Pathways: Appreciating art in the heart of winter

Photo by Susan Safford

Last Saturday night, Pathways Projects Institutes, a local arts organization, presented a good sampling of the variety of creative endeavors being pursued by Islanders.

In a cabaret style evening — the first of a series of multi-arts installations at the Chilmark Tavern — a capacity crowd was treated to samples of dance, music, and poetry as well as a preview of a new research-based book and a presentation of work by an engineer/furniture designer. The event, titled Arts & Scripts, also included a showcase of work by visual artists.

All in all it was an entertaining, informative evening and a good indication of what the Pathways team has in store for the remainder of the winter. For the past three years, Pathways has hosted an extensive seasonal program of arts-based events at its temporary home, the Chilmark Tavern. Islanders involved in music, dance, theater, poetry, writing, and the visual arts, along with innovators —especially those with a concentration on sustainability and the environment — have been among the individuals who have participated in public presentations.

The Pathways space also features an art gallery, a library of art and poetry books, DVDs and CDs for public perusal and purchase, and something called ArTbar and Writing Room which, according to promotional material is, “for writing, drawing, camaraderie and conversation” and is open from 6 pm on every evening that there is a performance.

The aim of the organization is to foster the arts in their myriad forms and encourage collaboration among those working in various fields. All events and resources are free.

Pathways, founded by Marianne Goldberg of Chilmark, launched its 2014 season with a small New Year’s Eve party featuring music and poetry by some of the organization’s past presenters. Last Tuesday a handful of poets read from their work in the first of a series of weekday evening jams dedicated variously to poetry, music, and videography.

Last Saturday’s event was the first of a lineup of multi-discipline evenings of entertainment for the seven-year-old organization. The event was called Arts and Scripts and was the first of two such events to be included in the four-month-long program. The second will take place Thursday, Jan. 23.

“I am exhilarated plus fulfilled with this first installation of the 2014 season,” said Ms. Goldberg. “This is our second year of Arts & Scripts focusing on what Pathways is all about — a gathering to celebrate creative action in process at any given moment all across the Island.”

The evening started off with a presentation of a new dance by Ms. Goldberg performed by Jesse Keller of The Yard. Accompanied by William Waterway on a variety of Native American flutes, Ms. Keller performed a lovely interpretive number incorporating both serene moments and some impressively acrobatic moves.

This was followed by two very interesting — and very different — presentations. Furniture maker and designer Nick Fournier gave a slideshow talk focusing on some of his innovative work. A highlight was a unique bending spiral staircase modeled in part after spinal anatomy. Mr. Fournier, who just recently moved to the Vineyard, explained how he uses digital technology in rendering his designs and has at times had to invent his own equipment to execute his work.

William Waterway spoke about the book he is writing about the history of the Gay Head Lighthouse, from 1799 to the present. For the past 30 years, Mr. Waterway has been instrumental in saving Island lighthouses, and has been particularly involved with the preservation of the Gay Head Light. His book, published by The History Press, will be released in late June or early July of this year.

Interspersed throughout the evening were readings by Island poets, and one writer. Barbara Peckham shared nature-themed poems. Richard Skidmore read a politically charged poem, and Scott Crawford read from his series of vignettes set in the New York City subway.

Claudia Taylor, 17, wowed the crowd with an impressively mature poem chronicling the birth cycle with the theme of “order from chaos.” Ms. Taylor has been involved in Pathways readings for the past two years and has proven herself to be an emerging talent to keep an eye on.

Rounding out the performance arts roster, the evening ended with acoustic sets by musicians Ted Perry and Rick Padilla, who have both been involved with Pathways for the past two years.

Visual artists represented at the event were painters Kara Taylor, Ed Schulman, and Chris Radant; sculptors James Masek and Cody Jephcote, and jeweler Joan LeLacheur. Photographer Christopher Wright presented a slideshow and elaborated on his process involving printing on metal.

A crowd of about 70 was treated to refreshments and what proved to be a very full evening with lots of variety and impressive demonstration of the unlimited creative energy of the Island.

“Last night was a wonderful gathering of creative spirit, learning about projects in process of creation now,” said Ms. Goldberg, herself an accomplished dancer, choreographer, visual artist, dance critic, and writer with a doctorate in performance studies from New York University.

In addition to this Thursday’s Arts & Scripts, upcoming events include poetry jams on the next two Tuesdays and music jams on the next two Fridays. The program continues through the end of April, with two to four events per week including scheduled performers, open jams for music, writing and digital projects, and two installations in April named Oceans Wilderness and Space Wilderness, focusing on art and the environment.

Arts & Scripts, Thursday, Jan. 23, 7–9 pm, Pathways (Chilmark Tavern), Chilmark. Music by Alex Karalekas, Ted Perry, Meghan La Roque, and Garrett James, a reading from a new novel “Child Bride” by author Jennifer Turner-Smith, and digital media arts by Danielle Mulcahay. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 508-645-9098.