Keys to Beacon 2018: An Exploration Of The Outdoor Pianos That Played In Beacon

 A boy crouches to play a tiny piano outside of Towne Crier. Photo Credit: Lisa Marie Martinez Piano Artist:  Miss Vickie

A boy crouches to play a tiny piano outside of Towne Crier.
Photo Credit: Lisa Marie Martinez Piano Artist: Miss Vickie

Back before the peak fall foliage season of September, and before the first blizzard of the pre-winter season hit us, A Little Beacon Blog planned a big feature on the Keys to Beacon project from BeaconArts. This is the outdoor, interactive art installation, whereby 11 pianos covered in some kind of artistic expression were placed at locations throughout the city.

We sent out an essayist to find and experience as many pianos as she could in real life. Please meet Izdihar Dabashi, a writer, poet and college student, and follow along on her discoveries, and how the pianos touched her and those around her.

Keys To Beacon 2018 - An Exploration

by Izdihar Dabashi
All Photos by Izdihar Dabashi
Izdihar is studying Psychology. She is a writer, loves fiction novels and writing poetry. When she is not writing, she is reading a novel with a strong heroine and drinking tea in a faux fur coat.

Auburn leaves danced in the wind, wisps of hair and tangles of scarves flit about in the cool weather. Softly, Adele’s voice weaves into the moment creating an ambiance that is undoubtedly autumn in New York. As if singing Hello to myself isn’t dramatic enough, the universe seems to encourage my bout of melodrama as evidenced by the several pianos adorning Main Street. I was tempted to ignore the peculiar sights and continue to sonder, but the tinkling sounds of the pianos rang through the air and lured me to their sights.

 Piano at Bank Square at Polhill Park Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Bank Square at Polhill Park
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Across the street from Bank Square at Polhill Park, a white-speckled black piano bathed in the autumn sun. Strikes of sheer gold paint the surface of the piano, ballon-like blobs of paint float amidst the spectacular design. A trio of city girls tinkered with the keys, flooding the afternoon light with airy chimes and tittering smiles. Leaves of maroon and honey weaved through the air pushing me forward to my next location, humming “Colors of the Wind” underneath my breath as the scenic fall weather emited a Pocahontas-like movie moment from me.

I found myself outside of City Hall facing a grand piano. Blends of scarlet fade into citrus, bursting out smooth blues and shocks of violet; the sophisticated rainbow design contrasted beautifully against the sleek ebony body. I seated myself on the sturdy bench, stretched my dainty fingers, and summoned a tune so beautiful and strange all of Beacon peeked out from their windows, traffic stilled, even the birds turned their ambitious chirps into humble murmurs.

Kidding - it took me about five minutes for my short stubby fingers to figure out how to gracefully lift the fall board. I could understand why Beacon Arts placed this particular piano outside City Hall because the glorious sight was enough to reinforce the visual legacy Beacon holds, an enticing city full of expression.

 Piano at Beacon Historical Society on South Avenue Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Beacon Historical Society on South Avenue
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Somehow, my suede camel boots clicked their wooden heels all the way to Beacon Historical Society. A tangerine piano with magenta circles brought me back to the days of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast , a popular children’s cartoon show. Childlike-wonder surrounded the theme of this piece and graced a smile on a little girl’s face. She happened to be the pianist of the hour, and a runaway from the birthday party hosted next door. Setting her fairy wand and birthday party hat down, she clambered to settle onto the orange bench. Her happiness was contagious and soon a small crowd formed finding joy in her clumsy tune as she confidently bobbed her head. We should have exchanged autographs.

Making my way back to Main Street, immersing myself in the hustle and bustle of the weekend flow, I came across the next piano. Situated a few feet away from the Rick Price mural, a sky-blue piano covered in paintings of a garden and a chubby Garfield-like cat invited a young couple to playfully serenade one another. It was disgustingly cute, a scene straight out of a Rom-Com.

 Piano at Key Food. Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Key Food.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Flickering flames mask the small black piano outside of Key Food. An adorable little boy dressed in black and red fit the aesthetic of the piano, it was too cute for me not to stop and take a photo of him.

 Piano outside of Beacon Pantry. Photo Credit:

Piano outside of Beacon Pantry.
Photo Credit:

Outside of Beacon Pantry, a chalkboard piano waits for me to scribble my signature all over it. A bucket full of colorful chalk is screwed into the top of the piano, inviting people to temporarily leave their mark. I left my autograph then followed the scent of sharp cheese and fresh bread for a heavenly sandwich from Beacon Pantry.

 Piano at Howland Cultural Center. Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Howland Cultural Center.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

The piano next to the Howland Cultural Center is covered in sheet music and children’s handprints in an array of vivid colors. This piano seems to play on its own, simply needing the wind to tinker with the keys. Soft blue spikes decorate the surface of the bench hosting a young pianist. Her bright smile crinkled the corners of her cinnamon eyes, her joy as distinguishable as her vibrant magenta shirt. My inner babushka managed to resist pinching her cheeks.

Edging closer to Beacon Falls, an ivory piano blanketed with a crocheted burst of warm orange and yellow sits across Loopy Mango, the chunky yarn store. I was in the middle of explaining to my parents how I wanted to take a photo of the piano when my mother whipped out her phone and took several photos of my father modeling. Le sigh.

 Piano near the Beacon Falls of the Fishkill Creek. Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano near the Beacon Falls of the Fishkill Creek.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Crimson wings hide out under a cover of branches across from Beacon Falls. The massive red piano settled beneath the serenity of the clusters of trees attracted several city goers to an otherwise abandoned spot. I expected a magical dragon to appear and summon me to a quest, or perhaps the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland to lure me to another dizzying sight of magic. I stumbled across a family of three celebrating their father’s birthday, and another cluster of friends creating tunes out of thin air.

Locations For All Of The Pianos

Beacon Arts volunteers consisting of local artists and musicians provoked conversation and inspired feelings of awe by placing 11 pianos around Beacon. This year's locations have been City Hall, Beacon Historical Society, Polhill Park, Pop-up park at Cross & Main Streets, Key Foods, Howland Library, 380 Main St., Howland Cultural Center, Fishkill Falls Park, Memorial Clock (across from Loopy Mango), & Hudson Valley Brewery.

To follow the fate of the pianos as they were moved around the city, and to see other performances and activities around the pianos, visit

To learn how to support the project with a donation, or to donate a piano, see their Support page.

Warmth In Color For Winter: The Artist Stanley Lindwasser Exhibiting At Oak Vino

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

November’s Second Saturday was as exciting as ever, with new works being hung around town and exhibitions opening in galleries and unusual places. This Second Saturday, I wrote in my calendar specifically (as opposed to falling into the serendipitous approach of going where the wind or free bus will take me) to go to Stanley Lindwasser’s opening of his 2018 collection of paintings at Oak Vino Wine Bar.

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

This is a man who has painted almost every day, ever since his teacher told him he was good at finger-painting. Stanley is 71 years old now, and had a career as a painter. “But I never became famous,” Stanley told me at his show’s opening. Stanley’s mantra was family first, and with several children in his family, that can keep someone comfortably quiet in their production.

To pay the bills, he was a full-time teacher. Teaching took him to different environments including a homeless shelter for teenagers at Harlem Hospital, schools for emotionally disturbed children, and a psychiatric facility, according to Alison Rooney’s article in the Highlands Current this weekend. 

Stanley is mesmerized by color and texture and feelings. The physical act of painting seems to produce the synapses that inspire where his brush goes and how it explores, which was my impression after reading the Chronogram article that describes Stanley’s artistic style.

Currently, he is also inspired by the expansiveness he feels in his backyard overlooking the Hudson River. While speaking with me at his opening, I asked him if anything around him inspired him when he is away from painting. “The density,” he told me. Stanley lives along the Hudson River and gets to sit with the sunsets each afternoon into evening. “We are able to see so much more of the sky here than when we lived in Hoboken, N.J..” Stanley and his wife Helen moved to Beacon two years ago from their brownstone.

Stanley gets out to walk his little dogs - you might see him this winter with his big fur hat on. But he doesn’t get out to exhibit his work much. I’m now most curious about the other decades - decades! - of his work that he has rolled up in various storage facilities. You can see a few previous years of his paintings at his website. His paintings - select pieces from 2018 and not even all of them, will be hanging at Oak Vino through January and are for sale. 

Glad to have him rooted in Beacon, and hanging on these walls.

Editorial Disclosure: We have worked with Stanley and Helen to help them complete Stanley’s website, via our design agency and parent company Katie James, Inc., as well as through our sister company Tin Shingle in consulting with them in how to get the word out. This article is one we wanted to bring to you regardless of the client connection, as we have gotten to know Stanley and Helen over the years in Beacon.

Pianos Of "Keys To Beacon" Inspire Love Notes


Just because you needed a little love note today, we wanted to pass along to you this email sent by a reader early this week. As you may have noticed, Beacon is decorated right now with pianos in seemingly random locations. You may occasionally hear the sound of Beacon from several street corners as people sit down to play whenever they feel the need. In fact, A Little Beacon Blog has been working on a feature story about these pianos with a new writer who you will meet shortly.

But for today, your love note from a reader:


Dear A Little Beacon Blog,

Just wanted to share these photos of our winged bear with you.

We were New York City middle school teachers for 30 and drama. About a month after 9/11, our school received a gift from J.C. Penney - hundreds of teddy bears arrived delivered in giant boxes - one for every student, teacher and employee in our school.

As you can imagine, the teddy bears provided great emotional comfort for all and we have kept our bear all these years.

When we saw the beautiful winged piano in Beacon, we just thought our bear was a perfect match.

Many thanks to all who bring us these beautiful pianos each year... we play each one and look forward to their return next year.

Thank you Little Beacon Blog,

Jeff and Anita Cashman


The organization behind the pianos in Beacon is BeaconArts, known for their public art projects that appear and disappear all over town, all year round.

We have a feature story coming out about this, so stay tuned because that’s where you’ll be able to learn more. In the meantime, enjoy the pianos while they are here. They will be rolled away soon and stored for next year.

Fairies Are Here...The Cutie Night Collection That Comes Out At Beacon Fine Jewelers

Love these little cuties every time they get put out at night in the storefront window of Beacon Fine Jewelers. They are part of the collection of miniature things that the son (of the father-son team) 🔥 fires up inside in the back of the store.

Not sure where this store is? 284 Main Street. Beacon Fine Jewelers are in the middle of Main Street, across the way from EnotecaAma. We profiled them last Holiday season, so check them out!

Really good gift ideas are in store for collectors in your life... or the real life fairies 🧚‍♀️ you find in your house... We’re just sayin’.


Gallery Closing: Matteawan Gallery's Final Opening is September 2018 - Where to Find Karlyn Next

It's bittersweet that this month's opening at Matteawan Gallery reflects on the passage of time: Eleanor White's It's About Time will be Matteawan Gallery's final show. Karlyn Benson opened Matteawan Gallery in March 2013 in a small space further east on Main Street near the mountain.

It was a pretty common sight to see familiar faces packed into the gallery and congregating on the sidewalk outside, discussing everything from new puppies (hi, Jack!) to the featured artist who used math and dots to make really neat art that I couldn't wait to share with my math teacher-Renaissance man dad. I (I = Second Saturday writer Catherine, not bloggista extraordinaire Katie) am a total art newbie, and don't always "get" the fancy/important work, but Karlyn's gallery always had pieces by new (to me), interesting artists. Who remembers the baseball card guy

Matteawan will be missed, but keep your eyes peeled for Karlyn's name: "I plan to curate exhibitions under the name Matteawan Projects and to write about art in the Hudson Valley," she says. (Her first article is already up at Chronogram!) 

September's Opening: Eleanor White's It's About Time

Eleanor White returns to Matteawan Gallery with It's About Time. In her second solo show at the gallery, Eleanor explores the passing of time in sculpture and drawings. Natural materials, including hair, dandelion fluff, wood ash, and eggshells break out of their place in the daily background to figure prominently as materials, reminding viewers of fragility and the cyclic nature of ... nature. According to gallery owner Karlyn Benson, "White takes ordinary objects and makes them into something wonderful, captivating, and strange, thereby showing the potential of everything around us to change over time."

This exhibit runs through Sunday, October 7, 2018.

Windows on Main Street (WOMS) Returns for its 13th Year, Starting August 11, 2018

woms2018 MAIN.jpeg

Artists and Businesses Merge to Make Main Street the Gallery

On Second Saturday, August 11, Beacon’s 1.5 mile long Main Street becomes a 24-hour, 7-day a week gallery space for the next month! Running through September 8, 2018, site-specific art installations are revealed in 26 Main Street storefront windows taking part in the public art exhibit, Windows on Main Street (WOMS). As you're walking around, do you notice that certain storefront windows are filled with something extra special?

“Artists are paired with local businesses, and together they create a site-specific work of art,” says WOMS 2018 director Diana Currie, who is also a participating artist with a window this year (you may remember her “yarn bombing” work of Beacon’s iconic Dummy Light in 2015, which triggered a public response to the yarn cozy knitted around the Dummy Light for days after the initial setup). Now in its 13th year, WOMS is a project of BeaconArts, the organization dedicated to organizing, promoting and nurturing the city’s multifaceted arts community.


“Windows on Main Street is a fantastic way for local artists - both newcomers and established - to really get more involved in our arts community, and in our community in general,” said Currie.

How to Find the Artists and Windows

A list of this year’s participants, locations, and artist statements can be found at Maps of the event are available around town at various locations, including Beacon’s Visitors Center, and participating businesses. You can read about each artist from the Windows on Main Street website when you click on their location. In fact, you should read about the installation "In Memory of Anthony Marra Jr." put on by his sister Catherine E. Marra at Mountain Tops.

The Windows on Main headquarters and “Tiny Windows” exhibit is located at Oak Vino Wine Bar, 389 Main St. Oak Vino and Windows on Main Street will host an opening celebration on August 11, starting at 6 pm. In addition to the “Tiny Windows" exhibit, there will be a live drawing/auction by artist Donna Mikkelsen, a DJ, and complimentary food. Windows on Main Street shirts and totes will also be available for purchase to benefit the project.

Funding Provided By...

This monthlong public art event is a project of BeaconArts, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster and encourage the advancement of the City of Beacon as a center for arts and culture. This means that Windows on Main is supported by BeaconArts' membership income, in addition to any fundraisers and sponsorships that the WOMS team organizes. BeaconArts' Ex-Officio and past president Kelly Ellenwood further explains: "It also means that BeaconArts will always support the event - both financially, and with deeper volunteer commitment."

Windows on Main Street 2018 was also made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts (with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature) and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson. Sponsorships are also possible for businesses who want to directly sponsor the event. A Little Beacon Blog is a proud media sponsor!

Look for These Windows

Tag us in photos you see, and use the hashtag #WOMS2018 to light up Instagram with the art and add to that hashtag collection. Here's what we have found so far, courtesy of Instagrammers:

  Window:  The Chocolate Studio, 494 Main Street  Artist:  Jan Dolan  Photo Credit:  Windows on Main

Window: The Chocolate Studio, 494 Main Street Artist: Jan Dolan Photo Credit: Windows on Main

Window: Big Mouth Coffee Roasters, 387 Main Street Artist: Sarah J. Berman Photo Credit: Windows on Main

  Window:  Vegetalien, 504 Main Street  Artist:  Kat Stoutenborough  Photo Credit:  Kat Stoutenborough

Window: Vegetalien, 504 Main Street Artist: Kat Stoutenborough Photo Credit: Kat Stoutenborough

  Window:  Meyer's Olde Dutch (MOD), 184 Main Street  Artist:  Erica Hauser  Photo Credit:  Windows on Main

Window: Meyer's Olde Dutch (MOD), 184 Main Street Artist: Erica Hauser Photo Credit: Windows on Main

  Window:  NFP (New Form Perspective), 504 Main Street  Artist:  Kristen J. Macauley  Photo Credit:  Windows on Main

Window: NFP (New Form Perspective), 504 Main Street Artist: Kristen J. Macauley Photo Credit: Windows on Main

  Window:  Oak Vino, 389 Main Street  Artist:  Donna Mikkelsen  Photo Credit:  BeaconArts

Window: Oak Vino, 389 Main Street Artist: Donna Mikkelsen Photo Credit: BeaconArts

  Window:  Ella's Bellas, 418 Main Street  Artist:  Judith Kepner Rose  Photo Credit:  Judith Kepner Rose Sculpture

Window: Ella's Bellas, 418 Main Street Artist: Judith Kepner Rose Photo Credit: Judith Kepner Rose Sculpture

Window: Artifact, 17 East Main Street (on way to Dogwood) Artist: Heather Delaney Photo Credit: Artifact Beacon

Community Created Post-It Note Art at Library for Windows on Main - Needs You!

 Photo Credit: Howland Public Library, used to give an idea of how the wall could look. Pictured is a Giant Robot Post-it Note Art Wall for illustration purposes.

Photo Credit: Howland Public Library, used to give an idea of how the wall could look. Pictured is a Giant Robot Post-it Note Art Wall for illustration purposes.

Do drop into the Howland Public Library most anytime, now through Saturday, August 11, to make your piece of Post-It Note Art for the library's Post-It Note Community Art Wall. The Community Art Wall is part of this year's Windows on Main Street public art installation, in which the Howland Public Library is participating. People of all ages are invited to create a Post-It Note sized creation for the Community Art Wall.

Windows on Main Street is an annual exhibition that pairs artists with storefronts along Beacon's Main Street. This year, 26 Main Street businesses are participating, and for the library's exhibit, you're invited to be one of the contributing artists. The exhibit will be up for one month.

A rainbow of sticky notes and a ton of art supplies will be available at the library to inspire you. This is a great impromptu summer activity as you're looking for free things to do in Beacon on Main Street. Please note, the Post-it Note art maker station may not be open during some programs at the library.

The library is located in the middle of Beacon's downtown at 313 Main St., near Glazed Over Donuts.

Local Filmmakers! A Night of New Paltz Shorts Seeking Submissions


Are you a local filmmaker? Do you have a short film, documentary, or music video you want to premiere?

New Paltz Shorts is calling all short films that have either been made by a filmmaker who lives in New Paltz, or have been shot in New Paltz, for a night of screenings on Monday, August 20 at the Water Street Market. Come see local films projected on a 40-foot screen, and support the growing talent pool in the Hudson Valley.

There is NO FEE to enter and the deadline is Wednesday, August 1, 2018. You can learn more about this event on their Facebook event page.   

Special thanks to The Cinehub for passing along this information. To keep up with what is going on in the film industry within the Hudson Valley, sign up for their newsletter!

Found Some Red Dot Beacon Open Studios and Saw This

While out perusing the studios, we happened to find the original artwork used for the Beacon Open Studios brochure map this year! The artist, RoArt, was showing at Spire Studios, and we featured her last year as well! She works at a foundry, and after finishing some painting work on a sculpture, she laid the paintbrushes down in a circle. She was captivated by the fanned-out arrangement and colors, so she captured the brush scene, then painted them vibrantly.

The tools in the picture are from metalsmith Kit Burke-Smith. She brought her tools down from her upstairs studio to show and tell curious visitors what they do and how they were used to create different pieces of jewelry.

The next house was on Orchard, but we were too late to go inside. Lucky for us, plenty of work was on display in the window! Then we headed over to see Stanley Lindwasser’s house/studio, down Lafayette Avenue opposite Tompkins Terrace, but the sky grew so ominous that we vowed to return tomorrow.

Where did you hop? 


Hunting for Beacon Open Studios! Follow the Red Dots


Part of the thrill of experiencing Beacon Open Studios is finding each studio somewhere in Beacon. Similar to how we hunt for Christmas lights at night, we drive or jog around town looking for the red dot in yards and sidewalks, signaling that there is an artist inside waiting to show you their actual studio and finished (or unfinished) art. Step inside to see the studio in this picture, and you'll discover the metalsmith Kit Burke-Smith at 5 Orchard Place.

You can pick up an actual map in different shops around town, or here at our office at A Little Beacon Blog. Once again, we are a proud sponsor of this event, as it’s one of our favorites of the indoor/outdoor events that define Beacon. Or you can get the map on your phone, by going to the Beacon Open Studios website, for a really slick experience to help you hit the artists' studios you want. 

Ambling is encouraged! 

Windows On Main Street 2018 Seeking Submissions For Artists and Sponsors - Deadline June 1st


Are you planning to take part in this year's Windows On Main Street here in Beacon? Get your submission ready, because the deadline to sign up as an artist or sponsr is Friday, June 1, 2018. The opening party will be held Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Oak Vino Wine Bar at 389 Main St.

A Little Beacon Blog is a proud sponsor of this event, and we look forward to seeing how it will turn out, and what kind of conversations it will start. Remember yarnbombing?

And the 2018 Theme Is...

There is no theme this year! Artists are encouraged to make this year's installation truly their own, with organizers' encouragement to share the best representation of the artist's work. Says Diana Currie, organizer of WOMS, "Our hope is that the freedom of having no theme this year will push participants to create some exceptional work."

Sponsorship packages  are open now and range from $25 to $250, which includes online and print advertisement options. Businesses who are interested in making their storefront windows available for the exhibition can email Participating artists can apply here. Artists must install their work at the partner business between Monday, August 6, and Friday, August 10.

Visit or email if you have questions or would like more information.

Beacon Open Studios Maps Are Here!


Our most favoritest artist holiday of the year! Beacon Open Studios is coming to artists' studios all over town, Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29! The kick-off party is the Friday night before, on April 27 at Oak Vino, from 6 to 9 pm, and you're invited! Get the event's brochure - with a map! - here at A Little Beacon Blog’s Office, at 291 Main Street, First Floor, First Door. A Little Beacon Blog is a proud sponsor of Beacon Open Studios!

We highly recommend participating in this weekend-only event. It only happens once a year. You get to see inside the home studios of artists you’ve never heard of, who produce incredible work. See our past articles on Beacon Open Studios, including views into a few of the studios. Some participating artists are professionals in other fields, who commute to other places during the week, and only show off their passionate works in their studios here in Beacon. You never know who you will discover as an artist, or why.  

Put this date in your calendar as a must-do. You can even check out the art while out walking, since the studios are all over Beacon. Planning studio visits is flexible and commitment-free! (Just make sure that you do in fact go.)

Newburgh Gets Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund From Rhinebeck Bank and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress


A six-block radius of Newburgh has access to newly established capital through a program called the Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund, through the efforts of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress and Rhinebeck Bank. According to a press release announcing the loan, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress has launched an economic development plan with a goal of improving the business climate in an approximate six square block area within the City of Newburgh, near furniture maker and studio space rental initiative Atlas Industries, and SUNY Orange’s City of Newburgh campus. The zone roughly includes an area bordered on the north by Catherine Street and on the south by South William Street. To the west, it is bordered by South Johnston Street and to the east by River Road. See the full map here.

Rhinebeck Bank is enhancing the efforts of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress on this project by "allocating $3 million of our loan portfolio to fund secured-term loans including commercial express loans, equipment and vehicle purchases, leasehold improvements and real estate transactions under favorable pricing, advance rates and terms to the prospective borrowers in the Newburgh Creative Neighborhood," according to their website.

Says Rhinebeck Bank's president and CEO, Mike Quinn in a press release from Pattern for Progress: “There’s a lot of great ideas, but just an idea doesn’t do it,” he said. “It needs financing [and] it needs advice.”

A business who has already benefited from the Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund is one of Newburgh's newest businesses, Liberty Street Bistro. Owner and Chef Michael Kelly discusses it here with Michelle Barone-Lepore.

For more information on applying for this loan, reach out to Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, at or call (845) 565-4900, or to Rhinebeck Bank's Richard J. Kolosky, Commercial Lending Director, Hudson Valley West, at or (845) 790-1538.

Editorial Note: Rhinebeck Bank is a sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog, but this article is not related to their campaign. A Little Beacon Blog learned about the program and thought readers would like to know more about it, as more Beaconites look to Newburgh for business space innitiatives.

Groups for Writers Proliferate in Beacon


It’s a good time to be a writer in Beacon! If you are an aspiring wordsmith, an accomplished author, or looking to find a supportive literary community to help you work though a current project, there are so many resources for you right now. Here’s a rundown of some of what’s currently on tap.

Get Lit Beacon

This fabulous new literary salon, started by talented local author Julie Chibbaro (National Jewish Book Award winner for Deadly, a Junior Library Guild Selection for Into the Dangerous World, and American Book Award winner for Redemption), meets on the second Sunday of each month at Oak Vino Wine Bar at 389 Main St. You can find out more on the group's Facebook Page, but the idea is that it’s a casual gathering where published and aspiring adult writers of any genre can hang out, have a glass of wine and share their work. Feeling like expressing yourself? There’s a sign-up sheet at the door if you want to read aloud. Chibbaro reveals the genesis of the group: “I started this event because I often hear about other writers in my town, but since I’m a homebody, I don’t get to meet them. This is a way for me to invite them out and hear their work.”

There have been two Get Lit salon events so far, and they were both inspiring and well-attended. The next one, scheduled for Sunday, March 11, will feature a reading by novelist and children’s book author Jennifer Castle.

High School Writing Lab & Zine Club

Are you a teen and a writer? Beacon has you covered, too. The Howland Library has a writing group for teens designed to provide support, assistance, and encouragement for students in grades 9-12 who are working on school or creative writing projects and college essays. There’s also a Zine Club for writers, artists, and photographers (the next meeting is Friday, March 16, from 3 to 5 pm). More info about this and other great library offerings for teens can be found here on the Howland Public LIbrary's website (the top says February but it is March's events). In the past, the library has offered help sessions for writers in high school.

Other Goings-On for Writers at the Howland Public Library

Also at the library is an ongoing Book Club, an upcoming book launch for Judith Filc (Thursday, April 12). The Howland Library just hosted (on Saturday, March 3) a memoir-writing workshop for adults with Donna Minkowitz, the author of two memoirs, Ferocious Romance (a Lambda Literary Award winner) and Growing Up Golem (a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award). Donna became known for her coverage of gay and lesbian politics and culture in The Village Voice from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, for which she won a GLAAD Media Award. She is a former feature writer for the Village Voice, and has also written for New York magazine, Ms., The Collagist, The Advocate, and Newsday. She teaches with the New York Writers Workshop and independently - sometimes in Beacon!

The Artist’s Way – A Creative Cluster

For folks who want to reflect on their own creative process, or tap into something that needs unclogged, this Creative Cluster is an exciting and creative group that meets at A Little Beacon Space on Sundays. It loosely follows the classic book, The Artist's Way, created and written by Julia Cameron. The group is being “lightly led” by Katie Hellmuth Martin. According to the event page's description, this is a “gentle group, where people who are reading the book and going through their journey can share their thoughts and connect with others.” Artists, Non-Artists, Regular People, and People Who Want To Be An Artist But Think They Are Far From Being An Artist are welcome. This session runs from March to May and is full, but check back for info about the next session. Lots of answers to all of your questions about participating can be found here.

Classes, Readings and Book Clubs

Around town, several writing groups who would like to remain anonymous meet regularly at various watering holes and other locations. At their meetings, more active or professional writers workshop their projects and critique one another’s work. There's even a secret writers' group who won't reveal their details, but we can tell you that they meet inside of The Telephone Building, which is also the location of A Little Beacon Blog's office. They are so elusive and quiet as they hide behind their laptops, that we can only tell you that it’s for writers who have been published in national magazines and so forth.

If you are interested in small writers workshops or classes, poets Ruth Danon will soon be offering some in Beacon, while Jeffrey McDaniel offers workshops in Cold Spring. And Julie Chibbaro, of Get Lit Salon fame, also offers a writing workshop that is mostly for fiction and non-fiction writers.

On Facebook, there are a few Book Clubs, like The Beacon Book Club, and The Beacon Moms Book Club.

Finally, we can’t pass up a chance to big-up Binnacle Books at 321 Main St., Beacon, NY. They offer an impressive selection of books, a willingness to order anything we want as long as it’s available, and a number of great readings, events and book club meetings.

Plus, see here for the great lengths gone to by Beacon Reads, the little bookstore next to the Howland Public Library. Proceeds from their book sales (of donations and retired library books) go toward the Howland Public Library. In this photo below, a volunteer from Beacon Reads hand-delivered a copy of The Artist's Way to the first meeting of the creative cluster.

 A volunteer from Beacon Reads (left) hand-delivered a copy of  The Artist's Way  to a study group participant, Martha P. Humphreys (right). Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A volunteer from Beacon Reads (left) hand-delivered a copy of The Artist's Way to a study group participant, Martha P. Humphreys (right).
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Storefront Comes to Life with Book Signing by Photographer Ronnie Farley


For those who like to find tucked away events that may fly past your radar, then the book signing (dare I call it a pop-up book signing?) by renowned photographer Ronnie Farley is for you. It takes place over October's Second Saturday weekend, Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15, from noon to 8 pm. The storefront space is that of the designer Gwenno James, and is across from The Roundhouse, and down the street from Dogwood.

Ronnie has just released a new photo book "documenting the 'chemtrails' (albedo modification) and other geoengineering effects on the atmosphere in the lower Hudson Valley in New York," according to her website. Books, prints, paintings and T-shirts by Ronnie will be available. This is your chance to get art that is otherwise hard to find. You'll also get exposure to a special performance by Craig Chin of Errant Space: Ambient Soundscapes from 5 to 7 pm.

Ronnie lives in Beacon, and is a well-respected and documented photographer. If you'd like to experience some inspiration, check out her body of work below (and check out her impactful portrait photography here). This may push you over the edge to add this book signing to your to-see list for a wildly busy Second Saturday (we have the full Second Saturday Guide for you here!).

Ronnie Farley is an award-winning fine art and editorial photographer. Ronnie's books include Women of the Native Struggle: Portraits and Testimony of Native American Women (Crown), Cowgirls: Contemporary Portraits of the American West (Crown/ Thunder’s Mouth Press), Diary of a Pedestrian: A New York Photo Memoir (Third Eye Press), New York Water Towers (KMW Studio) and the latest, Ghost Plane (Third Eye Press).

Ronnie's work has been shown both nationally and internationally, and has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Her work is also in the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York, The National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, The Nicolaysen Museum (Casper, Wyoming), and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame (Fort Worth, Texas). Her images have appeared in Rolling Stone, USA Today, Sierra Magazine, Western Horseman and The Sunday Times of London.

In addition to her own photography, Ronnie Farley’s career includes working for the Associated Press in New York City over a span of 20 years as a photographer, a photo librarian, and a national photo editor.