Lifetimes Later ponders the dilemmas of going home, to a place you left long, long ago. In Johnstown, we are called boomerangs: someone who leaves town after high school and comes back after the mid-life turn. But the practice is not unique to folks in the rust belt-everyone goes home eventually. Lifetimes Later will open at the Venue of Merging Arts (VoMA) Friday, February 26, 2021 with performances happening throughout the evening. Saturday morning there will be a Write From Life workshop with Jo Novelli-Blasko. Followed by a macaroni and cheese dinner and screening of I Was Always Supposed To Be Here, a 90 minute film by John Nunan. On Sunday Lifetimes Later welcomes a lecture/performance by The Black Teacher, Dr. G.E. Washington. Collaborators in Lifetimes Later are:
Jo Novelli-Blasko is an artist and curator living in Johnstown PA. Her current and most enduring work is The Habitorium, a platform for her research, watercolor paintings, performance and writing. A founding member of the VoMA Advisory Board, Lifetimes Later is her second collaboration with the space. Jo left Johnstown in 1982 and came back in 2018, to heal from a nasty divorce. She earned a Master’s in Performance Studies from New York University and a couple of Bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University where she also taught Art History for several years. Jo’s art has happened in places as far flung as Long Island City NY and Berkeley CA. She is now three months in to her next 10-year plan.
Susan Skrzycki is a multi-disciplinary artist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work includes painting, murals, installation, encaustic, performance and assemblage. She was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan but has considered Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina her home for decades. In 2010 she returned to Raleigh having been away for nearly 20 years. Susan earned a BFA in Modern Dance and Choreography from California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles in 1993. She has performed with various modern dance, theater and performance groups in California and Arizona. Susan’s art has been shown in many juried gallery exhibits, museums and public art murals. She has worked closely with other artists, photographers, poets, performance artists and dance companies over the years and finds collaborative work inspiring and enriching.
John Wellons is a somewhat reclusive writer, living in Shawboro, North Carolina. Since returning home, John has composed more than 7,000 poems which he publishes on his FaceBook profile. His poems are the inspiration for Lifetimes Later and will be featured in much of the work in the exhibition. John went home to to be with his aging parents. His mother remains in his gentle care.