Every picture tells a story: Senator Murphy announces grants for two diverse art projects in Dutchess County

SHRUB OAK, NY - Senator Terrence Murphy is pleased to announce that two art projects, a storytelling project with its roots in local history, and an exhibition of photos inspired by Dutchess County's farming community, have been awarded grants through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Arts Mid-Hudson.

"The two projects, one rooted in the past, the other unfolding in the present day, illustrate the importance of documenting and preserving Dutchess County's diverse history," said Senator Murphy. "I am certain children and families will be both educated and entertained by these captivating oral and visual folklore projects."

The Akin Hall Association in Pawling received $2,000 for a project grant to finance a pair of storytelling programs at the Akin Library. Utilizing the Akin Library's collection and natural history installations, storyteller and banjoist Bill Gordh will take the audience on a daylong "Folktale Tour of the Akin Free Library" on Saturday, September 16th. Beginning at noon on Saturday, September 23rd, storyteller Jonathan Kruk will present "Revolutionaries, Rent Wars and Quakers - Stories of the Valley." Dressed in period costume, Mr. Kruk will talk about the history of Pawling, the Quaker Hill community, the Meeting House serving as a hospital, freeing slaves before the Revolutionary War, the luxurious Mizzen Top Hotel and the Oblong Treaty.<!--more-->

David Kelly, Pawling Town Supervisor said, "Pawling has a rich history of arts and culture that has been preserved by treasured organizations like the Akin Hall Association, and I am thrilled that they are receiving financial recognition through this grant. They are invaluable to our community, and I sincerely appreciate their continued contribution and efforts in keeping the arts in Pawling alive and well."

"In a world dominated by social media, storytelling is a powerful way to teach history and build community understanding and tolerance," said Matthew Hogan, Executive Director for the Akin Free Library who organized the project. "These programs will support the Akin Free Libraries' goal of exposing the history of the area, of bringing people to the Library who are not aware of what it has to offer to people of all ages."

Founded in 1881, the Akin Hall Association maintains the Akin Free Library (built in 1898) which houses the Gunninson Museum of Natural History and the Historical Society Museum. The Association is the major grantor of annual college scholarships to Pawling High School students.

Poughquag resident Steven Steele Cawman received a $2,500 grant for his work "Dutchess: Farm to Table." In commenting about the grant, Beekman Town Supervisor Barbara Zulauf said, "This is a great opportunity for Mr. Cawman. We are all ecstatic to have such a talented artist in Beekman. His work captures the spirit of life in Dutchess County and our appreciation of nature."

Mr. Cawman will photograph the people, products and processes in Dutchess County involved with bringing items from farm to table. Locations for photography will include restaurants, farmers markets, farms, livestock facilities, beekeepers, meat processing locations, refrigerated storage facilities, small markets and more. In the end, viewers will have a better appreciation for the amount of labor and the number of people involved in putting local food on their plates.

Mr. Cawman has enjoyed a career in photography, motion pictures, advertising and media for more than 20 years. Specializing in travel and nature photography, his works can be found in numerous private collections, and his clients include the Semester at Sea Program, The Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and numerous publications.

"My goal with 'Dutchess: Farm to Table' is to take my professional experience and turn the camera on a local subject that I am passionate about and that plays an important role to me and my community," said Mr. Cawman. "Since moving to Dutchess Country several years ago, I am continually amazed by its culinary bounty. I wanted to take my experiences of photographing people around the world and turn my lens to a local project that is near to my heart...and stomach."

Arts Mid-Hudson administers NYSCA funding in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties, with annual competitive grants awarded to artists, schools, community groups, and arts organizations. Funding also is available through Dutchess County Partners in the Arts, and Ulster County Cultural Services and Promotion Fund.

These projects are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and are administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.