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Art, Drama, Music and Books
Art, drama, music & books

Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation Will Formally Launch on October 16, 2019 PDF Print Email


By Pat Drew, Board Member of Al Amana International

Oct. 9, 2019:  A new center for reconciliation has been named in memory of Mary Hoch of Bronxville. The Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation ("MHCR") will formally launch in New York City on October 16th at the Loft at the Marble Collegiate Church. 

Before her passing in 2016, Mary and her husband Jim were working to find ways to support peace and dialogue in the world. The Center for Reconciliation came out of that work and will look to find ways to help communities heal themselves.

The Mary Hoch Center is housed at the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. It will lead research on locally-led reconciliation practices and will support more effective processes throughout the world. The Center also hopes to lead collaborations of research and training that will help communities heal their relationships and enable transformative reconciliation around the world.

Antti Pentikäinen is the Director of the Mary Hoch Center. He explains why this reconciliation work is essential: "In today's world, conflicts continue in cycles. Fragile peace agreements fail without effective reconciliation, and violence re-emerges with devastating effects. The goal of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation is to help create effective reconciliation processes and accompanying insider reconcilers in healing communities." 

The evening will feature keynote speeches from Father Michael Lapsley, founder of the Institute for Healing Memories and Anne Nuorgame, chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and member of the Saami Parliament in Finland. Ms. Nuorgame holds the highest-ranking position for Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations.

A panel discussion on the vital role of insider reconcilers in reconciliation processes will follow. Panelists include:

The evening will provide the opportunity to meet the keynote speakers and panelists, the Director of the MHCR and MHCR's community of generous supporters.  

It will also provide an opportunity to learn about ways to get involved in the mission of the MHCR. For further information, and to register, click here.


Pictured:  Mary Hoch

Photo courtesy of the Hoch family

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.





Friends of the Bronxville Library Welcomes Four New Board Members PDF Print Email

By Irena Choi Stern, Vice President, Friends of the Bronxville Public Library

Oct. 2, 2019:  Four new board members joined the Friends of the Bronxville Public Library ("FOBPL") on October 1, bringing a wealth of talent and experience to arguably the most beloved institution in the village. The new board members are Zahabia Brainch, Grace Gilmer, Laura Kinon, and Carolyn Mattson. They join the president, Dina Grant, vice president Irena Choi Stern, treasurer/president-elect Rekha Waggoner, and secretary Lauren Toal.

“We are so lucky to have these four talented women join us on the Friends,” said Dina Grant, president of the FOBPL. “I look forward to hearing their creative ideas about new programs we can offer the Bronxville community, and I know their diverse experiences will be incredibly helpful as we continually strive to create a welcoming place for the community to gather and to learn.”

Over the years, the FOBPL has quietly filled in where library budgets have not been able to meet the need, funding all of the adult and children’s programming, including the summer reading program, author events featuring nationally recognized writers, a museum pass program to New York City institutions, keeping the library open during municipal cuts, funding innovations in digital publishing, and making sure that Bronxville residents have access to resources. The library has long been a central focus of the community, with residents donating to the 2001 renovation of the building, the majority of which was funded by the fortuitous auction of a painting. The ongoing programs are funded by community support through annual donations to, and a benefit organized by, the FOBPL. This year, the FOBPL funded a beautiful new circulation desk in the children’s room and future plans include a renovation of the teen room.

Zahabia Brainch

Zahabia and her husband, Satpal, moved to Bronxville in December of 2018.  They have two boys, in grade five and grade three. The family moved from London, where they spent the last six years. Zahabia graduated magna cum laude from Denison University and worked at General Electric for 10 years. Subsequently, Zahabia focussed on entrepreneur endeavors and she is now an independent consultant with Microsoft. She served on the board of the PTA at the American School in London (ASL). Zahabia was an active volunteer at her school library in London. She is also a trained crisis counselor and volunteers weekly for Crisis Text Line. Zahabia is excited to get involved in the Bronxville community.

Grace Gilmer

Grace moved to Bronxville with her husband, Shyda, in 2012. They have three children, all of whom have attended the Bronxville School since kindergarten and are now in grades 2, 4 and 7. Grace is from Southern California. She has a B.A. in Social Ecology from U.C. Irvine and a master's degree in social work from Columbia University. Grace worked for nearly ten years at Graham Windham, a New York City nonprofit organization with services for families and children. Before taking time off to raise her children, she spent the last several years of her social work career at The Graham School, a residential treatment center for children, as their director of clinical, medical and quality improvement services. Grace is currently an active management team member of the Bronxville Junior League and volunteers in various capacities at the Bronxville Elementary and Middle Schools.

Laura Kinon


Laura and her husband, Merritt, moved to Bronxville in July of 2010 from Carmel, IN, when their oldest was starting the 4th grade. He is now a graduate of Bronxville High School and is attending Indiana University, where he is on the pre-med track double-majoring in neuroscience and linguistics. Their daughter, Avi, who was born exactly one year after the family moved to Bronxville, is in the third grade at the Bronxville School. Laura went to the University of Dayton, where she studied accounting. This led to a lifelong career of working for nonprofits, including the American Red Cross of the Heartland, the Indiana CPA Society, and the New York Society of CPAs. She stopped working once her daughter was born but went back to school in September of 2015 and, this May, earned her BS in psychology from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Laura has been actively engaged in organizations at the Bronxville School, including the BASC committee, as well as at the Bronxville Field Club, where she serves on the paddle/tennis committee and on the planning committee for this year’s annual Elizabeth’s Hope fundraiser.  

Carolyn Mattson

Carolyn and her husband, Patrick, moved to Bronxville in 2017 and have two boys in the Bronxville School. Since moving to Bronxville, Carolyn has been active in the Elementary PTA as a class parent and New Family Committee member and in the Middle School PTA as MS BASC liaison and character and community co-chair. Carolyn graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, with a BA in marketing and the University of New Haven with an MA in industrial and organizational psychology. She is looking forward to helping the library continue to offer all its amazing programs as well as add new ones for the teens in town. She enjoys reading with her children and her book clubs. 

Pictured at top: Children's room at the Bronxville Public Library.

Photos courtesy Friends of the Bronxville Public Library
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

'Young, Gifted, and Black' Makes its World Premiere at OSilas Gallery: See Photos from Opening PDF Print Email


By Elizabeth Vranka, Executive Director, OSilas Gallery at Concordia College

Oct. 2, 2019:  OSilas Gallery at Concordia College New York has opened Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art, co-curated by writer and critic Antwaun Sargent and collection curator and artist Matt Wycoff. On the evening of September 24, the collectors, curators, and several of the featured artists were among 200 guests on hand to celebrate the world premiere of this exceptional exhibition of works created by artists of African descent, on show through December 7, 2019. 

Young, Gifted, and Black is drawn exclusively from the highly regarded private collection of Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi. Although many works in the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection have been lent to museums over the years, Young, Gifted, and Black is the first stand-alone public exhibition curated exclusively from this outstanding collection. This exhibition showcases works in a variety of mediums by emerging artists of African descent, alongside works by established artists who paved the way for the younger generation. The exhibition features over 40 important early-career works created during the last 35 years. Young, Gifted, and Black will travel to other galleries and museums across the nation after the show closes at OSilas Gallery.

Collector Bernard Lumpkin said: “The exhibition brings to public view the works of artists in the exciting, formative stage of their careers. In fact, many of the works were created by artists at the age Concordia students are now. Over the exhibit’s run I plan to be back and will bring others to see it in this unique context and among members of Concordia’s community.”

Below is a list of the featured artists

Derrick Adams · Tunji Adeniyi-Jones · Sadie Barnette · Kevin Beasley · Jordan Casteel · Bethany Collins · Latoya Ruby Frazier · Ellen Gallagher · Cy Gavin · Alteronce Gumby · Allison Janae Hamilton · David Hammons · Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle · Lonnie Holley · Rashid Johnson · Samuel Levi Jones · Deana Lawson · Glenn Ligon · Eric N. Mack · Kerry James Marshall · Wardell Milan · Jennifer Packer · Adam Pendleton · Adrian Piper · Paul Mpagi Sepuya · Gerald Sheffield · Lorna Simpson · Sable Elyse Smith · Vaughn Spann · Tavares Strachan · Henry Taylor · Chiffon Thomas · Mickalene Thoma s · William Villalongo · Kara Walker · D’Angelo Lovell Williams · Wilmer Wilson IV · Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

The exhibition is free and open to the public; however, groups of eight or more are requested to make advance reservations to view the show with Executive Director Elizabeth Vranka at  CLOAKING . Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday noon to 5:00 pm, Thursday, noon to 7:00 pm, Saturday, 2:00 to 5:00 pm, and by appointment by contacting the executive director.

OSilas Gallery is on the campus of Concordia College, 171 White Plains Road in Bronxville in the Donald A. Krenz Academic Center on the second level of Scheele Memorial Library.  Free parking is available on campus and is accessible via entry on Concordia Place off of White Plains Road. For more information on exhibitions and a full listing of gallery events, please see

See photos from the exhibition opening below:


OSilas Gallery Executive Director Elizabeth Vranka (center) with members of the gallery's board of advisors (L to R) Lisa Rao, Judy Foley, Bart Bland, Paige Jernigan, Chuck Little, and Maggie Marrone.

Opening night in the gallery.

Artist Tunji Adeniyi-Jones with his Blue Dancer (2017).

Tina Staudt and Judy Foley.

Artist Alternonce Gumby with his work Gumby Nation.

Collector Bernard Lumpkin with curators Matt Wycoff and Antwaun Sargent.

Collectors Carmine Boccuzzi and Bernard Lumpkin.

Graphic designer Miko McGinty.

Photos by Matthew Zefi, courtesy Concordia College.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


Bronxville High School Art Students Sketch Plants Along Bronx River PDF Print Email


Contributed by Michael Ganci, Syntax, for The Bronxville School

Oct. 2, 2019:  In collaboration with science teacher Justine McClellan and her students’ research on the Bronx River, students in Courtney Alan’s Studio Art II class are creating detailed illustrations of a variety of plants found along the river.

“There has been a relationship between art and science for centuries,” Alan said. “Before photography, botanical illustration was the only way of visually recording the differences between plants for medicine or scientific purposes. Students in the Bronx River Research class could use some of our final illustrations in their work.”

As part of the project, the art students recently walked along a stretch of the Bronx River at Scout Field to learn about the different native and invasive species and carefully observe the plants before beginning to pencil sketch them, paying attention to line quality and shape.

BHS senior Conner Stoltz creates an illustration of plants found along the Bronx River.

“This project requires artistic skill, attention to fine detail, and knowledge of the plants, and, in the process, it teaches students craftsmanship,” Alan said. “Knowing the type of plants that they are drawing and the impact these plants have on the local ecology will make their artwork more interesting and purposeful.”

Over the next several weeks, the students, who already identified a variety of plants, including Japanese knotweed, wild carrot, witch hazel, hops, bur cucumber, mugwort, jewelweed, and goldenrods, will be fully immersed into their artwork and challenge themselves as technical artists. They will conduct watercolor studies and render the plants in pen and ink, using different mark-making techniques such as hatching, stippling, and scumbling, to depict value and texture.

“Many students were interested in drawing the porcelain-berry plants, which have a vine-like leaf growth pattern and these amazing blue-green berries,” Alan said.

Bronxville High School art students creating illustrations of plants found along the Bronx River.

The final artwork will be a combination of pen and watercolor to produce detailed illustrations of the plants.

“I hope the students take away an appreciation of the nature around them and the connection between the classes they have available to them at Bronxville,” Alan said. “Scientists and artists have a similar process, and it’s fun to explore how each could learn from one another. It is important for students to think of their classes as connected and not compartmentalized.”

Pictured at top: BHS sophomore Sofia Flower creates an illustration of plants found along the Bronx River.

Photos courtesy of The Bronxville School

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


Bronxville School Sixth-Grader to Perform Original Composition at NYSSMA PDF Print Email


By Michael Ganci, Syntax for The Bronxville School

Oct. 2, 2019:  Sam Bright, a Bronxville Middle School sixth-grader and talented young musician, has been selected to perform his own original composition during the Young Composer Honors Concert at the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference in December.

Bright described his piano composition Sahar Aswad, which translates as “dark magic” in Arabic, as a heart-pumping piece that he is excited to share with an audience.

“I chose this name because this piece has a very dark aesthetic, and it uses a lot of Middle Eastern scales,” said Bright, who has been playing the piano since he was seven. “I always liked heavy metal and rock, and I wanted to apply it to a classical piece.” 

Bright wrote his composition as a fifth-grader when his elementary school music teacher, Adele Hoffman, encouraged him to enter the competition. She kept him on task with the deadline and requirements, which included sending a recording of his composition, a copy of the music, and his application. Out of hundreds of applicants, Bright is among eleven students in the state to be selected to perform at the concert. Only one other child is of elementary school age, while the rest are middle and high school students.

“For such a young composer, his work shows great depth and talent,” Hoffman said. “He is able to seamlessly weave together a variety of musical styles and moods as well as meters. By the end of his composition, there is a feeling of completeness--the work makes great musical sense.”

Hoffman said that Bright is already extending the boundaries of his musical endeavors--he plays the double bass in the middle school orchestra, plays the guitar and electric bass, and participates in a rock band, for which he writes the music. Outside of school, Bright takes private piano lessons and studies composition at Concordia Conservatory with Dr. Matt Van Brink in Bronxville.

The Young Composer Honors Concert will be held at the Rochester Convention Center in Rochester, New York, from December 5 to 8.

Pictured here: Bronxville Middle School sixth-grader Sam Bright.

Photo courtesy The Bronxville School

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

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