JANUARY 19, 2021
A Photo and Interview Series by Barry Goldstein
In America, the inauguration of a Commander In Chief is traditionally a time of celebration. Politicians, special guests, and everyday Americans converge on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol building to mark the swearing in of the next President of the United States. Full of pomp and circumstance, inaugurations are an important democratic ritual and a symbol of the peaceful transfer of power.
October 6, 2022
After recognizing the ageism that mature women artists face, Terry Rooney decided to curate an exhibition bringing attention to their talent and wisdom.The exhibit is entitled “The W.O.W Show,” which stands for Wild Ornery Women,
After recognizing the ageism that mature women artists face, Terry Rooney decided to curate an exhibition bringing attention to their talent and wisdom.
The exhibit is entitled “The W.O.W Show,” which stands for Wild Ornery Women, Wiser Overlooked Women , and it is on display through October 23rd at Workshop 13’s Artworks Gallery in Ware, Massachusetts.
Zydalis Bauer spoke with Rooney and artist Anne Burton to learn more about the show and what it means to them for their work and voices to no longer go unnoticed.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer: After recognizing the ageism that mature women artists face, Terry Rooney decided to curate an exhibition bringing attention to their talent and wisdom.
The exhibit is entitled, "The W.O.W. Show," which stands for Wild, Ornery Women, Wiser, Overlooked Women, and is on display through October 23rd at Workshop 13's Artworks Gallery in Ware, Massachusetts.
I spoke with Rooney and artist Anne Burton to learn more about the show and what it means to them for their work and voices to no longer go unnoticed.
Terry Rooney, W.O.W. Show Curator: I have been noticing that older women artists have been ignored, overlooked, and this is why I curated W.O.W. -- wild, ornery women, wiser, overlooked women.
Zydalis Bauer: And as you were saying, this -- this group of women has been overlooked and ignored, particularly during the 20th century.
Why do you think that was the case? Both of you are artists in this exhibit, as well. What factors do you think contributed to having your voices and your work being dismissed?
Anne Burton, W.O.W. Show Artist: In the sixties, I was an art student being taught by men whose work was in the Museum of Modern Art. And just to give you an example of the way they looked at me, I was working on a piece of sculpture and a very famous artist was behind me. And he and another man, rather than looking at what I was working on, were evaluating my behind and comparing it to the Donatello "David" behind.
So, I was advised by one of them, "You're a very talented person, but you should get a teaching degree because, you know women don't make strong enough work to be of museum quality." So, that's something that women in the fifties, sixties and seventies and eighties and nineties -- until really this century -- experienced.
Now, I don't know whether you can see it, but I'm wearing a piece of jewelry that I made. I was at a workshop. I was, at the time, 75. All of the other people at the workshop were younger. The man teaching it didn't address me, didn't look at me. He looked through me.
And when we showed our work at the end of the two-week workshop, he stopped dead in front of this piece and said, "Wow! Did you make that?" And I said, "Yes." And he looked at me again and he said, "Have you been in this class?"
Need I say more? We were ignored when we were young, now that we're older, we're looked right through.
Terry Rooney: We are invisible.
Anne Burton: We're invisible.
Terry Rooney: Especially when you get silver hair. It feels that you are being looked through.
Zydalis Bauer: I have to say, hearing both of your stories, it makes me emotional because to -- to hear, Anne how you described it, being ignored and overlooked at a young age and then having this experience at an older age and still being dismissed.
How does it feel for the both of you to -- to have this exhibition and highlight all of this amazing artwork done by these wild, ornery women?
Terry Rooney: I learned from other artists, and especially the ones that I have here. It also, I think coming out from the pandemic, it has been uplifting for these artists to be in a real show, because during the pandemic there were virtual shows, and especially with sculpture, you really can't appreciate the artwork. And there's something about the physicality, the texture, the colors, are true, which don't come through as well in a screen.
Zydalis Bauer: And I know that this exhibit is featuring the work of several artists, a really talented group of artists, that are expressing their outrage in an artistic way.
Talk to me about some of the societal issues that this exhibition addresses.
Terry Rooney: Well, there's several artists in the show, including Gabrielle Senza, Holly Murray, Anne Burton, who have been addressing climate change in their work.
Gabrielle went on an exploration of Antarctica, and she wore her wedding gown and crawled in the snow and is trying to bring attention to all the melting ice and snow around her.
And she is -- wants to do a piece of a huge iceberg. And she did a piece like this in Brattleboro Museum, where it was up for several months. And then at the end of it, she wants to erase the iceberg. I think it's a wonderful metaphor of what is happening to our planet.
Zydalis Bauer: And then Anne, you’re also one of the featured artists in this exhibition.
Talk to us about some of your artwork that viewers will be able to see and the issues that you chose to address.
Anne Burton: Well, I also chose to address climate change and... the fact that that people are going to be...in need of coming inland. They will be immigrants because they'll be overwhelmed by the warming ocean.
And the other thing I'm addressing in my piece is, that under the warming ocean is plastic that we've discarded. So, I have very purposefully put a mirror in back of my piece so that people can see themselves in it and recognize that we are the cause and that we have to take responsibility.
Zydalis Bauer: So, I know it's several artwork and pieces in this exhibit, there must be so many different things to look at.
What are some things that people can expect to see when they visit the exhibition?
Terry Rooney: There are many pieces that I'd like to share with you. One is Belinda Lyons-Zuker. She is a Black woman who does these dolls. Her ancestors came from the Gullah section of South Carolina, and she did this beautiful piece that has a flag from a parade from 1865 when Nevada became a state. It is also the first year that Juneteenth was celebrated, and it's the same year as Belinda's great grandmother was born, the first one in her family that was not a slave.
Another piece I'd like to bring attention to is Lynn Horan, who has this beautiful piece based on the "Sorry!" board, and she's in a wheelchair looking at some stairs that she cannot climb.
Also, there are two really very strong pieces from Susan Montgomery of Madea, who is a Greek mythology figure and probably the most ornery woman out there.
And the other artist is Molly Kellogg, who did these luscious paintings of Incognito, which is of women who used messy and wild hairdos and naked to show the women's magic and their strength.
Zydalis Bauer: What do you think it is about art that's able to really bring home these issues and kind of connect people to them?
How is art a powerful medium in that way?
Terry Rooney: Art helps the viewer see the world through different eyes. I think it can also be a way of speaking another language to people and to encourage them to see things in a new light.
Zydalis Bauer: So, after being overlooked and dismissed for -- for so long, now that your voices are finally being heard and your insights are being appreciated and celebrated, what understanding or take away would you like viewers to leave with after seeing this exhibition.
Terry Rooney: That women are just as talented as men. That we have a unique view that men don't have. We have the experiences of raising family, taking care of the home. But I think women also are the heart of our country. The heart of our community. And -- and I hope that that comes out in the show.
October 6, 2022
If you’ve been to the Native Hall at the Springfield Science Museum recently, you may have noticed some changes. They come from Aprell May, a Springfield resident, who is bridging the past and the present through her exhibit entit
If you’ve been to the Native Hall at the Springfield Science Museum recently, you may have noticed some changes. They come from Aprell May, a Springfield resident, who is bridging the past and the present through her exhibit entitled “We’re Still Here.”
May’s exhibit honors and recognizes the ongoing history and culture of the Native communities in our region. Zydalis Bauer spoke with May to learn more about her personal connection to the exhibit and more.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This fall, you may notice something different in the Native Hall at the Springfield Science Museum.
Aprell May, a Springfield resident, has curated an exhibit entitled "We're Still Here," which honors and recognizes the ongoing history and culture of the Native communities in our region.
I spoke with May to learn more about her personal connection to the exhibit and how it bridges the past to the present.
Aprell May, We’re Still Here: So, it was like soul work. My Aunt Gentle Running Dear, my great aunt, is the voice of the gatherer there.
And as a child, that was the only place I could connect with a piece of my heritage. But as an adult, I wondered what would the impact be if my kids could see my great aunt there and the representation of the people that we knew and we see in ceremonies and in events and at powwows, what would the impact be?
And I realized that this is the image that first -- that kids see first, because the first place they go to when they're non-school age is the library and the museum.
Zydalis Bauer: I understand, too, that when you were younger, you didn't really talk about your Native ancestry that much.
How were you able to reconnect with it after so long?
Aprell May: So, I didn't talk about it a lot because there was a lot of extinction, propaganda, and rhetoric going around. Still to this day, people don't believe that Indigenous people are living. And so how I reconnect is by learning from all the people and voices that you'll see in the exhibit today.
And I just take my guidance from my elders. So, I'm still learning. I'm still getting to know the different people, the different ways, the different communities that they live in. And -- and I'm just reconnecting in a different kind of way.
I was introduced back into the circle maybe in about, like, 2018. So, really just immersing myself and researching and learning more and especially talking to my elders.
Zydalis Bauer: You bring up such a good point about people, you know, having that rhetoric of extinction, and I know -- I have -- my heritage is from Puerto Rico. And so, for the longest time I thought that the Indigenous Taínos there were extinct. And so it is really amazing to learn that, no, these Indigenous people still live on.
What was some of the research that you had to do to curate this exhibit?
Aprell May: So, you know, I was working with the Intertribal Council before I started this exhibit, and then I started meeting more people. So, some of the people I've already known, and we have a mission at the Intertribal Council, and that is to get a Native American Peoples Research and Cultural Support center. That mission was started by my cousin Gray Hawke, who passed away suddenly, and so, I was already working with that initiative.
The people that I have added to the exhibit are just other voices with other initiatives in the Native community. So, I really wanted to highlight that living experience and what people are doing for contemporary Native issues and contemporary Native life.
So, that's what led me to that.
Zydalis Bauer: I can imagine that, you know, not knowing as much when you were younger about your heritage and now curating this project, you must have come across so many interesting facts or revelations.
What have you learned about yourself while curating this exhibit?
Aprell May: So, I realized the reason why I couldn't talk about my Native heritage is because I didn't know. And why didn't I know? I didn't know because there was an Indian adoption project that my family had gone through for generations before.
My -- my grandparents was the end of it, but my grandfather suffered so much in a non-Native foster home. There were 11 of them, and they were separated most of their life. And then while I was reading that in my family history, I was opening up research books with stories just like my family.
And it broke my heart to know that so many kids were...taken, not just boarding schools and residential schools, but in foster homes. And that's where they were stripped of their culture and their ability to talk about it. And so, that's why I didn't know.
And so, I learned that I could speak about it now because I know what happened generationally.
Zydalis Bauer: So, tell us a little bit about the exhibit. I know that it bridges the past to the present, and it also touches on topics such as resilience and identity.
What are some of the aspects in this exhibit that people can expect when they visit?
Aprell May: Each one of the people in my exhibit have different stories, and they're working on different initiatives. One of the most heart wrenching ones is the first one that you'll see in the exhibit, and her name is Nayana LaFond, and she's an artist who is working on a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's project or campaign, if you will, where she's painting family members who are missing or murdered.
And it kind of connects to one of my other voices, who is also a protector of woman in her band. So, this story about women protecting each other and campaigning for each other when there's no one else to do it but us. And how can we.... how can other women join in this fight to protect us, if they don't know that it's going on because of the extinction rhetoric? So, the bridge is there now. Because now people can see that there are contemporary issues like Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.
A few years back, a woman from the Mashpee tribe was murdered and they found her in Florida. And so, the artist that -- Nayana LaFond that's in the exhibit paints portraits for the families to use free of charge across the whole North American continent.
Zydalis Bauer: And I know that you're a Springfield resident. And so, what does it mean to you to see this institution, like the Springfield Museums, really commit to restructuring and remodeling this specific -- the Native area that they have?
What does that mean to you?
Aprell May: Educating the public on the living culture is super important because then other Afro-indigenous women don't have to explain like, "No, but we're still here. We're not extinct," every day of their lives.
So, I think that it's important that -- that they commit to diversity. It's important that they rethink how stories are being told. It's important that we reclaim our narrative, and it's important that there's proper adequate representation.
Zydalis Bauer: Now, for others out there who may have grown up as a lost bird or a missing feather, as you described it.
What advice would you have to give to them on the importance of connecting with their identity and their heritage and culture?
Aprell May: Everybody has...like if you go back to developmental models, I think everybody has this idea that those developmental models kind of fit everyone psychologically and -- and emotionally. I think that once we look back into that and we understand the cultural discontinuity that Afro-Americans and Indigenous Americans have gone through, we can -- we can understand more of the cultural loss significance.
And what we want to tell people is we want to let people understand that it's okay to understand and acknowledge the effects of colonialism and how hard it has hit people. And it's okay to reconnect, but always do it the proper way, always do it in the right channels. And -- and it'll -- it'll...go a long way for social-emotional well-being.
It feels -- it feels really good to connect.
October 6, 2022
Julio Argelis, born in Puerto Rico, developed a love for music at an early age. He started off as a singer, studied cello and classical guitar in college, and learned several instruments along the way. Argelis moved to the western
Julio Argelis, born in Puerto Rico, developed a love for music at an early age. He started off as a singer, studied cello and classical guitar in college, and learned several instruments along the way.
Argelis moved to the western Mass. area more than two years ago and brought his passion for music with him, opening the Draglio Music Academia in Holyoke.
At Draglio, Argelis teaches music to kids and adults in both English and Spanish. After teaching in Puerto Rico for over a decade, he’s bringing culture and music to the community of Holyoke.
Producer Dave Fraser brings us his story.
Read the Full Transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Music has been a part of Julio Argelis life since he was a child. Starting off as a singer, he learned to play several instruments, studying cello and classical guitar in college.
A native of Puerto Rico, he moved to the area more than two years ago and has opened up the Draglio Music Academia in Holyoke, where he teaches music to kids and adults in both English and Spanish.
Producer Dave Fraser brings us his story.
Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: It's five o’clock on a Wednesday night in Holyoke as most people head home from work, Julio Argelis is just getting started teaching music at his newly formed Draglio Music Academy.
Julio Argelis, Draglio Music Academia: Dun dun dun dun dun dun.
This name I got it, like, in my mind a long time ago because “drag” means pushing somebody, and “lio” is the last three letters of my name, Julio.
So, it's like I'm pushing people to doing something. So, and this something is music.
One, two, three, four. Da, da da. Shh!
Dave Fraser: Argelis taught music for more than a decade in Puerto Rico before moving here with his family after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Once here, he discovered that there were not many options for people in his community to learn music.
Julio Argelis: Nobody teaching me is singing in Spanish in here. You can find it, but in English.
And I say, “Well, I was in Puerto Rico 12 years giving classes and -- and in a -- in a music academy in there. So, I can start it here, maybe.”
Dave Fraser: The school is on the second floor above CML Inglesia. The space has several rooms for people to learn music. His students run the gamut from age 5 to 50, and beyond.
Peter Hernandez is learning to play the cello.
Peter Hernandez, Draglio Music Academia Student: When I was a kid, I learned how to play the guitar on my own. And years pass, and when I was about 50, 51 or 52 years old, I said to myself, “I want to learn a new instrument.”
And I said to myself, “This is the one.”
Dave Fraser: Marielys Negron is a pastor, along with her husband, at CML Inglesia. She finds the piano very spiritual and hopes to incorporate the music she is learning into their church services.
Marielys Negron, CML Inglesia: When the academy is open, my husband said, “You need to go. You need to go. You need to learn.”
That's pushing me, you know? It's positive.
“You need to use singing. You need to prepare yourself on all the steps.”
Dave Fraser: During the children's classes, Argelis' energy and love of music is infectious. Bouncing between rooms, teaching new concepts, and building up to more difficult variations of the same songs.
Dasha, Draglio Music Academia: We're learning how to do the notes with the guitar by looking at it first. And then after, we're just going to practice not looking at it.
Jarielys, Draglio Music Academia: I'm here taking music classes because it's entertaining to play music and it's something really fun in life.
Julio Argelis: Two.Three, four. Dat, dat, dat. Dat, dah, dat.
Dave Fraser: So far, Argelis is the only teacher at the school, giving lessons on a wide variety of instruments.
He said he was nervous to open his own business but says the love he has found connecting with people and introducing them to the music of his culture has been priceless.
Julio Argelis: Sometimes, you talk with kids and kids doesn't know a lot of music. Old people know music from the seventies, from eighties, from nineties, but kids only know the music that is right now.
So, I try to guide the next generation to -- to feel the music like we feel. I want every student that love music in general, not only one kind of music.
October 6, 2022
The Charlemont Reggae Festival returns after a two-year hiatus. This year's festival poster displayed the words “Rooted in Love and Positivity” as it marks the 25th time this festival has taken place. Steven and Ben Goldsher, howe
The Charlemont Reggae Festival returns after a two-year hiatus. This year's festival poster displayed the words “Rooted in Love and Positivity” as it marks the 25th time this festival has taken place.
Steven and Ben Goldsher, however, have only organized two of these iconic festivals — this year being their second.
Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan met up with this father and son team to discuss this year’s festival and their plans for its future.
Learn how festival co-organizer Steven Goldsher fell in love with reggae music in a digital exclusive interview.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: After a two year hiatus, the legendary Charlemont Reggae Festival returned to the town fairgrounds this past summer.
While this year marked the 25th time the event has been held, for Steven and Ben Goldsher, it was only their second year of organizing it. Connecting Points Brian Sullivan met up with this father and son team to discuss this year's festival and their plans for its future.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: It's just a little after 12:30 in the afternoon on what turned out to be a very hot and sunny Saturday here in northwest Franklin County. And the echoes of soundchecks can be heard reverberating throughout the Charlemont fairgrounds.
After a two year hiatus, there's probably no one more excited to see it back than this father and son combo who could be found early in the day, making sure that attendees found their parking spaces.
Ben Goldsher, Charlemont Reggae Fest: There's music all day long, it's all going to be amazing. As you can hear in the background, we're just kicking off the day.
We have a band that's been playing here for years, they're called The Equalites, they're one of the local favorites and they're just putting on a show already.
Brian Sullivan : The town of Charlemont covers roughly 26 and a half miles, and it's loaded with natural beauty, much of which can be found right here at the fairgrounds.
There's plenty of room to toss the bee around, set up an easel and do some painting, or spread out some blankets and open up umbrellas. Meanwhile, the trees and mountains that serve to fortify this 24 acre parcel of land, also help to add to the acoustics.
Sir Walford, Reggae Ambassador: You have these beautiful scenery and mountains, and when you listen to the music back there, the trees actually echo back to you.
Brian Sullivan : The first reggae fest took place here all the way back in 1985, and there was a little bit of a gap in time as the next one didn't happen until 1997, but the festival had been running steady every year since then, up until the 20 and 21 festivals were canceled.
Ben and Steven Goldsher organized the most recent one in 2019, and it was their first time in doing so. And while they're hoping that the learning curve is trending in a more positive financial direction this time, they see the bigger picture.
Steven Goldsher, Charlemont Reggae Fest: The business side of this is really tough. We lost a lot of money the first time we did it. This time we want to break even, and it's really - this is really a festival about the local community.
There's a tremendous local community of reggae musicians. They visit our Parks and Rec club all the time and they live here in Charlemont, and in Wendell, and in the Valley. And this is about local bands, and we have a couple of headliners too.
Brian Sullivan : The event ran from 1:30 in the afternoon until 8:00 that night, and we were there early enough before the grounds got too crowded. And that was handy when it came to avoiding lines at the vendors, of which there was no shortage.
Everything from cotton candy, vegan pizza, beer or some Filipino street food.
Thanks, can't forget to support the local vendors. This event's been going on for 25 years now and it's funny because with a town that's made up of more than 1200 people, it's one of the few days out of the year that the population increases by about 500.
Those numbers eventually arrived as the day went on, which translated to more feet on the dance floor and more people feeling the connection to the sweet sounds being delivered by the musicians on stage.
Sir Walford: Good music stimulates the brain. It's a wave. And if you can connect to the wave, you feel the energy of what the artist is trying to say. And once you connect, you know, you're not the only human being feeling it.
Brian Sullivan : The Charlemont Reggae Fest has always been a one day endeavor, but due to its popularity, organizers Ben and Steven Goldsher are toying with the idea of making this a multiday event in the future. And the motivation to do so isn't solely driven by the bottom line.
Ben Goldsher: The real reason we do this is for the love of the music and the love of the community around it.
I get people telling me all the time, thank you so much for what you're doing, thank you for giving us this experience, and we're - we're all about putting on an experience, you know, creating a space for people to have feelings where they get to have fun or maybe they get to do something they've never done before, and we're just trying to create that space for people to have a good time.
October 6, 2022
Steven Goldsher, co-organizer of the Charlemont Reggae Festival, took a different path while on his way to becoming an orthodontist. Thanks to one of his college professors, Goldsher was introduced to and fell in love with reggae
Steven Goldsher, co-organizer of the Charlemont Reggae Festival, took a different path while on his way to becoming an orthodontist. Thanks to one of his college professors, Goldsher was introduced to and fell in love with reggae music.
Steven and his father have organized their second Charlemont Reggae festival this year and Steven sat down with Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan to share more of how he went from dental instruments to drums and percussion.
Watch our full feature on the return of the Charlemont Reggae festival.
Read the full transcript:
Steven Goldsher, Charlemont Reggae Fest: I started as a high school kid. I used to book music in high school, high school dances, so I had a little bit of a taste of that early on.
And, then I went off to college, one of the first experiences I had in college was going to hear a movie called "The Harder They Come", 1976 -- Jimmy Cliff playing in this famous movie, "The Harder They Come."
And there was a sociology professor at my university, Clark University, who used to lead trips to Jamaica and got a taste of what was going on this little Caribbean island that was changing the world with Bob Marley at that time, it was all happening, so there was always a connection with music.
I was an amateur musician and in fact, then my son Benjamin, we referred to as Ben-Jamin, and we were playing reggae music when he was in the womb, and he's always been part of that whole reggae movement and the whole love and aspect of Rastafarians. You know, I and -- I, we're all human. We all see each other as each other: equals.