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April 1, 2011
By Robyn Near

First of all, I’d like to say, contrary to what you may have read in last week’s edition of the Westfield Republican, S. Alexander Gerould did NOT write the Ruminations column “Walk Down Memory Lane.” All complaints or kudos should be addressed to me, as always.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is the Ripley Library is going great guns with its Month of the Arts Art Show. The bad news is State funding is being cut to local libraries to the tune of $8.45 million. But let’s talk about the good news first.

March is National Month of the Arts. Earlier in the month the Ripley Free Library hosted local poets who read their original or favorite poetry. The remainder of the month, through the 31st, was devoted to the visual arts as showcased by over two dozen local artists. Everything from oils and acrylics, line drawings, cartoon art, to photographs is being featured throughout the library. Each time I go in, something new has been added. This being the first year for a local art show, word spread a little more slowly than it might have. As people visited the library, they remembered their own dabbles in artwork and brought them in. If you visited earlier in the month to see what was on display, you might want to visit again and see the new paintings that have been added. So far over 100 visitors have gone through the “gallery” and ooh’d and aah’d over the amazing works of art.

I am assuming there are a lot more artists out there in Ripley who either chose not to enter their paintings, drawings and photography or just didn’t hear about the library show. The representation of local artists blew me away, and I expect that next year will be even bigger and better. Who knew so many people in this community could paint? My hat is off to everybody who entered a piece of their artwork. You are truly amazing.

Personally, I haven’t embraced painting – yet. My interests lie in the area of photography. They say the mark of a true photographer is the willingness to look silly or get dirty in the quest for the perfect photo. I don’t claim to be on par with someone like Ansel Adams, but I have been known to lie on the floor of Warwick Castle on the River Avon in England to get a photograph of the tiled and exquisitely decorated ceiling. As I recall, my friend and guide walked past me muttering, “I do not even know you.”

Be that as it may, today is your last chance to take a stroll through the Ripley Library and see what your friends and neighbors have been doing with their time.

The bad news is the State Assembly and Senate of New York have split on whether or not to restore $4.2 million in library aid cuts. Libraries depend on a number of sources to keep their doors open. State Aid is one of the largest sources of revenue. The Legislative Conference Committees will try to hammer out their differences in the budget proposals, but because the Assembly did not include any restoration of funding, the Senate will have a hard time pushing through partial restoration.

These are OUR libraries. This is OUR government. Write, email or call your representatives and tell them you want them to give back some of the funding the libraries so urgently need. Can you imagine our little town without the library? Help by contacting our Assembly and Senate members. I thank you and the library thanks you.

Contact information:

Senator Catharine Young

LOB 513, Albany, NY 12247


Assemblyman Joe Giglio

LOB 439, Albany, NY 12248


Assemblyman Andy Goodell

LOB 545, Albany, NY 12248




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