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The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance: Back to the future

By Jonathan Fox
October 6, 2011

NARROWSBURG, NY — As a faithful supporter of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA), I’m looking forward to celebrating the 35th Anniversary Gala with like-minded folks on Sunday, October 9 (see sidebar). Sifting through the mounds of articles already written about the organization since it’s inception in 1976, I searched for information not readily available. While the anniversary offers an opportunity to reflect on the past and honor those who have contributed, it is the future that piqued my interest, and with that in mind I arranged a conversation with executive director Elaine Giguere, gallery director Michael (Rocky) Pinciotti and communications director Tina Spangler.

The talk was illuminating, educational and stimulating—adjectives I usually reserve for describing events at the place which is indeed, an art gallery, but on closer inspection, so much more. It also revealed that, for all three, the there is an intimate connection between the future and the past. All three expressed the identical vision: stay the course.

“We have a history of tremendous artistic success,” Pinciotti told me, “and have no plans to deviate from the path. What we present here is done adhering to very high standards, and with continued support from the communities, patrons and volunteers, we plan to be here for many years to come.”

While funding for the arts has suffered in recent years, one would be hard pressed to notice any slacking off at the DVAA, as everyone involved works diligently to overcome those obstacles without allowing them to affect the programs, much less the future of the organization. “It (the economic slump) will bottom out at some point, and we have by no means lost hope,” Giguere said. “Supporting the arts takes a big commitment, and we are prepared to deal with the present, while continuing to move into the future.”

What does suffer from the lack of financial support, is the small staff’s ability to foster as much new artistic expression as they would like. Missing a full-time employee (other than Giguerre) for over two years, those holding down the fort find that the day-to-day duties required to “simply keep the place running” often affect how much can be achieved. “We’d like to give as much attention as possible to the various disciplines that we encourage,” Giguere said, “but budget cuts stand in our way of accomplishing all of our goals in a timely manner.”

DVAA 35th Anniversary Gala
The gala will be held on Sunday, October 9 at 3 p.m. at the Tusten Theatre, 210 Bridge St. in Narrowsburg, NY, and from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Delaware Arts Center at 37 Main St.

In addition to celebrating its 35 years of service to the arts, the DVAA will present awards to honorees in four categories: Business Partner to the Callicoon Theatre for the CineArt film series; Lifetime Achievement to Sheldon Soffer; Artistic Contribution (organization) to the Forestburgh Playouse; and Artistic Contribution (individual) to Phyllis Billick.