Five candidates seek seats on cultural council
By Alison Rooney
On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the BeaconArts Community Association will meet to elect four new members to its nine-person board. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Beacon Institute, 199 Main St., which is hosting an exhibit that looks back at the nonprofit arts and culture group’s first 15 years.
There are five candidates for the two-year terms. A sixth candidate, Matthew Agolgia, withdrew, citing recent business commitments.
Not a Member?
Membership in BeaconArts, which is open to anyone (not just Beacon residents), is $25 per year. Business memberships are $240 annually. See beaconarts.org.
The five current members are Theresa Goodman, Terry Nelson, Rick Rogers, Aaron Verdile and Christina Jensen, who returned to the board earlier this month after being appointed to fill the seat of Sommer Hixson. The organization has about 160 artist and 95 business members and usually meets on the last Wednesday of each month.
The Current asked each candidate to share her priorities. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
My priority would be to engage youth, especially those ages 16 to 25, to help them see their own influence in this growing artistic economy. The arts hold a form of soft power that can strengthen any community and inspire young people. In fact, working with arts and culture is what led me to Beacon: I moved here to take a job at Dia:Beacon facilitating its teen education program. Prior to that, I founded a free school in Brooklyn that came out of an art curriculum I developed for a school in rural Kenya. I offer the kind of problem solving that can only come from doing.
I want to make sure that Beacon will continue to be a place where all forms of art can flourish, despite the recent increase in development in the city. We have to ensure that artists of all types can continue to be a vital part of the community. I have more than 20 years of experience working in museums and galleries and have been involved in the Beacon art scene since moving here in 2003. I opened Matteawan Gallery in 2013 as a way to support local artists and to create connections between artists from Beacon, New York City and elsewhere.
BeaconArts is a wonderfully vibrant organization with a membership full of talented and engaging individuals. The projects and programming made possible through BeaconArts weave so much beauty into the fabric of our lives. They are also vital to our economy, bringing in tourists from New York City and all over the world. I look forward to helping in any way I can. I have a degree in English Literature, which means observation and analysis are favorite skills. Deep listening is the foundation for all of my work, from massage to ceremony to birth support and life coaching.
One of my priorities would be to expand the membership program. Beacon is defined in large part by its commitment to the arts. I would also love to advance the place of live performance. We have such a rich history of visual art and music, and I would love to see theater contributing to that great tradition. My career as a marketer has been centered on the arts and culture, everything from planning large-scale events to grassroots outreach. My focus is connecting audiences with art, online as well as in person.
Linda Pratt Kimmel
My priority would be to listen in order to learn how the board has done things, what is in the works, and what goals have been discussed to ascertain where I might be most helpful, either in supporting what’s in place or offering constructive suggestions. As a literary agent in children’s books for more than 20 years, I have worked with authors and illustrators in bringing their creative visions to publication — a process that requires a respect for the artists, a business acumen that includes negotiation and troubleshooting, and an understanding of the target audience and its needs.
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