The Exchange Hosts Raffle to benefit Bloom U Art Student Award

The Exchange Hosts Raffle to benefit Bloom U Art Student Award

As part of its mission of bringing the arts to all communities throughout our region and of supporting artists throughout their careers, The Exchange has again partnered with a Bloomsburg University professor to fund the annual award given to a Bloom U. student who has taken the initiative to enter work in Exchange Gallery shows. By building a resumé while also supporting a local non-profit organization’s programs, the winning student demonstrates promise of building a life in art and as a community member.

This year we will raffle off an 8″ x 8″ oil-on-canvas painting by Professor of painting Vince Hron, currently the chair of the Department of Art & Art History. Vince has done paintings of clouds for a long time; one of his giant canvases hung at the top of the stairs in the old Moose Exchange for a couple of years, before the opening of the Stairwell Gallery. Vince has three paintings this size in a gallery in Omaha right now, and they sell for $500 each — so you could take this one home for much less!

Tickets sell for $2 each, three for $5, seven for $10, available with cash or check at The Exchange from now until the drawing, which will take place at the end of the Listening Room on Wednesday, the 18th of December. The winner takes home the painting — and every participant has the satisfaction of supporting the arts at Bloomsburg University.

Chad Andrews, Assistant Professor of printmaking, proposed the idea of the award in 2018; we at The Exchange responded with enthusiasm. “The Exchange owes its ongoing success to collaborations like this,” says Oren B. Helbok, executive director. “By specifically celebrating students who engage with our programming, we highlight the importance of the multifaceted relationship between Bloomsburg University and our whole community.” Chad has had a long association with The Exchange, serving on its board 2011-2016 and founding the Stairwell Gallery, now the Exchange Gallery.

Bloomsburg University Call for Art

Bloomsburg University Call for Art


Call for Art

Type: Exhibition Opportunities
Posted by: Bloomsburg University
Deadline: Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Open Call for Art

Bloomsburg University’s Dept. of Art is accepting exhibition proposals for the Haas Gallery of Art, and The Gallery at Greenly Center for the upcoming exhibition schedule, Fall 2020 through Fall 2022. All media are accepted; work will be considered for solo and small group shows. Both Galleries are secure facilities. Some funding is available to assist artists with exhibition costs. Artists selected for solo shows at either gallery must be able to attend a reception, and give a lecture about their work. All artwork is insured. Submission deadline is December 31, 2019. Please submit cover letter, along with CV, artist statement, and 12 examples of recent work. All items must be a PDF or Zip File. No hard copies. We cannot return materials.

Send to:

c/o Scott M Roper
[email protected]
Bloomsburg University
Old Science Hall
Dept. of Art
400 E 2nd St.
Bloomsburg, PA 17815

The Exchange and DRIVE host a Strong Towns event in Bloomsburg on November 7th

The Exchange and DRIVE host a Strong Towns event in Bloomsburg on November 7th

Join us at the Greenly Center in downtown Bloomsburg on Thursday, the 7th of November, 6:30-8:30 p.m., as special guest Charles Marohn of talks about “The Foolproof Town: Identifying Productive Places”. No cost to attend, light refreshments available.

Among the questions that Strong Towns raises: What development do we want? What do we not want? What does “development” even mean? And how do we ensure wealth creation that benefits all of our fellow citizens?

Wherever you live in Columbia or Montour County – in town, borough, or township – these questions matter to you and to your communities: to your families, friends, and neighbors. This event aims to energize the region-wide discussion so people from throughout the Counties will work together to find answers for each of our places and for our region as a whole.

Please RSVP to Oren B. Helbok at The Exchange: 570-317-2596 or [email protected]

The Exchange thanks our lead sponsor, DRIVE, which serves the economic development of both Montour and Columbia County by providing professional services to help businesses create and retain family-sustaining jobs. Other sponsors include Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc.; the Danville Business Alliance; the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation; the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau; the United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties; and Community Strategies Group.

Charles L. “Chuck” Marohn, Jr., is the founder and president of Strong Towns and the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. He is a professional engineer licensed in the state of Minnesota and a land-use planner with two decades of experience; he holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s of urban and regional planning, both from the University of Minnesota. Marohn hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America. He is featured in the documentary film Owned: A Tale of Two Americas and was named one of the Ten Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen. For more information about Strong Towns, visit

For more information about The Exchange, visit or or call 570-317-2596. For more information about DRIVE, visit or call 570-284-4296.

Up Close and Personal: Charisse Baldoria

Up Close and Personal: Charisse Baldoria

We at Art Of PA are looking to highlight some of the artists and musicians in the area in a new section we are calling “Up Close and Personal.” To kick off the inaugural edition we sat down with our Outreach Committee member and Bloomsburg University Piano Instructor, Charisse Baldoria to find out how she got into music and how she found her way to Bloomsburg.

Charisse Baldoria is a Philippine-born pianist who fuses Western pianism with her Southeast Asian and Hispanic heritage and integrates various art forms into a concert experience. She is a prizewinner of international competitions, she has performed on five continents, establishing a career as a pianist with multidisciplinary interests.

Currently, Charisse is an Associate Professor of Piano at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Baldoria also taught at the University of the Philippines during her Fulbright home residence requirement. In addition to piano lessons, she has taught piano literature, piano seminar, class piano, music appreciation, Latin American music, and harpsichord (whose program she established at the University of the Philippines). She also founded Bloomsburg’s Piano Day, an annual event where interested piano students get to perform at Mitrani Hall and receive masterclasses from Dr. Baldoria and top pedagogues.

Charisse’s interest in music started at a very young age. At the age of 4 years old she found herself instantly attracted to the sight and sounds of a piano. If her parents were visiting friends, Charisse would be found tapping away at the keys and exploring the various sounds coming from their piano. After her first discovery of the piano, she begged her parents to get a piano for the house and one day this magnificent instrument arrived and was a lot more accessible. The first song Charisse learned how to play on the piano was the French nursery rhyme “Frère Jacques.” She had a very keen ear for music and learned to play the song by sound alone. Charisse started taking formal music lessons at the age of 5 from her neighborhood teacher.

As Charisse progressed with her musical training she quickly outgrew the skills of her teacher and found a new, highly trained pianist at the University of Philippines that taught her from age 7 to 21. After completing her undergrad in the Phillipenes, Charisse was faced with a crossroads and had to decide between studying abroad or becoming a lawyer. Charisse was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and pursued her Master’s degree at the University of Michigan. While there she studied piano with Logan Skelton and also earned a Doctorate degree. After grad school, Charisse moved to Bloomsburg, PA to take a job at Bloomsburg University as a piano professor. Currently, she provides lessons and classes on the piano and also teaches music appreciation.

Her piano students have performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall selected from Honors Recital auditions, and gone into graduate programs in piano performance. She has regularly coached advanced piano students in the Philippines, some of whom have gone into music programs in the United States and won scholarships.

Outside of her academic career, Charisse has performed all over the world. Typically if she is working on a new piece, she will debut it in Bloomsburg and then take it on tour. Her last musical program was actually quite a collaborative performance and featured two guest singers. As Charisse explores her musical creativity she loves collaborating with other artists and industry professionals. She has collaborated with fellow faculty members and students and even included dancers, a performance artist, a visual artist, and a video artist. Charisse is a firm believer that music inspires and visualizes the connection to the other arts and literature.

Charisse’s music is inspired by South East Asia and Latin America. Her latest musical project which debuted on November 10, 2018, involved a series of art songs inspired by the poetry of Denise Levertov and Sara Teasdale. Alchemy was written for baritone and piano, and The Kiss was written for soprano and piano. These compositions started back in February 2018 and took about 8 – 10 months to finally come to fruition. This concert incorporated a team of audio engineers and a videographer who captured the performance with three cameras. Coordinating all of this with the stage crew and then post production makes it a daunting task but Charisse says it is all worth it in the end.

When asked what advice she might have for aspiring musicians or those interested in the arts she insisted that you simply follow your gut. If you are interested in something, pursue it. She knows first hand the rewards that were plentiful for her willingness to just go forth and give it a shot.

Charisse is quite happy with her academic career as it gives her the flexibility and security to teach the next generation of musicians and also have an opportunity to pursue her artform. She feels that if she was just a full-time performer, the solitude of the practice room may feel too lonely or wear her out. Being a professor provides a nice balance.

Right now Charisse is prepping for an upcoming sabbatical where she will be traveling to South East Asia and Europe. While traveling she plans on pursuing the different facets of being an artist. She will be performing her own and other compositions and is very interested in the history of the piano around Asia. The piano is originally from Europe and Charisse wants to unearth the stories about how it arrived and became popular in Asia. This is a topic that currently does not have any real supporting research about it right now. Charisse plans on documenting her travels and research on her website She is also a hobbyist photographer and will have several amazing pictures to share while she is on her journey. Be sure and follow along!

Bloomsburg University and the Celebrity Artist Series Presents: Jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq

Bloomsburg University and the Celebrity Artist Series Presents: Jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq

Jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq recalled working as a music teacher at a high school in East Orange, N.J., during the early 1980s when a principal threatened to “take me outside and fight. One of the band members had to hold me back,” Abdur-Razzaq, now 71, recently recalled by phone from his Orlando-area home.

He had refused to work cafeteria duty as the principal had ordered, and that didn’t sit well with his boss. That run-in with the principal ended the Montclair, New Jersey, native’s short-lived school teaching career. “I couldn’t do it any more,” lamented Abdur-Razzaq, who studied at Boston’s renown Berklee College of Music.

For the past 38 years, Abdur-Razzaq has instead been touring colleges across the country to teach young men and women about the history of jazz and the Civil Rights movement, which Abdur-Razzaq lived through.

Abdur-Razzaq will bring his Civil Rights lessons and the music of his jazz quartet, which includes a pianist, bassist and drummer, to Bloomsburg University’s Carver Hall Tuesday, Feb. 26, for a free lecture and performance from 7-8:30 p.m.

BU is among over 100 colleges Abdur-Razzaq will visit this year with stories like the late John F. Kennedy’s 1963 presidential pardon of a black man, an unheard act during the Civil Rights era. JFK granted the pardon to jazz pianist Hampton Hawes after Hawes’ conviction for heroin possession. “JFK went to see (Hawes) perform as president and liked him so much he pardoned him,” Abdur-Razzaq said. “That a president would commute and African-American’s sentence was unbelievable.”

Abdur-Razzaq also speaks about the little-known contributions to the Civil Rights movement of white musical artists like crooners Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett and late composer Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein helped fund the Black Panther party for a time, according to Abdur-Razzaq. “I call them the messengers” Abdur-Razzaq said of jazz musicians. “They’re just as important as the prophets on the planet. Well, maybe not to that degree. But they were unbelievable messengers. If you’re blessed enough to understand the music, you’re able to benefit from what they had to say through their instruments.”

Abdur-Razzaq’s musical lineage might be described as royal. He counts jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, now in his 90s, as his musical mentor. Heath performed alongside jazz legends John Coltrane and Charlie Parker during the big band era of he 1940s, and Heath would later replace Coltrane in a group led by Miles Davis. Abdur-Razzaq, who talks with Heath weekly to this day, said he met his future mentor while in his 20s and attending Saturday afternoon musical workshops in Harlem.

Abdur-Razzaq fell in love with the flute at the early age of 10 when he heard a teacher play the instrument at school. “He didn’t play it all that well,” Abdur-Razzaq said with a laugh, “but I loved the sound of it. I was hooked. I had a love for the drums (as well). But after my mom told me I couldn’t play the drums, I said, ‘No problem.’ I fell in love with the flute. I just heard it once and thought it was the most beautiful sounding instrument.”

Abdur-Razzaq, who owns an Orlando-based musical entertainment company called Flute Juice Productions, will also host a Poetry of Jazz workshop earlier that day at Carver Hall, from 1-2 p.m. The afternoon workshop will feature Abdur-Razzaq with BU student musicians and poets, as well as community members from the River Poets in Bloomsburg.

The workshop and the evening presentation are free and open to the public. Bloomsburg University’s College of Liberal Arts, Celebrity Artist Series and Multicultural Affairs sponsor both events. For additional information, contact the university box office at: 570-389-4409.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,900 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.

Warm up with the music and dance stylings of the Havana Cuba All-Stars

Warm up with the music and dance stylings of the Havana Cuba All-Stars

Randall Presswood, the Executive Director of Performing Arts & Programming at Bloomsburg University wants you to break out of the winter blues and warm up with the Latin music and salsa dance stylings of the Havana Cuba All-Stars this Friday night at the Haas Center for the Arts. We sat down with Randall to find out a little more about this exciting event and other things going on with the Celebrity Artist Series.

Art of PA: So I understand you have a big event coming up this Friday, can you tell me a little more about it?

Randall Presswood: Yes, the event is called A Fiesta Cubana and it features The Havana Cuba All Stars which are made up of some of Cuba’s greatest musicians and dancers. With rhythms and melodies from the cha cha to the rumba, from “Son Cubano” style to the salsa, the All-Stars will showcase a wide variety of Cuban beats. The group is inspired by and dedicated to promoting the entire tapestry of Cuban music through a fresh, contemporary lens.

In their upcoming “Asere”—or “Friendship”—tour, the All-Stars will be backed by three of Cuba’s finest dancing couples. With the greatest dancers and musicians of Cuba working in tandem, the American encore of the Havana Cuba All-Stars’ tour will be a spirited spectacle of song and dance, exemplifying Cuba’s greatest musical traditions.

AoP: Wow that sounds like an awesome evening of music and dance! But I understand this isn’t the first time the group has been to to the states?

RP: That is correct. The group actually went on tour from 2016-17 after the United States opened up its relationship to Cuba. They have been on our list of desired artists to book and things came together for Friday’s performance. This time around they are bringing an added bonus of five dancers which should help liven things up for the show. They also have a few workshops planned for the afternoon before the show.

AoP: Oh really? Can you tell me more about these workshops?

RP: Absolutely. On Friday from 2:15 – 3:15 we are inviting area percussion students and the general public for a free workshop in the Haas Music Room on Latin percussion. Students will be able to see how Cuban percussion is formulated and played. Then from 3:45 – 4:45 the dancers from The Havana Cuba All Stars will host a salsa dance workshop. This event is also open to the public and the only prerequisite is you must be at least 12 years of age or older and dress appropriately for lots of movement. There is no prerequisite and dancers of all skill levels are invited. Both workshops are free to attend.

AoP: That is really awesome. So essentially you can have an entire afternoon and evening of Latin music if you really wanted to?

RP: That’s the plan. Learn a few new moves, grab a bite to eat at one of the great Bloomsburg restaurants and then join us for the concert in the evening.

AoP: That sounds like a perfect afternoon and evening. This event must have been in the works for quite a while to make everything fall into place.

RP: Actually this event was put together in about the time we normally have to do just the planning for a typical performance. We were asked by the President of Bloomsburg University to add a show for the spring semester and got to work and lined everything up in about 8 weeks. For some of these tours, the stars have to align and we have to look at the travel schedule for an act to make the trek to Bloomsburg worthwhile.

AoP: Wow, 8 weeks is not a lot of time, but glad it all worked out.

RP: Yeah, this is not our first time having to work fast. Our normal schedule with the Celebrity Artist Series has us hosting anywhere from eleven to eighteen events per year. With the new University President, our programming is sort of on a hiatus but we hope to keep bringing big acts to our area.

AoP: Yeah, I took a look at some of your past history of shows and was quite impressed! Are their any shows you are particularly proud of?

RP: The Celebrity Artist Series is celebrating it’s 34th year of activities and looking back, it always makes me smile when we are able to bring Broadway performances before they go to Broadway.We did that with The Illusionists, and we were able to be first run venues for hits such as, Bullets Over Broadway, American Idiot, and Elf the Musical to name a few.  In fact, we were the 3rd stop for the Bullets tour.  Broadway to Bloomsburg, and back.  We’ve been fortunate to have this as our producing method for a number of years.  But it was not without hard-work.   I’ve worked with the Broadway producing agents for 20 years to develop this terrific relationship. It’s the same caliber of performance without the on-broadway price. We’ve had sell out shows and featured some great names like Carol Channing, Marcel Marceau, Emanuel Ax, Roberta Flack, and many more. On average we’ve entertained anywhere from 7,500 – 10,000 patrons and bring close to $250,000 into the local economy.

AoP: Wow! That is quite the impact. Are most of those in the crowd from Bloomsburg?

RP: Actually no, When we hosted The Illusionist, we had people come from 19 different states to see the show. It was impressive that people all the way from Michigan, and even Florida made the trip to see a show in our theater.

AoP: That is simply incredible. So if anyone would like to check out Friday’s performance how would they do it?

RP: Tickets are easy to get. You can order them by phone by calling 570-389-4409, online at, or at the box office until 8PM the night of the show. Tickets are just $26 for the general public, $20 for seniors 65 and older, and $13 for children under 12 years of age and also Bloomsburg University students. The show is Friday February 8, 2019 @ 7:30PM at the Mitrani Hall Bloomsburg, PA. We hope to see a lot of your readers in attendance.

AoP: Thanks! Let’s get out of the winter blues and warm up with some Cuban music and dance!