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September 7, 2016 by activ60

STATE: “May we now safely prophesy justice, liberty, equality for our daughters ere another centennial birthday shall dawn upon us.”EC Stanton
Gage: “A proper self-respect cannot inhere in any person under governmental control of others. Unless the person so governed constantly maintains a system of rebellion in thought or deed, the soul gradually becomes debased and the finest principles of human nature suffer a rapid process of disintegration.”
Oh, how history repeats itself. We now in 2016 just witnessed the death of the lead conservative woman Phyllis Schlafly who attacked the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment, to the US Constitution in the 70s.
Matilda Joslyn Gage, Fayetteville, NY and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s, Seneca Falls, NY institutional analysis of oppression of women in the 1850s was based on the four-fold bondage of woman—Church, State, Capital and Society.
CHURCH: Stanton: “Every form of religion that has breathed upon the earth has degraded women.”
Gage: “the laws, civil and social, each equally burdensome, are of church origin, and not until the church is destroyed will women be freed.” (This was when women were not allowed to speak in church or public.)
CAPITAL: Stanton: “Married women are upper servants without wages. . .. It is impossible to have ‘equal rights for all’ under our present competitive system…The few have no right to the luxuries of life, while the many are denied its necessities.”
Gage: “ In European countries and in the US we find her everywhere receiving less pay than man for the same kind and quality of work…the church teaching that woman was made for man still exerts its poisonous influence, still destroys woman…not alone employers and male laborers oppress woman but legislation is frequently invoked to prevent her entering certain occupations.”
SOCIETY: Stanton: “Society as organized today under the man power is one grand rape of womanhood.”
Gage: “Although our country makes great professions in regard to general liberty, yet the right to particular liberty, natural equality, and personal independence, of two great portions of this country, is treated, from custom, with the greatest contempt; and color in the one instance, and sex in the other; are brought as reasons why they should be so derided; and the mere mention of such natural rights is frowned upon, as tending to promote sedition and anarchy.”
All quotes from Sisters in Spirit by historian Sally Roesch Wagner.

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Winner of MuralFest Design Contest Announced

August 28, 2016 by pegjohnston

Amy Panella won the design contest for a mural to be painted on the rear of the Binghamton Plaza during MuralFest 2016. Included in the design are the rooftops of several Binghamton landmarks as well as two special hot air balloons that have significance for Amy and her family.
65 designs were received by the Dept. of Public Art.  The review committee for the initial round included member(s) of Dept of Public Art, Northside Assembly, City Council, Boys and Girls Club, Broome County Department of Planning, Binghamton University, and local artists. The committee reviewed the designs without knowing who the artists were and ultimately narrowed the field to 8 finalists. The criteria were designs bold enough to be seen from across the river and yet interesting to look at from the closer perspective of the Chenango River Trail. "It was a tough process because there were so many great ideas and showed so much pride of place," commented Peg Johnston of the DPA.

The finalists were forwarded to the Mayor's Office, which contributed an additional $750 to the design award. The owner of the Binghamton Plaza, Michael Galesi, in consultation with Bob Murphy, Economic Development Director of the City, chose the winning design. Everyone in the process hopes that other sites can be found for some of the incredibly creative designs. DPA thanks all who contributed their time and talent to the contest. Congratulations to Amy Panella, a local high school art teacher.
Mural Fest is an all-inclusive event for residents, youth, students, and artists working together to spread public art throughout the area.  This year community members will accompany artists to paint murals throughout Cheri Lindsey Park and on the back of the Binghamton Plaza.  The event will also bring fun interactive art activities for all ages, demo painting and crafting by local artists, vendors, and music to heighten your creative experience throughout the day.

You can get there by car or bus, but consider a walk, a run, a bike ride, or a skateboard trip down the Chenango River Trail.  Come pick up a brush with your friends and families and paint with us at Cheri Lindsey Park on Saturday, September 17th from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
For more information check out the Department of Public Art Facebook page or contact us via email at

A Good Walk to Mural Fest 2016

August 21, 2016 by pegjohnston

This year MuralFest is along the Chenango River Trail at Cheri Lindsey Park on the Northside of Binghamton. Early in the planning there was some grousing  from some folks who wanted Mural Fest to stay downtown, but if you are painting murals you have to go where you can paint—in this case, the rear of the Binghamton Plaza and the buildings at Cheri Lindsey Park. And, organizers of the Mural Fest felt that the Northside neighborhood deserved some attention. Much of the ongoing blight project, where original mural art on panels are placed on boarded up properties, were placed on buildings on the Northside.

There are several routes to get to Cheri Lindsey Park, going behind Binghamton Plaza, down Truesdell St. off Chenango St., or… taking a walk down the Chenango River Trail. This route will delight long term Binghamton residents and newcomers alike. The River Trail technically starts on the Southside at the Park Diner to the Washington St. Bridge but its real beauty is revealed at the Confluence as it follows the Chenango River, past Court Street, along the MLK Promenade to the East Clinton St. Bridge. Then it takes a jog down Water St. past Tech Works (a museum that preserves our industrial heritage) to a parking area along the flood wall.

From here it is a beautiful 10 minute walk to Cheri Lindsey Park and the Bark Park for dogs. On a recent walk along the trail, we saw an elegant white egret, a Great Blue Heron, and of course the usual charming gaggle of geese in the river. The Chenango widens at this point and a giant oak spreads out over the edge of the water. Wild flowers are abundant, Mullein, Joe Pye Weed, and a variety of Monarda that even my naturalist guide/pal had never seen.

The scene on the riverside is bucolic and enchanting in a way that is unexpected in the city; the opposite side, that backside of businesses and the Binghamton Plaza is less than inspiring, which is why the mural project for one of these walls is so important. But, even on this side, there have been some landscaping efforts that distract from the urban sprawl. Trees, bushes, and walkways create a pleasant walk which will only get better over time as the plantings mature. (DPA’s own Mark Bowers had a big hand in this Trail when he was a planner at the Dept. of Transportation.)

Mural Fest 2016 is Saturday, September 17th 11 am- 4 pm and there will be murals to be painted, as well as other art activities for all ages. You can get there by car or bus, but consider a walk, a run, a bike ride, or a skateboard trip down the Chenango River Trail. You won’t regret it.

--Peg Johnston

Photo: Monarda Citriodora


Organizing - Let's try a little tenderness

August 16, 2016 by tim wolcott

Maya Angelou – It is almost impossible to grow up. Most people just get older.

Rancor for the ‘other’ has been an effective tool of the Right to mobilize supporters. Many adults, harboring unresolved anger and mistrust look to strong-man saviors. Exploiting fear, these “saviors” maintain most in socio-economic stress and propel us all to potential global destruction. Those people, on the other hand, who hope for equity and sustainability offer the Left significant opportunity. Organizing them would be based instead on a shared empathy. But empathy requires emotional development, and that is not easy to accomplish.

Johnston/ Jablon Win Heart of the Arts Awards

August 10, 2016 by imc-editor

Broome County Arts Council Announces 2016 Recipients of the Heart of the Arts Awards

The Broome County Arts Council announced the recipients of its 2016 Heart of the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Awards during a news conference at 10am,  Wednesday, August 10th. Nominated by the public and chosen by the votes of BCAC’s 100+ members, the following honorees are being recognized for significant recent or long-term contributions to the arts in Broome County:

2016 Heart of the Arts Awards: Peg Johnston, Department of Public Art and Emily Jablon, Jablon Studios,

2016 Heart of the Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Timothy Perry, Binghamton Community Orchestra, Binghamton University and Harold & Toby Jean Manker, Phelps Mansion Museum

Awards will be presented Monday September 19th at the 11th Heart of the Arts Award Celebration, DoubleTree Hotel Grand Ballroom, downtown Binghamton.  The event starts at 6pm with cocktails at 5pm.  Features include many exciting performances, wonderful food, an award winning high school art display, and a lavish award ceremony. All proceeds from the Heart of the Arts Celebration and raffle ticket sales go back into the LOCAL Arts Community (nonprofits and individual artists) through the United Cultural Fund, the locally-funded combined campaign for the arts in Broome County.
Tickets are $55 for general admission and $50 for arts council members.
For more information e-mail or call 607-723-4620 or visit website:
The event is sponsored by IBM, SUNY Broome Community College, Visions Federal Credit Union, Curcio Printing, Excellus, and Jim Rollo State Farm as well as raffle sponsors Atomic Tom’s, Cooperative Gallery 213, Freshy Sites, Kapow! Art Studio, Orazio Salati Studio, TR Events, and Uncorked Creations ….. and sponsorship opportunities are still available!

2016 Heart of the Arts Award Recipients - Nominations Statements

Peg Johnston – 2016 Heart of the Arts Award

Honored for bringing public art to the streets of Binghamton and making “blight the inspiration for art,” Peg was nominated for her critical role in “sparking” and continuing an arts renaissance in Binghamton. She has made this endeavor possible as a founding member of the Cooperative Gallery 213 on State Street and transforming that “derelict” block into the “State of the Art.” As one of the founders of the Department of Public Art, Peg was a driving force that brought about the Water Street “Birthplace of Virtual Reality Mural Project.” This successful project involved 50+ volunteers and culminated in four murals and more than 100 stencils illustrating the history of this site. Her leadership in the Mural Fest 2015, placed on boarded-up properties throughout Binghamton. Moreover, her ongoing “Blight is our Canvas” project brings artistic inspiration and hope to the area through art. Peg is a photographer and installation artist, an exhibitor of regional and national photographers, artist promoter and mentor, and creator of a community that fosters and values creativity.

Emily Jablon – 2016 Heart of the Arts Award

Emily was selected for her love of the community which is exemplified by the creation of the mosaic public installations that bring beauty throughout downtown Binghamton. She offers her nationally renowned talent as a mosaic artist and support to at-risk and underserved populations, including individuals with disabilities, runaways, and the homeless. Emily provides guidance and training in mosaics art throughout project development. She initiated the “Confluence Arts Project” empowering individuals with disabilities to create art in their communities, and has generously given of her time to curate community art shows, and to offer classes at various venues for special needs participants.

Dr. Timothy Perry, 2016 Heart of the Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, selected for more than 30 years of contributions to the knowledge and enjoyment of music in our community and in our schools.  To quote his nomination form, Tim is “a local treasure.” He has just completed 30 years at Binghamton University, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and Instrumental Conducting as well as Professor of Studio Clarinet.  He is active throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and, along with pianist Pej Reitz, his frequent collaborator.  In addition, he served as a U.S. State Department cultural ambassador performing throughout South America.  But while citing all of Tim’s PROFESSIONAL accomplishments, his nominators chose to focus on his dedication to the AMATEUR musicians of Broome County.  From 1994 to 2004 and again from 2013 through the present, Tim has directed the Binghamton Community Orchestra.  Said one string player: “He’s brought the BCO from a reasonably good amateur orchestra to a whole new level --- still a group of musicians who get together to make music just for the love of it, but also performing at a level on par with many professional orchestras….. He inspires musicians to play better than they ever dreamed possible.”

Harold & Toby Jean Manker - 2016 Heart of the Arts Award
Although the Mankers have been active in the arts community for many years as educators, performers, promoters, and board members, they are being honored for their diligent and successful accomplishment in registering and chartering the Phelps Mansion Museum as a “house museum” in compliance with the New York State Board of Regents. As Chair and Vice Chair of the Phelps Mansion Museum Board of Directors, they developed and implemented the museum’s strategic plan and recruited numerous volunteers and docents, while raising funds through grant writing.  As Program Directors, they created the chamber music series, “Chamber Music at the Phelps,” originally known as, “Second Sunday at the Phelps” and collaborated with the Binghamton University Music Department which brings programs for voice students and student composers downtown to the Phelps. In addition they collaborate with other non-profit organizations in presenting public programs ranging from a Chinese New Year celebration to a Downton Abbey preview.

Play and Play: An Evening of Movement and Dance--Bill T. Jones

August 9, 2016 by pegjohnston

Photo: Bill T. Jones at Binghamton Learning Exchange Fair in 1970's by Robert C. Johnston

On Saturday, September 24, at 7:30 p.m., the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company will perform Play and Play: An Evening of Movement and Dance, as part of Homecoming Weekend at Binghamton University, where Bill T. Jones studied classical ballet and modern dance. It was also at Binghamton University where Jones and Arnie Zane met as students and started their first dance company, American Dance Asylum, in 1973.

A multi-talented artist, Jones has a solid reputation as a choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer. He has received several awards including most recently, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2014, the National Medal of Arts in 2013, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010 and numerous other awards and honors.  His ventures into Broadway earned Jones a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed, Fela, co-written, directed and choreographed by Jones. He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening.

Founded as a multicultural dance company in 1982, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company grew out of Jones and Zane’s eleven year artistic collaboration. Today the company is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in modern dance.  Jones along with his late partner, Arnie Zane, has created over 140 works for the company and received many commissions to create dances for other modern dance companies. In 2011, the company merged with Dance Theater Workshop to form New York Live Arts with Jones as the Artistic Director.

The evening’s performance contains three modern dance pieces, “D-Man in the Waters,” “Spent Days Out Yonder” and “Continuous Replay” which will be accompanied by live music. Portions of the program will contain nudity.

One highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the University Medal to Bill T. Jones by President Harvey Stenger. The University Medal is the highest honor bestowed by Binghamton University given at the discretion of the president to recognize path-breaking achievements and true excellence in one's career accomplishments; a distinguished commitment to Binghamton University, higher education and the pursuit of knowledge; and/or a demonstrated commitment to the betterment of society through exceptional leadership and mentorship of the next generation.

Single tickets are $45 for general public; $40 for faculty, staff, seniors; $30 for alumni; and $22 for students/children. Group discounts and subscription packages are available. Call the box office at 607-777-ARTS (2787) or log on to for details.

This performance is sponsored, in part, by Binghamton University Dean of Students, Binghamton University Alumni Association, Binghamton University Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Doubletree by Hilton Binghamton.

Getting it Right on Suffrage

August 7, 2016 by pegjohnston

This is an article from the Women's Media Center, on the recent attention and in accuracies by the media on suffrage.

With the nomination of Hillary Clinton for the U.S. presidency, commentators have felt compelled to fill in historical background and say something about the fight for political power, especially for women’s right to vote, that preceded her. A flick of the finger on Internet search engines or a quick visit to the photo archives has, however, resulted in a torrent of “information” about the suffrage movement with holes as wide as Bella Abzug’s hat.

So here, for the next producers of suffrage chatter, are a few things to keep in mind.

1. The United States is not England. An ocean sits between the two. “Suffragette” was a derisive term used by the British press. In a verbal turnabout, English women adopted the term, but Americans generally preferred to call themselves the less sexy “suffragist.” The Brits (some) attacked private property with bricks and torches; Americans heckled public officials, and some eventually stood silent vigil at the White House gates. Check your captions to be sure the images do not come from across the pond.

2. Seneca Falls is a prompt, not a movement. That town in northern New York state was the site of a meeting in 1848, where black abolitionist Frederick Douglass urged Elizabeth Cady Stanton to add “the right to vote” to a list of rights she would argue for. The attendees were local people, mostly family groups. Susan B. Anthony was not there, but Quaker Lucretia Mott was.

While Seneca Falls may have been “the shot heard round the world” for women’s rights, it did not lead to anything nearly as quick or as unified as the American Revolution. It led, in fact, to more than seven decades of political sprawl, with groups of distinct interests and ideologies, all part of “the suffrage movement.”

3. 1848 is not 1920. The original tactic, for winning a variety of rights, was organizing state by state, holding large indoor “conventions” and collecting petitions. Stanton died in 1902 and Anthony in 1906, with the big dream of federal voting rights unfulfilled.



photo: collection of Peg Johnston

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