Author name: Peg Johnston

Human/Nature Demicco/ Salton Art Show



Human/Nature pairs the murals of Judy Salton with the 3-D clay figures of Karen Kuff-Demicco for a month long exhibit at the Cooperative Gallery JUne 7th through June 29th, 2013. The Artists’ Reception is Saturday June 8th from 12-4 pm when an English tea will be served and the artists will be on hand for discussion.

They will give talks with the theme “Human/Nature in Art Throughout History” Third Thursday June 20, at 7 pm. There will also be a Closing Reception with a movie from 1-4 pm.
The title of our show groups two words with distinct meanings. The noun “human” means a person; a bipedal primate mammal. As an adjective, it pertains to humans or their characteristics. “Nature” is a noun meaning either the physical world (non-man made) or the basic essence or behavior of a person or thing. Putting these two words together as the theme of this show allows us to explore their meaning and implications from different directions and raises several questions. What is a human? What is nature? What is the nature of humans? What happens when humans confront nature or nature confronts humans? What is inherent in human nature is the question that has stimulated my work.

All of my pieces in the show are an investigation of a condition or emotion related to human nature. I have not tried to cover every human emotion or trait, I am not sure that is possible. I have used faces, the human figure, and animals from nature to comment on human/nature. For example, “Voice from Within” portrays a single person listening and reacting to a voice that is giving advice. This voice is internal and derived from memories of external words that could come from a variety of influences: parents, authority, friends, evil, a ghost, or even from herself. It could be judgmental or supportive. She has a choice of reactions. This pieces explores what drives decision making; what motivates human actions.

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Binghamton Only NY City to Win Environmental Award


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The City of Binghamton was honored for its commitment to sustainability. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand presented the city with a 2013 Environmental Quality Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency Friday.

Binghamton was the only New York State municipality to win the award. Gillibrand actually nominated the city for the award because of its accomplishments in areas such as climate protection, energy efficiency, smart growth and sustainable development.

“I think it is setting an example for other cities in the state about how a vision and a plan and sticking to it really can make a difference. And our mayor has worked very hard on trying to reach long term goals every single day by investing in those goals,” said Sen. Gillibrand.

“This is a great day for Binghamton and it’s a great day for sustainability because we all know that if we are going to continue to progress as a country and as a world we need to embrace these principles because that’s the only way we are going to sustain our planet, and I believe, it will also sustain many, many jobs, and sustain our future,” said Mayor Matt Ryan.

Gillibrand and city officials also celebrated Arbor Day by planting trees in Binghamton’s Fairview Park.
The city says it encourages citizens to get involved with programs such as the Shade Tree Commission and the Citizen Pruner Program.

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“Are You Interested in Investing Locally?”

Topic of Binghamton Community Lab

BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Community Lab will host a mixer and discussion for anyone who is interested in investing locally. There is a self-pay dinner at 6:00 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16th, at the Lost Dog Café Violet Room, 222 Water Street in Binghamton. This event is free and open to the public.

Stimulating job creation and innovation and addressing community needs by nurturing a strong local economy that is less dependent on importing goods and services, and by advocating for and promoting independent locally-owned businesses, services and products, has been an area of focus for Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Binghamton Rising, and the Binghamton Community Lab since 2010.

The purpose and format of this meeting will be to expand the group of interested local investors, quickly review some of the most promising models based on the work and research of Local Economist Michael Shuman, and mostly to engage in a facilitated conversation about how to move from the concept phase to planning and implementation.

The Binghamton Community Lab is a gathering place for citizen investigators to create and support improvements that will grow a healthier, wealthier and stronger Binghamton region. The series, held regularly on the third Tuesday of each month will be facilitated by David Sloan Wilson, SUNY distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University and founder of the Binghamton Neighborhood Project, and David Currie, director of the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition.

For additional information, contact Hadassah Head at

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A History of Seed Bombing: GOOD

Remember “Miss Rumphius,” the Lupine Lady? The children’s fiction book by Barbara Cooney (Puffin 1982) recounts the story of Miss Alice Rumphius, a woman who sought to make the world more beautiful by spreading lupine seeds in the wild. Flash back to New York in the 1970s and meet Liz Christy and her Green Guerillas group, who took to beautifying crumbling Manhattan neighborhoods by tossing “seed grenades” into abandoned lots. The first seed grenades, a term coined by Christy, were made from controversial ingredients: condoms filled with local wildflower seeds, water, and fertilizer. They were thrown over fences onto New York City’s wastelands in order to “green up” neglected urban land. Seed bombing, as it’s known today, is definitely punk, but it’s also a cheap and effective way for you, me, and everyone we know to transform an eyesore into a resource.

The seed bomb growing method has been practiced globally for centuries. The idea germinated in Japan with the ancient practice of “tsuchi dango,” which translates as “earth dumpling.” The idea was re-invented in the 20th Century by the Japanese farmer and philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka, an advocate of Do-Nothing Farming and author of the classic, “One-Straw Revolution.”

Today seed bombs are wrapped in compost and clay, which protects the seeds while providing needed moisture, nutrients, and structure for seed germination and growth. The seed bomb protects seeds from being eaten by wildlife, so few seeds are needed when compared to broadcast seeding. As much as 80 percent of broadcast seeds, those scattered on the surface of the soil, can be lost before germination.
Read the complete article here

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Main St Grant Received by City


BLDC Awarded $250,000 New York Main Street Grant

The Binghamton Local Development Corporation (BLDC) announced today that it will be administering a matching grant program in the amount of $250,000 through the 2012 NYS Main Street Grant Program. The BLDC received the grant through New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation’s Office of Community Renewal (NYSOCR), as part of the State’s Consolidated Funding Application engineered under Governor Cuomo to allow more efficient reallocation of state resources for local community development through input from regional councils.

“This grant program will enhance the efforts initiated through the City’s roundabout and streetscape improvements that have taken shape on Court Street, one of the City’s major commercial corridors that has already seen sizeable new investments.” Said Mayor Matt Ryan. “Over the course of my administration, The BLDC has been a driving force in this community, creating opportunities for new business development in the City. They have done an exceptional job in bringing alternative resources into the City as a way to carryout economic development during these challenging economic times.”

The BLDC’s grant program will assist property owners in their efforts to improve and preserve the visual image of the City’s downtown historic mixed-use districts through commercial façade improvements as well as new and modified interior residential and commercial development.

$15,000 of these grant funds will be allocated for a Streetscape Project to improve the area known as “Commercial Alley” running from Court Street to the State Street parking ramp.

BLDC’s Executive Director Merry Harris believes this grant will help to stimulate sustainable investments in the community “With the help of the NYS Main Street Grant, the BLDC and the City of Binghamton will be able to leverage private investment and activity in the commercial sector to create opportunities for affordable housing, and to increase the walk ability of the city.”

This will be the second round of competitive funding that the BLDC has been able to capture under the NYS Main Street Grant Program. In 2008, the BLDC received $200,000 in Main Street Grant funding from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation’s Office of Community Renewal (NYSOCR), and successfully administered thirty revitalization projects, including façade improvements, interior renovations, and streetscape improvements along “Gorgeous Washington Street” between Hawley and Court Streets, and at the intersection of Main and Front Streets. The endeavor spurred an additional $459,972.07 in private investments and produced over a dozen jobs for local contractors, engineers, and design companies.

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Blueprint Binghamton: POP-UP open friday, 15th

Come by the former First National Bank Building at 49 Court Street to learn something new about your city and share your thoughts and ideas about how to move our city FORWARD TOGETHER!

If you missed the first one on March 1, this is your chance to weigh in….or if you enjoyed it so much the first time you want to come back, please do! 11 am to 3 pm.

Our First Friday Pop-Up event really was a lot of fun.

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Blueprint Binghamton: Green Infrastructure


This Week’s First Blueprint Binghamton Community Discussion
To Focus On Green Infrastructure
BINGHAMTON, NY—The City of Binghamton hosts its first monthly “Blueprint Binghamton – Community Discussion” this Thursday, March 7th, at the Broome County Library, noon – 2:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public including lunch, courtesy of series sponsor Citizens Bank.
In partnership with the Livable Communities Alliance, the NYS Office of Smart Growth, and Empire State Futures, the series is provided to supplement the city’s long range planning effort Blueprint Binghamton by stimulating community discussion around topics that impact the livability and viability of our community.
“Blueprint Binghamton is an exciting opportunity to build on all the transformative changes we’ve made the last seven years,” said Mayor Ryan. “This is about bringing everybody to the table, and based on their input and hopes, charting a bold, long-term vision and action plan for our shared future. We had an incredible open house launch this last Friday in downtown, and thanks to Citizens Bank and our partners, we’re launching this week a very compelling series of free community discussions. We welcome all those interested to register now to reserve a seat.”
More than 30 individuals have already registered for Thursday’s discussion, which is nearing capacity, and those interested can register by calling the city’s Economic Development Office at 772-7161 or filling out the online form at For each workshop, all participants in attendance will have the chance of winning a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant. For those participants who attend five workshops or more AND complete the online feedback surveys for each, will have their names entered into a drawing to win the grand prize of a Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 16GB with Wi-Fi valued at $300.

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Downtown Commission Final Report

Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development Issues Final Report

Economic Development Incentives Guide is first achievement to spring from commission’s work

BINGHAMTON, NY—The Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development today issued its final report and unveiled the Economic Development Incentive Guide, which emerged from the Commission’s work.

“This report offers promising guideposts for building on downtown’s recent gains,” said Mayor Matt Ryan. “This commission involved development experts and stakeholders from across our community, and their collective expertise surely is greater than the sum of its parts. I thank the commission members for their hard work for more than a year, and I look forward to taking the next steps in seizing downtown’s many development opportunities, starting with the Economic Development Incentive Guide.”

Announced by Mayor Ryan in his 2011 State of the City Address, the Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development sought to coordinate new investments and interest in downtown business, living and recreation. The spark behind the commission was the grand openings of two major student housing projects, Twin River Commons and 20 Hawley Street Luxury Student Apartments.

“This initiative was part of staying proactive in enhancing downtown as a destination,” said Director of Economic Development Merry Harris, who co-chaired the commission with Sean Massey. “The final report showcases a number of priorities that downtown stakeholders can pursue.”

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The origins of Independent Media

From Rochester Independent Media Center:

“We can have a cynical attitude in the face of the media to say nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems that invades not just with an invasion of power, but with a way of seeing that world, of how they think the world should look. We could say, well, ‘that’s the way it is’ and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: we can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We
can ignore it and go about our lives. But there is a third option that is neither conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust: that is to construct a different way—to show the world what is really happening—to have a critical world view and to become interested in the truth if what happens to people who inhabit every corner of this world.”

The above words were read aloud in a statement by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. And it is with those words that the independent media center movement began to germinate, eventually springing from the ground in Seattle of 1999 during the World Trade Organization summit. The Rochester Indymedia collective, just past our 10th year of operation, felt inspired to critically reflect on what we’ve produced, how we’ve produced it, and what we hope the next 10 years will bring. With that spirit of critical engagement, we invite you, our communities, our readership, and the public, to join us for Building Our Media: a critical discussion series on independent media.

Tonight, we will discuss Howard Zinn’s Essay: The Use and Abuse of History. (download pdf of article at: Zinn’s piece explains his approach to history and why the concept of objectivity in history writing and journalism is problematic.

November 8th, 7-9PM
Flying Squirrel Community Space
285 Clarissa St.
Rochester, NY

The Series:

First Week (Nov. 1):
give out booklets / watch video clips / have discussion

Second week (Nov. 8):
(Howard Zinn) The use and abuse of history

Third Week (Nov. 15):
What is Free Culture? / Free Culture Manifesto / Know Your Meme

Fourth Week (Nov. 29):
(Kyle Harris) Beyond Authenticity: Aesthetic Strategies and Anarchist Media

Fifth Week (Dec. 6):
(Carlos Fernandez) Movements & Militant Media: Communication Technology and Latin American Grassroots Politics

Sixth Week (Dec. 13):
(Jared Ball) Mixtape Manifesto: emancipatory journalism

Seventh Week (Dec. 20):
What’s next? / general discussion and/or discussion from participant chosen article

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Book as Art: Submissions Wanted

Book As Art
February 2013
Cooperative Gallery 213
Curated by Peg Johnston


Handmade books are an art form that will be featured at “Book as Art” at the Cooperative Gallery 213 the month of February 2013. In addition to her own work, Peg Johnston will curate a show that includes a wide variety of book art. Eligible are handmade books as well as art made with books.

If you would like to submit to this exhibit please contact PegJohnston sending a jpg of your work. There is no fee. Send to

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