Camp: "Helpful Help," a film featuring conversations with local Mothers of Color.
It has never been more important to listen directly to mothers and caregivers of color and learn from their personal stories about the challenges and stigma associated with asking for help, maintaining one’s boundaries while attempting to get needs met, and avoiding the strings that are all too often attached to assistance.
OAR of Tompkins County: for a mural tour and mural creation by members of OAR.
Story House Ithaca: "Stages of Life," intergenerational, interracial playwrighting workshop.
illage at Ithaca: "Our Seats at the Table," (see more about this project on our Grantee feature page!) Youth use reclaimed chairs to create testimonials to Black agents of freedom.
Walking on Water Productions: "Now. Here. This." a contemporary musical designed for an inclusive audience.


Delight and Energy

(2022, by CAP board member Judith Pratt)

At Healing Path Studio in Danby, Torie Tiffany creates art and healing flower essences. She also offers Reiki sessions and Tarot readings.

“Each of my practices has been a healing gift for me that I love to share with others,” she explained.

Her journey began many years ago, during a challenging time.

I was physically, mentally and spiritually depleted, just surviving each day, and sure that this was to be my permanent state,” she wrote on her website. Then she found her current house, which needed repair but had a pond. She began to fix up the house and the land.

Working outside gave her a sense of well-being, so she began to study plant medicine and create new art work. Later, she became a Reiki master and began working with the Tarot.  “I found in each of these practices a unique connection to the wider world, an expansion of intuition, and a new path to healing,” she said.

Tiffany was born and raised in Cortland. She came to Ithaca for a job and never wanted to leave.

Art was her first love. “I’ve been passionately creating photo collages since I was a little girl—snipping out bits of pictures and gluing them together to create something unique. When I began doing the process digitally, whole new worlds opened up and I fell in love with the process all over again.”

Her move to Danby re-inspired her art, as she “photographed the blooming beings outside my door.” That led her to studying plant medicine. “I discovered I was surrounded by nature’s apothecary, and began crafting tinctures, teas, oils, salves and flower essences as very effective remedies for practically any ailment that could occur.”

Then she began to study Reiki, because “the memory of an enlightening experience I’d had with Reiki many years before kept popping into my mind.” She wanted to practice it herself, so she found a Reiki Master Teacher. A Reiki session concentrates on the body’s energy centers. The Reiki practitioner uses gentle hand movements over the body, channeling healthy energy to realign and unblock the energy flow. (Full disclosure: I have experienced Reiki, while thinking “okay, weird but I’ll try it.” It works.)

As with Reiki, Tiffany had been intrigued with Tarot as well. When she had her first reading, she said, “I went in with the expectation of having my ‘fortune told’. What I came away with was an entirely new sense of how I might more effectively shape my life.”

Once again, she found a teacher, and began reading for herself daily. “I found Tarot to be profoundly transformative in my life, opening new pathways to connection with Spirit, allowing deeper access to my intuition, empowering my journey and presenting a means for me to help others light their way.”

{Describing Tarot cards and how they work is too complex to explain here. They appeared in Italy in about 1450, and are used to gain insight into one’s life and, sometimes, to tell fortunes.)

Tiffany’s work is all about energy. She explained that “absolutely everything in this world and beyond emits its own energy, and all energy is connected in a universal consciousness.”

Along with helping people in these many ways, Torie Tiffany is a regular CAP supporter.

“CAP offers a beautiful array of programs to support all artists and their creations,” Tiffany said. “The staff is exceptional—professional, accessible, helpful and fun to work with.” She loves being on CAP’s Art Trail. “I get to meet so many great folks, and I love the energy they bring to the studio. I believe when people in a community can experience each other’s creativity, it creates a deeper understanding of each other and a special, stronger bond.”

Torie Tiffany would agree with William Blake, who wrote, “Energy is eternal delight.” 

Learn more at


Anticipating Spring, Donor Feature with Minna Resnick

(2022 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!


Guest Editorial, by Emma Plotkin

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.

Support Local:
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

●  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 To learn about her work as a voice teacher visit


Giving Affirms our own Values

(2022,  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.


Creative Entrepreneurship

(2021, 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.)

In 2020, Perlgut completed a documentary about her theatre company. It was the fourth film created by her video company, Close to Home Productions. Learn more at

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

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!


Keeping the Arts Vibrant

(2021, 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!


Supporting the Arts through a Bookstore

(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)

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!

Succeeding Together
Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director

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



Art and Science Meet
CAP Donor Feature - Werner Sun

(2021 - 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.”


Now More Than Ever, Art is Crucial
CAP Donor Feature - Pamela Tan

(2021, 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:  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.