I guess this is just one of those times I’m going to get on a soapbox. Just a wee little one, but a soapbox none-the-less. Not only that, I’m targeting my audience a little.
Many of you reading this will have benefited from the forum Nancy Ciesla, director of the Progress Energy Art Gallery in New Port Richey, (NPR) Florida, makes available to local poets and writers and artists.
· Two Friday nights a month for poets and poetry
· One Friday night a month for authors
· FREE promotion and use of the Gallery
· FREE admission for attendees
· A consignment sales bookshelf for your work
If you’re local, you probably know the Gallery, and the whole Main Street NPR program are in financial distress because the economy on the whole is in the tank. Another issue is that New Port Richey doesn’t see the value of Main Street NPR and the people it draws to the area.
Poet William Boden said it best last night when he said he’d never been to ‘downtown’ New Port Richey and seen what a delightful place it is.
Mr. Boden didn’t go into detail, but those of us who live here know about the river walk, riverside parks, shops, restaurants, and of course, the Gallery.
The NPR board is shortsighted. They don’t think Main Street, a separate non-profit organization, should continue to be funded. The deadlock in the voting was only broken when the hard working director of Main Street NPR, who was also on the NPR board, resigned her position at Main Street so she could vote in favor of continued funding. The Gallery, by the way is non-profit. In addition to what they offer writers, the Gallery offers a place for high school art students to display their work in a public setting.
Here’s what I’m suggesting:
If you are a poet or author, and have some of your work on hand – sign a few copies and donate them to the Gallery for Gallery sales exclusively; not consignment sales.
If you’re an artist – especially if you’ve been ‘shown’ at the Gallery, donate one or more of your pieces.
We benefit from the Progress Energy Art Gallery – it’s time to give something back. Be an artist or writer who cares about his home community. Yes, we write, paint, sculpt, photograph, quilt, or whatever our craft to sell them, but here is an opportunity to give back. It doesn’t have to be much. The Gallery has four of my books, Sometimes I Hear Voices (poetry), Alice’s Goldfinch (poetry), and The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven (fiction). After the readings last night, I told Gallery Director Nancy Ciesla to leave them on the shelf, but sell them for the Gallery, not as consignment sales.
They won’t amount to much by themselves, but if we who benefit from the Gallery’s generosity give back, even a little, we continue to benefit by continuing to have a place to strut our stuff.
You can discuss it with Director Ciesla at the Gallery, located at 6231 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, FL 34652. The hours of operation are Wednesday – Saturday, noon – 6:00 PM. The gallery phone number is (727) 848-6500, or you can email the Gallery. Poetry nights are the second and fourth Friday nights from 6:30 – 8:30 PM, and Evenings with the Authors are the third Friday of the month at the same time. And if you’re reading this and in the area, stop in. The current show is beautiful digital photography and sculpted driftwood pieces. You can make a day of it between the shops, parks, restaurants and the Gallery.
If you’re an NPR writer, poet or artist, lend a hand. And if you’re not in this area, consider doing something like this where you live.