By Heather Mezynski and Anna Costanza

Howland Culture Center

“African-American Artists of the Hudson Valley” runs through Sunday at the Center.

Beacon - Howland Cultural CenterBEACON– This month, the walls of the Howland Cultural Center are decorated with the artwork of African-American artists from around the Hudson Valley. This annual art show celebrates National African-American History Month and features work by two twenty local African American Artists.

The event kicked off with a Saturday afternoon reception. Bettina “Gold” Wilkerson hosted and performed. Poet Gold, as she’s known in the community, was recently appointed Dutchess County’s 2017 Poet Laureate by County Executive Marc Molinaro. With the art show as the perfect backdrop, Gold performed some of her spoken word poetry to the crowded venue.
Beacon - Howland Cultural CenterOne of the show’s featured artists and local art teacher, Michael White, just missed this particular performance by Gold but has known her for
quite some time, and has seen her perform before. “She is one of the most inspiring people I know. She’s been a pillar to Poughkeepsie and a light we can gather around anytime.”

After her energetic performance, Poet Gold took the time to explain her relationship with poetry and her duties as Poet Laureate. As Poet Laureate, Poet Gold will serve for a one-year term, and her goal is to conduct workshops throughout the county, to help people find their voice through poetry. When asked about her mission as an artist, Gold said she wanted “To take poetry where it’s not. Of course share it where it is, but to have more people fall in love with poetry.”

  1. I was one of the participating artists in this group exhibition. When I heard Ms. Wilkerson recite, I was grateful to be there at that moment in time, just to experience her presence and her words. Transported above and beyond my own happiness of exhibiting in Beacon’s beautiful historic landmark treasure, I was struck by this being’s power, charisma and manner to inspire and uplift others. For me, her abilities are on a level of what it must have been like to see and hear Dr. King in person.

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