The Center for the Arts of Homer, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit Organization. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the people of Central New York by engaging them in a broad offering of arts e ducation and entertainment that preserves and enriches local culture, and provides stewardship for a historically significant site.
Box Office: Monday - Friday 10:00am - 5:00pm. Also open one hour prior to showtime. Phone: 607-749-4900 Center4Art.org Cover Photo by Peter Bardou/Air Up There Media
When I first arrived at the Center in August 2015, I was a bit unsure of myself. This was a new job, a new community, a new place with new groups of people with their own traditions, culture, and history. My first few weeks were met with an itching question in the back of my mind: Do I fit in here? Is this the right place for me? I was used to my familiar surroundings. I was comfortable being around people I knew. Being an artist myself, I have always been most comfortable around other creatives. Each of us are comfortable with the familiar, and change can be challenging. Then it struck me. What other community in Upstate, New York builds an Arts Center of this magnitude in the middle of town and attracts people from hundreds of miles away? In a profound headslap moment, it was obvious that I was in the right place, and amongst like-minded people. Over the next year, it became very clear how dedicated the community is to keeping the spirit of the arts alive, and how our community continues to expand from the Center outward. Our motto this year is: “Step Inside!” This simple statement reflects our desire to open our doors wider and to invite you to experience everything the Center has to offer. You should feel comfortable here. You’re amongst like-minded people. While you may be visiting to attend a concert, there is also a Ballet class occurring in our dance studio, a violin lesson happening in one of our classrooms, or an exhibition being mounted in our art gallery. Next week, we may be hosting a wedding, a film screening, or an open mic night. As you flip through these pages, you’ll see an array of offerings and activites to suit you or someone you know. You’ll also hear from some of our supporters, volunteers, and program coordinators. The Center is an ever-evolving organization. To visit the Center once leaves you with only a small glimpse of the activity that goes on inside (and outside) our walls on a day to day basis. At its core, the Center is about relationships. Our relationship to one another, to expanding our knowledge, our taste in music, our curiousity and our connection to the world around us. We each bring something personal and something unique to the table. Our shared catalyst is the arts. In the past year, the Center has undergone some amazing transitions. We’ve moved our offices to a more central location on our campus, replaced our roof, redesigned our lighting and sound system, and tested the limits of our space. We have reconfigured our staff, redesigned our logo, reshaped our board, and continue to enhance our programming,community outreach and partnerships. Financially speaking, we’ve just completed our second consecutive year in the black. As a not-for-profit organization, our operations and programming are made possible by the generous donations of individuals and businesses who have stepped inside and believe that the Center plays an integral role in enhacing the quality of life in Central New York. As a volunteer and membership based organization, together we create a powerful engine for economic growth in our region. Becoming a volunteer or a member solidifies your commitment to these shared values. If you are here, as an audience member, a student, a volunteer, or a performer, then consider yourself one of us. You fit in. We welcome you to explore and experience the many dimensions that the Center offers. I’m the perfect example: Once I stepped inside, once I began to explore the possibilities here... I became part of the Center, and the Center became part of me. Step inside and realize what possibilities the Center has in store for you! Ty Marshal Executive Director
Our annual program is distributed throughout Central New York, including Cortland, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Binghamton. When you advertise with the Center, you’re not only addressing individuals of good taste, you’re reaching educated, involved community members. Our affordable advertising rates are a tax-deductible benefit to your business--and support the Center’s not-for-profit operations. Consider: • placing an ad in our program and display your message all year • buying a membership for discounts on tickets and partners’ discounts • sponsoring a concert or other Center productions to maximize your exposure
To reserve your spot in the 2018 program: Call: 607.749.4900 Email: email@example.com
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You are the future of the Center for the Arts. But relax! This is a future you’re going to love helping to create. As I ponder writing this message, I think about how I came to be the new board chair. I’ve lived and worked in the Homer-Cortland area for a quarter of a century. I remember the headlines, about fifteen years ago, of a small group of Homer residents banding together to buy the church building that now houses the Center for the Arts. I admired these folks for their community spirit, their vision, and their dedication. I followed the story in the Cortland Standard with proud, yet detached interest: it was a hectic time. I look back at the first concerts held at the Center, but I don’t remember them as concerts. I never saw Richie Havens, Judy Collins, or even the Glengarry Bhoys over the first two years. Why? I shake my head in disbelief: I’m a hard-core music lover. I lived in the village—a nice walk down Main would get me there in seven minutes. I’ll wager that, just like me, many people in Cortland and Homer have never experienced a concert at Center for the Arts. We regularly meet patrons from Syracuse, Binghamton, and Ithaca, Watertown, Albany, Weedsport, and Scranton, Rochester, Buffalo, Boston, and even Alaska! But somehow, there are too many local people who have yet to visit the Center. So, there’s a disconnect here. Did I take my hometown for granted? That’s exactly what I had done. But one April evening in 2007, I saw Guy Clark at the Center. A legendary Austin, Texas singer-song writer, he’d always been one of my idols. Two years later, a friend active in community theater asked me to play a role in “Four Weddings and an Elvis” on the Center stage. Being a ham, I said yes—and came away with a deep appreciation for those who act. I also learned the camraderie of being rescued when I flubbed a line—and the rush of getting people to laugh at a joke! And I was sold. Although I can’t attend every concert, play, art show, or other event, I get to as many as possible. Because, in a stressful, fast-paced world, the arts have an almost-magical power to transport us to some place better. Because I love getting out with friends, acquaintances, and new people for the same reason. Because I treasure being inspired by great music, drama or art in the midst of a warm, accepting community. I love events at the Center because the Center is ours. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our founders, Homer-Cortland has a jewel of a performing arts center right here on Main Street. I’m guessing you already know this very well, so I’d like to offer you a friendly challenge: get a friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor to come to a concert or other event at the Center. Odds are, they haven’t been to one yet. I’ve cajoled, wooed, coerced, and peer-pressured a lot of first-timers here—and they have all loved the experience of Center for the Arts, and they inevitably return. So, fellow music, drama, art, and education lovers, help us fill this place. With friends and family. With music. With kids learning. With comedy and drama. With art. With dance, laughter, exercise, and peace. Because the Center is yours.
In many ways, the Center for the Arts of Homer is an example of history repeating itself. What began in the fall of 1801 as a dream of 16 early settlers of Homer to create a Baptist church for their new community, repeated itself exactly 200 years later when a group of equal size came together to try and save this beautiful structure that was about to become an empty shell. Like all ambitious dreams, it took the first incarnation a lot of hard work and time before the doors finally opened 25 years later in 1827. A fire in 1889 at Mechanic’s Hall, where the Center now stands, allowed the founders to secure the vacant lot on Cayuga Street and expand their facility, which had become joyously overcrowded. With the help of two of Homer’s most famous residents, Andrew Dickson White and David Hannum (Harum), renowned architect, Samuel Burrage, of New York City was engaged to design the new structure.The New York City contracting firm of Hopkins & Roberts was engaged to realize the ambitious design. With justifiable pride and great fanfare, the corner stone was set on July 6th, 1893. The building was completed in only eight months, opening its doors in 1894. The total cost, including construction and all interior amenities was $27,722. An example of Richardson Romanesque architecture, the Center has many historic, pre-Gothic characteristics, including arches, vaulted ceilings and rose windows. In the northeast tower, there is a 37-inch diameter cast bell that is stamped, “Meneely Bell Foundry, West Troy, NY 1874.” It is the Center’s dream to fully restore the bell tower so that it may ring once again to announce the many world class performers, plays and lectures that take the stage throughout any given year. Performers from around the world often comment on the building’s rich history, architectural details, and amazing acoustics. Attached to the main structure are two other buildings that complete the complex. The Karen Sager Room (an original Center founder), connects the main stage performance space. Initially built by the church in 1976 as a community room for youth programs and church dinners, it now serves the Center’s guests, beginning with a social gatherings for pre-show entertainment. Its catering-ready kitchen also provides a beautiful setting for wedding receptions, family and class reunions, community meetings and even dance classes.
Attached is another building known as The Fountain House, which was built in 1854 in another location, but was moved to its current and final location in 1896. It serves as a revenue stream for the Center, providing offices for as many as six area businesses. All in all, the Center for the Arts contains upwards of 50 different rooms, including two kitchens, two dance studios, seven rest rooms, two meeting rooms, an art gallery, a stunning “Green Room” for our performers, generously donated by the McNeil Corporation, business offices and one of the most visually stunning performance venues in the country, that has seen the likes of Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Leon Russell, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, J.D. Souther, Pure Prairie League, Kenny Neal and so many, many more. And they keep coming.
As you can imagine, this is a massive complex that takes a lot of hard work and many much-valued volunteers to keep it all humming. It is a never-ending task to keep the facility functioning for the thousands of guests who walk through its doors every year.
Like the dream of the building’s original founders, The Center for the Arts’ founders dreamt of a place where everyone from around the village and around the world could gather to share in their love of art in all its forms. We continue to dream of a place where all--neighbors, friends, and former strangers alike--could continue to grow closer in heart and soul.
We have a long list of dreams yet unfulfilled. But, with your continued help, love, and generous support, we promise to work tirelessly until that list is fulfilled. If you want to be a part of this very special and unique treasure, please share your own hopes and dreams about the arts with us. After all, that what the Center for the Arts of Homer is all about. Sharing all our dreams, and bringing them to life. Step inside with us!
We found ourselves walking down an unfamiliar street in an unfamiliar country. It had started to rain and my travel partners and I started discussing what to do next. We were in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand at the start of a two week adventure. As we ducked for cover under the awning of an old shop, we noticed a twenty-something Thai man strumming an acoustic guitar across the street in a small shop full of clocks. I had a harmonica in my back pocket, so we crossed the street and greeted the young guitarist. I held out the harmonica with a smile and he broke out in a grin. “You want to play?” He immediately went into a blues shuffle in the key of E. The one harmonica just happened to be the right harp for E blues. We sat and traded songs for what seemed like hours. He grabbed another guitar from inside his family’s shop, the first guitar he’d owned. My travel buddy joined in on the rounds. It turns out a lot of Thai people love “Country Roads” by John Denver. He played American country songs we’d never heard, and we introduced him to the blues and Elvis. Passerbys stopped to listen, the soup guy next door peered around the corner to see what was going on, and his mother and sister came out front to take in the scene while his father sat behind a plate glass window in the back workshop, hunched over a desk, engulfed in disassembled clock parts. When we finally packed up to say our goodbyes, his father came around the corner, peered over the rims of his magnifying glasses, and smiled as he gave a thumbs up of approval. Back home in New York, snow was falling on the front lawn of my house at Reed’s Seeds Farm. It sits dormant most of the year, but for one weekend in August, the lawn transforms into a gathering place for a thousand people to come together for a festival of music and art called Seedstock. It started as a big house party with a handful of friends’ bands and, eight years later, has evolved into a small 3-day festival featuring some of the best local and regional talent. Families lay out picnic blankets on the lawn, retirees gather in the shade of the pines wearing dark sunglasses and mischievous grins, and teenagers roam about, soaking in the last days of summer with their friends while music bounces off the hills. On Saturday night after sundown, it has become a tradition for my band Digger Jones to take the stage with a rotating cast of friends and musicians. With the heat of the afternoon dropping, and the moon on the rise, the built-up energy of the day swells into a dancing crowd of laughter filling the lawn in front of the stage. There is no choice but to be swept up in the energy of the night, with the lights show bouncing off the trees and the speaker towers echoing off the front of the house and back to the stage at just the right delay. These are the moments I daydream of when I sit on the front steps of the house, strumming my guitar, looking out over the lawn at the sunset in the days of summer leading up to that weekend in August. Like most forms of art, music is very personal. We all listen differently and we all experience a live performance with our own unique perspective. What we do share, is the opportunity to come together around a universal language that knows no boundaries. It can stir distant memories of a forgotten past, visions of the future, or bring us so fully into the present moment that we lose and find ourselves in a place of perfect harmony with ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes that feeling fades after the last note plays. Sometimes it lasts for days, even weeks, after the band has long since packed up and traveled down the road. In my twenty or so years of playing and attending shows, one thing has remained true: I have never attended or performed a show that has left me in the same emotional or mental state as when it began. I have always experienced an upward lift, regardless of how good or bad I thought the show was. And for that, I am extremely grateful for the musicians who continue to ride the roller coaster of live performance and for the people who continue to show up in support of that experience. It’s difficult to imagine this world any other way.
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Every gallery you walk into holds the promise of showing you something new and exciting. Within their walls are colors, ideas, techniques and materials being used in new and innovative ways. Wherever you live, wherever you travel, go into the galleries and see what is offered. Be prepared to learn something. The job of a gallery is to bring to the community the art of many diverse artists whose work will make us think. Every piece of art holds the possibility of helping you expand your horizons. That could range from deciding on a new path of study to knowing you have just stumbled onto the perfect color scheme for your latest home dĂŠcor project, or feeling that you know exactly why the artist decided to throw in that splash of orange. Looking at a piece of art and suddenly feeling that the artist is speaking directly to you can be the most exhilarating experience. And, ...you will have learned something. When planning a visit to a gallery always consider attending the opening. This is your chance to meet the artists and literally pick their brains for insight into their work. Artists put an extreme amount of thought and hard work into the planning, creation and presentation of their artwork--often months, sometimes years. They will be more than happy to share this process with you. And you will learn something. Finding new galleries when you are traveling is always rewarding. The local art can teach you about the diversity of an area. You may find yourself in a big city with several galleries or perhaps you will stumble onto a fabulous exhibit being held in a tiny storefront somewhere off the beaten path. Whether you travel because of a certain exhibit, happen upon a gallery when you are traveling, or have a gallery in your community, go...and learn.
The Gallery at the Center for the Arts is located directly behind the Theater. Hours: Monday - Friday 11:00am - 4:00pm and by appointment CONTACT: Arts@Center4Art.org or visit: Center4Art.org
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Join the Center Circle!
Center for the Arts supporters are active and engaged champions of the Arts from throughout the community who make so much of what we do possible. Whether its concert staffing, buildings and grounds help, or office assistance, volunteering your time and talents at the Center is a great way to show your support. Our supporters are the “Center Circle” of our organization. Our volunteers are an integral and highly valued part of our success as a not for profit arts organization. The benefits of volunteering include complimentary tickets, invitations to volunteer appreciation events, service hour credits for students and corporate employees, and the joy of knowing that your contribution of time and energy are deeply valued and gratefully received.
Current Volunteer Opportunities • Concert & Event Staffing • Kitchen & bar Concession attendants, box office attendants, greeters, ticket takers, ushers, set up and break down crews, and more. • Buildings and Grounds Crew • Maintenance and upkeep, gardening, and overall care for a historic landmark. • Marketing and Development Outreach • Poster and flyer distribution, direct mail campaigns, phone campaigns, program and sponsorship sales, and more. • Office Assistance • Various administrative tasks, answering phones, filing, organizing, and other assorted tasks to help our office run smoothly. To volunteer, whether you can give one hour or many, please fill out the form and send to: 72 S. Main St. Homer, NY 13077. We will add your name to our volunteer list and contact you as opportunities become available. Become part of our “Center Circle” today!
Volunteer today! Name: Address: Phone: Email: Describe some of your special talents/interests:
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Learn how to play violin and master classical violin basics through detailed private lessons. Edgar Tumajyan has taught privately since he was 18. He is currently a member of “Symphoria” Syracuse and Binghamton Philharmonic. Mr. Tumajyan has his Master degree from Syracuse University and has recently become certified in Suzuki. CONTACT: Julie Carr. PH: 607-753-8963 Jonathan Fleischman currently teaches orchestra at Soule Road Elementary and Soule Road Middle Schools in the Liverpool Central School District in Liverpool, NY. Jonathan holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education and Viola Performance from Ithaca College, and is affiliated with the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA), and Mu Phi Epsilon. CONTACT: Jonathan Fleischman. PH: 607-423-9787
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Classic Movie Nights Transcending times and trends, classic movies are often universal favorites with indefinable qualities. Sending us back to our heyday, and re-examining forgotten moments, classic movies explore universal favorites that hold up after repeated screenings. Curated by Dan Merrit, we explore and discuss films that have become a part of American cultural folklore each month. Movies begin at 7pm. FREE. Check online: Center4Art.org for upcoming movies
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Places are haunted by spirits of the past, but illuminated by the living. It’s an interesting thought, especially as you think about what’s important and what you want to leave behind for those who follow. It’s an interesting reflection point. I’m proud to be one of the founders of this special place -- a group who came together in 2001 with a mission. We wanted to save this historic building, but more importantly, transform it into a dynamic economic, cultural and community anchor. We poured ourselves into this place. We created great memories as we ran fundraisers, developed business plans, wrote grants, found angel donors and corporate sponsors. We convinced a bank to take a risk on our gang of civic entrepreneurs. We cheered when we opened the doors. We kept at it. We filled the place with talent, energy and good cheer. We exhaled when we burnt the original mortgage on my front porch. Then we kept on worrying about balancing the budget and keeping it going all these years. I was honored to be part of it all, and to serve as past board chair. But I was just one of many. It has been a labor of love for an army of volunteers who activate this special place. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire community of dedicated people to raise an arts center. For 16 years, my kids have been part of this place. They took art classes and theater classes here. Peter became the Center’s first projectionist when he was nine years old and launched the original classic movie series. He donated nine years of allowance and birthday money to buy a vintage popcorn machine for the Center. We chased ghosts and shadows late into the night showing those movies and vacuuming popcorn kernels off the floor. It’s probably no accident he is a film major at Syracuse University and now runs the annual Homer HorrorFest at the Center. He got his start here. His lifelong Homer friends are also volunteers here – running open mic night, working the sound and lighting boards, and serving as members of the cast and crew for theater productions, cabarets and countless community events.
In short, this isn’t just a Center for the Arts to us. It’s the center of the community. And it’s been the center of our lives. There comes a time in life to think about what we want to leave behind. And to hand it off to the next generation to build on the foundation we created. So, this year, I had that conversation with my sons. It was time to make those plans we all dread making. As a mom, I’ve instilled a sense of responsibility in my kids: That it’s important to make a difference. In life, and beyond, when we become that shadow in the dark. It was, surprisingly, an incredibly uplifting conversation. We decided to make a legacy gift to the Center for the Arts. It was as simple as adding a paragraph in my will, and specifying an amount. They were absolutely thrilled, and know that this is their way of honoring me and my life’s work, building communities and making them better places. It is a gift we made together. So here’s the thing: It’s easy. It makes you feel great. It makes your kids proud. If you’ve experienced joy here – as a volunteer, audience member, artist, performer, community member – think about taking this simple step. Leave a legacy. It can be whatever is comfortable for you. Yes, a legacy gift helps keep the Center for the Arts illuminated, but more profoundly, it makes a difference in the lives of those who follow. Pay it forward. Pass it on. You’ll be glad you did. I am.
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Ways to Give Your support of the Center for the Arts helps our organization offer even more quality programming, and enhance this historic building. Giving can take many forms, and there are many reasons to give. We invite you to read the Center’s “Case for Support.” The Center has an incredible story to tell, and you’re invited to be a partner in writing the next chapter. Giving is contagious. When you contribute, you help generate a ripple of generosity that keeps the momentum going. If you had a wonderful experience here, your gift is a way to express gratitude and support for the Center’s mission. Annual Fund As important as support from membership and ticket sales are, they cover only a small portion of the organization’s annual operating expenses. That’s why your unrestricted, 100% tax-deductible contribution to the Center for the Art’s Annual Fund is so vital. It allows us to bring in topnotch, award-winning national talent, and showcase emerging artists from around the country as well as the greater Upstate region. It enables us to launch initiatives like community theater, youth programming, artists-in-residence programs, special exhibitions, educational programs and other projects that help us expand our reach to new audiences with dynamic new content. Capital Gift Because we are fortunate to be the stewards of this beautiful 1893 historic building, The Center for the Arts maintains an ongoing capital campaign to support preservation, renovation and upgrades to this very special arts complex. We also continue to invest in sound, lighting and other technology to create a state-of-the-art environment that is as functional as it is beautiful. We love to hear audience and performer comments about the Center because we agree that it’s truly special. It’s a unique opportunity to hear top-notch, award-winning national performers and emerging talent in an intimate setting with a warm and welcoming ambiance. Naming Opportunities We’re grateful to donors who have made extremely generous gifts to name the Bill and Ruth Whiting Theater and the Karen Sager Community Room. These leadership gifts literally “set the stage” for the Center for the Arts. There are a number of naming opportunities still available for many rooms and programs. It’s a loving way to honor someone who has been part of the Center, a family member or important friend. It can memorialize your personal contributions, or simply say “thank you” for all that the Center has provided to the community for so long. You’ll also see naming opportunities throughout the Center – from window restorations to classrooms, and more. Special Gifts The Center for the Arts is pleased to receive special gifts such as appreciated stocks. While most people give in the form of cash, investors may get a little more bang for their donations by gifting long-term appreciated stock if they have special circumstances. When you give long-term appreciated stock, you can often get an additional tax benefit by minimizing or avoiding tax on the “built-in” capital gain of the investment. Actual tax benefits vary depending on the details of your overall income tax situation, but talk with your financial advisor to learn more about charitable giving alternatives that may be a good fit for your personal financial situation. We are happy to work with your tax and legal advisors to determine how any particular strategy might work best for you. It’s good for the Center, and it may be advantageous to you as well.
Supporting the Arts throughout Central New York
19 Central Ave Cortland, NY 13045 (607) 753-8646
Published on May 25, 2017
Since its founding, the Center has become one of Central New York’s preeminent presenter of the arts and a proponent of community enrichment...