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Council Keeps Arts Alive and Thriving

When Joanne Kant started the Easton Arts Council about 15 years ago, she wanted to give both visual and performing artists in town a chance to showcase their work and get to know each other.

"I think that there are so many talented, artistic people in Easton," said Kant, who is a singer and president of the group. "Easton is a quiet community. There's not a lot of places where people can meet. There's no downtown, and so the arts council gets out to people in the community with our website and our mailings and the events that we sponsor. Everything that we do is Easton."

When a friend suggested that she start the council, Kant placed an ad in the newspaper. Only 10 members attended the first monthly meeting. Today, the board has about 15 regulars with 200 more members with a range of talents and interests. "We're small, but we're right for the size of the town," Kant said.

The group keeps busy with many events, including art shows, theater readings, a "taste of opera" night, a ceramics show and a photography exhibit.

The nonprofit arts council also sponsors activities for young people with a student creative writing competition, a youth talent show, and a youth art show and workshop. The group also awards scholarships to standout students at Helen Keller Middle School and Joel Barlow High School. Kant said getting kids interested in the arts is an important council goal.

"A lot of problems have developed with cutbacks in arts (in schools) through the economy," said Kant, pointing out that an art teacher was recently let go from Samuel Staples Elementary after budget cuts. "Kids are always looking for places to exhibit their arts, to perform, and I think that art is part of growing up."

For more information or to join the Easton Arts Council, e-mail Joanne Kant .

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