By Heather Mezynski and Anna Costanza
“African-American Artists of the Hudson Valley” runs through Sunday at the Center.
BEACON– 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.
One 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.”