Twenty-one years of readings, workshops, art exhibits and more will be celebrated Saturday as Bright Hill Center marks its anniversary with an open house and marathon reading.
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Treadwell arts venue will invite many of those who have been involved with Bright Hill during its 21-year history to join in the celebration. Refreshments will be served throughout the day, with “anniversary cake” served at 6 p.m. during a closing reception. Works from Bright Hill’s archives dating back to 1992 will be on display.
Kicking off the marathon reading in the Word & Image Gallery will be several former participants in Bright Hill’s children’s literary workshops, reading from stories and poems they wrote during the programs. Bright Hill founder Bertha Rogers said Tuesday that the young readers range in age from first grade to eighth grade.
According to a media release, more than 2,000 children and teens have passed through Bright Hill’s literary and visual arts workshops, studying poetry, creating artists’ books and working with materials from the center’s library. A video created by Worcester artist Pooh Kaye, working with students in the 2013 workshops, will be screened during the open house.
After the students share their work, the reading will continue as an open forum. Those who wish to attend can sign up to read by calling 829-5055 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Scheduled to participate, along with founder Bertha Rogers, are Evelyn Augusto of Jefferson, Mermer Blakeslee of Roscoe, Richard Bernstein of Norwich, Richard Q. Downey of Otego, Ernest M. Fishman of Treadwell, Jesse Hilson of Delhi, Ginnah Howard of Gilbertsville, Sylvia Jorrin of East Meredith, Susan King of Walton, Tommy Klehr of Oneonta, Andy Morris of Downsville, John O’Connor of Franklin and New York City, Sharon Ruetenik of Delhi, Annie Sauter of Oneonta, Pamela Strother of Oneonta, Julia Suarez of Oneonta and Marly Youmans of Cooperstown.
The format will echo Bright Hill’s “Word Thursdays” programs. Every other Thursday for several months each year, the center hosts an open reading with featured guests, who range from local authors to nationally renowned poets and playwrights.
“One of our policies is that we always pay the writers — always,” Rogers noted. The New York State Council on the Arts specifies that, Rogers said. “It’s always a part of our budget; it’s a given.”
The readings, Rogers said, offer a departure for many from the constant stream of media that otherwise consumes our attention.
“It takes a special kind of person to be able to sit and listen, especially in these days, when we’re bombarded all the time,” Rogers noted. “We appreciate our audiences so much.”
By 2 p.m. Saturday, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Bainbridge, will be present to welcome visitors, along with Lara Yambor, director of the Delaware County Youth Bureau, and members of Bright Hill’s board of directors.
Bright Hill was founded by Rogers with the assistance of Ernest M. Fishman in 1992. Fishman now serves as president of Bright Hill’s board of directors, and chief financial officer.
For the first 10 years, the organization operated out of Rogers’ and Fishman’s home. Funding from the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation and the Walter Rich Charitable Foundation enabled Bright Hill to relocate into an 1865 house in Treadwell. The main building houses the Word & Image Gallery, the Kitchen Bookstore, the offices, and two guest rooms for visiting writers.
In 2004, the BH Community Humanities Library Wing was added in the former garage of the house. The library houses more than 12,000 books and 5,000 literary periodicals.
The Word & Image Gallery has hosted more than 80 exhibits of works by regional, state and national artists, and events such as Nonfiction Days and History Days have brought visitors to the center to be educated and entertained.
Bright Hill also offers workshops for adults. The center is also a prolific publisher, having put out more than 75 poetry and prose collections, book arts catalogs and anthologies since 1994. The nonprofit center is supported by grants and private donations.
“We like to think of it as sort of a haven, and a place of appreciation,” Rogers said.
Bright Hill is at 94 Church St. For information about this or other events, call 829-5055 or email email@example.com.