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July 26, 2016
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arts & leisure

Do something about the weather

Contributed photo

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — As the region swelters this week in the summer sun, Mark Twain’s famous line comes to mind: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” As it turns out, however, a lot of local people and organizations are about to do something by getting involved in a year-long, multi-faceted community arts, science and history venture called The Weather Project (TWP).

Project director Tannis Kowalchuk, who is also the artistic director of the NACL Theatre, explains it this way: “The weather is a perfect subject for a community conversation.” The idea is to bring residents, artists and scientists together to focus on the subjects of the weather and climate science, the environment, sustainability, community and our collective future.

The project received a prestigious Our Town Grant through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Members of the community are invited to participate in many parts of this massive undertaking, which will culminate in a “massive outdoor spectacle” in August 2014.

Opportunities to participate in TWP include:

•Collaborating in the creation of and performance in an original theatre piece about weather, energy and sustainability

•Building your own yard-art weathervane

•Collecting weather data (school students and others


•Collecting oral history by interviewing elders about historic weather events they remember

•Attending workshops and seminars to explore energy use and innovation

•Taking lessons in stilt-walking and sound-painting for the TWP’s finale performance next summer

•Creating and learning to operate large puppets for the performance

•Joining a community chorus to perform a choral medley

In addition, a dozen visual artists will be commissioned to paint weather balloons for a curated art show (in collaboration with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance).

Sponsored by NACL Theatre and The Town of Highland, other collaborators include Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, Western Sullivan Public Libraries, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, Delaware Highlands Conservancy/Eagle Institute, local schools, Catskill Arts Society, North School Studio, Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble, Spiral Q Puppet Theatre, and a number of professional theatre and visual artists. Participation is welcome from other organizations.

Filmmakers Tina Spangler and Isaac Green-Dieboll are making a documentary film about the year-long project.

The Weather Project kicks off on Saturday, August 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. in the main square of Eldred, NY. The entertaining and informative event is free for the whole family and will feature interactive displays of the community partners’ projects, performances, and information on how residents of all ages can become involved. Activities will include:

•An Umbrella Forest: bring an old umbrella and decorate it at the umbrella painting station; a massive forest of umbrellas will be built on site.

•Live music by Hoy Polloy

•Stilt-walking performances by Ottawa Stilt Union

•“What’s in Your Garbage?” by SASD

•Oral history and weather story-catching by Western Sullivan Public Library; tell and help collect weather stories

•Join the documentary film: citizens are encouraged to capture weather footage

•Join the Eldred Central School data collecting project

•Join the Highland Choraleers starting August 5, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eldred Senior Center

•Learn about SKYWARN, a project of NOAA

•Spiral Q Puppet Theatre, a workshop on building puppets

•Sign up to participate in the play by joining in creativity workshops every Monday at NACL Theatre

•Learn to stilt walk

•Learn about The Art of Parade and Procession

Visit or call 845/557-0694.