Local Matters

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April 18, 2014 - 5:14pm
posted by Patricia Hawley in painting, culture, art, local artists, painting classes.

Blue Pearl Yoga is pleased to welcome local artist June Martino back for a series of watermedia painting classes. The 5-week session begins on Wednesday, April 23 and continues through Wednesday, May 23. All classes begin at 9:30 a.m. and dismiss at noon.


June Martino is a local artist who has been painting for 30 years, specializing in watermedia. She draws inspiration not only from life but from nature, “Especially,” she says, “when it  reminds us that after a cold long winter Spring  arrives with a palette of beautiful colors for us to share.” Martino feels that “Painting and sketching becomes more lighthearted as we get outdoors and connect with Mother Earth.” This series of classes promises to “take you down your creative path.”  


Classes are fun and casual with demonstrations and weekly assignments to help the student stay excited and informed. Participants will learn techniques of color mixing, washes, glazing,  lost and found edges, negative painting, and other fundamental painting skills.  Students can also expect to learn the elements of design,  how to see with an artist's eye and develop their own style of painting.  

Classes are kept small to ensure individualized attention; ten spaces are available on a first-come/first-serve basis. Cost for each session is $75. Classes are located on the 4th floor of the Blue Pearl Yoga studio, 200 E. Main St., Batavia. (Students must be able to climb stairs.) For more information, contact June Martino at [email protected] or visit her website at www.junemartino.com

October 15, 2013 - 2:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, music, entertainment, culture.

Taikoza, a group of musicians playing traditional Japanese music, with an emphasis on large drums, performed in GCC's Forum today as part of an "Experience Japan" program this quarter at the college.

Besides the music today, students and faculty could enjoy a lunch of sushi.

GCC attracts international students every year and this year, like previous years, there are a number of Japanese attending the college.

October 19, 2010 - 7:38am
posted by Joseph Langen in learning, culture, gender, heredity.

s Awareness, world community, world peace) · Edit

Sliding Otter News


September 25, 2010


Volume 2, Issue 22


How We Learn and Why It Matters


Columbus Circle Crowd

Columbus Circle Crowd

 Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone’s knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier. ~John Dewey

 Recently I read a news story about the pros and cons of separate schools for girls and boys. Girls tend to be more thoughtful. They also learn language skills more quickly. Boys tend to be more active and physical and develop sensory skills more quickly.

Such an approach holds that in separate schools teachers can address their students’ preferred ways of learning. Boys and girls will compete less since they will be learning in ways which are more natural for them. They should also feel better about themselves in a classroom where they can study in their own fashion and might learn more as well.

If students were in school just to learn facts, this approach might be worth considering. But is learning is just about facts? Perhaps more important than what we know at graduation is what we have learned about those different from us and how to understand, communicate and compromise with people we might find odd at first.

Those suggesting the change maintain that boys and girls have different types of brains. Psychologists have debated for decades about whether variations in ways of thinking and acting are based on biology or environment.

Studies by the psychologist Richard Nesbitt found that Japanese mothers talk to their babies mostly in terms of interactions while American and French mothers focus more on nouns. Further studies by Nesbitt and his colleagues found that when asked to look at a picture, American graduate students concentrate on the main subject while East Asian graduate students concentrate more on the background.

The researchers thought that the explanation for this lay in cultural differences. They viewed Americans as more intrigued with independence while Asians are more attuned to the complex social relationships entwined in their way of life.

Groups of people differ from each other in many ways. These differences often make it hard for us to understand each other’s thinking and actions in ordinary circumstances. How much more difficult is it when we start addressing tightly held values? We tend to quickly brand those who differ from us as misinformed, stupid or stubborn.

Scientists were mocked and persecuted when they first suggested that the earth orbited the sun. Modern artists drew scorn when they tried to paint their subjects from several points of view at the same time such as the Cubists did.

Sometimes we get stuck in our routines, plodding along in the same way we always did whether or not we are making progress. Talking only to those who think as we do keeps us from seeing new possibilities. Perhaps those who think differently from us can more easily see solutions to problems which perplex us. If we had the chance to meet them we could benefit from seeing our problems in a new perspective.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Do you talk only with those who agree with you?
  • Do you avoid people with different opinions?
  • On what do you base your opinions?
  • Stretch yourself a little.
  • Try considering other points of view.
July 19, 2010 - 10:25am
posted by Joseph Langen in stories, relationships, culture.


Broadway Street Sculpture

~People are hungry for stories.  It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another~ Studs Terkel

Recently I tended a table at the Batavia Ramble, a local music festival. My job was to encourage people to add their two cents worth to a story began by Joanne Beck. Easy enough, I thought. For quite a while no one was willing to write a single word. I added a line and then a few others continued with their own. Even with the pump primed, very few risked adding their input.

We all have a story to tell.  From early childhood we heard tales of relatives we would never meet and others we knew well. We also heard stories of our childhood doings we might prefer to forget.

In social conversion, we seldom spout facts. Instead, we take turns telling the stories of our experience or stories we have heard from and about others. Sometimes it is all we can do to wait our turn until others finish their stories or reach the point where we can insert our own. We are disappointed when the conversation takes a hopeless turn and it becomes clear that our story will just not fit the conversation. But then we find an opportunity to share our story and we feel better, knowing we have finally been heard.

Each of us has a collection of stories which define us and lets others know what we cherish, what we enjoy and how we view life.  My favorite story is one my father told me about Joseph Stickystickystambo nosorambo hadybodybosco ickynonnynoonynony conironitando. Ask me sometime and I’ll share it with you.

Our relationships tend to break down when we become so intent on conveying our story that we forget to listen to someone else’s story. Their story is just as important to them as ours is to us. Stories are not just important to individuals. Whole cultures and civilizations make sense when we encounter the fabric of their stories woven over many generations.

We trace the story of our culture through the Last of the Mohicans, The Scarlet Letter, Tom Sawyer, Gone with the Wind, The Old Man and the Sea, The Enemy Below, Hawaii and many others which tell us and those we encounter who we are as a society.

So why was it so hard to get people to write at the Ramble? Perhaps it is because we want to tell our own stories rather than be part of someone else’s story. Of course, all of us serve as characters in the life stories of those we meet. Maybe we just need to remember that we are minor characters in others’ stories as well as the main character in our own story.

Life Lab Lessons

  • If you want to know people, listen to their story.
  • Hear them  out without interrupting.
  • If you don’t understand their story, ask for help.
  • Find common bonds in your stories.
  • Seek friendship in our common bonds.
June 25, 2010 - 12:50pm
posted by James Barcomb in education, pembroke, Brooklyn, culture, pen pals.

Pembroke teacher Gregory Kinal and his daughter, Brooklyn teacher Tracy Kinal, began a pen-pal program so that their respective seventh-grade classes could get a taste of the other’s way of life.

Six years later, the program continues to thrive.

Last Friday, 40 seventh-graders from Shallow Intermediate School in Brooklyn finally met their Genesee County pen pals after corresponding with them throughout the school year.

Arriving in a bus at Pembroke Junior/Senior High School, the teachers paired up everyone for a brief meet-and-greet before enjoying special games run by the physical education department.

Their weekend activities included marching in the Stafford parade and traveling to Niagara Falls for a day of hiking and fun.

According to Gregory Kinal, who has taught at Pembroke for 40 years, the pen-pal program serves mainly as an examination of city vs. country culture, the similarities and differences between the two.

This sometimes leads to interesting revelations. One year, the Shallow students were noticeably surprised to see an area in Pembroke without sidewalks. Another year, one student asked, “How do you get a cab out here?”

The program, funded by businesses in Buffalo, Binghamton and Brooklyn, has also led to long-lasting friendships.

"Even after six years,” Kinal says, “some pen pals still keep in contact with one another.”

Both father and daughter decided a possible reversal of the program, sending the Pembroke kids to Brooklyn, would be both expensive and distracting.

"Pembroke has a lot to offer,” Gregory Kinal says, pointing out his students would eventually get the chance to go on their school trip to Washington the following year.

After playing variations of team tag, charades and musical chairs, the students spent the rest of the afternoon eating pizza and chatting.

Tracy Kinal, who has taught English-as-a-second-language for eight years, said that her class of new and former immigrants would discuss the pluses and minuses of their Pembroke experience once they returned to Brooklyn. Her father would similarly talk about the Brooklyn students with his class.

“Not everything looks like NYC,” Tracy Kinal explains.

“We live in a multi-cultural society,” Gregory Kinal says. “There’s a world outside of Genesee County.”

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