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Susquehanna Life

Art in Milton, Building Service, Character, & Leadership, Campus Farm, and A New Way to Deliver Care: Life Around the River

Nov 21, 2018 07:00AM ● By Emma Eldridge

Brice Brown chooses from among a Leon Kelley, Kurt Seligmann and André Masson for the Surrealism exhibit.

Art in Milton

Brice Brown chooses from among a Leon Kelley, Kurt Seligmann and André Masson for the Surrealism exhibit.

Five years ago Brice Brown, an artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, dreamed of creating an art space to focus on artists and conversations their work could generate. His vision, Milton Art Bank, has taken form at a renovated bank building at 23 South Front St., in Milton.

“I wanted it to be a space operating in the historical context of the alternative or artist-run spaces that sprung up in New York City in the 60s and 70s,” said Brown, whose work appears in public collections at the Speed Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Dartmouth College and Yale University. “They served to re-empower art in its function of communicating ideas and fostering growth in a community.”

Brown chose Milton for the art bank location since it would “stand out” and reach people in a different way. He also liked Milton’s proximity to New York City, Lewisburg and State College.

“As I was thinking through this idea, and after realizing New York City isn’t the place this kind of space would have the most impact, the old bank building now housing MAB went up for sale in Milton,” said Brown. “It was serendipity, and I purchased the building, and got to work renovating the space into a white box.”

Milton Art Bank is an experiment of sorts to see if art can effect change. The site is used for exhibitions, art installations and performances.

“I want to encourage curious dialogue and engaged participation as a way for people to become active agents of positive change in their community,” explained Brown, who holds dual residences in Milton and New York City.

“In some sense, Milton Art Bank can be seen as a type of probing, expansive, fluctuating art piece in its own right,” added Brown. “And if the art shown at Milton Art Bank alters the way just one person thinks about their world, opening them up to new ideas and experiences outside their comfort zone, I consider that a success.”

The current exhibit, Surrealism, is on display through Feb. 24, 2019. In conjunction with an international conference on Surrealism at Bucknell University, the exhibit includes a selection of European and American Surrealist works from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

“It is unlike anything that's been shown in the Valley, and includes many museum-quality works by artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali and Francis Picabia, among many others,” said Brown. “We turned the vault—yes, we have a vault!—into a proper Kunstkabinett [cabinet of curiosities], curated from important local art collections.” Visit for more information. – Jennifer Pencek

Building Service, Character and Leadership

Community service has been ingrained in Maggie Karpinski’s life since the 7th grade. Now a senior at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury, Karpinksi serves as district governor of the Pennsylvania district of Key Club, an international student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to perform service, build character and develop leadership.

As district governor, Karpinski is responsible for the 12,000 Key Club members, and more than 200 Key Clubs, within the District of Pennsylvania, first chartered in 1947.

With more than 270,000 members from approximately 5,000 clubs in 30 countries, Key Clubs are sponsored by local Kiwanis International clubs, whose members include local business and professional people. Key Club not only functions on a local level, but also on a district [state] and international level.

“I really like to give back and it’s awesome to make a difference in so many lives,” Karpinski said. “Everyone should experience this in their high school years.”

Karpinski was a member of Builders Club, a Kiwanis group geared toward 11 to 14 year olds. Kiwanis also offers community service clubs for elementary school-aged students, college students and adults living with disabilities.

“The fact you can move group to group and not lose any of the core values is really nice,” said Marsha Kouf, co-advisor of the Shikellamy Key Club.

Kouf is proud of Karpinski’s accomplishments, and those of all students she has worked with in Key Clubs, specifically those in the Shikellamy Key Club, the oldest in Pennsylvania. The club turns 75 in May 2019 and is sponsored by Sunbury and Northumberland Point Township Kiwanis clubs.

“Key Clubs serve a need for a lot of kids,” Kouf said. “Key Club can be where if you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere else, you can find your fit with Key Club. We focus on leadership, inclusiveness, character building and caring. If you are willing to volunteer, we are more than happy to help you.”

Kouf’s involvement with Key Clubs and Kiwanis goes back far longer than her years as co-advisor. She was a member of Builders Club and her father, Maurice Wilkinson, was a member of Kiwanis.

“It’s definitely in my blood,” she said. “It very much is a family atmosphere. We encourage kids to make this a life action or practice.” For more information, visit or – Jennifer Pencek

Campus Farm

A grass-covered hilltop on the Bucknell University campus will be the setting for a five-acre farm expected to facilitate academic connections, sustainable food production, student life and wellness and community engagement.

The Bucknell faculty and staff behind the project describe it as a natural extension of the Lewisburg Community Garden in downtown Lewisburg, a collaboration between the university and the borough begun in 2012 to address local food insecurity. Last season, the garden donated 3,800 pounds of produce with a market value over $10,000, and provided opportunities for hands-on student projects and service-learning.

“We think of these programs as being complementary,” said Kyle Bray, assistant director of service-learning and one of the farm project’s leaders. “As the garden has begun to fill more roles and provide more services, we’ve realized there are some things the garden can’t achieve—but a larger, on-campus space can.”

The opportunities include everything from long-term research projects and locavore dining to outdoor music and arts performances. Last March the university hired Jen Schneidman Partica as its first farm and garden coordinator. Partica envisions the farm offering “opportunities for research not only in the natural sciences, but also in the social sciences and humanities, as economic, cultural and political factors impact how we grow and access food.”

Interest from Bucknell’s faculty backs up that notion. Farm organizers have heard from 45 professors from all three of Bucknell’s colleges who want to use the farm in their classes and research, and they plan to consult with faculty to develop more opportunities.

The university also intends to grow food for Bucknell Dining Services at the farm—replacing some produce trucked in with organic fruits and vegetables grown on campus—and to incorporate dining hall leftovers in composting. “Basically we’ll be closing the nutrient loop—preventing waste from going to the landfill and converting wasted food back into food by reclaiming its nutrients,” said professor Mark Spiro, biology, another of the project’s key leaders.

In addition to traditional cultivated fields growing lettuce, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, Spiro anticipates an orchard of fruit trees, as well as an “agroforest” of native, food-bearing trees such as paw paws and walnuts.

The organizers also “see the farm as playing a role in creating a holistically healthy campus environment,” added Bray. “We’ve put a lot of thought into other features that would support a healthy campus climate.” Those include walking paths and an outdoor classroom or performing arts space, Bray said.  

A New Way to Deliver Care

Evangelical Community Hospital and Geisinger jointly announce a new and unique way of delivering healthcare to surrounding communities. It’s an approach that will serve to strengthen the extraordinary level of care already afforded to this region.

“Evangelical can best continue to meet the needs of our community by remaining an independent, community hospital and by strengthening our relationship with our trusted and nationally renowned partners, Geisinger and Geisinger Health Plan,” said Kendra Aucker, President and CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital.

“Through this unique arrangement, Geisinger will make a capital investment in Evangelical and Evangelical will work with Geisinger to make healthcare delivery in our region more efficient, cost-effective, and simply better for the patients we serve.”

“Evangelical is an outstanding organization and we have a long history of collaboration built on a foundation of shared values,” said David T. Feinberg, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Geisinger. “What we are announcing today strengthens the way care is delivered in the communities we both serve. It keeps care close to home and makes it easier for more patients to access the outstanding health care already available here in Central Pennsylvania.”

Together, the two organizations will invest $265 million over the next five years to enhance the health of shared communities. In addition, Evangelical will share in Geisinger’s IT innovations and enjoy an improved status with Geisinger Health Plan. Geisinger will appoint 30 percent of community members who serve on Evangelical’s Board while Evangelical will appoint a community member to the Geisinger Health Plan Board.

“Although Evangelical and Geisinger remain competitors in the marketplace, our unique, cooperative approach will allow us to deliver care efficiently, cost-effectively, and with compassion throughout our region,” said John Meckley, chair of Evangelical’s Board of Directors.

The decision comes after a year-long, competitive process by Evangelical to determine how to best serve the healthcare needs of the community in the face of increasing challenges. After exploring a variety of models and discussions with multiple potential partners, the Evangelical’s Board of Directors decided that Evangelical will remain an independent, community hospital with a strengthened partnership with Geisinger. Final terms of the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

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