Compass Arts Creativity Project

Compass Arts Creativity Project Annual Report 2021

Folks of all ages enjoyed making their own instruments from recycled materials at our activity table during I Am Beacon's "Back to School Bash" in August.

Another year comes to a close

As we close the chapter on 2021, we want to take a minute to share with you, our community, some memories, photos, and a whole lot of gratitude.

Saturday Series Teaching Artists:
(top row): Ed Murr, Poet Gold, Romina Robinson, Gwen Laster, Damon Banks
(bottom row): Chelsea Acree, Gina Samardge, Jessie Shaffer, Patti DeBonis, Sabrina Williamson

Winter Hibernation

With vaccines not yet available and COVID cases rising last January, online classes and workshops felt like the only safe option. We offered some of our regular classes, ran online weekend family clay and felting workshops, and we put together the Saturday Series, a series of free/sliding scale online workshops made possible with funding from Arts Mid Hudson and the Clara Lou Gould Fund. Each Saturday afternoon, from mid January through March, students had the opportunity to join wonderful teaching artists like Poet Gold, Ed Murr, Gwen Laster and Damon Banks, Sabrina Williamson, Chelsea Acree, Romina Robinson, Patti DeBonis, and Jessie Shaffer in a variety of workshops on poetry, drawing and cartooning, street art, dance, synesthesia, music, and storytelling.

We also created a new pilot program that continues to grow and evolve. Team Creative Directions, named by the students, began as an online creative exploration course for middle schoolers needing to connect. Twice a week, students met online for an hour to play fun and interesting creativity games that explored a variety of arts mediums. Students then conceived creative projects and worked either collaboratively or independently each week in online breakout rooms. Some of the wonderful creations included writing skits, stop motion animation, choreography, and animated music videos.

Photos (left) Families enjoyed creating clay and felting projects together in our online winter class. (right) Over 120 free poetry collage kits were distributed to folks in Newburgh, Beacon, Cold Spring, and Garrison through the local public libraries.

Rays of hope in the darkness

Inspired by the words of Amanda Gorman at the presidential inauguration, teaching artist Romina Robinson and board member Autumn Williams-Wussow, conceived "take and make" poetry collage kits; these free kits included the poem "The Hill We Climb," as well as a variety of papers and images for folks to create their own pieces of art. Many thanks to Romina and Autumn, as well as Howland Public Library, Desmond-Fish Public Library, Julia Butterfield Public Library, and Newburgh Free Library for helping us get these kits into the hands of our community.

Winter ended at Compass Arts with the premier of Beacon Rising's video of the song "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennys as a gift to the community. Big thanks to Steph Dlugon, Dave Tedeschi, and Andy Rinehart for their musical accompaniment, and to Andy for the wonderful video and sound editing.

Beacon Rising's version of "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennys
Soloists: Danielle Andretta, Lisa Andretta, and Jennifer Meister
Steph Dlugon on violin, Andy Rinehart on keys, Dave Tedeschi on drums/percussion

Photos below

Images from the spring at our temporary home on Hanna Lane.
(top left) TCD art class constructed miniatures of Beacon businesses;
(top right) Sensory bins from Elements Outside; (bottom left) Improv and Theater Games. (bottom right) Cartooning and Illustration class;
Big thanks to Jason and Carley Hughes!

"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow."

~ English proverb

Hope abounded last spring with adults getting vaccinated and the weather improving, making it possible to meet again in person, masked, and outside. Thanks to the generosity of Jason and Carley Hughes, we were provided a temporary outdoor home at Hanna Lane for the spring. This allowed us to bring back many beloved classes in person and expand our Team Creative Directions, or TCD, pilot program to 4 days a week, where students explored game design, music, theater, and art. We also finally got to sing in person again. To be able to sing together again, even if masked, was such a gift to us all, from the toddlers and caregivers in Musical Stew to the adults in Beacon Rising.

And then the summer...

Although summer camps were not an option for us this year, we found other ways to engage the community in creativity and the arts! Through funding from Arts Mid Hudson's Dutchess Partners in the Arts Grant (provided by Dutchess County Tourism), Stewart's Shops Holiday Grant, and sponsorships from Brett's Hardware, Gabby Grace Landscaping, The Gatehouse Team at Compass, and Binnacle Books, we launched InterConnected: Arts in the Parks, a series of 4 free interactive arts events in the Beacon City Parks. Each event included a creative element for audience members, such as a guided drawing experience or a make your instrument activity, followed by a live performance from local artists.

Compass Arts teaching artists also collaborated with Common Ground Farm to develop the Intergenerational Series at the farm. These sliding scale workshops included a little farm pick and preparation of a fun veggie snack led by CGF Director Sember Weinman, followed by a workshop led by one of our teaching artists. Each week was a new and unique experience for the senses and the soul set on the idyllic Stony Kill Farm. We look forward to offering this series with Common Ground again this summer and to continuing our monthly free activity table at the Beacon Farmers Market, which is also run by CGF.

Big thanks to Adams Fairacre Farms for their gift card donation that allowed us to purchase items for the farm snack creations!

Photos above:

(top) InterConnected event tent ready to go at Riverfront Park.
(middle/bottom left) InterConnected audience members were invited to make their own instruments from recycled materials to play during the Sparrow Sisters folk music concert.
(middle right) InterConnected audience members were given materials to draw along with AmbiArtist Donna Mikkelsen as she gave an AmbiArt performance responding to music played by Gwen Laster and Damon Banks.
(bottom right) Families harvested cucumbers and dill at Common Ground Farm and made a dill dip with additional ingredients donated by Adams Fairacre Farms. Afterwards, they participated in a hula hooping workshop with Heather Davies.

Photos below:

(top) LNJ Tech putting up the event tent donated to Compass Arts by Dave and Kiki Burch
(middle left and right) Announcing our new home at BMF and Romina setting up one of the studios at our new home.
(bottom left and right) Outdoor classrooms this fall! Intro to Modern Dance with Chelsea Acree and Improv & Theater Games with Eric Saiet

No place like home

The end of the summer brought with it the excitement of a new home for Compass Arts and the possibility of getting back to something similar to the normal we used to know. Steven Clair, owner of Beacon Music Factory, had reached out with the opportunity to rent space in their building on Fishkill Ave. This felt like a complete no-brainer - what a perfect new location for Compass in a space that celebrates the arts! With much anticipation, the space was renovated and by the end of August we were moving in and preparing for our first set of classes in our own home since March 2020.....and then Delta came along. In true creative problem solving fashion, we got right back on the "pivoting pony." Within days, we had a used event tent donated to us by Dave and Kiki Burch, permission from Mark Price at Beacon Rec to set up behind the BMF building, and had LNJ Tech install the tent so we could run all of our classes outside and keep our teachers and students as safe as possible. It was an intense start to the school year, but after a year and a half of a pandemic, we had this down.

Our teachers and board also began a year long journey into anti-racism work with community organizer, anti-racism consultant, and one of the founders of the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, Rae Leiner. This series of retreats and consulting is being funded in part through Arts Mid Hudson's Capacity Building Grant and Dutchess Partners in the Arts. We are also excited to announce that we are one of the 2022 community partners with Dutchess Mediation Center's Restorative Justice Initiative and our teachers, board, and some of the youth in our programs will be learning how to implement restorative justice circle practice into our classes, meetings, and workshops to foster compassion, empathy, and build a supportive and just community.

We ended the fall session with beautiful student shares the last week of class and an uplifting and joyful choir performance by Beacon Rising at the Beacon Farmers' Market the second Sunday in December. It was our first live performance since our concert at Towne Crier in February 2020 and the joy just poured from each singer. A truly delightful way to wrap up the year.

Photos: (top left) Students at the TCD Hang sharing a song parody they wrote together. (top right) students in Improv and Theater Games enjoying a performance by fellow students. (middle left) TCD students planned and hosted a Halloween Party for their peers with cupcake decorating, costume prizes, and the limbo (middle right) Exploring wool in Paper, Wood, Wool, Clay class. (bottom) Beacon Rising choir performing at the Beacon Farmers Market in December.



Grants, Foundations & Sposorships $24,900 $19,099
Individual and In-Kind Contributions $24,513 $24,884
Program Registrations $95,273 $66,643
Other Income $475 $1,501
Total Income $145,161 $112,127

Overhead $20,703 $13,120
Administrative/Fundraising $51,198 $27,880
Program Expenses $62,930 $51,161
Total Expenses $134,831 $92,161


Cash $35,932 $23,268
Other Assets $3,014 $400
Total Assets $38,946 $23,668

Liabilities $6,443 $1,495

Net Assets, Unrestricted $31,533 $22,173
Net Assets, Temporarily Restricted $970 $0
Total Net Assets $32,503 $22,173

As we head into 2022, there is still some uncertainty. We may end up postponing the start of our classes for a couple of weeks. We're keeping a watchful eye on the news and will continue to put the health and safety of our teachers, students, and the community at the forefront. We know that we will be creating with you all again soon and cannot wait for that moment. Until then, may you find peace and comfort in the quiet of the this time of year and give yourself permission to pause, feel, and express yourself.

Thank you all for your support. Whether you registered for a class, attended an event, created with us at the Farmers Market, volunteered your time to help us out, sponsored an event, shared our mission, or contributed to our organization, you have made a difference. We feel so lucky to be surrounded by a community that understands the power and importance of the arts and creativity and are willing to support programs like ours.



Gina Samardge, founder and director

The Wall of Gratitude

Our 2021 Teaching Artists and Community Partners in Creativity

  • Chelsea Acree
  • Damon Banks
  • Andrew Brehm
  • Heather Davies
  • Patti DeBonis
  • Sophie Jackson
  • Gwen Laster
  • Donna Mikkelsen
  • Ed Murr
  • Andy Rinehart
  • Romina Robinson
  • Eric Saiet
  • Jessie Shaffer
  • Gwynne Watkins
  • Poet Gold (Bettina Wilkerson)
  • Sabrina Williamson
  • Common Ground Farm
  • Shred Foundation
  • Sparrow Sisters

Our 2021 Board (past and present)

  • Verlaine Brunot
  • Erin Dotson (past member)
  • Ana Joanes
  • Gwen Laster
  • Romina Robinson, secretary
  • LC Santangelo, chair
  • Rachel Simons, vice-chair
  • Autumn Williams-Wussow (past member)

Sponsors and Funders

  • Adams Fairacre Farms
  • Arts Mid-Hudson
  • Dutchess Tourism
  • Binnacle Books
  • Brett's Hardware
  • Gabby Grace Landscaping
  • Gatehouse Realty at Compass
  • Sprague Foundation
  • Stewart's Shops

And of course, so much Gratitude to our 2021 Donors!

  • Ethan Alter
  • Michael Arginsky
  • Dan & Monika Aymar-Blair
  • Claire Browne
  • Katie Budryk
  • Tina Bernstein-Camins
  • Mary Jane Butler
  • America Campbell
  • Katie Cicatelli-Kuc
  • Stephen Clair
  • Allison Cross and Henry Nye
  • Etai Dori
  • Sue Doyle
  • Ginny Figlia
  • Christine Fitzgerald
  • Ilana Friedman
  • Giunta Family
  • Jeffrey Golden
  • Elizabeth Greenblatt
  • Richard Greenblatt
  • Tom Halstead
  • Emily Hare
  • Molly Hastings
  • Elizabeth Healy
  • Jaclyn Heeney
  • Erica Hughes
  • Meghan Hummel
  • Sara Jackson
  • Anne Kane
  • Jenny & Josh Kaplan
  • Margaux Lange
  • Gregory Loser
  • Jenny & Brooks Maguire
  • Lisa and Craig Masters
  • Richard McKee
  • Evan Merkhofer
  • Eve Morgenstern
  • Edward Murr
  • Claire Nelson
  • Rob Penner
  • Richard Prins
  • Jenine Puello
  • Stephanie Rivers
  • Becky Samardge
  • Lance and Ximena Samardge
  • Nathan Schilling
  • Rachel Silkworth and Dan McGee
  • Jessica Spiegel
  • Alison Spodek
  • Betsy Swanson
  • Audrey Tan
  • Ellen Verdibello
  • Rebecca Wisotsky
  • Ophra Wolf
  • Anya Zander
  • Emily and Jonathon Zemple-Roberts
  • Greg and Helen Zuman

And all who wish to remain anonymous

Site content copyright © 2023 Compass Arts. All rights reserved. Site development by COLOR:GRAY

Compass Arts Creativity Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tax deductible donations to Compass Arts can be made on our donate page.


333 Fishkill Avenue, Beacon, New York
(Beacon Music Factory building)


Tel: 845.580.2061

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