Paving the way for artists on Martha’s Vineyard

David White accepted the award for The Yard on April 27. — Photo by Gwyn McAllister

Since January, Pathways Projects Institutes has hosted a total of 29 evenings of music, poetry, readings, dance, digital presentations, and art installments at the Chilmark Tavern. Last Saturday, April 27, the organization concluded its season with an awards ceremony and series of short performances.

For the fourth year, Marianne Goldberg, founder and executive director of Pathways, presented monetary honoraria to a number of local individuals and organizations to help fund a variety of projects. Many of the recipients demonstrated their various talents by reading, performing, or presenting artwork.

As Ms. Goldberg explained in her introduction to the evening, “These honoraria celebrate artists, writers, musicians, performers, and sister arts organizations for innovative projects in the arts, writings, and collaborative forms.”

In an interview, Ms. Goldberg emphasized that the intent of the awards is to foster new work by artists and new programs or initiatives by organizations.

“The important thing is the time to create,” she said. “I’ve seen the support for the arts dwindle over the last 10, 20 years.” Stressing that the awards are as much about recognition as about financing, she added, “It’s amazing how much some support at a particular point when something is about to leap forward is so helpful.”

The individual awards were presented, in Ms. Goldberg’s words, “To honor individual artists with time to create work, supporting a leap to a new realm of imagination.” The recipients represented artists in many fields including poets Patrick Phillips, Justen Ahren, Samantha Barrow, Fan Ogilvie, Claudia Taylor, and Barbara Peckham; musicians Michele Jones, piano innovator David Stanwood, Rick Bausman for his Drum Workshop, pianist/composer Mait Edey, and songwriting team Jonathan Auerbach and Carole Charlin; and digital artists Jeremy Mayhew, Bob Kimberley, and Kathy Rose.

The Yard dancer Jesse Keller received an award for introducing a dance curriculum to the YMCA of M.V., Kara Taylor for a painting and poetry project, and Anna Edey for developing a plan for sustainable housing. Two collaborative teams were honored: poet Brooks Robards and artist Hermine Hull who are working on a book, and Thomas Bena who is working with a composer for a film project. Encouraging collaborations is one of the primary missions of Pathways.

Among the poets who read at the event was 17-year-old Claudia Taylor, who exhibited a talent and sophistication well beyond her years. She wowed the crowd with two powerful poems. Claudia received her award to launch an initiative to teach poetry to children. “We really want to involve kids more,” said Ms. Goldberg.

Organizations that received awards “for sustained innovation in the arts, or for the launch of new arts projects” included the Cleaveland House Poets, the Pathways/Featherstone Summer Festival of Poetry, the Promising Young Poets program, Martha’s Vineyard Arts and Ideas Magazine, the Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency, and the new Martha’s Vineyard Poets’ Collective, soon to be launched by Ellie Bates. Musical groups Random Thought and Mercy Beat were honored, and a collective award was presented to David Stanwood, Alex Karalekas, Jason Nichols, and the band DCLA, to launch next season’s music program at Pathways.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival received an honorarium to help establish children’s filmmaking classes. The Yard received an award honoring “Sustained innovation for 41 years of choreographic residencies.” In accepting the award, Yard artistic director David White announced that the organization will be recognizing Ms. Goldberg’s contributions to the arts by naming the residencies after her.

Most of the honorees, as well as dozens of other artists, presented and performed during Pathways 16-week season.

Two weeks ago Mr. Ahren, Mr. Phillips, and Ms. Barrow, all of whom received honoraria last year as well as this year, read poetry that they have written in the last 12 months. “That was an example of the honoraria at its best,” said Ms. Goldberg, “Each one of them is so creative with language in very different ways.”

Ms. Goldberg, who is a dancer, choreographer, visual artist, and poet in her own right, used an apt metaphor to describe the artistic process that Pathways endeavors to support: “Bulbs are still growing in the winter. You don’t know what’s going to happen until April when things pop up with amazing force.”