The Art of the Press

The Art of the Press was impressive!

At its center was old-time basic printing: the lifelong work of Ed Kraus. Posters, tickets, signs. And all around the edges was an artistic eye and the honoring of passage of time and community curated by visual artist Brandi Merolla of Narrowsburg.

It was old-fashioned printing, soon becoming thing of the past, held up as art and celebrated as community.

Brilliant.

And it fit absolutely beautifully with the vision of Kathy and Brendan Weiden, who have converted the old Narrowsburg Central School into what is intended to be a community space for collaboration and innovation. It is the venue for precisely this kind of culturally integrated community.

Old-time printing set in an emerging gallery in the hallways of an old and beautiful rural central school.

The exhibit itself was also a layer of integration as art met craft, museum met art gallery.

“Ed perfected his craft to the level of art,” Brendan told me on Saturday evening, surveying the crowd who had come. “It’s a lost craft as modern technology has overwhelmed it.” He showed me the maple molding that has been hung on the wall, so that artwork can be curated there. He has named the hallways and hopes to have numerous shows hanging at the same time.

He delights in the renovations to Delaware Hall, the old school gymnasium, and auditorium.

It’s a renovation of love and vision. And it was a treat for long-time residents of Narrowsburg to return to school and to see it transformed. It was a delight for new residents and visitors to be in a space of legacy.

Old met new.

“It’s nice to be back in my old school,” said Nicole Yewchuck, “and to see the building so well respected and well groomed. It will be used to make new memories here.” Nicole, nee Campfield, is a 1995 graduate of the school, who married her high school sweetheart, Steve Yewchuck. The couple lives in Beacon with their daughter.

“I like Beacon,” she said, “But everybody is so friendly here, and the area really has so much to offer. Back in my day, there was only gymnastics in Monticello.”

Indeed, the area has come along. And we are faced with blending – the bringing together of the old and the new. 

I have often mused how it will be as Main Street continues to change, that people will know that in the ‘70s, what is now The Heron, was the C&C P with Pat and Lyons behind the counter, in front of the pizza oven that was there. How it was the dream of Chick and Margaret Smith, a Damascus Township farm family to run a diner. It held Jill Padua’s Chatterbox Café, Stanley and Michael’s Main Street Restaurant and Dave’s Big Eddy Diner.

These are our collective stories. And we poised to hold these emerging worlds: old and new, art and craft, legacy and vision.

 

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