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  • April 26, 2017 1:58 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)


    The Elk County Council on the Arts presents a Charles Wish Original Painting Viewing event and exclusive Studio Tour at the Walnut Street Art House. An opening reception will be held Friday, May 5, 5-9PM in the ECCOTA Gallery at 237 Main Street in Ridgway. The collection will be on display for public view until May 26.

    Charles Wish (b. Los Angeles, California, 1971) is an American painter best known for visually fusing Regionalism imagery with 9th - 19th century South Asian symbolism and motifs. (Debut show: CPop Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA - 2005)

    Charles and his wife Abbi Peters have happily resided in Elk County for over 10 years now. However, since Charles is represented by several galleries on both coasts, it has been difficult to show his work here in Ridgway, the town which is now home base for his main studio.

    That’s why ECCOTA is so pleased to announce that select pieces of his work will be on public view followed by a personally hosted tour of his studio space at the Walnut Street Art House from 9PM-12AM, immediately after the opening reception at the gallery. The studio tour is limited and reservations must be made at ECCOTA.com.

    To view more of Charles Wish’s work visit CharlesWish.com.

    Opening Reception: May 5 5-9PM in the ECCOTA Gallery, 237 Main Street, Ridgway

    Studio Tour: May 5 9PM-12AM (reservations required at ECCOTA.com)
    Viewing will run: May 1 – 26, 2017

    For more information, please contact Sara Frank, Gallery Coordinator at art@eccota.com or 814-772-7051.  


  • May 24, 2016 4:31 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)


    ECCOTA is honored to be one of the first galleries in the area with the privilege of displaying this historic collection of photographs by William T. Clarke.

    “Wood on Glass” consists of an exhibit of photographs by little known and long forgotten itinerant photographer William T. Clarke (1859-1930), a Rochester, NY native who chronicled the lumber industry and its dramatic impact on north central Pennsylvania during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Clarke’s evocative legacy is showcased in “Wood on Glass” with custom prints made from glass plate negatives, now housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in private hands.

    Clarke’s images graphically illustrate the epic transformation of the Commonwealth’s forests and ways of life between ca. 1890 and 1917 in Potter, McKean and Clinton Counties.

    Produced in-house by The State Museum, the “Wood on Glass” exhibit was co-created by Archivist Linda Ries along with photo historians Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell who served as Scholars-in-Residence at the State Archives in 2005 to document Clarke’s photography. Since discovering a cache of Clarke’s original glass plate negatives in upstate New York, Ostman and Littell – whose work on Clarke has been featured in the Smithsonian Magazine and Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine– have collaborated to draw attention to the photographer’s collections and are authoring a book to interpret the photographer’s vast visual legacy.

    The exhibit will be on display from May 27 - June 24 in the ECCOTA Gallery. Visit the opening reception Friday, May 27 from 6-9PM for a special presentation from the Lumber Heritage Region including original photographs, 1901 camera on display and a demonstration of the glass plate negative process.

    Opening Reception: May 27, 6PM-9PM in the ECCOTA Gallery, 237 Main Street, Ridgway

    Show will run: May 27 – June 24


  • April 26, 2016 12:42 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)


    If you think you know water coloring, the chances are, you don't, not until you've seen “The Mysteries of Liquid”, an assembly of thirty water color paintings by Grover Slater on display at the Elk County Council on the Arts. Located at 237 Main Street, Ridgway, the Grand Opening was held on April 22nd. If you missed it, the good news is that the showing will last until May 21st. Take advantage of the delight, and visit the gallery open from eleven A. M. until 5 P. M. weekdays with extended hours on weekends.

    In the arts, stagnation is death, while the real artist grows, evolves, finds new ways to express his medium focusing on varied subjects. Grover Slater is evolving. Where at one time, he had focused on presenting splashes of colors, some so bright, sunglasses couldn't mute them, this collection features solid colors so pronounced that they jolt the senses and produce a “seem that we've been there effect.” We not only see but hear “The Amish Boy” commanding his horse, the wagon wheels rumbling through his field into dusk. We feel the chill of winter in our bones in “Blue Snow Barn”, and we anticipate the launch, the flapping expanse of wings from the “Rose Spoonbill.”


    Slater's paintings present the entire spectrum of the color wheel. In “Hollyhocks”, they merge while in others like, “Cupola Barn,” color meets and shape with substance. Slater's paintings demonstrate conscience and caution of an awareness regarding how warm colors and cool colors in the same piece may meet yet deliver a clean effect.

    Color schemes intentionally compliment in “Gold Arches” and “Pink Shutters” to produce and accent colors. They influence the viewer, maybe produce a nostalgic illusion, a mood while the colors maintain their values. They merge and enhance the harmony and build on the relationship of the colors that have been chosen.

    One need not be a connoisseur of art or a critic to appreciate “The Mysteries of Liquid.” Visit and look at the paintings, appreciate the varied subjects, the “stilled life” captured on paper and framed under glass. It's understood how one might be shocked by the reminiscence produced.  Be open to the opportunity to see from the artist's point of view. A moment's refection on the subject will be it's own reward.


  • April 13, 2016 2:39 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)

    The Elk County Council on the Arts is pleased to present “Mysteries of Liquid” featuring stained glass by Michael Orshal and watercolor paintings by Grover Slater. An opening reception will be held Friday, April 22, 6-9PM in the ECCOTA Gallery at 237 Main Street in Ridgway. The show will be on display and available for purchase until May 21.

    “Mysteries of Liquid” refers to the liquid state of both stained glass and watercolor paint. Everyone is aware that glass, when melted, is in a liquid state. Most do not know that as it cools it remains a liquid because there is no crystallization. As watercolor evaporates it leaves behind pigment in interesting puddles.

    Both stained glass and watercolor are great ways for artists to express the attribute of color. Backlit stained glass gives an enhanced glow as light passes through it. Light passes through watercolor pigments and is reflected back from the white paper below, giving it the glow that other paints cannot give.

    Both artists, Orshal and Slater, work out of their Kersey studio, Flower Ridge.

    Opening Reception: April 22 6PM-9PM in the ECCOTA Gallery, 237 Main Street, Ridgway
    Show will run: April 22 – May 21 

    For more information, please contact Sara Frank at art@eccota.com or 814-772-7051.  



  • April 06, 2016 9:00 AM | Abbi Peters

    Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) announces that Abbi Peters has resigned from her position as Executive Director with her last day scheduled for April 29, 2016.

    Peters moved to Ridgway in the spring of 2007 and sat on the ECCOTA Board of Directors for one year before being hired as Executive Director in May 2008.  Peters reflected on her time with the organization to say, “The past 8 years have been an amazing opportunity for my professional growth.  I have been so fortunate to work with a talented array of artists, dedicated staff, passionate board members and volunteers, caring members and business owners, and partners from Erie to Harrisburg.  I have been accepted in an arts and culture community that spans the state and for that I am eternally grateful.”

    Peters is leaving ECCOTA to join the PA Wilds Center (a regional nonprofit) as the Program Director. In her role as Program Director, Peters will oversee the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania (formerly the PA Wilds Artisan Trail), the nonprofit’s main business development program, which aims to grow and cluster the kinds of unique businesses central to place-based tourism development like that being done in the PA Wilds.

    ECCOTA intends to simplify its overall management structure. There will be no replacement for Peters’ position as the Executive Director. An Education and Grants Director will be hired to manage the Arts in Education, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts and local re-granting programs.  ECCOTA is currently interviewing to fill this position.

    The Elk County Council on the Arts is a 501( c ) non-profit organization founded in 1984 as a center for the development of all the arts in Elk County. ECCOTA provides a variety of opportunities to participate in the arts for the area’s residents. A wide selection of art classes and workshops for adults and children are offered. Additionally ECCOTA brings a selection of cultural programming to the area including: an annual children’s theater workshop; and programs by nationally and internationally renowned performers. ECCOTA also maintains a sales gallery featuring art work by more than 40 local and regional artists. 

    Since 2007 ECCOTA has administered over $325,000 in re-granted funds to over 100 projects and programs across 9 counties as a Pennsylvania Partner in the Arts (PPA). The PPA is a decentralized granting program that is a partnership between local organizations and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA). Now operating in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, PPA re-grants funds to support a wide variety of local and community arts activities. In 2015 ECCOTA became in Arts in Education (AIE) partner to administer PCA allocated AIE residencies in Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean and Potter counties. The AIE program places approved teaching artists in classrooms for 20 day residencies to provide a learning experience for the students and broaden the classroom teacher’s ability to teach their curriculum. Since 2007 ECCOTA has worked with the PA Wilds Artisan Development Work Group to develop and promote the Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trail (pawildsartisans.com). This DCED sanctioned trail, spans 12.5 counties and is working to develop directed tourism to promote exposure for artisans in the PA Wilds region. Since March 2014 ECCOTA has served as the administrative support for the Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trail, running communications, member billing and customer support for over 80 artisans and 50 trail sites (and growing).

    Applicants interested in learning more about the open position can visit eccota.com/team.

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  • March 24, 2016 3:11 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)


    On Friday, April 1, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., the Elk County Council on the Arts Gallery (237 Main Street, Ridgway, PA) will host the opening event and sale for “The Gussie Tribute Collection,” a limited edition of abstract ceramic bowls inspired by the late Sister Augustine and created by art students at Ridgway Area High School under the direction of teacher Rich Skellen and guest-curated by John Schlimm. The event is free and open to the public. Each of the bowls will be available for $12.00, accompanied by a special tag of provenance, and will also include a complimentary ticket to the ECCOTA “Feed the Arts Soup Benefit” (April 7). All proceeds from the sale of the bowls will benefit the ongoing efforts at ECCOTA.

    In January, Skellen began working with his art students to study Sister Augustine’s most famous series, her nearly 500 abstract “Gussie’s Special” bowls and vases, which she created using mostly leftover paint in her ceramics studio at St. Joseph Monastery during the last five years of her life, from ages 87 to 92. Working in both their in-school art studio and at Brockway Center for Arts & Technology, the students were challenged to create their own inspired versions and interpretations of Sister Augustine’s “Gussie’s Specials” for “The Gussie Tribute Collection.”

    “Ridgway Area High School is excited to be a partner in celebrating Sister Augustine's life and career as an Elk County artist who had her heart in the Arts for almost forty-five years,” Skellen said. “The students have enjoyed crafting bowls inspired by Sister’s signature Gussie’s Special ceramics. The Gussie Tribute Collection project has been a wonderful learning opportunity for the students to merge Elk County culture with the importance of ceramics as a technology we often take for granted.”

    Sister Augustine and her “Gussie’s Specials” have recently gained national and international attention with of the release of Schlimm’s best-selling memoir, “Five Years in Heaven: The Unlikely Friendship That Answered Life’s Greatest Questions,” which inspired a global social media movement that has reached nearly five million people worldwide. And earlier this year, ECCOTA honored Sister Augustine posthumously with its “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

    “Sister Augustine would be so thrilled to see students carrying on the spirit of her work in this special way,” Schlimm said. “For the many people who never had the chance to get a Gussie’s Special or for those would like to now add something uniquely spectacular to their Sister Augustine collection, these incredible students have created small masterpieces that will be treasured for generations to come just like the original Gussie’s Specials.”

    “The Gussie Tribute Collection” event comes on the heels of last fall’s “Unfinished Works Collection by Sister Augustine” where 200 clayware works left unfinished by Sister Augustine in her studio at the time of her passing sold out in 20 minutes.

    For nearly 45 years, from 1964 to 2008, Sister Augustine transformed simple clayware into unique pieces of artwork. From her humble four-room studio and shop that she started on the grounds of St. Joseph Monastery—the oldest Benedictine convent in the United States, this self-taught artist quietly worked, full-time and over-time, 6 days a week. Even when she was 92 years old.

    During her lifetime, Sister Augustine created a prolific body of work, which has been collected by people throughout the country and around the world. There is at least one of her Nativity sets in all 50 states, as well as in Japan, England, and Germany. Her other clayware pieces have travelled as far away as Central America, Africa, and even Russia.

    Schlimm added, “Sister Augustine’s life and the work she has left behind speak to the very nature and spirit of art itself. Reflected in her brushstrokes, we find not only the story of the artist herself, but glimpses of the gifts, talents, and potential within ourselves. Now her story marches on through the heart and talent these art students have put into sharing The Gussie Tribute Collection with us.

    For more information about “The Gussie Tribute Collection” event, please contact the ECCOTA Gallery at 814-772-7051.


  • February 11, 2016 6:27 PM | Sara Frank (Administrator)

    The non-profit Elk County Council on the Arts’ Annual Gala Fundraiser is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the non-profit organization. The 2016 Gala will be held on February 20 at The Highlands in St. Marys. With the Pennsylvania state budget still facing an impasse, the organization is heavily depending on Gala proceeds to help fund the extensive youth programming, artist exhibits and community events scheduled for the summer season.

    The Gala will feature live and silent auctions of a variety of items including original artwork, a private concert and much more. Three local artists, including Pete Winklebauer, will participate in the Dueling Artists live art creation during the event which culminates with the auction of those pieces.

    For the fifth year, ECCOTA will present four “Heart in the Arts” awards during the Gala. The Council’s Board of Directors selects honorees to recognize their contributions to the arts in Elk County. The awards, founded on ECCOTA’s mission statement, include three categories: experiences, opportunity and support. The 2016 honorees include: Elk County Commissioners for providing experiences in the arts, Julie Mader for providing educational opportunity and advice and Ed Schwer for his support of musicians, artists, performers and writers. Additionally Sister Augustine will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award (posthumous).

    “We cannot fulfill our mission alone (nor do we want to). These awards allow us the chance to recognize organizations and individuals who show great support and action in facilitating the arts in our community.” stated Executive Director Abbi Peters.

    ECCOTA has been supporting local artists and providing arts opportunities and experiences in the community since 1984. The sales gallery on Main Street in Ridgway offers pottery, woodwork, paintings, photography and more from over 40 artists.

    The ECCOTA Gala is open to the public and will be held February 20 at 7PM at The Highlands Restaurant in St. Marys. The event also includes live entertainment by Slippery Rock University’s Afro-Columbian Dance Ensemble, live painting, and live and silent auctions. Reservations can in advance, online and at the door. All proceeds benefit ECCOTA programming. For more event information contact ECCOTA 814-772-7051.


  • February 04, 2016 2:34 PM | Abbi Peters

    The Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) is pleased to announce it will present four “Heart in the Arts” awards during its Annual Gala on February 20, 2016.  This is the fifth year for the award presentation and the Council’s Board of Directors selects honorees to recognize their contributions to the arts in Elk County.

    The awards, founded on ECCOTA’s mission statement, include three categories: experiences, opportunity and support. The 2016 honorees include: Elk County Commissioners for providing experiences in the arts, Julie Mader for providing educational opportunity and advice and Ed Schwer for his support of musicians, artists, performers and writers. Additionally Sister Augustine will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award (posthumous).

     “We cannot fulfill our mission alone (nor do we want to).  These awards allow us the chance to recognize organizations and individuals who show great support and action in facilitating the arts in our community.” stated Executive Director Abbi Peters.

    The ECCOTA Gala is open to the public and will be held February 20 at 7PM at The Highlands Restaurant in St. Marys. The event also includes live entertainment by Slippery Rock University’s Afro-Columbian Dance Ensemble, live painting, and live and silent auctions. Tickets can be purchased in advance, online and at the door. All proceeds benefit ECCOTA programming.  For more event information contact ECCOTA 814-772-7051.  


  • November 23, 2015 10:24 AM | Abbi Peters

    Pennsylvanians have been waiting 145 days for a state budget. 145 days is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. As a small non-profit in local arts agency in a rural setting I'm often asked how the impasse impacts my organization- up to this point I've tried my best to remain polite about the subject.  I've answered "we're not hit as hard as others, but it's taking a toll on our operations, we should be ok."  

    The negative impact of this impasse has a terrible negative economic ripple effect in on our communities. And it is placing an unnecessary strain on non-profits of all types, health and human service organizations, schools, libraries and countless cornerstones of our communities. Organizations are forced to steer away from their mission and look at radical measures such as laying off employees, pushing out payment on services, extending lines of credit while incurring interest costs in order to continue providing vital services in our communities. For some organizations the a fore mentioned measures are not enough and they've been forced to close their doors.  With all of these realities surrounding me and seeing no end in sight for this budget stalemate I can no longer continue to answer the question politely.  

    So how does this impasse really impact my organization? Plain and simple, I can't do my job. And I'm mad about it.  The inability to perform your job functions (when it is not of your own doing) is extremely frustrating.  I've lost my two part time staff and I can't re-hire until there is a budget in place. I still have a commitment to the constituents of my community so I'm spinning wheels trying to find extra time advocating for a state budget. I want to do my job. I want to facilitate art residencies in schools, so we can continue to provide educational experiences that create the smart thinking citizens of our future. I want to re-grant funds to arts projects and programs across my region so that they can do their jobs in creating the vital communities of this commonwealth.  I want to stop paying interest on a line of credit and worrying about cash flow that is dependent on a budget that should have been passed 145 days ago. I want to remove the "End the Impasse" posters that have been hanging in my gallery windows (instead of art) since day 80 of the impasse.  I want to stop asking elected officials to do their job so I can get back to doing mine. 

    Today Pennsylvanians are standing together asking for a final responsible budget, when will our elected officials stand together and provide us with one? 

    ---------

    Annually ECCOTA re-grants over $50,000 to arts projects and programs in 7 counties and $30,000 in arts in education residencies to schools and non-profit organizations across 5 counties.  These funds are made available through re-granting partnerships provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Until a budget is passed none of these funds can be re-granted into our communities, causing a negative economic impact on 7 counties. 

    100% of Pennsylvanians benefit from the work of PA nonprofits.
    #PaNpImpact #PAPassABudget #StandForPA

  • November 17, 2015 10:00 PM | Abbi Peters

    Community members and the general public are invited to the Bennetts Valley Senior Center on Wednesday, November 18th from 5:30pm-7:00pm to celebrate the debut of their recent project “Portraits in Objects and Tales: A Show and Tell of Days Gone By in Bennett’s Valley.” Over the past few months, Author PJ Picirillo and photographer Molly O’Bryon-Welpott have teamed up with the members of the Bennetts Valley Senior Center to reminisce about early life in Bennetts Valley. The residents shared tales and objects that reminded them of the past, and the artists assisted the seniors in documenting their stories through artwork that includes essays and photos. The seniors and artists invite you to view their artwork and join them on the evening of the 18th as they share their tales and objects and reminisce about “Days Gone by” in Bennetts Valley. No RSVP is necessary.

    This project was made possible by the Arts in Education (AIE) Program.  The AIE Program supports artist teacher partnerships, facilitates artist residencies in schools and social service agencies and provides professional development to teachers and artists to integrate the arts into the classroom curriculum.

    The Arts in Education Partnership is a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency.  State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  The Arts in Education Partnership is administered in this region by Erie Arts & Culture.

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Nuts & Bolts

The Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) is a 501 (c) non-profit organization based in Elk County, Pennsylvania, a rural county located about two hours northeast of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1984 as a center for the development of all the arts in the Elk County area, ECCOTA provides a variety of opportunities to participate in the arts for the area’s residents. 

 

ECCOTA receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency

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Exterior of the Elk County Council on the Arts Sales  Gallery.
ECCOTA
Sales Gallery
& Office
237 Main St.
Ridgway, PA 15853
814-772-7051

The Elk County Council on the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  The official registration and financial information of ECCOTA may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999.  Registration does not imply endorsement.

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