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E D U C AT E . E X P R E S S. E N J O Y.

Rural Alliance for the Arts Fall/Winter 2013 Newsletter |

MYSTERY COMEDY PRESENTED AS FALL DINNER THEATER “‘Clues are like neck ties," says Detective Tony Cheek. "One should be enough but if you get too many, you find you're sticking your neck out too far." And his neck is really on the line when he and Squatty check out the Diamond estate.” This is how Pat Cook, a Houston playwright, began a description of her whodunit murder mystery, “Tung and Cheek.” The two-act play will be presented November 1, 2, and 3 at Romweber Marketplace. The play is directed by Robyn Zitnick, assisted by Pam Cope, and produced by Leacarol Bennett. The cast is made up of local talent. Grant Greene is the cunning Tony Cheek. Regina Siefert plays the role of Squatty, Tony’s amiable side kick. Lois Schrott is Miss Thatcher, the efficient and smart housekeeper. Tim Bedel is Jeffrey, Clarice’s pompous husband. Natasha Kellerman is the former actress Clarice. Pam Cope will assume the role of Clarice for the Sunday matinee. Alicia Haring is the flirtatious

Honey and John Kellerman is Hope, the clever uncle. Veteran actress and director, Robyn Zitnick, says: “‘Madcap’ definitely describes this play. The cast is having lots of fun working on it. I think the audience is going to have even more fun watching it!” Th e Fr id ay a n d S a t u rd a y n i g h t performances (November 1st and 2nd) will include a dinner by Izzy’s Catering at 6:30 p.m. at the Big Four Cafe. The show will then be held at RomWeber Marketplace. A cash bar will be available. Cost is $30 for RAA members and $35 non-members. Reservations must be made by Monday, October 28th. Sunday’s performance on November 3rd is a matinee only at 4 p.m. at RomWeber Marketplace. The cost for this performance is $12 for RAA members and $15 non-members. Call Joan Kuhlman at 812-933-0355 for ticket orders.


INSIDE Pg. 2 & 3 - New Board and Executive Director Announced

Pg. 4 - Arts in Education Highlight: Illustrator Chris Soentpiet

Pg. 6 - Awards Presented at Annual RAA Meeting

Pg. 7 - Batesville hosts Columbus Area Arts Council

TIME TO RENEW Annual Membership reminders were sent in September. Members are encouraged to send in their checks or call to conveniently renew with a credit card over the phone.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS “Tung and Cheek” Fall Dinner Show RAA Community Theater Nov 1-2-3, 2013 RomWeber Marketplace Meal by Izzy’s Catering

Classic Film Series Winter 2014 Gibson Theater Dec - The Godfather Jan - Casablanca Feb - Singin' in the Rain

The Rusty Griswolds 80’s Favorites

Voted Best of Cincinnati

March 14, 2014 Walhill Farm

Welcome our new board members R A A w e l c o m e s t h re e n e w b o a rd members. Here's a little about our newest members. Jeff Pawlik is in a new board position as Social Media/Website coordinator. He has lived in Batesville for 13 years and "truly loves it." He had heard about the RAA soon after moving here from the kids that lived in  his neighborhood.   He didn't get involved though until he had met Rita George, former auction co-chair. “I got involved with this past year's Art Auction working with Mary Ellen Rippe and the Silent Auction," he said. Jeff took care of documenting the acquisitions, one of the big tasks with the auction. He enjoyed the work, and all the board had to do was ask and he joined the board.  "I look forward to watching the RAA grow to enable us to provide more and more opportunities for our schools and community," he said.    Connie Rozman has joined the board as our Community Art Show chairperson. She has been on the board before working with costumes for our theater production, the Music Man. She also helped with various RAA programs, including Boar's Head, Prairie Fire, Sound of Music, Martha Graham Dance, Young Artist Showcase, and the Art Auction. In 2012 she was chosen for the RAA Volunteer

of the Year award. Connie is always busy, either with her church, Batesville Christian, or, of late, working on home projects, as her three children are in college now. She and husband Smitty are adjusting to their new empty nest. She has always been impressed with what the RAA does for the community and children. "I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of Jolene Rockwood and appreciated her vision to bring the arts to Batesville. My three children benefited from all the projects and I wanted to help them carry out the vision. I was not raised in an environment where art was appreciated or supported for that matter and was quite clueless. Helping with the RAA has been a valuable learning experience for me and my family and has definitely enriched our lives." Natasha Kellerman has been on the auction committee for RAA before, but is excited to be chairing the Art Auction this year. She says she always finds fundraising and special events "exciting and fun" so this is a  perfect role for her. She  was named RAA Volunteer of the Year in 2000 for her costume work on the Boar's Head. The mother of Gus, a 7th grader, and married to John, she is also familiar to many theater-goers as she has been in various RAA productions.  You can see her on stage in "Tung and Cheek" Nov. 1 and 2 in the role of Clarice.

Art...Etc. Auction May 2014

Community Art Show

The 2013-14 RAA board: left, front row, Connie Rozman, Regina Siefert, Elaine Howell, Joan Kuhlman, Vonni Williamson, Barb Greene and Jolene Rockwood; back row, left, Jeff Pawlik, Brandi Myers, TJ Greene, Jim Roberts, Mary Ellen Rippe, Judy Meyer, Mary Mattingly, Mary K Cambron, Jen Saner. Absent: Natasha Kellerman, Chris Ault, Kathleen Bohman, Rachel Berkemeier.

June 2014

RAA Summer Musical “The Yankee Doodle” June 27-29, 2014

Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre “Beauty & the Beast” July 14-19, 2014

Call 812-933-0355 for tickets!


RAA names Kuhlman Executive Director

2013-2014 RAA Board of Directors Announced

The Rural Alliance for the Arts recently named Joan Kuhlman Executive Director of the organization. TJ Greene, President of the RAA commented, "Joan was already fulfilling many of the responsibilities of a director. The change in title and official job description will better align with the role she already fulfills within the RAA.   Joan is a tremendous asset to the RAA and the Batesville community. 

Elevating her

role to Executive Director better matches the leadership structure of

similar organizations.

We believe it will maintain the RAA’s credibility as we continue to grow and enhance our prom o ti on of the art s

by p ro v i d i n g

opportunities for artistic expression, education and enjoyment throughout the area.”   The change was approved at the Oct 1, 2013 RAA Board of Directors meeting and is effective immediately. Joan has been the RAA Administrator since 2005. She will also take on the role of Auction Coordinator. Greene commented, "We were looking for continuity in the position from year to year.  This will take a lot of pressure off of the Art Auction Chair and will better position us to secure Art Auction Chair volunteers!"

Young poets encouraged to enter state contest

T.J. Greene, President Regina Siefert, Vice President Elaine Howell, Secretary Barb Greene, Treasurer Rachael Berkemeier, Grant Writer Mary Mattingly, Newsletter Kathleen Bohman, Publicity Mary Ellen Rippe, Public Relations/ Marketing Jeff Pawlik, Social Media Specialist Jen Saner, Graphic Artist Judy Meyer, Photographer/Historian Jim Roberts, RAA/BCSC Liaison Brandi Myers, Hospitality Natasha Kellerman, Art Auction Jolene Rockwood, Arts-In-Education Vonni Williamson, Young Artist Showcase Connie Rozman, Community Art Show Chris Ault, Theater Chair Mary K Cambron, Asset Manager Joan Kuhlman, Executive Director John Hillenbrand, Financial Advisor

Registration is currently open for the 2014 competition. Schools must register in advance to take part in the Poetry Out Loud

The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC)

competition. For more information on how to

announced it will coordinate the ninth annual

register for Poetry Out Loud, contact Kristina

Poetry Out Loud Indiana State Finals

Davis, at or call

competition, and encourages Indiana high


schools to participate in the annual poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation.

AROUND TOWN Batesville's holiday parade is Saturday, Nov. 23. Look for the RAA!

The state competition will be held in late February to determine the Indiana state champion. The winner of the state championship will represent Indiana at the

Initial competitions are held at the high

2013/2014 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in

school level to determine one student to

Washington, D.C. in late April and receive a

represent the school in state competition. There

$200 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip

are no registration costs for high schools

to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Finals.

interested in participating in the Indiana Poetry

The state champion’s school receives a $500

Out Loud competition, and all resource

stipend to purchase poetry books. The National

materials will be provided. Preliminary school

Poetry Out Loud competition began in 2006.

The Dance Studio’s Winter Concert will be Nov. 24th at 2:00 pm in the Batesville H.S. Auditorium Free admission and open to the public. The Dance Studio is based in Batesville and owned by Lydia Woodward.

competitions should be completed by February 1, 2014.


Award-winning illustrator inspires our young artists "Yesterday I drove all the way from New York City to be here with you," book illustrator Chris Soentpiet (Soon-peet) told B a t e s v i l l e I n t e r m e d i a t e S c h o o l t h i rd graders  Sept. 9  after they had plopped on the cafeteria floor.

What is Arts in Education? The RAA Arts in Education Program brings professional artists into the area schools to integrate the arts into the existing school curricula. The RAA arts-in-education program has been cited in the past as a model for this type of program by the Indiana Arts Association and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Over the past 20 years, the award-winning artist has illustrated 17 children's books by other authors and both written and illustrated four, including three with his wife of 18 years, Yin. A screen containing covers of his works flashed on. One student whispered, “'Saturdays and Teacakes' is the best one.” After he graduated from Pratt Institute in NYC, Soentpiet began teaching kindergarten there and created his first picture book, “Around Town,” published in 1992. "Just like my favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell, used to do," the watercolorist chose one of his students and her mother to pose for photos that ended up on the book's pages and even its cover. He showed a hot summer day painting of

fire hydrants opened for water play. Pointing at characters delighted by the spray, he said, "These are my old neighborhood friends .... I put a lot of small messages in the book just for fun." One subway sign says 1370. He explained, "These numbers are my birthday." His niece’s name, Katie, is sprinkled throughout the book. "I promised her. She really likes that." Preparations for his books are time consuming. The artist made a dragon out of clay to help him paint “The Last Dragon,” his second book  about the Chinese New Year beast.  When Soentpiet collaborated on "Saturdays and Teacakes" with author  Lester Laminack, who was a visiting artist here in March 2008, he drove to Laminack's hometown in the South and took lots of photos of a boy who spends his Saturdays making cakes with his grandmother.  He is especially proud of two books he and his wife created, “Coolies and “Brothers” both about China. Soentpiet is a fine art gallery painter as well. Born in South Korea, when he was 6, both of his parents died. Two years later, he and his 12-year-old sister were adopted by a couple living in Hawaii. He illustrated "Jin Woo" by Eve Bunting, which tells the story of a child who gets a baby brother from South Korea. "This book is very special to me,” because he also was adopted. He created pictures for "Molly Bannaky," written by Alice McGill, which tells the tale of a 17-year-old English girl who was exiled to America after breaking a law. She became the grandmother of  Benjamin B a n n e k e r, a g r e a t A f r i c a n - A m e r i c a n scientist.  He confides, "I'm  very proud of this book," which won three honors, including 2002 Jane Addams Picture Book of the Year. 

Illustrator Chris Soentpiet interacting with children at Batesville Intermediate School.

His latest picture book is "Amazing Faces," written by Lee Bennett Hopkins. The presenter reflected, "Across America, there are strong faces, there are sad faces, there are brave faces. And of course, there are amazing faces.” When a painting of a giggling baby flashed on the screen, the students laughed. "These are my life experiences –  who shaped me, who I am." Soentpiet talked about the creative process. "I take about 5,000 digital photos per book."  After posing two BIS students while a third one held a drawing, he demonstrated how he makes a sketch. "I’m just going to go quick because I know they’re going to get tired" of standing in one position. The artist turned the girls into men with sideburns to much laughter, then autographed the sketch for them.  Each quick sketch includes lines to get the basic composition, but no shading. "I use a pencil because I do make a lot of mistakes." He  spends two months to make 20 sketches, called  story boards, which must be approved by publishers.  After the photos and sketches, "I’m going to get my tools ready, watercolor brushes and paints." The drawings are transferred on to watercolor paper, then the artist makes practice paintings to adjust the colors before finishing the final illustrations. "One took over three weeks. I like to paint the background in first." Main characters' details are painted last. It typically takes a year to finish one book His adoptive mother encouraged Soentpiet, pointing out,  "I would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for all the people who helped me. Follow your dreams and believe in yourself." —By Debbie Blank, article and photo courtesy of The Herald Tribune.

The RAA has increased AIE funding for each school this year. Go to our website and check out the local newspapers and school newsletters to keep abreast of who and what is being offered this year. We’re sure you will be impressed!


Examples of AIE Programming Young Artist Showcase

This past year we had over 2,600 students who participated in the program from s i x a re a s c h o o l s : B a t e s v i l l e P r i m a r y, Intermediate, Middle and High Schools; Oldenburg Academy; and St. Louis School. Each school who subscribes to the program receives between $2000 and $6500 worth of programming based on the enrollment of students in the schools. The total expense to RAA is approximately $26,000.

One of our on-going programs recognizes students for their work in the arts. The Young Artist Showcase is for students in 6th through 12th grade who excel in the areas of art, music, writing, dance and drama.  Professional judges are enlisted to judge the entries in each discipline, and trophies and ribbons are awarded to the winners at each school’s end-of-the-year awards program along with the sports and academic awards that are traditionally given by the schools. 

To give you a glimpse of the variety in programming, here is the list of activities and artists from two private schools we support:

Oldenburg Academy “Nature and the Fine Arts,” Fine Arts Day 2013 Workshops included: Dance, Yoga in Nature - Donna Anderle, Cincinnati Ballet • Woodcarving with Weberdings Studio • Flower Arranging with Carolyn Dieckmann • Bug Prints with Judith Workman • Mudcloth Natural Dying with Judy Dominic • Designing Mini Greenhouses and Terrariums with Annie Miller • Nature in Architecture with Susan Glaser • Synesthesia with Natalie Horn • Making God’s Eyes with Sister Patty Campbell • Nature in Poetry with Pam Gast • The Positive and Negative of Leaf Prints in Design with Pam Burroughs • Assembly and Workshop from The Cincinnati Ballet Company •

  This program fills a gap in local awards programs, showing students that they can be rewarded for excellence in the arts and creates an incentive for students to achieve excellence.    Watch for the deadline announcement. Schools and the respective teachers will be informing students of the approaching deadlines. It will also be on RAA and school websites. For information: contact chairperson Vonni Williamson.

St. Louis School Activities throughout the year included: African Acrobats Author/illustrator Will Hillenbrand  • Performance of “MacBeth” by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company • Steve Harpster, cartoonist, draw-along workshop and presentation. • Lydia Woodward, choreography for the Spring Musical “Mulan”  • “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” performed by Stan Ginn, Cincinnati Arts Association • Indian Culture Comes to You: Dance of India, Cincinnati Arts Association •Anything Goes: Wild Science, Cincinnati Arts Association •Holly Combs, Street Art:  Respect Through Art Workshop • •

Top, St. Louis students practice what they learned from the African Acrobat program; Author/illustrator Will Hillenbrand with St. Louis students; Oldenburg Academy students learned some ballet moves from the Cincinnati Ballet Company.


Four recognized at the RAA’s annual meeting One of the highlights of the RAA’s annual meeting is the awards presentation. While so many help make this organization viable, it’s nice to recognize a few who stand out. This year, four were honored for their contributions at the Aug. 27 meeting at the library. Outgoing president Leacarol Bennett presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Gary Schrott, Osgood, who builds sets for the fall dinner shows. “Gary is a construction wizard and has taken our set building to a whole new level. He has become a wonderful friend to the RAA.” His wife Lois is an active theater member of RAA, and as often happens, spouses end up helping in such endeavors. We’re glad to have both! The RAA also likes to recognize a business every year. This year, the Business Award went to Jeff Byard, Versailles, owner of Jeff Byard Sound in Versailles. About three years ago the RAA was struggling to find a reliable, professional, and affordable sound technician. Word got out that Byard was good, and better, local, and he’s been the RAA’s light and sound tech since. Jeff Gratz of Batesville is often called Chef Gratz. Before he moved to Batesville, he owned a restaurant and was a chef. He has been gracious to share his gift with so many,

including the RAA. Gratz was the President’s Award honoree. Bennett said he started 10 years ago with a gourmet dinner donation for the auction. He’s continued every year since, raising thousands of dollars for RAA. She said, “No one puts their heart and soul into their donation as much as Chef Gratz.” Gratz was unable to attend the awards program, but the award and gift have been given to him since. Pam Burroughs received the Arts in Education Award from RAA founder Jolene Rockwood. OA’s new president, staff and several students were on hand to support Burroughs. Burroughs retired last spring from Oldenburg Academy, where she taught art for 29 years. Burroughs has not only influenced hundreds of students over the years, but also has received recognition for her own artistic projects at national and regional competitions. Rockwood said the recipient “is known for her excellence in teaching,” and has taught at the college level also. Burroughs has exhibited her hand-made silver and gold jewelry in Texas, Florida, Detroit and many other locations. In accepting the award, Burroughs thanked the community for supporting the arts, something that is “rare” these days. --Information for this article was also contributed by The Herald Tribune.

Awards were handed out at the annual meeting by left, founder Jolene Rockwood, and far right, outgoing president Leacarol Bennett. Pam Burroughs, received the AIE award, Gary Schrott, the Volunteer of the Year award, and Jeff Byard, Business of the Year award. Jeff Gratz also received the President's Award for his culinary donations, but was absent at the annual meeting.

WE’VE GONE ELECTRONIC! The RAA has gone electronic! We are sending our newsletter electronically to your email or you may elect to still receive it by mail. Make sure you let us know when you sign up for membership which you prefer. Also, make sure you like us on Facebook! Board members Mary Ellen Rippe and Jeff Pawlik are posting pictures and RAA happenings frequently so don’t miss out, and share with friends. It can be found under our name on Facebook, Rural Alliance for the Arts. Our website, which was also re-designed, is

Celebrate the spirit of the season in Oldenburg The RAA is joining in Oldenburg's annual “Holiday Under the Spires” celebration the first weekend in December. Under the direction of Regina Siefert, a theatrical reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" will be read by Leon Enneking, music director with Batesville schools and an Oldenburg resident. Adults and children will act out certain parts and dress in festive costume.     The show will be held immediately after the Saturday 5:30 p.m. mass at Holy Family, around 6:45 p.m. A freewill offering will be collected. “Holiday Under the Spires” is a popular way to celebrate the spirit in the Germaninspired town. Shops in Oldenburg will have extended hours with specials at the restaurants, and there will be choirs singing throughout the day in the Sisters' Chapel, plus horse-drawn carriage rides. Santa will be the guest at breakfast and there will be plenty of lovely crafts to peruse and buy at the craft show in the Holy Family gym until 3 p.m.     Come join the RAA and get in the spirit of the season in the quaint town of Oldenburg.


RAA hosts Columbus Area Arts Council Region 9 grants awards ceremony On September 19, the Columbus Area Arts Council hosted the Region 9 Grants Awards ceremony at the Romweber Flats building in downtown  Batesville. The venue annually changes among the counties in the region, but the RAA suggested last year that they would like to have the event in Batesville.  More than half of the RAA board members attended the meeting, in addition to the 20 board recipients, arts supporters and guests. The total amount awarded was $90,620. These awards are in the Mini-Arts Grant, Arts Organizational Support and Arts Project

Cultural Council of Decatur County awarded

Support categories from the Indiana Arts


Commission Regional Partnership Inititative.

awarded $3,610. Jackson County: Southern

The following organizations were awarded:

Indiana Center for the Arts awarded $7,000 and

Franklin County: Historic Metamora

Jackson County Community Theatre awarded Bartholomew County: Columbus City Band

$3,610. Jennings County: St. Mary’s School

awarded $3,610, Columbus Scottish Festival

awarded $3,610 and Our Heritage Inc. awarded

awarded $3,610 and Columbus Symphony

$3,610. Ripley County: Rural Alliance for the

awarded $3,610, Kidscommons awarded

Arts awarded $7,000 and National Muzzle

$3,610, Dancer’s Studio awarded $7,000, Ivy

Loading Rifle Association awarded $2,910.

Tech Community College awarded $3,610 and Columbus Pro Musica awarded $14,000. Dearborn County: Dearborn Highlands Arts

funding organizations to discuss best practices in a panel discussion titled “Making the Ask”. Panel members shared experiences and knowledge on how to communicate with

Columbus Area Arts Council and the

current and potential donors. The Columbus

Region Nine Advisory Council

Regional Hospital Foundation was represented

invited the public to meet with

by Rebekah Walsh, The John W. Hillenbrand

representatives from

Vision Fund by Jolene Rockwood (RAA’s

foundations and other

founder) and the Decatur County Memorial

Dearborn County awarded $3,610. School awarded $3,610 and Arts and

Below: State Sen. Jean Leising, left, presented grant awards to the various recipients, including, RAA's Grant Writer Rachel Berkemeier, 2nd from left.

As part of the evening’s activities, the

Council awarded $7,000 and ARC of Decatur County: Greensburg High

Above: The RAA was well represented at the Region 9 awards ceremony Sept. 19. Left, State Sen. Jean Leising, Brandi Myers,  Rachel Berkemeier, Barb Greene, Connie Rozman, Joan Kuhlman and Jolene Rockwood: back row, Jen Saner, Jeff Pawlik and TJ Greene.

RAA awarded $7,000 grant

Hospital by David Fry as the panelists. Attendees were given the opportunity to discuss challenges and successes when making initial and follow up communication with sponsors. The Indiana Arts Commission established the Regional Partnership Initiative in 1995 to better provide arts services to the residents of Indiana. The Columbus Area Arts Council is the Regional Partner for the southeastern Indiana region, which covers Bartholomew, Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties.   In addition to providing funds, the Regional Partnership also provides technical assistance and, information and referral arts and cultural organizations in the region.


Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra Guests of all ages came and danced the night away as the Rural Alliance for the Arts welcomed the Indianapolis Special thanks to Chris & Laura Ault for providing free dance lessons to guests before the show!

Jazz Orchestra in September.

Band and Swing tunes kept the crowd entertained all evening at the RomWeber Marketplace.

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RAA Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2013  

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