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Organization History

PORT CHESTER COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS…THE CASTLE

            And how we became who we are…

 

1981:  Mayor Peter Iasillo appoints committee of artists to head the new Port Chester Council for the Arts. First annual Byram River Arts Festival is held at the Port Chester Marina.

The eighties

 

·        Historic Homes bus tour opens up our first year activities.

·        Children’s Arts Workshop starts at all Port Chester elementary schools

·        Summer Arts Camp starts at Don Bosco Center then moves to Girl Scout House

·        Senior Arts Workshop starts at Don Bosco, then Drew St., Terrace Ave.

·        Camille Linen becomes first executive director.

·        First all day kindergarten starts at Park Avenue run by PCCFA, funded by NY State.

·        Port Chester schools adopt PCCFA all day kindergarten idea after 2 year pilot administered by the Arts Council at Park Avenue.

·        First daily after-school programs start at all Port Chester elementary schools.

·        Denise Colangelo becomes Arts Council business administrator.

·        Halloween Window Painting run by Arts Council volunteers.

·        Seniors from Don Bosco work with children at the ArtsCamp.

·        Port Chester Arts Council becomes a not-for-profit arts education corporation.

·        Kinderart, first artist-in-residency program, starts in all Port Chester elementary schools with artists Brigitte Loritz and Lou DelBianco.

·        National Heritage Trust grant is given to study use of Embassy Theater as vaudeville museum, administered by Chuck Ferrero.

·        First community arts center is established at Summerfield Methodist Church named The CASTLE, an acronym for Center for the Arts, Social,Teaching and Learning Experiences.

·        After school programs are moved to the CASTLE, funded in part by NYS Department of Social Services.

·        Port Chester Recreation adult theater programs under the direction of Arts Council.

the nineties

·        First teen musical theater winter workshop presents Godspell at The CASTLE.

·        Tenth anniversary of Byram River Arts Festival . Brigitte Loritz, chairperson.

·        First theater season at new CASTLE :“Crimes of the Heart” directed by Don Bohl; Children’s concert by Storyteller Lou DelBianco, Festival Latino with John Mecca’s Alma Solana; Adult musical “Pajama Game”.

·        “Seasons” an original musical with music by composer Donna Cribari

book by Camille Linen is funded by Kraft General Foods for school audiences at the CASTLE.

·        Talking Circle with Mohawk elderwoman Lorraine Canoe establishes women’s group

·        IBM work family grant for children’s after school programs.

·        Castle Tots, pre-K program, is offered for four years .

·        Port Chester Recreation contracts with Arts Council to provide summer theater programs for children and teens.

·        Denise Colangelo assumes role of Executive Director, Camille Linen becomes Artistic/Education Director in administrative realignment.

·        Sue Balfe becomes Office Administrator

·        Original play, “A Horse Named Jack” by Pamela Palmer Mutino premieres at the CASTLE, directed by Anthony Valbiro.

·        BOCES sublets CASTLE space for ESL  classes.

·        Space usage becomes issue at Summerfield, CASTLE moves to St. Peter’s Church.

·        Teen music theater program is honored by NYS Recreation Department, receives funding from Westchester Arts Council.

·        Byram River Arts Festival combines with Port Chester Day.

·        New theater space built at St. Peter’s premieres

·        Collaboration with BOCES Southern Westchester, Port Chester Schools begins with artist in residence programs coordinated by Camille Linen.

·        Community Development Block Grant awarded to Castle Kids.

 the nineties

 

·         Volunteers help expand space for Castle programs at St. Peter’s

·         Collaboration with Edison School after school program

·         Origenes, Spanish language theater, starts at the Castle under the direction of Jose Costa

 

Twentieth anniversary…..2001

 

·         Full season of theater presented in celebration of our 20th anniversary

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” directed by Christina Colangelo,

“Baby” directed by Carin Zakes. “ Lover and Other Strangers”directed

by Peter Green and “Talkin About America” directed by Donna Cribari

and Denise Colangelo.

·        Council serves audiences of 3000 and participants of 250 in theater

programs; 2000+ elementary school children in educational programs.

 

                            Twenty first century highlights

·        Arts Council moves out of St. Peter’s Church

·        Literacy through the Arts program is established K-5 in Port Chester

Elementary schools. Ten-twelve artists work with teachers and students to bring curriculum related arts activities to the classroom.

·        Village of Port Chester announces plans for $2. million community arts center building.

·        After school programs (Castle Kids) in cooperation with the Port Chester Board of Education return to Port Chester elementary school sites: King Street, Park Avenue, Kennedy.

·        Presbyterian Church new home for the summer ArtsCamp.

·        211 South Ridge Street, Port Chester new office of the Arts Council

 

 

           

 

 

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