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On Sunday, Nov. 19, local multimedia artists Kathi Seidl, left, and Beth Holyoke will unveil their newest collaborative installation in Glen Helen’s Vernet Ecological Center: “Fungi Fantasy/Looking,” a fiber-based, floor-to-ceiling cropping of mushrooms and more. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

2023 In Review | The Arts

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• One of the oldest established co-ops in town, Yellow Springs Pottery celebrated 50 years as a collective.

• In September, Chamber Music in Yellow Springs, or CMYS, kicked off a season of programming by commemorating its 40th anniversary. Established in 1983, CMYS was founded by a handful of devoted classical music lovers, and 40 years later, remains an all-volunteer enterprise.

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• The World House Choir, helmed by Director Cathy Roma celebrated 10 years with a concert series held in September at the Foundry Theater.

The concert kicked off the Foundry Theater’s inaugural season of programming, organized by newly hired Foundry Theater Director Chris Westhoff. Following performances in 2023 were Electric Root’s “The Sound of Black Music,” musical duo Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert, Zoh Amba and Chris Corsano with Evan Miller, and The Mark Lomax Trio.

• In November, The YS Public Arts & Culture Commission hosted the Village Inspiration and Design Award celebration for 2023 VIDA recipients at the Herndon Gallery on the Antioch College campus. This year’s awardees were Catherine Roma, of The World House Choir, for her contributions in music; visual artists Deborah Dixon and Pierre Nagley, for their many years of contributions to the arts in this community and beyond; and Valerie Blackwell-Truitt, an accomplished dancer and choreographer and the organizer of the Community Dance and Performance Art show.

Photo by Reilly Dixon



• The Yellow Springs Film Festival debuted in October to the fanfare of local film enthusiasts at the Little Art Theatre, with special events at the Foundry Theater and Crome Architecture. The lineup for the inaugural festival included documentaries, full-length narrative films and a collection of shorts, as well as an appearance by comedian, musician and actor Fred Armisen and a retrospective of the work of the late local filmmaker Julia Reichert.

• Longtime Hollywood film director Michael Schultz’s connections to Yellow Springs theater were the topic of a September feature about that time in his life. At age 85, Schultz has been directing for six decades. Schultz came to Yellow Springs in the ’60s by way of the McCarter Theater, a respected company that has been producing plays since 1930.

Musicians Kieran Kane, left, and Rayna Gellert will perform their blend of understated Americana music — with influences from the duo’s roots in both country and old-time music — at the Foundry Theater on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The pair are pictured in their Adirondacks cabin, which serves as both a summer home and part-time music studio, and where they recorded their latest album, “The Flowers That Bloom In Spring.” (Submitted photo)



• Homegrown classically trained cellist Karen Patterson returned to the area in May, for a performance at High Street United Methodist Church in Springfield. Her repertoire included Bach suites and African American spirituals.

• Local saxophone player Danny Sauers was lauded in two benefit concerts in July on his behalf after Sauers was forced to take a short hiatus from work and playing music after a heart-related medical emergency. Members of the Yellow Springs musical community, along with neighbors, friends and former bandmates, were on hand for the concerts.

Performing arts

• In January, the Foundry’s resident theater company, Mad River Theater Works, debuted the one-act play “Freedom Flight,” about the life of Addison White, a 19th-century Black American who escaped from enslavement in Kentucky.

• In March, villagers Maya Trujillo and Kayla Graham began offering aerial movement classes at the Wellness Center before moving to the Foundry Theater. Folks taking the classes learn to hoist themselves high via aerial fabrics. The duo intends to establish a performing company, and became artists in residence at the Foundry this year.

Mad River Theater Works hosted a two-week summer theater residency workshop aimed at young artists at the Foundry Theater in June with support from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and Ohio Arts Council. The residency culminated with a performance at the Foundry.

• Showcasing 10 plays by local and international playwrights, and produced by the YS Theater Company, the annual 10-Minute Play Festival was staged in June on the south lawn at Yellow Springs High School.

• The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs presented “Springs to Freedom,” an informational and theatrical gathering concerning the history of the Conway-Gwinn Colony, in July.

In August at the John Bryan Community Center, the YS Theater Company debuted a flamboyant rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Abbreviated to just “SHREW!” the company’s interpretation of the play’s peculiar marriage plot was envisioned as one big drag show.

Cast members of the upcoming production of “SHREW!” — a new spin on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” — rehearsed for the drag-themed play earlier this week. The show opens at the Bryan Community Center on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19, at 7 p.m. Performances are free and open to a 16-and-older public.
From left: Olive Cooper, Anna Blair, Milo Strogler, Sasha Kozlova, Nick Beard (in heels) and Ryan Hester donned their Shakespearean personas. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)


Visual art

In April, Bronx-based artist Rafaela Santos was the first artist to exhibit work in the architecture studio Crome Yellow Springs. Santos’ exhibition, “Hidden in Plain Site,” was “an ode” —  to hidden treasures long buried within the structure of the former church, originally called the Anti-slavery Baptist church. The title also spoke of  people seeking better lives after fleeing slavery along the underground railroad that ran through this area.

• In July, YS muralist Pierre Nagley unveiled his newest downtown mural depicting a delicate sunset cascading over a Japanese beach. The mural coated a temporary wall erected at the construction site where Earth Rose previously stood.

• In November, local multimedia artists Kathi Seidl and Beth Holyoke unveiled their newest installation: a kaleidoscopic fairy ring of felted and crocheted mushrooms clustered up and around the central pillar in the atrium of the Vernet Ecological Center at Glen Helen.

• A major stainless-steel sculpture by Yellow Springs-based sculptor Jon Barlow Hudson was  installed outside Ohio University’s Clippinger Chemistry Lab in the fall. Entitled “EIDOLON:NATURE,” the work is 27 feet high by 16 feet in diameter. It was built at Budde Sheet Metal in Dayton.


• Writer and former Yellow Springs resident Rachel Eve Moulton’s novel “The Insatiable Volt Sisters” was published in April.  Now living in New Mexico, Moulton returned to the village after the novel’s publication for a reading at the Emporium.

• In April the Glen Helen Association and Tecumseh Land Trust, or TLT, released “Sun and Shadow, Wood and Stone,” an anthology of poems by 61 local and regional wordsmiths who’ve read at the annual Solstice Poetry Reading over the past decade. The anthology was edited by local residents and poets Anne Randolph, a former TLT board member; Ed Davis, who hosted the Solstice Poetry Readings for 10 years; and Matthew Birdsall, current Solstice reading host.

• Villager and retired teacher MJ Werthman White’s novel, “An invitation to the Party,” was released by Regal House Publishing in July. A launch event was held at Epic Books. 

In October, longtime villager Kay Reimers released “How It Happened,” a narrative historical journey about Yellow Springs that begins with the physical formation of the land. through the thousand-years-long history of Indigenous peoples, the influx of white colonists, to the foundation of relationship between the village and Antioch College. A launch event was held at Epic Books. 

• Longtime village resident and author of both novels and academic texts, Barbara Fleming, Ph.D., released “African American Mothers: Their Children and Their Poverty in America in the First Quarter of the Twenty-First Century” in August.

• The 12th annual Solstice Poetry Reading was held in December at the Glen’s Vernet Ecology Center. Invited poets read original works inspired by the theme “Grounded.”

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