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March 12, 2019 Minutes: KLSD ArtsALIVE Board of Directors Meeting

Call to Order:

KLSD ArtsALIVE Co-President Julie Oyen called the regular meeting of the KLSD ArtsALIVE Board to order at 7:00 p.m. at the John Jay Middle School conference room.

Roll Call:

The following Board Members / Committee Reps were present:

  • Amanda Godsoe
  • Maureen Birmingham
  • Julie Oyen
  • Colleen Cerami-Segal
  • Monica Bermiss
  • Dr. Steven Siciliano
  • Vinnie Bell
  • Lauren Doyle
  • Liz Gebbia
  • Angelina Cerami, Student Rep
  • Sarah McMahon, Alumni Rep
  • Topaz LeTourneau
  • Sorin Klares


The following Board Members / Committee Reps were not present:

  • Andrew Meikle
  • Barbara Milone
  • Jen Dembo
  • Mary Ann Davis
  • Lori McQuade
  • Kathleen Fay Wisehart
  • Gia Miller
  • Margaret Adasko
  • Deb Spieler
  • Marcia Daley-Savo
  • Diane Richman


Colleen Cerami-Segal motioned to accept the minutes from the February Board Meeting. Maureen Birmingham seconded the motion. Approved.

Event Recap

Music Meets Art

  • Monica Bermiss reported on the Music Meets Art event at JJMS, which she said was very successful and fun for the students. She showed a video highlighting the artist and music/DJ and how they interacted. The artwork is now in the hallway and they are looking into get a plaque to thank ArtsALIVE for its sponsorship. She added that many of the attendees and those involved in the planning were talking about KLSDAA’s generous sponsorship. She noted they would probably not do the same event again; it was great this time, but would not need to be repeated.

Upcoming Musicals

  • Anything Goes runs at JJMS from 3/21 – 3/23. Colleen reported that flowers and “break-a-leg” good luck messages will be sold at each performance to raise money.
  • Guys and Dolls runs from 4/4 – 4/6. Colleen mentioned we have a presence on social media and tickets can be sold through brown paper tickets for first time.
  • Angelina from the Student Board reported they will decorate the hallway to promote Guys and Dolls by making dice, hanging streamers and hanging paper plates with cast members’ names and roles.
  • Alison Ganis will take over concessions for Kathleen Fay in the upcoming school year; the plan is to sell Guys and Dolls themed snacks to add a fun twist
  • In addition to selling concessions to raise money, we will sell flowers, as well as have a “roll the dice” game
  • Dr. Siciliano was asked if the Student Board can volunteer to collect money and hand out prizes; he replied he will check with Mike Jumper and confirm; it may be acceptable since the activity will take place after school hours
  • Colleen also mentioned plans to give a small token to the Guys and Dolls cast and crew such as fuzzy dice or something small that the Board agrees upon

Literary Events / Outreach

  • Colleen reported that the Advanced Acting class visited the elementary schools for PARP – Pick a Reading Partner. The students picked favorite childhood books and re-worked the stories to promote the arts for the younger students.  It was met with great enthusiasm from the elementary students.
  • Reflections Literary Magazine – Steven reported that Ms. VonSteenburg would like to have a breakfast that honors the student literary contributors during which they could read their materials. He asked if KLSDAA would like to sponsor the breakfast, such as paying for the supplies for a continental breakfast, which would start at 8:30 am. A discussion ensued regarding picking a date and what financial resources would be needed. The group also discussed if KLSDAA could put the link to Reflections on our website. Steven promised to get back to the group with more details.

JJ Vocal Jazz

  • Maureen reported on plans to purchase sweatshirts for the VJ students who won the Berklee competition. Sophomore Casey Wilcox created a design which Andrew will work on to have it printed on the sweatshirts. Estimated cost will be $561.50. She asked that no one tell the students yet as it should be a surprise. The group discussed if there would be an opportunity to present the sweatshirts to the students when parents could also attend.  Vinnie Bell will touch base with Steven regarding potential opportunities to recognize the students and invite their parents.

Upcoming Events

  • Variety Show: Julie reported that we still need a chairperson for the Variety Show, and to please contact her if interested. Vinnie announced Jeff Richardson will be the faculty advisor. The show takes place at JJHS on June 7 & 8.
  • Rock the Halls: Maureen is coordinating on behalf of KLSDAA and working with Jesse Weiss from JJMS. A discussion ensued regarding responsibility for various items, including the program, flyers, artwork, an interview with Jesse, flowers, tickets, concessions, as well as potentially creating a video/PPT to help promote the event. All students in RTH signed a release, so their images can be used for promotion.

Student Board Update

Angelina reported student board reps came down to the middle school for the Music Meets Art event and explained it was great for the high schoolers to see it firsthand. She did add, however, it probably is not good to have this activity at the high school in its current form, but perhaps with some revisions.

Teacher Grants Review

Julie recapped the grants that had been approved prior to the Board meeting via email vote by voting members:

  • Grant Request from Elissa Leventhal at JJMS to send English and Spanish students to Lincoln Center to hear the NY Philharmonic on May 8th. Total Cost $560.00. Half of this amount – $280 – was approved.
  • ArtsALIVE will offer $200 scholarships in the following areas for a total cost of $800.00. The full $800 was approved:
    • Visual Arts Dept. (Two scholarships, so this will split into two scholarships @ $100 each)
    • Music
    • Theater
    • Technical Theater
  • JJMS Art Gallery equipment: The requested amount is $1145.72. It was recommended to fund half of this request now and try to target fundraise during Rock the Halls and Anything Goes to cover the remaining request. A current grant of $572.86 was approved. 
  • 4. Rite of Spring reception expenses of $150 was requested and this amount was approved. 
  • Total recommended expenditure approved was $1,802.86

Just as an FYI for the group, Vicky Weiss at JJHS submitted but then withdrew a proposal to send the Feminism Club to a Broadway show for a total cost of $750.00. No vote was needed for this proposal.

On another topic, Julie reported that Angelina Cerami has been accepted to the prestigious University of Michigan PreCollege Acting program for this summer.  It has been noted that this is an intensive Program with a highly selective audition process. Vinnie Bell indicates that although this is wonderful news, District is not allowed to promote newsworthy achievements such as this. He suggested to reach out to the local newspaper. Between this noteworthy accomplishment as well as a Julie’s report regarding a conversation with a parent who was concerned about how students in arts programs are acknowledged, led to a conversation about how to best recognize underclassmen  as well as seniors going on to studies in the arts. The group discussed possible opportunities for recognition, such a “signing” day or banquet for these students. KLSDAA could recognize the students, perhaps having an event in the evening. It was decided to continue this discussion at a future meeting.

Rite of Spring Update

Amanda reported the Rite of Spring reception/opening will coincide with the opening of Guys and Dolls on 4/4/19 in an effort to boost attendance for the art show. The group discussed the merits and potential costs of sending paper invites to parents. Steven suggested a separate dedicated Connect Ed message, and noted if KLSDAA can absorb the postage costs then district can supply the envelopes for a paper invite. Amanda is working directly with Diane from the art department. If anyone can help hang artwork, please let Amanda know. Monday and Tuesday of tech week is when theatre will be decorated. The Katonah-Lewisboro Times will be contacted as the paper has been very supportive of past arts events.

Additional Events

  • Julie reported on opportunities for students to perform at the Lewisboro Library, such as a capella groups and the rock band Mother Goose. There will be a donation jar for KLSDAA.
  • Vinnie reminded the group that dates for next year’s Encore Cabaret have been submitted to district. The plan is to hold the event after the holidays in early 2020.
  • Steven shared with the group the idea of a new event, Music in the Park, for next year. A possible date is May 30, 2020. It could be an outdoor concert on the contest field. The group discussed what the costs might be for renting equipment, staging, sound system, lighting, working with Andre, etc. Advertising would need to start very early to build engagement. More to come at future meetings.

Board of Ed Meeting Report

Amanda attended the last BoE meeting, which focused on the use of technology in the classroom, a summary of proposals, as well as the decisions regarding revised school start times for 2019-2020.

New School Start Times for 2019-2020 

Concerning school start times, the group discussed what the loss of zero period may mean to the arts classes. Per comments from Vinnie, since the MS and HS will start at the same time, the impact is indirect except for students who wish to schedule nine periods during the day and still try to get a free period. He added the impact is much greater for phys ed and health classes.  Julie expressed concerned that we will lose enrollment in the arts and that there is pressure on the students to take more academic classes vs arts classes. The group also discussed the challenges of continuing to offer classes in the arts that trend towards low enrollment. It is a struggle that must be addresses sooner rather than later. Colleen commented that guidance specifically told Angelina to drop acting class. Julie verified that the same conversation happened with Lily being told to drop music by guidance. Vinnie said he didn’t think that was happening. Steven Siciliano was asked how many students had dropped music and art classes since the start time changed. He remarked there was no data yet and students have until April 17th to make changes.

Budget Overview

Vinnie also provided an overview of the Visual Arts and Performing Arts budgets:

Performing Arts

  • Building PA- Piano tuning, concert accompanist, NYSMMA travel, visiting artists, supplies for theater and music classes, choral arrangements, BOCES PD, two acoustical shells and materials to create a practice room.
  • DW Instrumental Music- Instrument repair, orchestral and band arrangements, NYSMMA registration, instrument supplies.
  • DW Musicals – Rights to plays, costume & prop rentals, Arts in Ed funding (technical consultants), supplies

Visual Arts

  • Building VA- Museum memberships, classroom reference materials, supplies, software updates for art studio computers

Concerning course offerings for 2019-2020, he discussed that students suggested a change in the theater program to incorporate technical theater, which will be part of next year’s acting curriculum.

Regarding Visual Arts, he explained that students can begin with a Studio Art course and then take advantage of several pathways to advanced courses, including Drawing & Painting, Photography, Sculpture & Ceramics, and Studio Projects. He added there will be a focus on new State standards and student choice.


There being no further business to conduct, Julie Oyen adjourned the meeting at 9:15 pm.

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