Great Leaps Honored with Grasshopper Awards April 30th
April 22, 2015. Brewster, NY. “The Grasshopper Award is for innovation, forward thinking, and big leaps,” the Founder of H. G. Fairfield Arts, Kathie Freston (USMC ’53-61) relates; “and this year’s Awardees’ own forward thinking led them to creating innovative arts and cultural programs that the region and beyond is participating in.” Honored for their support of Arts and Culture are Stacy and Bob Dumont, Founders of The Village of Brewster Film Festival held every Labor Day weekend in multiple venues around Brewster, NY. Honored for their support of veterans and our families are Gil Tarbox, Penny Osborn, and The Nimham Mountain Singers, Founders of the Annual Chief Daniel Nimham Intertribal Veterans Memorial Powwow held every third weekend of August in Putnam County, NY’s Veterans Memorial Park. “The grasshopper can only move forward and we liked that idea of an orientation toward the future,” Ms Freston explains: “We honor our Grasshopper Awardees’ accomplishments as they also have the ripple effects of inspiring others.”
The Annual Chief Daniel Nimham Powwow, now in its 15th year, attracts thousands and the largest 2-day crowds in Putnam County with Grammy-award winning Native American musicians and singers, drummers, dancers, and vendors from Canada to Florida offering ethnic art, food, books, clothing, jewelry, music, and more. The Founders and Producers – Gil Tarbox (ARMY, Corps of Engineers, Viet Nam), Penny Osborn (mother of 2 CCSD grads, Town of Kent Councilwoman), and The Nimham Mountain Singers – formed their Algonquin northern woodland singing group in 1999, with the goal of fostering, preserving and rediscovering traditional Native American beliefs, values and spirituality. The Nimham Powwow commemorates the Wappinger (Nochpeem) and their warriors who gave their lives to the cause of the American Revolution, and on Nov. 11, 2007, the Nimham Mountain Singers dedicated the Wappinger Memorial installed at the entrance to the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park. The Nimham Powwow benefits our current veterans and families by the celebratory public showing of support for them in this traditional community ritual, with donations annually going to organizations helping wounded veterans. For 12 years the Nimham Mountain Singers also annually conducted one-day powwows inside the Danbury Federal Corrections Facility for Women with the Native American inmates, until the facility changed to men only. As a benefit for the Nimham Powwow, H. G. Fairfield Arts produced the 2013 Nimham Mountain Music Festival with Brooklyn neighbor and New Orleans Jazz Festival sensation, Martha Redbone and the Roots Project, and the Hudson Valley’s own world funk soul folk Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia.
The Village of Brewster Film Festival debuted in 2011 and has stretched in its first 3 years to include 9 categories of Judges’ Awards, 3 days of films – 25 shorts and features from 7 different countries, with events in multiple venues of Brewster’s village, town, and even at Ryder Farm. Co-Founders of the Village of Brewster Film Festival, Stacy and Bob Dumont, reveal that “the Festival started out as a way to promote the Village of Brewster, but has rapidly gained traction to become a large multi-day international festival that promotes local businesses, unique venue spaces, and artists from Putnam County and from around the world.” Stacy Dumont is a life-long community theater performer from NYC, with a BA in Theater from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, a Masters in Education, and a special education and theater teaching position at Pawling High School in Pawling, NY.
Stacy is also Co-Founder and current President of The Brewster Theater Company, which is now in its 15th season. Bob Dumont says
he “was probably the least likely person to support the arts,” and as a supporter and ardent fan of athletics, and basketball coach for over 25 years, Bob Dumont tells that “it wasn’t until the gentle persuasion of my wife, Stacy, bringing me to the stage that I have seen the light.” Bob has a BA, Masters in Economics, a day job as the owner of The Bowl Company in Brewster, NY, and has performed in many local shows with The Brewster Theater Company. Stacy and Bob With a shared vision of attracting artists to the community also worked for several seasons on ArtBeat, an outdoor art and music exhibit on the streets of the Village of Brewster.
H. G. Fairfield Arts’ President, Kim Blacklock, speaks to why they recognize arts and community leadership with the Grasshopper Awards and to the current and future positive cultural and economic realities found in the Arts and arts presenting: “We participated in the SUNY New Paltz CREEO study that published in 2014 as the ‘Mid-Hudson ARTS & CULTURE: the economic impact.’ The Arts in our 7-county region logged $468 million in total economic impact and 4970 jobs, with 3.6 million visitors injecting their $498 million directly. Of 52 arts and cultural organizations in Putnam County, there was information from 25 which showed 921 workers in 100,000 people, with a total economic impact of $11.5 million, with 175 thousand visitors injecting $6 million directly into the Putnam County economy. Direct expenditures of $7.9 million by arts & culture organizations generated indirect spending of $3.6 million that creates jobs in other sectors.” The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts released a report stating Arts and Cultural production accounted for 3.2% – or $504 Billion – of the national Gross Domestic Product in 2011. New York Council on the Arts’ broadcasted the 2011 estimated overall economic impact of the arts on the state as $27.5 billion, with some 335,683 people employed by arts-affiliated business and organizations. Americans for the Arts note: “These arts-centric businesses play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy. They employ a creative workforce, spend money locally, generate government revenue, and are a cornerstone of tourism and economic development.” Kim Blacklock states; “Arts is cultural capital: it is a great time for anyone to follow their creative passions and become the future.”
Everyone is invited to join in the festivities to honor the Grasshopper Awardees, and celebrate Kathie Freston as the birthday gal and H. G. Fairfield Arts’ Founder. New dad and Comedian Mark Riccadonna, of ABC, NBC, FOX, and Armed Forces Entertainment, is coming up from Philadelphia, and Putnam’s own 9th Tallest Woman on the Planet, Kim Blacklock, will emcee a night of comedy and entertainment at H. G. Fairfield Arts’ Cake & Comedy Founder’s Day event Thursday April 30th 7pm at Kent Volunteer Fire Department, 2490 Route 301, Kent Cliffs, NY. The last pairing of Kim & Mark on the Comedy stage was for the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club’s National Presidents meeting in Fargo, ND, Aug. 2014! Tickets are a $35 suggested donation at the door. “Bring your White Elephant Auction item, & be $5 richer already!” Kim says. Refreshments and cake will be served.
For more information call 845-363-1559 or go to www.HGFairfieldArts.org.
No Imitation Game : Lady Marine at 85 the Real Deal
For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2015. Kent Lakes, NY. Earning Top Secret security clearance in 1953 during the McCarthy Era enabled the Marines to train local Kent Lakes, NY, resident Kathie Freston, to run the Enigma Machine at the communications center of the USMC Atlantic Command in Norfolk, VA. Armed escorts accompanied Ms Freston on base when she was delivering Top Secret communiqués as she was responsible for the accurate decoding, re-coding, and delivery of the messages coming and going, representing the most sensitive of information, operations, equipment and troop movements, and security. With no “Imitation Game” movie about her experiences with wartime, nor fanfare about her skill sets and integrity, nor mention of the novelty at the time of being a female Marine, Kathie Freston passes off the enormity of her post in true Marine fashion: “I was doing my job.” Ms Freston went on to earn her Captain’s bars before exiting military service in 1961. This Thursday, April 30th at 7pm at Kent Volunteer Fire Department, the greater community will celebrate Kathie Freston’s 85th birthday and her many accomplishments including the formation of the now 5 year-old H. G. Fairfield Arts Center for the Environment, based in Putnam County, NY.
Honored as a 2014 Emerging Trailblazer by the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce and as the 2011 Volunteer of the Year by the Town of Kent, Kathie Freston is the real deal in her continued service to her country. After active USMC duty and while in the Reserves, Kathie earned her Masters of Arts from NYU and began a 32 year career as a teacher, with 30 years in the Bronx for the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, under Pete Seeger’s brother John as Principal. When she realized the Social Studies textbooks were lacking, Kathie traveled alone during the summers of 1958 – 65 to Africa, India, the Mediterranean, Asia, the Far East, Istanbul, Luxor, Amman, Jordan, Jerusalem, Iceland, the North Atlantic, Mexico, and even Malta and Majorca on an archeological dig, always bringing her experiences, photos, movies, and travel accounts back to her students.
Ms Freston’s lifelong passion for Drama, Theater, and the Stage developed early as a student at The Brearley School under the tutelage of Broadway legend Mildred Dunnock, who spurred h.s. Kathie to apprentice in Summer Stock at Chase Barn Playhouse. At Vassar, Kathie broke with tradition in designing, directing, and presenting for her 1952 Senior Thesis a Japanese Noh drama, “The Damask Drum,” pairing it with Yeats’ “The Dreaming of the Bones,” and setting precedent as she collaborated with a senior Music major for the score. Kathie worked summers at the Indian Hill Music Workshop, becoming the first person to put Arlo Guthrie on stage. At 76 years-young, Kathie tried acting herself in Lora Lee Ecobelli’s class at Arts on the Lake, leading to Kathie being cast in plays at the Aery Theatre productions at Phillipstown Depot Theater, NYC’s The Producer’s Club, and in Roger Simon’s “Bard at the Bar” in Grammercy Park’s The Player’s Club.
Kathie Freston was on the Board of Plan Kent, is a Board member of Kent Recycling, was Treasurer of the Sagamore Lake Association for 15 years, and in 2010 she registered a NYS Charity named after her maternal grandfather, H. G. Fairfield, to promote arts and culture to meet the needs of communities, while promoting economic development and environmental
stewardship. Since the 2011 launch of the extraordinary 30 Shows in 30 Days: Courage Continues At Home Comedy Tour with PJ Walsh, H. G. Fairfield Arts has engaged and sponsored the performing arts and other programs in community settings to bring awareness to issues and to gather funds to help local veterans, women, children, and the environment. With regional events such as 2013’s Nimham Mountain Music Festival and Woman Fest and national programs with the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club doing two x-country veterans suicide prevention runs – 2013’s A Run For Veterans Healing and 2014’s Riding For Our Lives with benefit comedy performances with PJ Walsh, Mark Riccadonna, and Kim Blacklock in San Antonio, TX and Fargo, ND, H. G. Fairfield Arts even stretches internationally in the supportive partner role with the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College celebrating women and leadership and globalFEST, the world music event and tour. H. G. Fairfield Arts remains local with programs like the Young Filmmaker Atelier in George Fischer Middle School and regional in helping support the Annual Chief Daniel Nimham Veterans Memorial Powwow and in producing the Wounded Veterans Benefit Comedy Show at Brewster H. S. June 2014 for local Brewster VFW Post # 672 and Semper Fi Odyssey – a program for discharged wounded troops of all branches, run by Major Gen. T. S. Jones (USMC, RET) in Pennsylvania.
Wanting to recognize and encourage others’ community efforts promoting the Arts and for work on behalf of and with our Veterans and families, H. G. Fairfield Arts created The Grasshopper Awards for “leaps in forward thinking.” Kim Blacklock is M.C. for the award ceremony at Kathie Freston’s “Cake & Comedy” birthday party, with international comedian Mark Riccadonna of Armed Forces Entertainment headlining Thursday 7pm April 30th at Kent Volunteer Fire Department. No imitation at 85, Kathie Freston is a Hudson Valley treasure we celebrate.
For more information or ticket reservations, call 845-363-1559 or email office@HGFairfieldArts.org. Tickets will be available at the door, with $5 handed to those entering with a White Elephant Auction item.