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Around The Arts

September 1, 2012

Arts encompasses so much more than visual, performing, musical things

This column was due when I was in the throes of our season at The Glimmerglass Festival, when all we are thinking about is the arts — how to make people more aware of the arts, to engage in the arts. And — what exactly do “the arts” entail? 

As much as these thoughts were circulating, I still couldn’t pinpoint a topic for this column. So, I turned to the bright-eyed summer interns that we employ at Glimmerglass. 

“My column is due; I need some topic ideas,” I said. 

I thought they wouldn’t take me seriously, but instead I received a barrage of ideas. 

“What about carpentry as an art?” our photography intern suggested. “There is this really cool shop in Cooperstown that makes custom furniture.”

I find William J. Ralston’s website, and it’s true — his shop is pretty cool. So is his story. Mr. Ralston started as a high school science teacher before working for eight years under a German Master Craftsman. He reproduces high-style 18th-century American antiques, among other specialties. 

So, carpentry as an art? 

“Well, maybe you focus on sculpture,” the photography intern said. “Carpentry is like a cousin to sculpture, right?”

Well, there is the sculpture trail in Cherry Valley. A juried sculpture exhibit is on display until Oct. 7 throughout the historic village, thanks to Cherry Valley Artworks. And what perfect timing — the fall is an ideal time to explore art outdoors. I’ve written about Artworks before; the organization is always presenting interesting projects.

The sculpture trail could pair well with the elephant sculptures found on The Glimmerglass Festival campus. Elizabeth Schoonmaker of the town of Plainfield created the “Aida Elephants” in honor of the festival’s production of “Aida.” Constructed of grapevine and willow over a rebar frame, these two sculptures — one adult, and one calf — made their home on The Glimmerglass Festival campus through the end of the season. The elephant sculptures took three months, 40 truckloads of vines and 12 pairs of dollar-store gardening gloves. Definitely a feat! I’ve heard tell of her many other roadside attractions, and apparently her front lawn is a veritable grapevine menagerie. 

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