Binghamton Teacher and Artist Showcase
November 18, 2023 | 10:00 am-12:00pm | FREE to attend
The Roberson Museum and Science Center | 30 Front St, Binghamton, NY 13905
Welcome to the CCC Showcase.
Experience important local artforms and learn what happened when educators included guest artists in their classrooms this fall.
Find out what students learned and enjoy artists’ sharing.
The presentations will happen in the order of the artist introductions below. Thank you for attending today!
Meet the Artists
Dhyani James I began dancing at the tender age of 4, and I began competing at National levels by the age 10. As a dancer you are taught that you are a stronger performer when you master all dance forms. I remember in 2016 moving to Broome county and being really stunned when I noticed all the similarities in the dance schools—and we have a lot of schools in our area! I was not a fan in my adolescent years of ballet or the other “traditional” dance forms, so coming to an area that was predominantly only this, I knew I would have to change that. After years of self doubt and being unsure of the outcome, in 2021 my fiancé and I started Dancing with D, or DWD. Many opportunities that arise for an artist will also come with various fees and dues for certain projects in order for a dancer to participate. We strive at DWD to keep our prices not only affordable but comfortable. Anything “in house” we can control–whether it be pricing, transportation, or making sure a kid gets a costume–if we are able to help we try, because no kid should ever miss a chance to dance!
Southern Tier Beekeepers Beekeepers are drawn to the beauty of nature, complexities of society, and fundamental necessity of the honeybee. There are hundreds are varieties of honey, but without honeybees there would be no hamburgers… pizza… apples… almonds… there would be less crayons… clothing… flowers… the world would be a hotter place to live. Beekeeping is practiced in nearly every country in the world! With different practices and techniques, the most common equipment and supplies for keeping honeybees were designed here in Upstate New York. Honeybees are beautiful and complex. Every bee has a job caring for each other, their babies, their queen, their home to support a healthy community.
Akilah Briggs-Melvin As a child, dance wasn’t an art to me. It was more of a natural way of living, like breathing. In my household, we danced to express ourselves, to celebrate, to give thanks, and so much more. It was also a tool of survival–something my family considered a way of living. I began teaching step-dance in the summer of 2020. I developed my first team in Binghamton N.Y. I teach to all students, both boys and girls ranging from the age of six to eighteen. Each member of the team is also assigned a mentor to work with. The mentor is responsible for working with the child outside of the dance studio installing some of the very skills that were installed in me when I was a student on a step team. I am very passionate about stepping and even more passionate about teaching it to children. I’m proud to have the space and grace to pour into students to provide the same avenue.
Elise Kelly My name is Elise Kelly, and I am an Eastern Style Square Dance instructor. Eastern square dance has been a part of my town’s local history for a very long time. Although I am only 28, I have known how to square dance pretty much my whole life. Square dance calling, playing, and dancing have been in my family for years. Square dancing can be for anyone who can swing their partner round and round, period. I feel that square dancing can bridge a lot of gaps generationally, musically, and culturally. It can be a fun way to get together with people you may or may not know and share commonality.
Linda Franke I learned about fiber arts from my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-aunts. Almost all my memories of them are with crochet hooks, knitting needles, yarn, and threads in their hands. The kind of work that I do has sometimes been viewed as “old-fashioned” or not needed anymore, but these art forms are important in our culture. I love taking very traditional fiber art forms and recreating those patterns and techniques. I also really like to change up some of those techniques and make something new and interesting. I take all the ideas and techniques that the women in my family taught me and build on them, adding in new ideas and learning new techniques to make fun things!
Kevin LaDue I make acoustic guitars in a shop about the size of a two-car garage, and I use woods that grow right here in the area where I live. What is most important to me in guitar making is to create a pleasing sound, an attractive appearance, good craftsmanship, and an instrument that is very special to each one of my customers. Each guitar is made one at a time, using many different machines and hand tools and even tools that I make. My father taught me woodworking, carpentry, and a deep appreciation for the beauty of wood and craftsmanship. I like to make all kinds of things, but I love making guitars because it combines what my dad taught me, my childhood experiences, and all that I’ve learned with my love of woodwork and music. I’ve also played guitar for almost 60 years. When I make guitars, I’m everything I’ve always wanted to be, and I learn more and more every time I make one. Making guitars is my art. It’s my dream. It’s where I live. It’s my signature in sound and aesthetics.
Marissa Robinson (Passionn) As a recording artist, I take that energy and transform it into sound vibrations. In other words, I make music, mainly rap and hip hop, but I love all genres of music. I was inspired at a young age by the likes of artists like Missy Elliot and Tupac. After watching a show called 106 & Park Freestyle Friday, I saw people rapping and instantly was hooked. I’ve performed numerous times for all different kinds of audiences. I think this is one of my favorite parts about being a recording artist. Once you learn how to tap into the energy of a crowd, it’s like controlling a body of water.
Tony Gonyea My name is Tony Gonyea, and I’m from the Onondaga Nation, Beaver clan. I’m an artist of many media. I also do NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act). Repatriation is getting items (back) out of museums that are in their collections that should be returned to the Native Nations. Whenever soil is turned over in a project that has federal money involved, the region’s Native communities must be consulted. I do beadwork, including replica belts. I even have two belts that are a part of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s permanent collection. These art forms show that we are still here. We went to a museum one time, and all the writing about Natives was in past tense! It is important to me that I point this out—we are here and we are still a vibrant community. Next time I went to the museum they had the tenses all corrected—now it is we DO and we ARE.
Doug Maddi I used to hear my mother sing around the house and my father spent some time working at a local radio station when I was a child. However, nobody in my family dove into the world of arts as deeply and consistently as I have. While studying different forms of art during high school, I developed a deep love for music and dance that sparked a passion in myself and inspired me to begin to learn how to create music. I aspired to be the one creating the music I danced to. After attending the Institute of Audio Research for nine months, I graduated at the top of my class. I began an internship at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan that later granted me work as an assistant engineer for the company. I began working at Manifest Vision Studio located on the west side of [Binghamton]. I work with a dynamic group of artists and personalities ranging from young as middle school children to older adults with various backgrounds of style of music. As a result of working with such a diverse set of individuals I have established an ear to create a significant sound that most artists appreciate. I have made a huge impact in this community as I have established significant relationships with the artist and members of the community I work with.
Gayane Dadian Born in Armenia, I spent my childhood in the historical Armenian highlands of Artsakh where my grandparents indulged me in various traditional arts and crafts. I moved to the United States in 2015 when I married my husband. But my culture has stayed alive in my heart and soul, my mind and my body. I started to set up programs in various Armenian and American communities to help revive and inspire others with the songs, dances, and traditions that I brought with me. Wisdom tells us that little comes to pass by coincidence. It has been a varied and ever evolving path which made me the person I am now, and through music and song I have found a way to share the precious things that I’ve gathered over the years. Bringing together Armenian music, culture, and its Christian influences, I have researched and sung traditional Armenian Lullabies, some centuries old, some formerly forgotten. My greatest wish is that this music keeps alive the inner child within us all, telling the stories of our lives, the struggles, happiness, and emotions throughout life.
Thank you for Attending the Culture, Community, and the Classroom showcase! This program happens because of the support of many important funders and individuals like yourself. Please consider donating to support these programs.
About the project
Fifteen teachers in school districts around the region participated in a summer workshop with nationally recognized faculty from Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education. Eight educators were selected to host artists in their schools. Learn from these local teachers and traditional artists who participated in this national initiative to incorporate diverse cultural arts and knowledge into classrooms in a lively showcase. Learn more about the summer workshop here.
Thank you to these funders who made it possible to offer this as a free professional development opportunity for teachers and artists: The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and individual donors to Local Learning.
We are grateful to our local colleagues Akilah Briggs-Melvin, George Zavala, Karen Canning, and T.C. Owens for their help in planning this professional development series. We want to acknowledge the support of Ellen McHale and New York Folklore, Go-ART!/GLOW Traditions, Roberson Museum and Science Center, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, and the Broome-Tioga BOCES.