First published by Michael P. McKinney via LOHUDon May 9, 2018
OSSINING – The Bethany Arts Community has launched its first season with an eclectic mix of performances, exhibitions and classes aimed at showing that art, in its various forms, can be created, appreciated and enjoyed by everyone.
For the remainder of the month, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, a presence on New York City and global stages, will be at the center’s Somerstown Road campus.
For a dance project it’s working on, the company will have members of the public who show up Saturday afternoons participate in the project — they don’t need dance experience. There is also a free master class on Saturday mornings where experienced dancers ages 16 to 22 can work with the company.
The center has been up and running since January. The 25-acre property, formerly used by missionaries for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, was acquired in 2015.
“From the beginning, we wanted to provide a space that attracts and nurtures this caliber of international talent, while also making these artists and their work accessible to our regional community,” said David Lyons, founder and executive director.
On a recent afternoon, as the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company was using one space, 11 girls from an Ossining elementary school were in another space learning flamenco.
“I’m willing to put in 30 years of time, energy and money to have those flamenco dancers who are down there today change the world tomorrow,” Lyons said of the group.
Meanwhile, another area was set up for children participating in the Scribble Art summer program, and in yet another, an exhibition of works from various artists was being prepared for an opening.
The vision for Bethany Arts is a place where people can come to see the world through different perspectives and perceptions and learn “how to pass on the word of art,” said Lyons, who grew up in Croton-on-Hudson and has lived in Dobbs Ferry and Sleepy Hollow.
Plans are to eventually offer studio spaces for artists, given that such space can be difficult to find and expensive in Westchester, said Zak Shusterman, the attorney for Bethany Arts.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Bethany Arts Community. WHERE: 40 Somerstown Road, Ossining. COST: Varies. For example, Cumbia for Kids and Spanish Art of Flamenco for Kids is $40 for eight weeks. Scholarships are available. There is no charge for the Saturday afternoon sessions with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and no charge for the Saturday morning master classes. An exhibition of various visual artists, this Saturday starting at 6:30 p.m., is also free to the public.
Theater O returns to Bethany Arts community with screen classic, THE STING
Theater O is delighted to announce that June 21 – 23 they will again be in residency at the new Bethany Arts Community in Ossining, NY. Theater O will present three performances of the Paul Newman/Robert Redford screen triumph, The Sting.
Artistic Director Jessica Irons says, “We are delighted to return to Bethany with our production of The Sting. With gender-blind casting (Audrey Schnecker plays Johnny Hooker, the Robert Redford role), this show encapsulates the slick and sassy world of the 1930s con. Working with unique staging (audience on two sides) and fun choreography and music, the play will delight audiences of all ages.”
The excitement, maneuvers and comedy of the Paul Newman/Robert Redford screen triumph have been brilliantly adapted for stage production by one of the finest professional playwrights writing today. This show takes place in Chicago many years ago in a world of small-time hustlers and their girls—their money nonexistent but their ingenuity abundant. Johnny Hooker (a small-time grifter played by Redford in the film) joins a friend in a successful con of a “runner.” Unfortunately for them, the runner works for a powerful, vindictive rackets boss, Doyle Lonnegan, who is infuriated and arranges the killing of Johnny’s friend. Hoping to avenge this senseless murder, Johnny enlists the aid of the master con man Henry Gondorf (originally played by Newman). Together they decide to try the big con called “The Wire.” Structured in classic style, their first move is “The Set Up.” From there they proceed to “The Tale.” The tension mounts as they succeed and, with the powerful Lonnegan half-hooked, go on to “The Shut Out.” The excitement becomes explosive and a final scene, with switch upon switch upon switch, has your audience guessing and gasping as it builds to the final con movement, “The Sting!” This is a wonderfully theatrical and yet authentic exploration of a very special world.
The cast for the performances includes: Dylan Alter, Madison Bisnauth, Kiera Bisnauth, Cole Bodoff, Max Bodoff, Cavan Brouder, Eoin Carr, Gabriella DiMicelli, Kenzie Dono, Lila Fenimore, Henry Hoffman, Jacob Irons, AJ Jeffrey, Leah Mione, Elena Prisament, Lilah Prosperino, Eamon Ragan, Kiran Roye, Derek Rudley, June Salo, Orry Schackney, Audrey Schnecker, Ella Schnecker, Veronika Volczjak, Sarah Wiedenheft. Jessica Irons directs. Andrew Irons designs and Anna Prestopino is the stage manager. Theater O students Teddy Dengler and Daniel Hannan are the assistant designer and assistant director, respectively.
Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday June 21 through 23 at 7pm at Bethany Arts Community, 40 Somerstown Road, Ossining, NY 10562. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase starting June 1st at www.theatero.org. For more information about Theater O please visit www.theatero.org. For more information on Bethany Arts Community, please visit bethanyarts.org/events
Today, Bethany Arts Community, Inc. announced its purchase of a 25 acre property located at 40 Somerstown Road from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
“This 43,000 square foot building and 25 acres will enable Bethany Arts Community to become an integral part of the Ossining, Westchester County, and Lower Hudson River Valley art world,” said David Lyons, Executive Director at Bethany Arts Community, Inc.
Positive Community Impact
The façade of the 43,000 square foot structure will not be altered in order to preserve and honor the aesthetics and history of the building. Bethany Arts Community has reached out to local community leaders, artists, and art organizations to establish positive and productive working relationships and to help fill in any gaps within the local art culture.
“From the first time I heard about David’s plan for the space, I was thrilled- not only will it enhance the scope of cultural opportunities for our residents, especially, our school-aged children, but David has planned it in a way that will not disrupt the natural tranquility of the site or the character of the surrounding neighborhood. He came to us with an idea that just fits, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Bethany Arts Community to Ossining,” said Sue Donnelly, Supervisor, Town of Ossining.
Helping To Fill A Need
The need has never been greater for a place artists and arts groups can call home. Westchester County Executive’s proposed 2016 budget was recently released and calls for a 20% cut in funding for the arts. Founded in May of 2015, Bethany Arts Community, Inc. is aspiring to be a leading center for arts creation, education and appreciation. The organization will offer a wide range of programs and services designed to help the many forms of art be learned, produced, and flourish.
Bethany Arts Community (BAC) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create a space and environment where the many forms of art can be learned, produced and flourish. Artists of all ages and levels of experience are welcome to explore and create art that the community can experience and be engaged in while enhancing their perception and perspective of the world. BAC aims to inspire sharing, connection and collaboration in a culture designed to spread as a ripple effect for the benefit of the local community and beyond.