Klem Farm 2023
pastel on treated paper
private collection


Mira at Sequoia Park
pastel on treated paper 2022
private collection


"Alameda" 20x28
pastel on treated paper 2020
private collection


"Keystone Mountain Park 1" 2020
private collection


"Keystone Mountain Park 2" 2020
private collection




"Autumn Maple"
2016






 



"October Light" and "Self-Portrait"

at Cairo OperaHouse Contemporary Gallery





In 2006 I was asked to submit a passion statement regarding my work at the Red Rock Job Corps Center in Lopez PA. The great administrators helped me create a thriving arts program that expanded over my 30 years of teaching there.

Passion Statement 

I came to Job Corps by a “twist of fate” and with many coincidences happening find myself where I am presently. Art was a marginal area when I came into the program in 1982 and it is still actually marginal in the larger scope of the program today. Even so I have gained a strong hold at the Red Rock center and growing support in our region. Others have also at least recognized me as strength in arts application on the national scene in Job Corps.

Looking back at my experience I am compelled to realize that I have probably identified with our students in the program in the area of how broken homes have affected their development. Through my own process and many student testimonials, I have gained an appreciation for the healing capacity of the arts and now understand why this alone makes it a valuable resource for our students’ education and development process. 

One of our Center Directors referred to the application of arts as an ideal that we can only take “baby-steps” with. He also informed me at an earlier date that the quality of student art just does not really matter as a factor for justification. I think I understand why that is when we consider the long-term stigma that associates artists with being underemployed and poor. In another sense, arts is also identified as a forum for environmental issues, the  “Gay” movement,  women’s rights issues and other social/political issues. I believe that arts are subdued often because of its powerful influencing capacity in the face of these controversial issues.  Unfortunately, for our children who really could use the healing power and educational dynamics of arts they are kept excluded from what can be called an expendable luxury or political nuisance. For whatever reasons, the idea of arts as a fringe program still remains in the minds of Job Corps administrators. It is in evidence widely, with many centers showing a weak commitment to implementing arts. And according to the design of the program they are within tolerable limits to interpret that arts are expendable. 

In my efforts to advocate the application of arts more widely I have been invited to speak to groups frequently about my program at Red Rock as well as my own artwork. I have exhibited consistently since my graduation from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1977. Some of my exhibitions have been shared with students during important events such as exhibits on capitol hill in Washington DC twice; once during our bid for the National Medal of Arts in 1997 and secondly during the inclusion in the “Breaking the Walls of Stigma, Bias and Prejudice” international exhibit that appeared in the Dirksen Senate office Building in 2001. That exhibit traveled to the UN buildings in New York City during August 2001 (at the 10th annual Indigenous Peoples Day”) and Durban South Africa during the “World Conference Against Racism” in September of 2001.  The connection made with these noted exhibits came about due to the consistent networking that goes on at Red Rock. The artist and organizer of these exhibits, Marietta Dantonio-Fryer, Professor of art from Cheney University, had direct contact with our student population and as quoted in a news article said “I knew I couldn’t do this alone. I have worked with Dan before. The talent of his students and depth of emotion in their work is astounding.” It is common for professionals looking into our program to see and acknowledge strength in the connection of arts with our at-risk youth. This is also to be supported by the decision made by President Clinton in 1998 to create the “Coming Up Taller” award that is sponsored by the Presidents’ Committee on Arts and Humanities. This award honors organizations that create art programs that support underserved children.  It is a curious observation I can share with you that in 1997 Senator Santorum nominated Red Rock for the “President’s National Medal of Arts” award. It is not a new idea to connect at-risk youth with arts and it is not a new idea that arts support excellence across the span of all subjects important for development of our next generation.