Saturday, June 1, 2013

Keeping The Arts in The Lives of Children and how you can help TONIGHT!

If we are not fighting for the arts, what are we fighting for?
A local artist's rendering of Blue Rock School
-Winston Churchill

Happy June!
 The above quote was Churchill’s response to the suggestion that funding for the arts be cut to save money during the Second World War.
He also said, “The arts are essen­tial to any com­plete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due.”

In December 1939, in a world darkened by war, winter and blackout, a small group of civil servants and educators met to discuss the crisis in the arts. Great museums and galleries were empty, their contents packed off to safety from bombing. The theatres were shut, orchestras about to disband. The committee agreed that it was essential “to show publicly and unmistakably that the Government cares about the cultural life of the country. This country is supposed to be fighting for civilization.”

June is bustin' out all over and most kids if they've succeeded in their studies this year, are on summer break. Still, there are others who will have to go through summer school. Wouldn't it be great if all adults decided to give our kids as much exposure to the arts over the next three months as possible. Imagine the knowledge
they will take to their first days of school in September. Unfortunately, with funding to the arts being the first thing to go in most budgets, kids nowadays are not being exposed to the arts beyond television, movies, and social media in a way in which I was. I think many of us take it for granted. We should all be enraged that arts in education is being taken away from our kids.                                                                                                                                                    

Me at 3 years old! Thank God for my exposure to the arts!
I remember fondly my music teachers all through school and my high school drama teacher, Mrs. Russell.
I went to our principal to complain that we did not have a drama class and it wasn't fair to me because I was going to be an actor! We got her!

From the moment that I met Harry Kullijian, Carol Channing's late husband, and we discussed their mission to restore arts in education, I was on board. As a matter of fact, I did the FIRST benefit for The Foundation with Carol and Harry in attendance. From that point on, EVERY show I did benefited the Foundation. It was my way of giving back to the Foundation. For reasons beyond my knowledge, the Foundation is no longer the Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts. It is now called Americans for the Arts in Education.
Carol and Harry with Davis Gaines
Carol Channing is no longer affiliated and it is in Harry's memory. It exists today because of the dedication and determination of David Green who was bought on by Harry six months prior to Harry's passing.
Harry once said that most kids don't know the difference between a microphone and a xylophone because they've never been exposed to them. We have to ensure that that doesn't happen. 
Harlan Boll, Harry, Carol, Dori Berenstein, Adam Zuker, and me

Thanks to local artist and former neighbor, Lisa Grubb, who suggested me, tonight I am serving as an emcee and auctioneer at an event entitled Keeping the Arts in the Lives of Children: A benefit for Arts Education. This will take place tonight at Emmett's Castle in Pearl River and is being presented by Blue Rock School...Where Learning Comes Alive. I am thrilled because this is a cause dear to my heart and it will also be celebrating over 50 artists, most of them local!
Blue Rock School and I welcome you to its inaugural Art Exhibit and Auction.
One of the artist represented this eve, Grace Knowlton
Join us in celebrating creativity and supporting local and internationally-known artists, in a benefit for arts education at Blue Rock School.

Bid on one-of-a-kind art offered at affordable prices in an array of mediums, including museum-quality fine art and hand-crafted jewelry and ceramics.
Enjoy live music, light fare and refreshments and a festive atmosphere at the historic stone castle set atop

This evening will include a preview of all art, a champagne reception with renowned, participating local artists, and a live auction.
Tomorrow afternoon will be a fun, family-friendly event including a live concert by renowned musician
All children 12 and under are free on Sunday.

Local artist Tom Chapin
A silent auction of artwork and vacation getaways, a student art exhibit, and a special performance by Tom Chapin tomorrow
Eric David Laxman
Lisa Grubb
Participating Artists include:
Eric David Laxman ("Combining Forces," with Paul Tappendan,)
Grace Knowlton
Ted Ludwickzak
Zaria Foreman
Victor Mirabelli
Suzanna Frosch
James Garvey
Gretchen Gelb Kane
Andre Voumard
Natasha Rabin
Andy Golub
Lisa Grubb
Daly Flanagan
Arabela Wilson
and more!
 This evening at the Art Auction, we will be auctioning a week's stay at two very stunning and luxurious vacation properties.

The first is a private estate on the north coast of France in Brittany. This is an amazing opportunity to experience living in the French countryside and the vacation of a lifetime.
 "Manoir de Pors Kerderrien" is an elegant and stately manor home, built in the 17th and 19th centuries. It embodies all of the historic and romantic charm of the past, but is equipped with every modern convenience, including Wi-Fi.

Situated in the heart of Treguier, a charming, medieval village, the house sleeps 17, in six bedrooms and boasts breathtaking private gardens. It is steps from a thriving local market (a cook's delight!), renowned cathedral and sailing port. The beach is just ten minutes away by bike. Given the spaciousness of the estate, it is a great opportunity to partner with other families and go in on it together. Bidding will begin at $2,500.
 The second property is the four-star Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and can accommodate a family of four.

Relax, refresh and rejuvenate at this family-friendly oasis and enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of Costa
Rica's lush landscape and gorgeous beaches. Bidding will begin at $800. Click here for the resort web site.
And on Sunday, June 2, they will also auction two New England vacation getaways: one in Orleans (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, and one on the island of Vinalhaven in Maine. More details will be available at the auction.

 I have been involved in the arts while teaching..and I say it is one of the most important things that a kid can do for his education..arts must be provided.
-Susan Mills, teacher

About tonight

This year, the Blue Rock School− producers of last spring’s Historic Palisades and Sneden's Landing House Tour is celebrating creativity and its commitment to Arts Education by staging a unique, family-friendly cultural event. This two-day celebration will take place this weekend at Emmett's Castle in Pearl River. An art exhibition and silent auction kick off the weekend’s activities tonight from 7-10 pm with a champagne artist reception where guests will mingle with featured artists and have first pick of the artwork in the auction. The festive atmosphere will be heightened by performances from an eclectic group of über-talented musicians, an on-site art happening, champagne, and hors d'oeuvres.

Blue Rock School is a progressive, independent day school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and is located on a beautiful, four-acre, wooded campus in West Nyack, NY. The school was founded in 1987 with the purpose of providing a rich educational experience, based on a child-centered and hands-on approach that nurtures children’s innate love of learning, enables them to follow their own natural curiosity, helps them develop as independent thinkers and grow in a dynamic learning community. At Blue Rock School, class sizes are small and students engage in a challenging academic curriculum which is balanced and fully integrated with the arts, nature and play. Blue Rock School also offers a five-week Summer Play camp which is open to the community. For more information call 845-627-0234 or visit them at

I will be serving as auctioneer and host of the auction.

“In the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ordered work to go ahead on the completion of the dome of the Capitol. When critics protested the diversion of labor and money from the prosecution of the war, Lincoln said, ‘If people see the capitol going on, it is a sign that we intend this Union shall go on.’ Franklin Roosevelt recalled this story in 1941 when, with the world in the blaze of war, he dedicated the National Gallery in Washington. And John Kennedy recalled both these stories when he asked for public support for the arts in 1962. Lincoln and Roosevelt, Kennedy said, ‘understood that the life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose- and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.”

    –Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. 

Thank you to ALL ARTISTS for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

RICHARD SKIPPER is a popular entertainer, theater historian and pop culture blogger. He has conducted over 500 interviews for his daily blog celebrating people in the arts and is currently writing a book to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Hello, Dolly!, based also in part on his award-winning website chronicling the Broadway classic. He has covered several opening nights as the voice of Feinstein’s at Loews Regency and has conducted on-stage interviews for Carol Channing, Ron Young and Peggy Pope at Barnes & Noble. Recent events include an on stage interview with Tommy Tune at Queensboro Community College, conducting red carpet interviews at the 28th annual Bistro Awards, and several talk back sessions after various productions of Hello, Dolly! ( and )

Please check out my blog celebrating Carol Channing and why I feel she deserves the 2013 Kennedy Center Honor.

 Thank you Terry LaBolt: I would love to see Carol Channing receive the Kennedy Center honor, wouldn't you? Please consider signing. Carol's 50+ years of bringing live theatre out on the road to practically every city in the US has been a rare gift to so many who might never have seen a live show otherwise. I was there for more than 1000 performances of HELLO, DOLLY. She never missed a performance. And she always delivered with an amazing energy that no one else I have ever worked with possessed; and I mean superhuman energy. Performing with her was like being shot out of a cannon - the only description I can think of that comes close. That energy was so powerful that it is still with me every single day. I think it was even one of the things that kept me alive through several rough patches. Please consider signing this; we're so close!

Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with YOU!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


When it comes to the history of Jerry Herman’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000+ performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.”-Carol Channing


Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


Richard Skipper,                            

This Blog is dedicated to ALL ARTISTS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!

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