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East Hampton Arts and Cultural Commission Created

After failed attempts in the past, the East Hampton Town Council has now enacted an Arts and Cultural Commission ordinance

The members of the new East Hampton Arts and Cultural Commission met recently. Since a chairperson has yet to be elected, councilman Thom Cordeiro called the meeting to order. With three members missing, there was a consensus that the election of a chairperson and vice chairperson be postponed until the next meeting.

Cordeiro reviewed the ordinance that established the Arts and Cultural Commission with the members that were there. The Commission will have nine members with three one-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2011, three two-year terms taking them to December 2012 and three will have three-year near-terms ending in 2013. There is still one more commissioner to be appointed.

Steven Kelly, a sophomore at East Hampton High School, is a non-voting liaison between the commission and the high school. Kelley has been involved with YPCCA and Podium Players. He will spread the word about commission activities and get people at the high school involved.

Sue Berescik, director of the East Hampton Library, will be attending meetings as staff.

Cordeiro asked members to tell the group about their past experience that would be pertinent to the commission.

Elizabeth Sennett said, “I have lived in East Hampton over 40 years. I've been an artist for all those years and was one of the founders of the East Hampton Arts Association. I'm the program chair for the Association this year. This Commission will be very helpful in program planning so we stop conflicting with events of other groups.”

Carol Lane directs the play at Center School.

“There will be about 46 cast and 146 chorus members this year. I wish more people would come to school concerts. I am also involved in Goff House. Goff House wants to fit into the community and be of service,” Lane said.

Shirley Brooks represents The Chatham Historical Society and reminded those gathered that the mission of the historical society is to preserve the historical culture of East Hampton.

Rachel Mansfield is director of YPCCA, which is a four-week summer theater in July. For K-5th grade, there will be a two-week summer YFCCA Jr. camp.

“We expanded to Durham last summer. This is our 29th year. We will have a scholarship fundraiser with the proceeds going to a high school senior. I want to see us bring theater arts to the community in an affordable manner,” Mansfield said.

Valerie Bozzi told the group that Podium Players is 53 years old.

“We are a small group who likes to connect with other arts groups. We have a lot to offer young people. Networking and coordination are valuable. A commission gets more attention and will enable us to pool resources,” Bozzi said.

Kelley, who is also involved with Old Home Days, suggested the group have a booth this year to gather names of artists and talk to the community about the commission. This will be discussed at the next meeting.

The group decided that having a website is very important.

The regular meeting will be the third Thursday of the month. There was a consensus that they need to promote what's great about East Hampton. At the next meeting each member will bring upcoming events of the organization they represent so they can start putting together a calendar. The commissioners are committed to doing a survey of artists in the community to be listed in a directory because they feel there are many artists in East Hampton that no one knows about.

Anyone who wants to know more about the East Hampton Arts and Cultural Commission can contact Thom Cordeiro at tcordeiro@easthamptonct.org.

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