Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Personal Perspective 

by Miriam ‘Mirnie’ Kashiwa, Director Emeriti

Visitors and part-time residents in the Adirondacks’ community value the area as a place of sanctuary where one can shed for a time life’s stresses and breathe deeply of Peace. Local folks live ‘their’ time in a scenic paradise accompanied similarly by life’s day to day stresses (that others vacation from), in order to raise families…that their children may benefit from the nearness of all the Adirondacks attributes: unique environmental beauty, opportunities for healthful outdoor pastimes, small communities where one knows neighbors, small caring schools, maintained infrastructure, convenient social services, and on.

 Residents stay and embrace the struggles believing that the benefits outweigh the hardships. However, there is more.  Many of us in this generation believe we have an obligation to plan for ways to ensure that another generation of families can thrive here.

  In changing times, what’s to say that the future will not see this community revert to ‘horrors’...a ghost town without services, schools, groceries, movie house, building

supply stores, gift shops…a beautiful town with a dried up economy? Even second homeowners could find vacationing here without local services inconvenient.

  After more than fifty years of existence, The Arts Guild in 2006 spearheaded a community effort to create a ‘Legacy of Learning’ for the region within a cultural complex: recreational-education non-invasive to the NY State mandate that ‘the Adirondacks Park remain ‘forever wild’.

 Demonstrating the kinship between the arts and sciences sprang from an idea of 58 years in observation and action. The undertaking would follow sound ecological principles in construction and land use: a green building with surrounding natural landscape… considered a demonstration project for alternative energy with low toxic emissions, recycled materials, natural materials, one which would honor the planet and even be emulated by other rural communities.

 Now, 70% toward completion, the building stands ready to move forward: exterior siding, recycled-tire and metal roofs, windows all in place, generator operational, shell poised for the next round of enthusiastic investor participation noting the natural  environmental locus and rationale of the vision: government and others agreeing with science that GREEN construction matters and in an age eager for information, the arts and sciences  do offer stimulating topics to consider on life’s journey at home or while traveling.

            Our 48 geothermal ‘pipes’ are ready to be connected to the utility panel; our Studio Barn roof is measured for solar panels and the two free-standing, sun-folllowing photo voltaics are awaiting an order; our state of the art storm drain system is partially in place; the Wetlands Nature Walk is marked out; the Eco Gallery to be kept current by  our future separate  and collaborating corporation, CAASA,  in its  ‘LABORATORY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES’, is on hold with all else …galleries, theater,  Pre-School Suite, teaching kitchen, resident-artist suite… as we wait to open the doors of the Main Building.

 Our Complex can be a seed for broader future educational pursuits bringing young people to the region. The trickle-down is endless: employment, new recreational and mercantile opportunities. These and more can open into that hoped for situation: that families can continue to enjoy, as we have, the luxury of raising courageous children, here, in the West Central Adirondack Mountains.

 No promoter of self interests alone. The Arts Guild is a spearhead for this important regional community work for today and tomorrow which is still compatible with the ‘Forever Wild ‘ state mandate.  Our ‘grassroots leadership’ is tireless and of the highest moral integrity. It lacks only the assistance of a magic wand to speed a complicated process  -while fielding questions by nay-sayers.

  I ask: who among the many readers of this piece have written to Congressmen, Senators, Governors, the President bringing to their attention our goals and hard work to help ourselves?  and how many, at no personal cost or gain, have mentioned to contacts and well positioned investors outside the ‘blue line’  that their investments could give positive  cultural and economic impact  to the future of an unique region?  They would serve as a force for  bringing  current trends in the arts and environmental science research to  hundreds; they would be adding their seal of approval to constructing with the  best principles of green building technology for the good of the planet ?

 The families of and visitors to the West Central Adirondack Corridor joining the Blue Mountain Museum and the Tupper Lake Wild Center as their Gateway will be the happy beneficiaries of  this enriching resource. Together we need to make this happen, soon.

 Miriam Kashiwa

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