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May 16, 2013

Cherry Valley Artworks ready for another season

By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — For the third year in a row, Cherry Valley will host young opera artists who perform at Glimmerglass as part of the The Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence Program.

The young artists will be hosted by area residents, many of whom support Cherry Valley Artworks - the community center on Main Street in Cherry Valley.

“You will be walking down the streets and hear the opera singers rehearsing,” said Cherry Valley resident Keith Schue. “All summer long you will hear the beautiful music all over Cherry Valley. They will be practicing arias while you are just strolling down the streets. It is really special to hear.”

The center of artistic endeavors in Cherry Valley is the foundation Cherry Valley Artworks, which occupies one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. The building was acquired from the village of Cherry Valley in 2009 by the foundation, Cherry Valley Artworks, in a long-term lease.

The two-story, limestone, block building has offices in the lower floor and a large theater on the upper floor. The Star Theater was once a bustling movie theater.

“In the 1950s, this was a community space,” said Cherry Valley Artworks executive director Jane Sapinsky. “They showed films in the theater, they had dances, and the village had offices downstairs in the building.”

The foundation is raising money to restore the 1820s era building, which was originally a foundry and later used to store horse-drawn fire wagons.

“We had to put a septic system in,” Sapinsky said. “If we only had that money to put into the restoration, but you have to put a septic system in – and we have to be handicapped accessible. These are the things that must be done, but you can’t really see.”

Cherry Valley Artworks is not opened in the winter months, as it is costly to keep it heated. But when the weather warms and spring begins to bud out, Sapinsky and Artworks’ volunteers begin to air out the old building and plan for the summer season.

“The front is made of limestone blocks and it is nice and cool in the summer, but in the winter it is freezing,” Sapinsky said. “That is why we are not open in the winter. It would cost a fortune to heat this building.”

This year several concerts are planned as well as an Armed Forces Day dance, a poetry and music festival, and multi-media musical presentation featuring the music of composer John Glover, who wrote an original composition based on the artwork of painter Mark Mastroianni.

In past years, Cherry Valley Artworks has hosted an international kite festival and a sculpture trail. The foundation has opened the space for plays, concerts and operas. The theater space may be cleared of chairs and turned into a dining area with tables, or it can be completely cleared of furniture for dancing.

“We decided not to install the theater chairs so that we can use this space for a lot of different things,” Sapinsky said.

International art collector Eugene Shaw recently made a donation to Cherry Valley Artworks that will allow the foundation to purchase a Steinway piano.

“This will really greatly expand our musical offerings,” Sapinsky said. “We are so grateful for this donation.”

Cherry Valley Artworks is hosting an Armed Forces Day dance on Saturday in conjunction with the Cherry Valley American Legion. The events will include swing-dance lessons, live music, food and a cash bar.

On June 15, the foundation will feature a poetry and music festival.

The concert series, which includes musicians of the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra performing three concerts of eclectic music ranging from string quartets to a klezmer concert of European Jewish music, begins July 28.

In August, the John Glover and Mark Mastroianni multi-media concert will be presented.

For more information about the Cherry Valley Artworks summer season visit the foundation’s website, atcvartworks.org.