Author name: Peg Johnston

Cranberry Coffehouse: Gillette and Mangsen

On Sat., May 21, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., the Cranberry Coffeehouse ends its 2015-16 season with the fabulous duo of Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette.

 A Gillette and Mangsen concert features compelling songs, rich harmony, and a good dose of humor. Steve and Cindy have performed on National Public Radio, across North America and Europe, delighting audiences with traditional music and original songs. Although they come from different musical backgrounds, “their voices and styles meld seamlessly with a gentleness and a maturity that is unmatched in the world of folk duos.”

Steve is a country/folk songwriter with Western roots. Some of his best known songs, Darcy Farrow, Bed of Roses, and Back on the Street Again, have been performed by artists Ian & Sylvia, John Denver, Garth Brooks, Linda Ronstadt, and Tammy Wynette.

Cindy is known for compelling interpretations of traditional Anglo-Scottish ballads, thoughtful songs, and a wonderful ear for harmony. She is a keeper of old songs as well as a writer and interpreter of new ones.

The duo has recorded six albums in their 25-year collaboration, as well as solo albums and projects with other artists (Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills, Michael Smith).  To hear clips of their music, visit:

The Middle Set–The Cranberry Coffeehouse encourages all musicians, vocalists, story tellers, and dancers to share their talents in the middle set. Middle set performances are limited to 5 minutes. For questions about the Cranberry, visit, call 754-9437 or e-mail The Coffeehouse takes place at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, 183 Riverside Dr., Binghamton. Suggested admission of $8. 7:30 to 10 p.m. Handicapped parking in the front of the church. Coffee and refreshments available.



Cranberry Coffehouse: Gillette and Mangsen Read More »

The Afterlife of Discarded Objects

NOTE: A reading from this project will happen May 19th at 7 pm, the Cooperative Gallery's Third Thursday Art Discussion.

While we live in a world that produces material goods at an overwhelming rate, one thing that has not changed throughout history is the complexity of human relationship to the material world. In our increasingly consumerist culture we still assign value beyond the immediate function of objects,  an act that plays a crucial role in constituting memory and identity. The moment we decide to keep a used train ticket or a postcard instead of throwing it away, or an old favorite chipped plate reimagined as a coin dish, we invest it with sentimental value that replaces its expired functionality. As such, preserved and repurposed objects become vessels for projections of childhood fantasies or the nostalgic longing of adults.

The Afterlife of Discarded Objects is a digital collective storytelling project that depends on public participation through sharing memories about playing with, collecting, preserving, or making art from what we might broadly label as trash, waste, or unwanted items. Using the Share Your Story button on the website, we invite you to contribute your own narratives as we seek to understand the ways diverse experiences contribute to the mosaic of our individual and collective histories. Together these stories will highlight the power of imagination to (re)create history and serve as testimony to the potential of material objects to shape our cultural landscape.

What we are looking for: nonfiction narratives, memoir, short stories, and poems. Your contribution can be as short or as long as you like – a brief recollection of a childhood moment or a lengthier piece of writing — anything you wish to share. We especially welcome contributions that explore the topic from an environmental perspective, gender relations, race or class.

All submissions  will be featured on an interactive map that links each story and storyteller to the particular place where the narrative is situated, inviting the on-looker to zoom out and observe social, political, and economic linkages between cultures. For example, some of the contributions already featured on the map include diverse memories from working-class Californian childhood in the 80s, to descriptions of the Soviet-time Ukrainian childhood games with medical waste, to memories of playing with potentially explosive garbage items in Kuwait after the 90s invasion. These narratives demonstrate the potential of the project to transcribe a web of oral histories that represent diverse experiences at the intersection of class, race, locations, and political regimes.

We invite your own contribution to this ongoing project. Thank you for taking part in this collective storytelling endeavor.

The Curators,

Andrei Guruianu and Natalia Andrievskikh

The Afterlife of Discarded Objects Read More »

Tour Guides for Binghamton Sculpture Tours

Photo by Bob Johnston

PAST is collaborating with the Broome County Arts Council on an outdoor sculpture/architectural walking tour in downtown Binghamton.  The walking tour will be conducted on First Fridays from May through October.

A Tour Guide Training is being offered by the two organizations on April 12th at 2 PM at the Binghamton University Museum in the Fine Arts Building.  On April 30th, the Tour Guides will meet at 10AM at the Seven Seals of Silence at Chenango & Henry Streets to walk through the actual Tour route.
PAST invites anyone interested in becoming a tour guide for this exciting new project to call the PAST office between 10AM and 2PM, Monday-Friday at 237-0887 or call Marcia Ward at 725-3535, anytime. We will be glad to provide more information and answer questions. Please let us know by Friday April 8th of your interest in participating in the Tour Guide training.

Tour Guides for Binghamton Sculpture Tours Read More »

Broome County Arts Council Announces Grants

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the Broome County Arts Council (BCAC), located at 81 State Street, Suite 501, Binghamton awarded $232,815 in United Cultural Fund (UCF) grants this year to 22 local arts organizations, community non-profits, and individual artists.   BCAC announced the funding at a10:30am news conference today.  For 2016, UCF grants will help support the operations of 7 major arts organizations, as well as 15 community non-profit and individual artist projects.  Funded projects range from choral music to dance, classes to concerts, photography to printmaking, theatre productions to poetry and film festivals.

Broome County Arts Council Announces Grants Read More »

Andrei Guruianu’s New Book: Dead Reckoning

With spring upon us it seems like the right time to announce the release of a new book project that I have been working on for about the past three years now, though at times it has felt even longer! Below is a description of the book.

The book, Dead Reckoning: Transatlantic Passages on Europe and America (SUNY Press), is a co-written effort with my good friend and former colleague, Anthony Di Renzo (Ithaca College). The book is officially scheduled for release in May, though it is already available for Kindle on Amazon and the paperback is available for pre-order.

What began as an email exchange between Anthony and me turned into a dialogic exchange consisting of prose poems and lyrical essays, and eventually became a book that I am extremely proud of and excited to share with you.

From the press:
A poet and essayist attempt to find their bearings in a civilization lost at sea.
Dead reckoning is the nautical term for calculating a ship’s position using the distance and direction traveled rather than instruments or astronomical observation. For those still recovering from the atrocities of the twentieth century, however, the term has an even grimmer meaning: toting up the butcher’s bill of war and genocide.

As its title suggests, Dead Reckoning is an attempt to find our bearings in a civilization lost at sea. Conducted in the shadow of the centennial of the First World War, this dialogue between Romanian American poet Andrei Guruianu and Italian American essayist Anthony Di Renzo asks whether Western culture will successfully navigate the difficult waters of the new millennium or shipwreck itself on the mistakes of the past two centuries. Using historical and contemporary examples, they explore such topics as the limitations of memory, the transience of existence, the futility of history, and the difficulties of making art and meaning in the twenty-first century.

“Dead Reckoning pilots readers through the purgatory of immigration, a painful sea voyage that with enough courage and hard work can lead through the narrow channel facing paradise: spiritual and material success. Charting the currents between the Old and New Worlds, Andrei Guruianu and Anthony Di Renzo write with the ferocious genius of Pope and Swift and the compassionate heart of Saint Nicholas, patron of sailors and guardian of ports.” — Emanuel di Pasquale, author of The Ocean’s Will

“In the space of the passage from immigrant to citizen in a new home, things fall apart to an apparent nothingness. Guruianu and Di Renzo ask us to consider a brave creativity as an answer for the space where systems fall apart, so that it can be a place where things grow in a reverence for the need to live, to love, to have community, and to be truly free.” — Afaa M. Weaver, author of City of Eternal Spring

“A lovely, seductive, original book.” — Thomas G. Pavel, author of The Lives of the Novel: A History

For those of you who teach, if you're doing anything related to essay and creative writing, poetry and hybrid genres, I think this book could serve as a wonderful supplementary text. The poems and the essays all contain cultural and literary references that just just enough for readers to become interested but leave sufficient room for further thinking and exploration. If interested in a desk copy, they are available to instructors for $10 via the SUNY Press website:

Andrei Guruianu’s New Book: Dead Reckoning Read More »

A Victory and a Loss

First, the victory:
This past Monday, Governor Cuomo called to halt the construction of the Algonquin Incremental Markets (AIM) Pipeline. This is a tremendous victory, and is the first time (I believe) a Governor has demanded a halt to construction of an interstate pipeline. We hope that this paves the way for to halt the Constitution Pipeline by denying the 401 Water Quality Permit.

Second, the loss:
The Hollerans have been tapping the maple syrup on their land for some time, and had their trees taken by Constitution tree cutting crews, with heavily armed US Federal Marshals. This is an insane use of eminent domain to trample landowners rights. The tree cutting has happened before NY has granted all of the permits for the pipeline, including a 401 Water Quality Permit, which, if denied, could end the project. Please see Ecowatch's great coverage, and Gerri's really heartbreaking footage.
Pick up the phone today and call Governor Cuomo and ask him to deny the 401 Water Quality Permit, 518-474-8390.

Other things:
I hope you will consider joining us on Wednesday evening here at the Citizen Action office, 477 State Street for a meeting to chat about different efforts happening locally and across the state
Rough Agenda:
– Fracking infrastructure- what's happening across the region and how to stop it
– Reforming the Energy Vision- what it means (in 5 minutes or fewer, and how we can influence it in the best way)
– New York Renews- an exciting new coalition aimed to target climate change and just transition
WHAT: Environmental Strategy Session
WHERE: Citizen Action of NY, 477 State Street, Binghamton, NY, 13901
Facebook event to invite friends to and share:
WHEN: 6:30-8:30, Wednesday, March 9

One more thing: Our friends in Ithaca are doing awesome work highlighting infrastructure struggles, through Ecodefense Radio. Consider signing up for their newsletter!!


A Victory and a Loss Read More »

Westside Neighborhood Crime Watch

Event: Westside Neighborhood Crime Watch public discussion

Hosted by: Binghamton City Council Woman Dani Cronce

When: March 4th at 7pm.

Where: Champz Sports Grille, 11 Main Street, Binghamton

Dani Cronce, Binghamton Police and BU police liaison are excited to create a neighborhood Crime Watch focused on the needs of the Westside residents. Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend this public meeting. We will have a public discussion on the implementation of an active and productive community watch. Residents will have time for questions and answers.

Westside Neighborhood Crime Watch Read More »

Providing Welcoming and Affirming Care for Transgender People

Professional Training Day: Friday, March 18, 2016  9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
University Downtown Center
Room 220 A/B
67 Washington St, Binghamton, NY

Join us for an informative session on Providing Welcoming and Affirming Care for Transgender People led by Maureen Kelly from Out for Health, with Victoria Rizzo, BU Department of Social Work.  See more information here.

$12/person includes lunch $40/person includes lunch and 4 Social Work Continuing Education Contact Hours *
Kindly register by March 14. Cancellation Policy:  Full refunds will be granted to those who call the Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project/Pride and Joy Families at 607.777.3717 on or before March 11.

This event is provided in conjunction with the 2016 Pride and Joy Families Weekend Conference, March 18-20, Binghamton, NY.  See more information here.
* Binghamton University – SUNY, Social Work Department SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0143.

We look forward to seeing you!
Registration Deadline:Monday, March 14, 2016 7:00 a.m. (CST)

Providing Welcoming and Affirming Care for Transgender People Read More »

VINES Community Gardens NOW available

VINES is now taking applications for community garden plots for the 2016 season. Community gardens are located throughout Binghamton, with different bed sizes and garden features in each. Check out our Community Gardens page on our website to learn more about each garden. Attached is the Community Garden Plot Application. Please submit a complete application to us and we will put you in contact with the site coordinator.
VINES Community Gardens

Laurel Ave. Community Garden (128 Laurel Ave. Binghamton, NY) Westside
Pine Street Community Garden (67 Pine St. Binghamton, NY) Downtown
Corbett Ave. Community Garden (26 Corbett Ave. Binghamton, NY) Southside
Columbus Park Community Garden (26 Columbus Park East. Binghamton, NY) Downtown
Liberty Street Community Garden (79 Liberty St. Binghamton, NY) Northside
Gregory Lane Community Garden (9 Gregory Ln. Binghamton, NY) First Ward 
Mather Street Community Garden (26 Mather St. Binghamton, NY) Westside

Affiliate Gardens

Salvation Army Community Garden (530 State Street, Binghamton, NY) Northside
Phelps Park Community Garden (60 Bevier Street, Binghamton, NY) Northside

VINES is an organization committed to developing a sustainable and just community food system. We do this by bringing together diverse groups of people, with a focus on youth development, to establish community gardens, urban agriculture and community green spaces. We strive to develop and beautify urban sites and empower community members of all ages and abilities.

For more information:

VINES Community Gardens NOW available Read More »

TRASH! A Collaborative ECO Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

TRASH! A Collaborative ECO Art Exhibit Curated by Peg Johnston

June 2- 25th,  2016 at the Cooperative Gallery 213 Binghamton NY


“I am fascinated with materials that most would call waste and creating something new from them,” says Peg Johnston, an artist at the Cooperative Gallery in Binghamton NY.  TRASH!  invites other artists, both local and national, to join a first- ever exhibit of Eco Art in this area June 2- 25th, 2016. Works using any of a variety of waste materials from paper to plastics, fabric to scrap metal, styrofoam to recycled wood are welcome. Beyond use of non-traditional art materials, works in this show will bring attention to the plight of our environment and our role in both creating and remediating destruction.

Submit jpegs of your work to by May 15th, 2016. Accepted works must be received by May 26th for non-local works. There is no fee for entry, but the usual 20% commission to the gallery applies.

A series of workshops on Eco-Art media will lead up to the June exhibit: the first is "Cardboard Art" on Sunday March 6th from 12-4 pm, an exploration of cardboard as a sustainable and versatile medium. (Download flyer below) The second is a workshop April 9-10th with Bruce Greig on making sculpture out of styrofoam. Bruce has experience in set design after working on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and King Kong. The workshop will appeal to theater set designers. There is a $60 fee for the two day workshop. The third workshop is in Handmade Paper Making in May TBA.

Says Johnston about this collaborative exhibit, “This show builds on my long term interest in giving voice to environmental concerns which I have addressed in the Book as Art show and the “Plastic is Forever” waterfall of water bottles in the Gallery’s Off the Wall show. It was immediately inspired by picking up fast food container trash in my neighborhood.”  A series of workshops are planned to explore the re-use of various materials to create art.

TRASH! takes its creative inspiration from several contemporary artists who are working in various media, all using materials found in the waste stream.  El Anatsui of Ghana creates elaborate tapestries from flattened liquor bottle caps and other scrap paper. He says, “I have a desire to manipulate the material to get something else out of it.” He models a personal mission that encourages artists to look at everyday consumer products and see their potential as high art, as vehicles for expression that go beyond craft making or green initiatives.

South African Mbongeni Buthelezi states, “I collect rubbish and create something beautiful from it. I collect something that has no value and give it new life.” He recycles plastic into his artwork.

Bryant Holsenbeck of North Carolina says, “Americans continue to create more garbage, per capita, than any other culture, yet we are blind to our waste…. I collect many things, among them, bottle caps, credit cards, plastic bags, straws and lids, beach plastic and chop sticks. I use these everyday items to make work, which transforms the objects and surprises us.” She creates installations using massive amounts of discarded plastic and other materials as well as creating small animals, re-purposed books, and birds made of credit cards, all of which bring attention to our impact on the environment.

Mark Bradford, of South Central Los Angeles creates monumental works using layers of paper found on streets and from discarded materials. His work has been displayed worldwide and in prestigious museums.

 Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999) used different materials in  distinctive grid patterns and other assemblages. “Through the artist’s skill in making poetry of the commonplace and her intrinsic response to both her chosen materials and the particularities of the Australian landscape, we are able to witness her unique ability to evocatively capture and convey the essence of nature and the transitory and captivating effects of light, air and space,” according to a review of a 2009 show.









TRASH! A Collaborative ECO Art Exhibit Call for Submissions Read More »

Scroll to Top