Not Much Art Found at Art All Night Event

Boyd's 'Girl' painting

By: Christine Martinsky 

When I was on my way to Lawrenceville for the Art All Night event, I was looking forward to an evening of culture in an intimate, charming town, however that quickly dissolved.

If you are familiar with Lawrenceville, it is a small but vibrant town that is currently trying to renovate itself. Along with this idea, the town is dotted with fashion boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and a small number of other things to make it “hip”.

Because I have been to Lawrenceville several times and am familiar with the area, I had made some assumptions of what the Art All Night event was going to be like.

Previously, I had gone to an event in Lawrenceville around Christmas time, which is called the Joy of Cookies Tour. You walk through the town of Lawrenceville, experiencing the atmosphere and shops while the places participating in the tour offer samples of delicious cookies with a recipe so you can make the cookie at home.

Perhaps it was an ignorant thought, but I had assumed that the Art All Night event would follow a similar pattern. Obviously there would be no cookies or samples involved, but I, as well as my brother who had accompanied me thought the art would be spread throughout the town in various shops.

As we drove down the main drag of Lawrenceville, confusion set in. Why, at midnight did it look like nothing was going on? Nearly everything was closed, there were some people out, as there should be on a Saturday night, but it hardly looked like there was an event going on that was “one of Pittsburgh’s most popular”.

Eventually, we decided to get off of Butler Street, the main street in Lawrenceville and travel further up the hill where we began to see some small crowds by the Iron City Brewery.

We decided after we had searched for the event, and parking for so long it was a good thing we didn’t need to pay to get in and it might be interesting to see the inside of the brewery.

But, as with everything else, that quickly changed. We walked down the incline of the brewery and into a mass of people who smelled as if they hadn’t washed themselves in a week or so and a line of porta potties. After having to weave through the crowds smoking their cancer sticks, we walked into the brewery and into another dimension.

People were mindlessly walking and dancing around in a daze like zombies, perhaps having taken part in some other festivities prior that evening. As for the art; It was almost as if it was high-school art night. Because anyone could submit art, no matter what the age, the show was a sloppy mess. To have the concept that there are no requirements in order to participate is good in theory, but if you are someone who wishes to see a show on a higher level, and not something like children’s finger painting, I do not suggest the Art All Night event.

There was the occasional talent however hidden in all of the mess, such as 22-year-old Eric Boyd from West Mifflin. Boyd submitted a painting titled ‘Girl’, in which he used ink, and ‘cob-web’ glue, or model airplane glue.

Boyd’s artistic style ranges from neo-expressionist to abstract. According to Boyd, ‘Girl’ is more abstract.

“I use ink which, when used on canvas, can be very tricky. I usually do two or three pictures on a canvas before the ink sets in and I can finish a piece. I also use movie cob-web glue that you’d see in a haunted house or Indiana Jones film, etc. The glue is great for everything from chunky bumps to fine, thin texture lines,” Boyd said.

This is not Boyd’s first rodeo as they say, as he has sold paintings at auctions, galleries, and on the internet. He has been commissioned for local bands to do album covers, posters, tee-shirts, etc. But it seems as though he shared some of the same feelings as I did about the event.

“The Art-All-Night show is definitely different. It’s a lot of fakers, freaks, hipsters, and people in-between; there’s a guy I saw wearing a vinyl fetish suit with a zipper in the butt. It’s a lot of fun. I did the Art-All-Night last year and I didn’t like it. Last year I didn’t sell my piece, though. This year I got a few offers, so that’s probably why I liked it this time,” Boyd said.

By the time we escaped from the brewery the only real thing we took with us was the smell of smoke in our hair and clothes and a negative view of the All Night Art show. Though there may have been a few exceptions, it was certain that the only thing left brewing in Iron City Brewery was the skunky smell of stale talent.

Lawrenceville’s 14th Annual Art All Night

Flyer for Lawrenceville's 14th Art All Night

By: Christine Martinsky

This Saturday, April 30, Lawrenceville will celebrate its 14th year of Art All Night. The annual event which celebrates the arts, community, and creativity has become increasingly popular with locals and out-of-towners over the years to return this year with extended hours and art.

Introduced by residents of Lawrenceville and supporters of the unique community, the event which was created in 1998 debuted with 101 artist pieces. Last year, it incorporated work from 1,189 visual artists and 35 performance artists.

Art All Night is completely organized by a team of volunteers who are responsible for everything from prepping the venue area, to assisting with registration, to constructing exhibit panels. Their work is generously supported by a range of sponsors and donors each year.

The cultural gathering, which takes place at a different venue each year, will begin earlier this year in order to cater to families and children’s activities.

Children’s activities will take place from 4 to 8pm on Saturday and will include such events as a community quilt, puppets from Pittsburgh lending library, button making, and more.

In addition, Art All Night will provide live performances, DJ performances, opportunities to create art on-site, and a blend of visual art on display for everyone to observe over a 24-hour period.

One of those artists is Coca Flan. Art All Night is Flan’s first big event as an artist and she is thrilled to showcase her work.

“Prior to this, I’ve been stuck in a studio, really just feeling everything out and finding myself as an artist. I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve created, Flan said”.

Both participation and attendance is free to everyone and is located in the former Iron City Brewery on Liberty Avenue. Beginning at 4pm on Saturday, events will conclude at 2pm on Sunday.

If you are to participate, you may submit one piece of artwork. Online artist registration is available at www.artallnight.org where artists submitting any work must show a photo ID both during registration and pickup. All work must be ready to be displayed in some fashion. Onsite registration takes place on Saturday, April 30, from 10am to 2pm, and art pickup is Sunday, May 1 from 2:30pm to 5:30 pm.

If you wish to submit artwork, volunteer, or for additional information, visit www.artallnight.org.

Event Facts

What: Art All Night Lawrenceville

When: April 30-May 1, 2011

Time: 4 pm Saturday to 2 pm Sunday

Where: Iron City Brewery, 3340 Liberty Ave

Schedule

Art Drop-Off – 10 am to 2 pm Saturday

The Show – 4 pm Saturday to 2 pm Sunday

Children’s Activities – 4 to 8 pm Saturday

Art Pick-Up – 2:30 to 5:30 pm Sunday

Website/Email:

info@artallnight.org

http://www.artallnight.org

Phone: 412-235-1950

There’s Much to be Discovered in Canonsburg

Canonsburg, Pa

By: Christine Martinsky

If you drive through Canonsburg at the beginning of July, you’ll find the whole town is lined with chairs. The chairs are reserved spots for the second largest Fourth of July parade in Pennsylvania, which runs two hours long. The day is a big event in Canonsburg, but if you’re traveling there on any other of the 364 days of the year, there’s still plenty to do.

Canonsburg is rich in history and significance. A borough of Washington County, Canonsburg is just 18 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It was home to singing sensations Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and group The Four Coins. It’s site to well known Sarris candies, John McMillan’s Log School, Roberts House, and Canonsburg Armory.

John McMillan’s Log School sits in front of Canonsburg Middle School, and is in the same general vicinity as Roberts House and the Canonsburg Armory. All three are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Log School was built in the 1780s by Rev. John McMillan, and was the beginning of Jefferson (of what would be Washington and Jefferson College) College. While you cannot actually go inside the cabin, you can view the outside of it. The situation is the same with the Roberts House.

The house was built at some point between 1802 and 1808. The house is historical because Jefferson College’s first president, John Watson died inside of the house and John Roberts ran a store on site from 1808-1815. The house was also home of William Smith, Professor of Greek. As for the Canonsburg Armory, it was built in the year 1938 for $85,548. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1989 and sold to the Borough of Canonsburg for $268,000 in 2010.

If all of the history has made you work up an appetite, swing on over to the McDonalds on Bobby Vinton Boulevard. Inside is a large display of collectibles and autographed photographs of Canonsburg’s Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and The Four Coins. The memorabilia has come from fans of the stars and is enjoyed by all.

If you’re still hungry or have a sweet tooth, Sarris Candies is a must. The business, which started in founder Frank Sarris’ basement, has been a success ever since he started. The shop today is part chocolate factory and part ice cream parlor, which according to their website, fills “an area the size of a football field with over 100 yards of chocolate, penny candy, ice cream and life-like plush toys.”

Frank Sarris has since passed away, but his family, including Frank Sarris’ son and the company’s vice-president Bill Sarris keep the company running and with Easter coming up, the stores most popular time according to Sarris, it’s a good thing. Another important part of the equation to the success of the store is the employees, who at the stores peak have up to 435 employees working, according to Sarris.

The workers turn out an assortment of products, including holiday items, favors for occasions like weddings and graduations, and their most popular candies chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter meltaways.

When asked if the business has changed since Frank’s passing, Bill replied, “His physical presence is greatly missed, however as a family business, we move forward to preserve and to continue to build the Sarris Brand. We have an obligation to our customer and to our employees to move forward and continue to produce the finest products available,” Sarris said.

Though it may be a small town, Canonsburg has a lot to offer and is a unique place. It has birthed some of the greatest stars and is home to much history. These attractions just scratch the surface of Canonsburg, as the town offers much more to be discovered.

Additional information:

John McMillan’s Log School: 25 East College Street

Roberts House: 225 N. Central Ave.

Canonsburg Armory: West College Street and North Central Avenue

Sarris Candies: 511 Adams Avenue

1.800.255.7771

http://www.sarriscandies.com

Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm

Saturday 9am-9pm

Sunday 11am-9pm

McDonalds: 100 Bobby Vinton Boulevard

724.746.2716

http://www.mcpennsylvania.com

Are Students Health Being Ignored?

Are smokers posing a risk to others health?

By: Christine Martinsky

If you can’t get fresh air outside, where can you get it?  This is the question that is posed to many students every day at California University of Pennsylvania. On a daily basis, non-smokers must walk through toxic clouds of tar and chemicals on their way to class or activities and it doesn’t seem like things are going to change anytime in the near future.

Despite the debates about smoking, there’s no way around the fact that smoking is bad for you. According to MedlinePlus, cigarette smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, as well as many other cancers and health problems which include lung disease, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, and cataracts.

But this is just the beginning; consider the damage the actions are doing to non-participants. According to Mayoclinic.com, secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, which contains thousands of toxic chemicals like benzene, carbon monoxide, nickel, lead, and formaldehyde can linger in the air for hours. Third hand smoke, the residue that clings to a smoker’s clothes, hair, etc also pose a risk.

The risks of secondhand smoke continue, and sound nearly as dangerous as smoking itself; with the individual being at jeopardy of getting lung disease, heart disease, and cancer (Mayoclinic).

According to Dr. Jennifer Preiss, doctor of internal medicine and pediatrics and lead physician at Green Tree Medical Associates, people who are exposed to smokers on a regular basis, such as those on campus, are at risk of developing asthma, chronic sinus infections, hoarseness, and laryngitis. When asked if she thought young adults smoked because they didn’t think it harmed them, she replied “Absolutely. The longer they smoke, the more danger they’re in of developing lung cancer and heart disease”.

So what is Cal U doing to protect its students? In 2008 there was a discussion about California University’s smoking policy as a result of the Pennsylvania legislature passing a Clean Indoor Act. According to Associate Dean for Student Conduct Jim Pflugh, the initial system-wide decision was that the act required all 14 PASSHE campuses to be completely smoke free but further analysis of the act and discussions with the various employee unions lead to this decision being modified with only buildings being required to be smoke-free.

“Following the final analysis, California University applied the smoke-free status to all university buildings, some of which had previously allowed smoking or were only partially smoke-free, Pflugh said.” Normally, changes to any university policy can be recommended by the University Forum to the President and would ultimately have to be approved by the Council of Trustees. This change was implemented slightly differently since it was mandated by a new state law,” Pflugh said.

Pflugh added if someone encounters an individual smoking in a building, they can file a complaint against the individual. If the individual is a student, they may file it through Pflugh’s office, Student Conduct. Complaints against professional employees should be directed toward to the employees’ immediate superior or supervisor.

Needed Change

Sisco in Miami.

By: Christine Martinsky 

Sometimes, the unlikeliest of experiences bring the greatest meaning to life. That was the case for 25-year-old Galen Sisco of Bethel Park. On a journey that Sisco thought he was embarking on to help others, he got more than he bargained for.

Not so long ago, Sisco found himself in a situation that is familiar to many. A recent college graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Sisco struggled to pin down a steady job. After a string of frustrating events concerning employment between Sisco and his friend Kevin Saftner, 25 from Hickory the two began to think outside of the box.

“Kevin and I decided that we were unhappy working for ourselves and that if we wanted things to change and we wanted to be happy, we had to start working for other people who needed help,” Sisco said.

That’s when the concept for “Needed Change” was born. Sisco and Saftner decided that along with friend Drew Dayton, 26, Franklin, they would travel the United States, live among the homeless, and document their experience. Their hope was that through this, people would see the preconceived notions they had of the homeless community were false.

“Our goal for Needed Change was to raise awareness about homelessness and to get many people involved to help the cause,” Sisco said.

“We wanted to show that homeless people were not all drug addicts, or criminals, or bad people,” he added. In order to fully achieve this, the three lived as if they were homeless.

Leaving Pittsburgh on March 2, 2010, Sisco, Saftner, and Dayton begain their journey in Miami. The trio spent about five weeks in Miami, continued on to Charlotte, N.C., for eight days, New Orleans, L.A., for eight days, and ended their trip with a week in New York City, N.Y.

“We traveled to each city by car, but when we got to each city, we ditched or hid the car until we left that city because we did not want to have the advantages of an automobile, since most homeless do not,” Sisco said.

The three got a taste of how rough it can be in the streets. Each day brought the question of where they would eat, and where they would get the money to eat. They were even robbed at one point losing two laptops, two cameras, microphones, sound equipment, and personal possessions. Sisco estimates they lost between $5,000-$6,000 worth of equipment; equipment which was essential to the project.

After that incident the three were as Sisco put it, “deflated, but not defeated.” Too determined to give up, the trio posted what happened to their Website and fan page and immediately received responses from friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Because of the kindness of those individuals, the three were able to carry on with their mission.

“Through those people, we were able to obtain enough equipment to continue filming. Right there I knew this project meant something important. It was another one of those life-altering experiences…something as its core was meant to help people in a terrible situation,” Sisco said.

Even when the journey seemed to be complicated, it brought forth life-altering experiences that no one expected. While in Miami, the three met Raivis, a 22-year-old from Latvia. Raivis was living on the streets of Miami without any family or friends. That didn’t last long, as someone who was initially a stranger became a best friend. The three were so taken with Raivis’ story, they couldn’t help but spend time with him and help him any way they could.

“By the time we left Miami, Raivis was with us and he still lives with me to this day here in California. He’s become on of my best friends, along with all of our other circle of friends and is bartending, working in a restaurant kitchen, as well as doing home remodeling. It’s amazing to me to see him go from someone living on the streets making only $7 an hour passing out flyers for clubs and pool parties in Miami to a self-sustaining individual,” Sisco said.

Raivis wasn’t the only discovery Sisco made on his journey. Sisco met 35-year-old Nathan, who happens to be his long-lost half-brother. Prior to meeting, Sisco never had the opportunity to get into contact with his half-brother. However, Nathan tracked Sisco down through the groups “Needed Change” Facebook fan page. The connection detoured the group, then with Raivis in tow, to New Orleans. There they educated themselves further on the homeless stigma and met Nathan.

“Needless to say, meeting my brother was incredible,” Sisco said. We look the same, talk the same, share a plethora of piercings and tattoos, stand the same, have the same posture…all of these things we shared and for 25 years I never knew it,” Sisco said. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you Facebook is a waste of time,” he added.

For now, everything has slowed down with the project, with friend and editor Ed Ringer living across the country in San Francisco and working a full-time job.

“His work schedule is very demanding and we know that getting our project together is going to take some time, but since this was partly his idea and that he is doing it for free as well as on his own time, we are more than OK with that,” Sisco said.

For now, life has returned back to normal, but the trip will remain a memorable one.

“Embarking on this journey really helped our family bond in that it tied up some loose ends that needed to be, Sisco said.”

Partner Saftner is just as grateful for the journey.

“The culture shock was how caring most people were,” Safter said.

“Most of them [the homeless] were good people who wanted more and just ran into a patch of bad luck, Saftner said,” It wasn’t all drugs and losers, as people say,” according to Sattner. “There were people like that, but not the majority by any means,” Saftner said.

“Overall, it was a humbling experience that makes me appreciate the things I have, like family, a home, and food,” according to Saftner. Not having the basic things we take for granted changes your life, changes your whole outlook forever, and I always will be able to appreciate that,” Saftner said.

Liz Rogers

I enjoyed Liz Rogers visit to speak to us.  It was very insightful to hear from the managing editor of a local, but well-respected and successful publication.

Though she shared a lot, I thought two of the things that stuck out the most were just how important description is in your writing. You want to captivate your audience by describing the subject thoroughly, adding any emotion they’re displaying. The other important piece of advice was to take any multi-media training you can. With news forms moving from print to digital, this is a necessity in today’s world.

Profile Story

For my profile story I interviewed a former Cal U student, Galen Sisco. Galen, along with a few friends ventured across the country and filmed a documentary, “Needed Change”, in order to raise awareness about the homeless community. It was very interesting to hear of his experiences and gave me a new perspective on the stigma.

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