Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Little Things ~ Mental Health Matters


Call for local 5" x 7" art from Belfast NY Artists

Local Call For Art ~ Little Things ~Mental Health Matters

Cherish the Little Things. Don't sweat the small stuff. 


Belfast Organization for Artists Little Things exhibit accepting 5” x 7” works by local artists

Thursday July 28, 2022 3:30-6:30pm at the Belfast Public Library

Entries are free for BOFA Members. $5.00 for non-members.

The show will be on display at the Belfast Public Library Aug. 1-31, 2022.

Artist should pick up their work after Aug. 31st and before Labor Day, September 5, 2022.

Library hours are Mon. Wed., Sat. 10-1 and Tues., Wed., Thurs. 3-7pm

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 

National Alliance of Mental Illness Mental Health Awareness Month 

Mental Health Month Tools  

JED foundation Mental Health Awareness Month 

Luminous Healing LLC ~ Wellsville NY

The Belfast Organization for Artists is a charitable project of SheilaLynnK Art Studio founded in 2009 in loving memory of Amanda Nicole Curcio. (Find us on facebook.)

In recent days I've been thinking about how strange the passage of time is and how it can fall away in an instant or stretch out so long it seems endless... And both can happen in reference to the same experience. Fifteen years... Our hearts don't forget.

Amanda Curcio is missed every day.

RIP October 17, 1989 -May 19, 2007

Amanda Nicole Curcio Memorial Scholarship Fund 


Remembering Amanda ~Fifteen Years (re-posting content from my Ten Years tribute)

I suppose there are few things in Life which leave us feeling as helpless as the death of a child.  That youthful potential for a limitless future abruptly ceases and Hope seems to die with them. The Landscape of your family is forever changed.

The "If-Only"s, the Grief, anger, despair, sorrow, regret, fear, and so many more emotions come at us in unpredictable waves which test our tolerance of the human condition.

However, the One remaining constant is the Love for that child.  The Love and the Grief live together in that space. Eventually, the Love takes up more room. The Grief tags along beside it.

On May 19th, 2007 while many young people her age were attending prom. Amanda died. We couldn't save her.

In our hearts and on our minds, she remains.

Never Gone

Yesterday a tear-stained stranger came to me

with a smile pushing through her pain

she said to me,

“I just can’t believe it. Is she really gone?”

At the time I did not have the answer to her question.

As she walked away

another tear-stained stranger came to me

with a smile pushing through his pain.

I was granted a moment of grace.

None of them were strangers

For I witnessed the memories

In each face.

Amanda was there.

It made me think of a grace-filled time

when I was about eight or nine

I would sit in the tall grass on the hill beside my house

watching the day fade away...

waiting for the magic.

Darkness would fall

here and there the silent, fluttering, fire works would begin.

Miniature, pin-point, flashes of light in the darkness

dancing to the crickets’ song...

the fire flies had returned.

Quickly I learned I could not follow it,

or hold it tight in my hand.

I could only sit and watch it flashing freely

over the waves of summer grass.

When I met Amanda I loved her because she was Joe’s.

He anticipated each visit

from her

the way that I had anticipated

the dance of the fireflies.

Each visit a fleeting fire flash

against the darkness of life without her.

At first I loved her simply because she was a part of him.

NEVER to be stifled or contained,

I came to know her for herself...

Full of whit and intelligence,

always ready

to find and announce the humor

of even the most bizarre situations;

she would create moments that would lift those around her...

Fracturing the darkness with them.

I witnessed the joy and excitement as she arrived for each visit.

People , young and not-so-young, filled the house to greet her.

Teenagers in every corner of the house,

laughing, crying, fighting,

making up, hanging out, sleeping....

sometimes using each other as pillows

when there weren’t enough to go around.

They were here for each other...

to celebrate what it is to be on the verge

of everything and the end of nothing.

On weekends and holidays the noise and pranks,

the whipped cream fights and the chocolate syrup wars,

the music and movies, the jokes, the Fear Factor moments,

the funky “teenagers-only” smell in the orange room,

the swimming, the wet towels, the disappearing dish soap,

and the overflowing garbage cans,

the relief of knowing

during the wee hours of the morning

they would not be judged,

the dread of being woken up the next day

to repair the damage...

Through it all I saw them together...

a cluster of flickering hope.

She needed them as much as they needed her.

She cherished the open communication,

the freedom she had to be herself.

I watched her give them strength.

I watched her struggle

to find a way to give enough

attention and care

to everyone who needed it.

She distracted them from their confusion

as they distracted her from her own.

Somehow she always found a way

to be what they needed

without changing who SHE was.

For this

I respected her.

She was so much to so many...

Daughter, sister, grand daughter,

step-daughter, niece, cousin, and FRIEND.

For them

she never hesitated

to share every ounce of her spirit and courage.

For them

she never hesitated

to stand in the dark.

For them

She never hesitated

to show her laughter.

For them

She never hesitated

to open her heart.

It has been my privilege

to be a minor player

in the life of such a generous person...

to witness the fire flies move across the night...

Grace  has shown me


the bursting spark of light flashing

through the center of our souls.

TODAY the tear-stained strangers came to me.

With smiles pushing through the pain

they said to me,

“I just can’t believe it. Is she really gone?”

We are granted moments of grace

None of you are strangers

For I witness the memories

In each face.

Look beside you.

Amanda IS there.

~My Eulogy for Amanda 2007

Amanda's Memorial Page 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Out of the Darkness Walk

Lifeway Youth Center Belfast New York

Belfast Organization for Artists blog


"You have been created as one of a kind.

On the planet Earth, there has never been

one like you...and there never will be again.

Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your

ability to reason and act all exist in no one else.

The rarities that make you special are no

mere accident or quirk of fate.





The very beating

of your heart

has meaning and purpose


Your life...

and what you do with it today...

MATTERS FOREVER." ~ Andy Andrews

The Belfast Organization For Artists and the Kalkbrenner-Carlton family donated this book to the David A. Howe Public Library in Wellsville, NY and to the Belfast Public Library in Belfast, NY in loving memory of

Amanda Nicole Curcio October 17, 1989 ~ May 19, 2007

on her Birthday and in dedication and consideration for anyone who has ever wondered "Do I matter?"

The Butterfly Effect Speech and Presentation video by Andy Andrews

Suicide Prevention Resources:

Allegany County  ~ Allegany County Crisis Hotline (888) 448-3367

Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Out of the Darkness Walks

Partners for Prevention Allegany County NY

Allegany County Suicide Prevention Walk 2014

Suicide Prevention Center of New York

Pennsylvania Suicide Hotlines

In spite of physical challenges-or perhaps even more so because of them- I push myself to make art to celebrate, cope with, and process Life.

" The arts have long provided emotional context for the human experience. Now, research is demonstrating that creative expression also contributes to better health and well-being. People from all walks of life and every corner of the planet are expressing themselves through the arts—musical, performance, visual, writing, culinary—and discovering how it reduces the physical and emotional burden associated with various types of health conditions and life circumstances."  ~The Foundation for Art and Healing

Friday, April 1, 2022

April is Poetry Month ~ Call for Entries


The Belfast Public Library is hosting a youth poetry contest funded in memory of Jodi Patterson Curcio. 

Deadline April 13th 2022

From the Academy of American Poets 

National Poetry Month

"Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry's important place in our lives.

Thanks in part to National Poetry Month partners and sponsors, each April the Academy is able to offer activities, initiatives, and resources so that anyone can join the celebration:

 Download the Logo


"The success of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March led to the initiation of National Poetry Month in April by the Academy of American Poets The first-ever National Poetry Month was celebrated in 1996, but the history of poetry itself goes back to about thousands of years ago." April 17th is also International Haiku Poetry Day.

Whether you write your own poetry every day or research and read the abundant work by other poets, this is a great time to share what you discover. 


You might also be interested in...

Upcoming Allegany Arts Association Sponsored Events
2022 POETRY SLAM - The Allegany Arts Association is planning its first Joanne Allen/Adam Gayhart Memorial Poetry Slam during poetry month on April 21st at 6 p.m. in the David A. Howe Library. Prizes will be awarded.
2022 URGENT CALL FOR ARTISTS - Help the Allegany Arts Association raise funds to continue its various programs by entering its Painted Chair or Table Auction in August. Artists can register by May 29th
Find out more on page 6 of the Spring Quarterly Arts News.
Featuring local talent: While you're there, don't forget to check out the new Creator's Corner on page 2.

Before it becomes available in other locations,
AAA's Subscribing Members receive the newsletter delivered to their home address via USPS at the beginning of each quarter.
Print and send in your
membership form to receive these timely updates first.


Saturday, March 5, 2022

2022 Marching Forward with the Arts

As Winter lingers and given the current Global Climate,
 like most of the world, 
BOFA is cautiously optimistic as we move onward into 2022.

We have established this new BOFA facebook account as we hope to resume BOFA activities in 2022 (as COVID guidelines permit). Thank you for your patience as we re-connect with the creative community here to post resources, photos, works by local creators, and upcoming activities. It's also free to follow BOFA updates in the public activity feed on patreon.


In memory of Jodi Patterson-Curcio,
BOFA is co-sponsoring April's poetry month activities and
the 2022 Belfast Story Fest.
(Additional details TBA)
The August return of the Annual BOFA Art Show at the Belfast Public Library
2022 Theme "Small Things" featuring 5" x 7" works by local artists. Details TBA
Contact for more information
Lawn Concerts in the Belfast Town Park
The Annual Christmas Trees in the Park sponsored by the Belfast Lyons

Tuesday March 8th is International Women's Day 
March is Women's History Month. 

"Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias." ~ International Women's Day
Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.


Inspired by The Culture of Possibility by Arlene Goldbard and SWAN Day activities at Women Arts; The Belfast Organization for Artists and SWAN Days Allegany County NY are charitable community projects of SheilaLynnK Art Studio. 

SWAN Day started in 2004 and was originally celebrated the last Saturday of March. This global event, started by Jan Lisa Huttner and Martha Richards, eventually went on to extend the full months of March and April. SWAN Days are international events that are all about uplifting women in the arts. WomenArts led SWAN Day from 2008 – 2018 and selected Statera Foundation to lead SWAN Day in 2019. SWAN Day is a grassroots effort that was coordinated by Statera Foundation and WomenArts through the Statera Arts Website

Due to COVID, the last SWAN Days Allegany County NY calendar of activities (2020) became an online event promoting local women artists. 

Watch the 2020 video and BROWSE OUR LOCAL 2020 FEATURED ARTISTS SERIES  

At the end of 2021, Jan Lisa Huttner and FF2 Media announced the birth of International SWANs (aka iSWANs), the third phase of the “Support Women Artists Now” movement.



Jodi Patterson Curcio
The Jodi Patterson Fund for Art, Culture, and Rural Empowerment, which will serve the youth of Midland County, MI, and Allegany County, NY, is being established in Jodi's honor and memory through the Allegany County Area Foundation (NY). Memorials may be directed to this fund by mail to ACAF 6087 State Route 19N, Belmont, NY 14813 or through the foundation website.
The Allegany County Area Foundation

From the Small Business Administration 

In celebration of Women’s History Month, join the SBA's Office of Women’s Business Ownership and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center for the virtual Women’s Business Summit on March 29-30, 2022. The free event will include power-packed panels, inspirational fireside chats, and 'Ask an Expert' workshops to help you build, scale, and grow your business. Panels and discussion topics include:

  • Innovation and Investment
  • Building an Equitable Recovery Framework for Women Entrepreneurs
  • From Essential Worker to Essential Entrepreneur: CARE Economy Entrepreneurship Opportunities
  • The $100B Marketplace: Contracting Opportunities for Women-led Firms
  • Exporting & E-Commerce
  • The Changing Landscape for Entertainment and Hospitality Industries


From the Case Foundation

Financial Education for Women

The nonprofit Invest for Better helps women take control of their financial education through peer-led Circles that center values-aligned approaches to money and investment. Interested? They’re recruiting a new cohort of Circle leaders.  READ MORE

A Good Book 

Wintering; The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times  
by Katherine May 

In 'Wintering,' Katherine May Encourages 'The Active Acceptance Of Sadness'

May writes beautifully of her own recent bout with a personal winter, a period when she felt low and overwhelmed, out of sorts and "out of sync with everyday life." She hit a storm of woes around the time of her 40th birthday.