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Art on the Rocks

Celebrating John Vanco’s 40 years as
Museum Director

Erie, PA – The Erie Art Museum shook things up for one cork popping evening in tribute to John Vanco’s 40 years as Museum Director on Saturday, June 14, 2008 from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the home of Dale & Lynn McBrier. The sold out event featured an elegant and comfortable atmosphere replete with friendly spirits, an eclectic menu prepared by Make it Fabulous and many special surprises. A team of local artists led by Dovetail Gallery owner Gary Cacchione transformed the lawn of the McBrier’s home into an outdoor art installation.

Allburn Florist’s Chris Ehrman worked alongside Cacchione in creating an unforgettable décor. More than 300 people gathered in tribute to Vanco, some off ering remarks and refl ecting upon Vanco’s accomplishments and the growth of the Museum. The expansion will fi nally enable the Erie Art Museum to display a signifi cant number of the more than 6,000 pieces in its permanent collection, fulfi lling its potential as a premier regional art museum. These expanded off erings will be large enough to warrant destination visits to the Museum by local residents and tourists alike. Together with other new developments, the expansion will greatly advance downtown Erie as a vibrant regional center for entertainment, culture, and commerce. A Vanco-themed auction, emceed by Erie Playhouse Executive Director Almi Clerkin and her husband Shawn, off ered items such as Vanco’s curatorial services, backstage access and parking at the Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival, a private Director’s Tour of the Museum, and a dinner party with Vanco and objects from the Museum’s permanent collection. Artist Lisa Lichtenfels, an Erieite and graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art joined Vanco as a surprise guest and along with members of the Museum’s staff and Board of Directors, presented Vanco with an original John Vanco “soft sculpture”, in pattern with her sculptures included in the Museum’s popular Avalon Restaurant, to be added to the Museum’s permanent collection.

Local visual artists presented Vanco with a large hand-crafted book of original works articulating their personal relationship with Vanco. Deborah Sementelli of the Northwest Pennsylvania Artists Association coordinated the project. Entertaining guests were local writer and Museum friend John Chacona, paying tribute to Vanco in a tongue and cheek “roast,” as well as local musicians The Heliotropes (Katie Chriest, Sheldon Peterson, David Blaetz & Alan Chaff ee), and New Orleans-based zydeco band Jude Taylor & His Burning Flames. Art on the Rocks was organized by Rebecca Styn (chair), Gary Cacchione, Neala Ferralli, Barb Haggerty, Lynn McBrier, Don McCain, Mary Beth McMaster, Jenae Pohl, Meg Rahner, Molly Reichard, Tammy Roche, Dr. Kirk Steehler, Patty Rich and Julia Sullivan Squeglia. A

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