Is there a doctor in the house?
After exchanging pleasantries upon his arrival (“it’s been too long” and “you look great!”), we got down to business as I reviewed my weekend schedule of arts and leisure destinations that he understood would occupy some of my time during our reunion. First up was “Radius 12748,” which was described as a “pop-up” gallery show sponsored by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (www.artsalliancesite.org) and taking place in Jeffersonville, NY. Celebrating artists who live and work within a five-mile radius of the town, this first-time effort on the part of the DVAA attracted more than 30 painters, sculptors, potters and mixed-media practitioners, all residents of the same neck of the woods. Board members addressed the huge crowd that showed up for the reception, thanking everyone for their continued support of the arts and explaining how the concept works, not just to bring art to the public, but also to help fuel interest in sustaining a community.
Out of his element, Jason was intrigued. A conversation with Anne Hart (www.thecuttinggarden.org) reflected not only her thoughts, but expressed a communal thought process. “The arts are economic development,” Hart explained, citing interesting statistics from a study conducted in 2011 (www.americansforthearts.org). “Attendance at arts events generates income for local business,” according to the study, “including restaurants and retail stores in the area,” going on to say that “when a community attracts cultural tourists, it harnesses significant economic rewards.” Hart followed up by stating that RADIUS was “a rousing success.” and the DVAA hopes to duplicate the pop-up concept in other neighborhoods. Dr. Blitz loved Jeff and (as predicted) we dropped some dollars in one of the local eateries, while planning our next stop. Having promised a great bonfire and equally impressive music, we cruised into Bethel, NY to hear the amazing Slam Allen singing the blues at the Catskill Distilling Co. (www.dancingcatsaloon.com), where Jason met many of my friends and fellow fans of the man (www.slamallen.com), who was born and raised in Sullivan County. Slam’s show was (IMHO) fantastic, and the enthusiastic crowd encouraged the band to play late into the night.