Archive for the 'Pennsylvania' Category



The Blain Hotel, or, A Morning in the Life of a Rural Journalist

Sometimes when you’re a journalist, you write about businesses opening under new ownership.

Janel Beaston

Janel Beaston, 22 years old, bought the Blain Hotel restaurant in May 2013.

If you’re a rural journalist, that business might have been a restaurant that was the center of social life in a town of 252 people. You might have heard people buzzing about its return to operating for months beforehand. You might have learned that the restaurant existed since before the Civil War.

Blain Hotel

The Blain Hotel closed in the fall of 2012. It re-opened on Sept. 16, 2013.

You might go to the restaurant to take photos and meet a waitress who’s worked there for 20 years.

Waitress Lou Ann

Waitress Lou Ann Campbell

You might discover that the group of 23 senior citizens she’s serving made their reservation months before the restaurant re-opened. They might be gathered there for a school reunion.

Red Hill School Reunion

The third man in from the right, Ken Morrow, is the oldest in the group at age 96. He was the grand marshall of Blain’s 250th anniversary celebration parade in August 2013.

They might show you sketches of the one-room schoolhouse they all attended four decades before you were born. You might hear stories about “pen the teacher out day,” when students locked the teacher out of school and bunked off. (Which, you might be told, usually happened during hunting season so that the teacher, if he were male, could go hunting instead.)

Red Hill School Reunion2

Red Hill School alumni

Sometimes when you’re a rural journalist, this is your life. You might need to ask your questions loudly.

Faces of Mental Health Recovery: Wheat pasting!

Faces of Mental Health Recovery is a public art project that engages people in recovery from mental illness, as well as their supporters, in learning photography and producing poster-sized black and white portraits to display publicly. In early September, I led a photography workshop in Landisburg, PA with the project participants. Last night we reconvened at the Perry County Council of the arts in Newport and wheat pasted the portraits onto 21.75 x 32-inch wooden panels.

The process was simple, though we learned some tips as we went. First, I made wheat paste by combining 1 part flour and 4 parts water and heating on medium while whisking constantly. Second, we applied a layer of wheat paste to the panel using a roller. It shouldn’t be gloopy, but get plenty on there.

Wheat pasting our portraits

Brendan

The third step took three people. Two people lined up the top of the poster to the edge at the top of the panel, while one person at the other end held up the poster so it didn’t drop onto the wheat paste.

Wheat pasting our portraits

Shelley and Rog

The two people at the top slowly pressed the poster down, smoothing it out from the center.

Wheat pasting our portraits

Our title poster was printed on heavier paper than the portraits, which meant it had less wrinkles. Though we like the character and texture that the wrinkles give to the portraits.

After making sure every corner is applied, the final step was a top layer of wheat paste rolled over the poster. We’ll also add a layer of polyurethane once the panels have dried, to make them more weather-resistant and add a bit of gloss.

Wheat pasting our portraits

Shelley was the smoothing master. All that decoupage practice paid off.

Faces of Mental Health Recovery

Faces of Mental Health Recovery: Jasmine (PCCA’s fantastic creative programs director), Bill, Brendan, Shelley (my co-conspirator and co-organizer for the project), Todd, Paul and Nikki. One participant, Tracey, couldn’t make it that night.

These panels will be hung outside at Landis House, 67 N. 4th St., Newport PA. An accompanying indoor photo exhibition will open with a reception at Landis House on Oct. 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m., on first Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment. It will run through Nov. 22.

Photo of the Day: Cat and Cow

Cat and Cow

O’Toole Acres dairy farm. Loysville, PA. August 2013

Think they do yoga together?

Faces of Mental Health Recovery: Portraits

Faces of Mental Health Recovery is a public art project that engages people in recovery from mental illness, as well as their supporters, in learning photography and producing poster-sized black and white portraits to display publicly.

The portraits below, taken by participants and me, will be wheat pasted on wooden panels and hung outside at Landis House, 67 N. 4th St., Newport PA. An accompanying indoor photo exhibition will open with a reception at Landis House on Oct. 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m., on first Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment. It will run through Nov. 22.

Leah Clouser

Leah Clouser

Bill McHenry

Bill McHenry

Brendan Bayer

Brendan Bayer

Nikki Miller

Nikki Miller

Paul Boyer

Paul Boyer

Shelley Bishop

Shelley Bishop

Todd Stephens

Todd Stephens

Tracy Acker

Tracy Acker

Kara Newhouse

Kara Newhouse

Faces of Mental Health Recovery: Perry County workshop

The photography workshop I taught for the Faces of Mental Health Recovery project last weekend went off without a hitch. Great weather, fun people, and a beautiful location in western Perry County. Here are some photos from the workshop in action.

We held the workshop at Support the Journey House, a business owned by my co-conspirator, Shelley Bishop (front, right).

We held the workshop at Support the Journey House, a business owned by my co-conspirator, Shelley Bishop (front, right).

After openings, I introduced the group to basic photography principles, like the rule of thirds, composition and perspective. (Photo by Bill McHenry)

Then they got to work!

Then they got to work!

The first activity involved taking photos that represented the I'm the Evidence values: belief, hope, giving, connectedness, action, example, encouragement and possibility.

The first exercise was taking photos that represented the I’m the Evidence values: belief, hope, giving, connectedness, action, example, encouragement and possibility. This photo by Tracy Acker represents belief.

This photo by Leah Clouser represents encouragement.

This photo by Leah Clouser represents encouragement.

Later in the workshop we took portraits of each other, which will be the main feature of the Faces of Mental Health Recovery exhibition at Landis House next month. I’ll post those photos later this weekend!

Faces of Mental Health Recovery: an anti-stigma public art project

ITE logo
As a multi-passionate person, I typically have more ideas floating around in my head than I can put into action. Sometimes those ideas hang around a while without taking root and eventually fade. Other times, though, the idea sticks around just long enough to collide with another bit of knowledge or creativity, and a new idea emerges.

“Faces of Mental Health Recovery” is the product of one of those moments. Inspired by the Inside Out Project, I’d been wanting to do a wheat paste portrait project for a few years. Last fall I met Shelley Bishop and learned about I’m the Evidence, a mental health awareness campaign that shares the story of people’s recovery from mental illness as an example of hope and human potential. Soon after that, the idea to do a public art project with I’m the Evidence struck me. This weekend I’ll be leading the photography workshop portion of it, and I’ll share more as it moves along.

For now, here are the basics of this project that’s giving me oodles of creative excitement.

What is “Faces of Mental Health Recovery”?

Faces of Mental Health Recovery is a public art project that engages people in recovery from mental illness, as well as their supporters, in learning photography and producing poster-sized black and white portraits to display publicly.

Who’s involved?

Well there’s me, obviously. (Or as the press releases say, “artist and community organizer Kara Newhouse.”) There’s Shelley, and two staff members of the Mental Health Association in PA, which is the home of the I’m the Evidence campaign.

The Perry County Council of the Arts [PCCA] has also been part of planning the project and will host the art exhibition.

And there are eight people who are either in recovery from mental illness or the supporters of those in recovery. They are the ones who will create the actual artwork of the project.

What are the steps?

The project kicks off with a two-day photo workshop that I’m leading. Participants will learn the basics of photography and produce portraits of each other that convey the values of the I’m the Evidence campaign: belief, hope, giving, connectedness, action, example, encouragement and possibility.

At the end of September, the participants and organizers will come together again to apply poster-sized black-and-white versions of the portraits onto wooden panels using wheat paste, a street art technique. The panels will be hung from the wrap-around porch at PCCA’s community art space, Landis House, so that passersby can see them. An exhibition inside Landis House will display additional portraits and the participants’ stories of how they are the evidence that mental health recovery is possible.

Where can I see it?

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Oct. 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., during Mental Illness Awareness Week. If you’re in Central PA, please come to see it and meet the participants and organizers, including me!

Landis House is located at 67 N. 4th St. in Newport, PA. It is free and open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m., on first Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment. The exhibition will run through Nov. 22.

Photo of the Day: map turtle

Map turtle

A map turtle spotted and picked up by a guide on a walk at Haldeman Island. Dauphin County, PA. June 2013


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