OLEAN, NY — A nine-part arts series, "Soulful Expressions," is underway at the Olean Meditation Center, 2275 Dugan Road, through the spring of 2021. 

“Soulful Expressions highlights the intersection of mindfulness, creativity, and cultural forms of the human spirit,” Richard Reilly, president of the Olean Meditation Center, said.

“All performances are offered free of charge to allow everyone an opportunity to experience these great artists which for some may otherwise have been inaccessible,” Reilly said. 

Sign Up for Greater Olean Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The art, music, theater, dance and photography in the series, selected to bring a heightened cultural presence to Olean, opened in June with the “Faces of Africa” photography exhibit by St. Bonaventure University Professor Emeritus of Psychology, which will be on display throughout the series.

Scheduled series events are:

  • Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m., "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," a 2010 documentary by Werner Herzog that concerns  32,000-year-old human-painted images from the Chauvet Cave in southern France. Denise Prince, an art history professor at Canisius College, will introduce the film. 
  • Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m., "African Mask-Making" for children conducted by Rene Pye.
  • Oct. 17, 2 p.m., "Guatemala Today: Changing Roles of the Mayan People Through the Lens of Their Art," a presentation by author, artist and activist Marilyn Anderson of Rochester.
  • Oct. 24, 7 p.m., Dramatic reading of a scene from his book, "The Salvation Show," by Greg Fisher, a well-known member of the theater and arts community in Buffalo. Fisher will share the trials and challenges of growing up Black in the pre-Civil Rights South. 
  • Nov. 14, 10:30 a.m., "Chanting & Drums" for children and adults by Rick Shuler.

Soulful Expressions programming planned, but not yet scheduled, for 2021 include:

  •  “Sufi Whirling & Meditative Dance” workshop conducted by Khadija Radin.
  •  "Night Fragrance," an evening of jazz featuring Barbara Dyskant and Mimi Jong on erhu and piano.
  • "Classical & Modern Indian Dance," featuring Jaan Freeman and Gaitrie Deva. 

All performances and programming are appropriate for all ages and free of charge to community members.

The project is made possible with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program. The grants are administered by the Tri-County Arts Council, which reaches Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, ​with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, according to a press release from the meditation center. 

While 75% of the funding for the series came from the grant administered by the Tri-County Arts Council, Friends of the Olean Meditation Center donated the remaining 25% of the funding on Giving Tuesday, according to the press release. 

For further information, persons should call the Olean Meditation Center at 716-375-5550 or email oleanmeditation@gmail.com.

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.