10 Days/10 Ways to be Inspired by the Arts

The arts matter because people matter. We need the arts, now more than ever.

This special section of our website is based on a 10-day email blast during the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Its purpose was to remind us of just how much we needed (and missed!) the arts. It still seems relevant and fun, so we hope you’ll browse your way through it, smiling, singing, dancing, quoting poetry, and loving the arts all the way through!

Recently, we launched a series of email blasts called “10 Days/10 Ways to the Inspired by the Arts,” to showcase some of the things that have inspired us in these uncertain and uneasy times. In case you missed the original messages, we’ve recreated them here, and we hope they will inspire you as well.

During the pandemic, with its shutdowns, quarantines, pauses, and bouts of boredom, there are plenty of inspiring examples of arts and artist everywhere online. The ones we feature here come from all over, but each has a Sharon Springs connection — no matter how far fetched!

Why are we doing this? It’s simple: we want to inspire you to get creative and to tell us and show us what the arts mean in your life, how they help get you through the difficult times.

Maybe you: play the piano, the violin or the kazoo? Dance in the backyard? Sing you favorite Broadway show tune, opera aria or country song? Make something – a table, a quilt, a fancy hat? Paint a picture? Take a picture? Read poetry aloud? Recite a soliloquy? Write a song, a poem, a story?

We know you do, so get ready to tell us and show us. 
We’ll let you know how at the end of our 10 Days/10 Ways series.

10 Days collage
10 Days/10 Ways to be Inspired by the Arts

Day 1: Sing a Song!

“As long as we live, there will never be enough singing.”
Martin Luther

What better place to start than with our first ever live streamed concert: A recital by Sharon Springs’ own Austin Jetton, exclusively for the residents of the Arkell Hall Center in Canajoharie, performed on Monday May 4, 2020. (With a special introduction to the event from Klinkhart board president, Drew Taylor.)

How this special event came about: 

With the regular entertainment program for Arkell Center residents suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, Klinkhart board member Betty Gavin-Singer decided to produce a series of weekly, remote performances to help fill the gap. Yvonne Gardner and Sarka Kalusova at Clausen Farm, hosted and produced the event, which is the first of what we hope will be many more Klinkhart Hall live streamed events.

But for now, enjoy this recording of Austin’s extraordinary and inspiring recital.

Day 2: Write Some Words!

“You can make anything by writing.”
C.S. Lewis

Mark Doty

Poet Mark Doty is scheduled to appear at the 2020 Sharon Springs Poetry Festival, coming up October 16-17, 2020.

Doty is an extraordinary poet, but he has also just released a new prose book on the great American poet Walt Whitman, What is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life (Norton).

He recently discussed it on NPR, emphasizing what Whitman’s poetry means to him in a time of isolation and separation from the human contact we all crave. You can listen right here. Whitman will inspire you. So will Mark Doty.

Need more poetry? You can also watch and hear Mark Doty read some of his own poetry on the Poetry Festival section of our website, all in anticipation of seeing him at the Sharon Springs Poetry Festival this Fall.
There are lots of other videos of poets on our website, including Sharon Springs Poetry Festival founder Paul Muldoon“The most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.” Times Literary Supplement.

Or you can listen to “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” read here by a host of Brooklynites in 2019 to celebrate Whitman’s 200th birthday. Plenty of inspiration to start writing some poetry or prose, or to make your own video with friends . . .

Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” read by Brooklynites in 2019.

Day 3: Do a Little Dance!

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
Maya Angelou

Dance has been a part of Sharon Springs and Klinkhart Hall from the beginning. There were social dances in the original Klinkhart Hall Opera House, and in the Masonic Hall that came after it.

Even later, before moving to their own building, Sharon Springs’ Studio North used the 2nd floor for dance classesunder the direction of Betty Gavin-Singer, now a Klinkhart board member. That same space will soon be the new 2nd floor Performance Hall, which will host all sorts of events, including dance.

Those Studio North dancers have gone far and wide – not to Indiana, so far as we know, but we’re still going to share this video. It’s from the amazing students and faculty of the Jacobs School of Music, including Gabby Harris, daughter of Klinkhart board member Christine Harris. (We told you there would be a Sharon Springs connection!)

If this doesn’t make you want to dance with somebody (from 6 feet away) then nothing will!

Day 4: Listen to the Opera!

Opera is when a tenor and a soprano want to make love
but are prevented from doing so by a baritone.” 
George Bernard Shaw

The original Klinkhart Hall Opera House (i.e. the 2nd floor Performance Hall) may not have hosted grand opera, but that’s no reason to ignore it now. Everyone loves the opera, right? No!? Well perhaps this will change that! 

Francesca Zambello was among the luminaries featured recently in a New York Times article, “Five Minutes That Will Make you Love Opera.”As all Klinkhart folks know, Francesca is artistic director of the Glimmerglass Festival and the Washington National Opera. She is also a neighbor, and took part in an extraordinary Klinkhart Conversations sit-down with poet Paul Muldoon, last fall at the American Hotel

Here’s Francesca’s 55-second clip from Wagner’s Tannhaüser that will absolutely
make you sit up straight and listen!

Tannhaüser, “Willkommen, ungetreuer Mann!”

If that really inspired you (you know it did!) why not listen again and sing along this time? Here’s another recording, this one with words and music. Give the finale a try, then back up and do the whole 6-minutes, with your recorder running!

You can read the whole New York Times article on their website. And if the short music selections there aren’t enough to convince you to love opera, or if you already do and can’t get enough, you can hear the full playlist on Spotify.

Day 5: Make a Picture!

I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”
Frida Kahlo

When the first phase of the Klinkhart Hall restoration is complete, there will be a gallery space on the 2nd floor, just outside the Performance Hall. We don’t have exhibitions to show you at present, but planning has already begun. Gallerist, independent curator, and arts consultant Michael Klein – now a full time Sharon Springs resident – is at work on a schedule for our opening season and beyond. More about all that later!

But now, perhaps you’re feeling a little bored with this quarantine business? Then why not spend some time making your own pictures for an exhibition?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Instagram, The Getty Museum on Twitter, and a Dutch Instagram account Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, (Between Art and Quarantine), along with a number of other places, are encouraging everyone to use quarantine time to have a go at recreating a favorite work of art.

van gogh postman
Van Gogh’s Postman
matisse icarus
Matisse’s Icarus
rembrandt woman with glove
Rembrandt’s Woman with Gloves

So, why not take a break; browse through some of the clever, funny, and highly creative efforts that have been shared on these sites . . . and then get busy creating your own masterpiece!

The rules are simple: 1) pick your artwork; 2) use 3 items in your home; 3) Recreate the artwork with those three items. But if you don’t like those rules, then make your own. Then remember to share your work. 

Day 6: Play Some Music!

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

Music has always been a part of Klinkhart Hall and will be again. Earlier, we shared the story of past performer Bradley Kincaid and his visit to Klinkhart in 1929Now, here are a couple of examples of what we might hear at historic Klinkhart Hall in the near future.

The Caroga Lake Music Festival, just up Route 10 from Sharon Springs, on the edge of the Adirondack Park, features great musicians and great music every summer.

Cellist Nathan Chan and violinist Andy Liang, who appear among others in the videos featured here, are regulars at Caroga Lake when they are not working their day jobs with the Seattle Symphony.

OK, that’s not really a local connection, but maybe it counts that we are already talking with the Festival about including their musicians in the grand opening of our 2nd floor Performance Hall?

Now that would be a truly exciting example of the great music and artistic collaboration happening in rural upstate communities!  But for now, here’s how great musicians make the best of a quarantine.

PLUS: What it takes to inspire a 2-year old . . .

Day 7: Add Some Drama!

“All the world’s a stage
and all the men and women merely players . . .” 
Wm. Shakespeare

Alas, not much drama in Sharon Springs at the moment (not the kind that happens on stage, at least). That will change when Klinkhart Hall is up and running, but for now the theater is dark, in Sharon Springs, in New York City, and everywhere.

But theater will certainly return: it has survived worse than this! Until then, here’s a look back at great Klinkhart theater: the 2017 Sharon Springs Shakespeare in the Park, As You Like It, presented by Klinkhart Hall Arts Center and produced by Brimstone Creek Productions. 

While we wait out this pandemic, why not make some drama of your own (just the kind that goes on stage, please).

You can recite some Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde; recreate a dramatic scene, or do a song & dance from your favorite musical in your living room, or on the deck.

Whatever it is just do it, record it, and get ready to share it with the rest of us! Here’s an example of what that might look like.

No need to limit yourself to Shakespeare . . . and no reason you shouldn’t, if that’s what works for you!

Day 8: 700 Bambini!

“Without Puccini there is no opera;
without opera, the world is an even drearier place
than the evening news would have us think.”
William Berger

What’s better than opera? More opera!!! OK, don’t panic, this one isn’t exactly opera. And it doesn’t have much of a connection to Sharon Springs (except that we also have very talented school children, some of whom perform in the opera.)

But all that aside, this is about being inspired, and even if you can resist Puccini, you won’t be able to resist this message of hope & solidarity from 700 Bambini, quarantined in Italy.

Maybe the world isn’t as dreary as the evening news, after all.

Day 9: Sing More Songs!

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”
Ella Fitzgerald

OK, we did songs before, but so what? Like Ella says, always room for more!
(And you didn’t sing and record your song yet, did you?)

There will be a lot of singing — and a lot of different types of singing — in the “new” Klinkhart Hall, starting with the 2nd floor Performance Hall, ready at the end of phase 1 of the building restoration project.

But for now, here’s a look back at some great musical talent already associated with Klinkhart Hall, even before we have a place to call home. Along with the music we’ve already featured in this series, it’s just a sample of what’s to come, and something to look forward to once we can get together again, somewhere other than online!

Lets start with something we missed. Just as the pandemic shut things down, we were scheduled to hear singer/songwriter (and former local resident) Owen Nied at a special “Welcome to Spring” fundraiser for Klinkhart Hall.

That event, a joint venture with 204 Main Bar & Bistro in Sharon Springs, was postponed until things open up again, when we’ll reschedule Owen — and some other acts we had in the works.

We’ll look forward to seeing you then. In the meantime, here’s a short video of Owen to get you tapping your feet.

Next, is a Klinkhart Hall event many of us were glad to see live in Chalybeate Park last summer: Angela Easterling & Brandon Turner in concert. It was a fine August evening with lively music, food vendors and friends, something we all miss now.

Have a listen, and look forward to the time when we can do it again.

And finally, a tribute to a great performer and a great supporter of Klinkhart Hall Arts Center. Our friend and neighbor Sharon Jones passed away on November 18, 2016. Just two months earlier she arranged a showing of the new documentary film, “Miss Sharon Jones!” as a fundraiser for the Arts Center during the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival Weekend.

Sharon held nothing back when performing the music she loved, nor did she hold back when supporting the people and places she made a part of her life. While we regret that she never got to perform in Klinkhart Hall, we are grateful to have know her and to count here as part of the Klinkhart family.

Here’s a fitting reminder of her energy and her music.

That’s plenty of inspiration to sing a song or two yourself, not matter what kind of songs you like. So, tune up those vocal cords, strike up the band, cut loose, and sing us a song while the camera & the recorder are rolling. You’ve always wanted to do it, so now is your chance!

Day 10: Get Creative!

Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”
Albert Einstein

Now it’s your turn; we want to hear from you: tell and show us what the arts mean in your life, how they help get you through the difficult times.

For the past few weeks we’ve been reminding you why we need the arts, and showing some of the ways that the arts can inspire us, even in difficult and trying times. Our examples have ranged far & wide, they have been from professionals and amateurs. But they all show how, even when our lives and routines are disrupted, we can still rely on the arts to enrich our lives and those of friends, family and neighbors.

The arts are essential.
In good times and bad, for as long as we have been human, no matter how dire the circumstances, we have turned to the arts to tell stories and express hopes for the future through poetry, song, music, dance, drama, painting, and more. Our creativity is a fundamental part of who we are, how we understand ourselves and how we relate to each other.
The arts matter because people matter.

Most of us are amateurs; a few are professionals. But we all respond to the arts at some deep and personal level. That’s why it’s time for you to share something with us.

Do you: play the piano, the violin or the kazoo? Do a dance in the backyard? Sing you favorite Broadway show tune, opera aria or country song? Make something? Paint a picture? Take a picture? Read poetry out loud? Recite a soliloquy? Write a song, a poem, a story?

We know you do, so if you haven’t already, make a record of it (sound, video, photo, word, etc.). Then send it to us.  Here’s how:
Use your computer or phone browser to go to WeTransfer.com:

one man band
  1. Click the “Send a file”/“Add your files” buttons, and choose a file to share;
  2. Enter [email protected] on the “Email to” line:
  3. Enter “Your email” address;
  4. Add a message if you wish;
  5. Click “Transfer.”  

    That’s it! Your file will be uploaded; we’ll get a message when it’s ready to download at our end. Then we’ll collect them together and share them with the KHAC community through our website.

Don’t be shy. It will be fun. Everyone will love it. Here are some final words of encouragement to spur you along:

mixing paint pallet

Every artist was first an amateur.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be!”
Pete Seeger

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”
Maya Angelou

And finally, remember this: we really are all in this together. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other.