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September 26: One Big Soul, a Great Depression Symposium

On Saturday September 26 Livingston Arts and the New Deal Gallery present One Big Soul, a Great Depression Symposium. The title is a quote from John Steinbeck’s 1938 novel The Grapes of Wrath: “Maybe all men got one big soul ever ‘body’s a part of.” Presentations are free and open to the public. The event will be in South Hall Room 338 on the campus of SUNY Geneseo. At 1 pm Dr. James Spiller presents FDR and the New Deal Policies. At 2:15 pm Dr. Wanda Wakefield will talk about American Sport in the Great Depression. At 3:30 pm there will be a panel discussion including critic, author and radio host Michael Lasser titled: Entertainment During the Great Depression. All talks are free. The day will end with a 6:30pm showing of The Grapes of Wrath at the Riviera Theatre in Geneseo. Cost for the film is $7.00 ($5 with student ID).

The great depression of the 1930s is a microcosm of America. It is an era that can help us understand our present and define our future. The 1930s experienced great social upheaval caused by massive economic problems. The era saw a flowering in culture and new ideas. While economic insecurity caused some to turn their fears into prejudice and intolerance, many others became concerned for the welfare of their fellow man. For more information call 243-6785 or visit the website at

The New Deal Gallery featured in Democrat & Chronicle Column

New Deal paintings once comforted TB patients

By Jim Memmott

One of the many New Deal programs to revive the nation’s economy during the Great Depression paid painters to paint. It was art for the artist’s (and the public’s) sake. A radical idea that worked.

And some of the paintings produced are on display here in the appropriately named New Deal Gallery, a cozy set of rooms in a building on the Livingston County campus on Murray Hill, about 40 miles south of Rochester.

The paintings are often gentle landscapes that comfort rather than confront. This is appropriate, as they were first hung in the rooms of the tuberculosis sanatorium that was open here from 1936 through 1971.

“You wanted pleasant paintings where people were ill,” says Chris Norton, executive director of Livingston Arts, which houses and oversees the gallery. Click here to read more!


If you or your organization in Livingston and Monroe Counties are interested in grants to support your arts, cultural or heritage program, than join us for one of these fabulous seminars! You must RSVP to Betsy for the seminar you would like to attend at

Monroe County applicants, new OR previous must attend one seminar. Livingston County applicants must attend one seminar if they are new to the application process. If you cannot make one of these dates or times, please email Betsy to set up a one on one meeting!

Monroe County

Thursday, June 25th, 6:30pm-8pm – Village of Spencerport Office

Saturday, July 18th, 11am-12:30pm– Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls

Thursday, July 23rd, 6:30pm-8pm, Henrietta Public Library

Saturday, August 1st, 11am – 12:30pm – Penfield Public Library

Livingston County

Saturday, June 20th, 10am – 11:30am – Town of Ossian Town Hall

Thursday, July 30th, 6:30pm – 8pm – Wadsworth Library

Thursday, August 6, 6:30pm- 8pm – Livonia Inn

Saturday, August 22nd, 11am-3pm – Livingston Arts Center

Grants are DUE:

First Thursday in September for Livingston County Applicants

First Thursday in October for Monroe County Applicants

Please feel free to call or email Betsy with any questions or concerns! or 243-6785

June 20th:The Civilian Conservation Corps in America’s #1 State Park. An author’s talk and book signing by Tom Cook.

Livingston Arts will continue our popular guest speaker program at the end of the month. As part of New York’s Paths Through History Weekend you can experience Paths Through Letchworth: The Civilian Conservation Corps in America’s #1 State Park. An author’s talk and book signing by Tom Cook, author of The Civilian Conservation Corps in Letchworth State Park.  It will be held in the New Deal Gallery Saturday June 20th at 1pm. It is free and open to the public.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, or C.C.C. as it was commonly known, was created by President Roosevelt to give jobs to young men (and W.W I vets who supervised them) during the Great Depression. They were paid $30 per month and $25 of it was sent to their families. It was part of FDR’s massive public employment program that put money into the hands of the people who would spend it. This form of “trickle-up” economics helped ease the Great Depression as the increased purchasing power helped soak up the overproduction of the 1920s. Across the country, the Civilian Conservation Corps educated & employed 3 million poor young men in forestry. They built 3,470 fire towers, 65,100 miles of telephone line, 97,000 miles of roads, planted 1.3 billion trees, spent 4 million man-hrs. fighting fires, taught 80,000 to read and gave out 25,000 diplomas.

A life-long resident, Tom Cook has written several books on area history including three about Letchworth State Park. Tom was also a beloved social studies teacher at Keshequa Central School who retired a few years ago. His father was one of those young men who worked for the CCC. As Tom pointed out in a recent Genesee Country Express article, “You can’t really appreciate Letchworth Park unless you know its history”. More than 3,000 young men between the ages of 18 and 24 manned several CCC camps in Letchworth Park. They landscaped and planted trees. They built trails, stone walls, stone tables, buildings, cabins and the lower falls bridge. As Tom also mentioned in the same Genesee Country Express article, “Everything was purchased from local stores. Local companies that were suffering could count on about $5,000 a month form the CCC. It was pumping money back into the economy.” For more information visit Tom Cook’s website at Plus, on Paths Through History Weekend, come to a fascinating, informative presentation (and get your book signed!) by one of our counties premier local historians in the historic New Deal Gallery.

Grant Seminar!

It’s that time of year again: GRANT TIME! If you are a non-profit, registered charity, church, municipality, library or individual artist then you are eligible for a grant through the Decentralization program of the New York State Council on the Arts. These grants are programmatically based for funds for the 2016 calendar year for arts. cultural and heritage projects.

The FIRST SEMINAR of the summer will be held Thursday, June 18th from 4:30 – 6pm at The Little Theatre – 240 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604

If you are a first time applicant for in Livingston County you are required to attend one seminar.

If you are a Monroe County applicant, even if you have applied before, everyone interested, both repeat and first time applicants, must attend one seminar. If you do not, you may be ineligible to apply for funding.

Also, you must RSVP to for the seminar you would like to attend. Attendance is strongly suggested for all applicants as there is a new submission process via online only. This will be discussed at each seminar.

There will be many more seminars, so check back for the rest of the schedule!