As Woodstock gets ready to celebrate Earth Day on Monday, April 22, we wanted to recap some local environmental milestones.
In 2003 the Woodstock Environmental Commission (WEC) procured a New York State Energy Research Development Agency grant covering eighty percent of the project cost of a photo-voltaic panel array for the municipal building at 76 Tinker Street. On March 13, 2007, the Town of Woodstock unanimously passed a Zero-Carbon Initiative. The goal was to achieve a net zero emission of carbon dioxide by the end of 2017.
In 2009 the Roots of Woodstock Live Concert was held on August 15 at the Bearsville Theater. This 40th anniversary Woodstock festival concert also raised money via an Eco Raffle. The monies raised enabled the concert promoters to purchase two bright red bicycle-shaped Dero bike racks. One was placed in front of Houst’s on Mill Hill Road and the other in front of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts booth on Rock City Road.
Also in 2009 the WEC produced The Green Guide, a 39-page handout, detailing ways Woodstockers can lower their eco-footprint. In June 2011 the town installed a solar array atop the Woodstock Highway Garage. The town currently generates over five percent of its electricity needs from solar arrays. Woodstock is continuing to work on a plan to reach its net zero emission goal by 2017.
The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s exhibition of William Pachner’s drawings runs from March 29 to May 5, 2013. Pachner has lived in Woodstock since 1945 and counts fellow artists Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Eugene Speicher and Bud Plate as his artist-peers.
William Pachner was born in 1915 in Brtnice, Moravia, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1920 an accident left him blind in his left eye. Nonetheless he studied design at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in the 1920s. By 1935 he was staff artist on Ozvěny, an illustrated weekly based in Prague. At the start of World War II he managed to obtain a visa to the United States. For a time he worked as the art director at Esquire Magazine in Chicago. In 1945 he learned that all his family perished at the hands of the Nazis. From this point on he moved to Woodstock and began to dedicate his life to executing serious art. By 1948 he started to participate in large annual exhibitions, such as the Carnegie International and the Whitney Annual.
In 1981 after several operations to fix a detached retina, William Pachner lost sight in his “good” right eye. Up to this time Pachner had worked primarily with color. After this devastating setback he vowed to work with his “bad” left eye. From 1981 to 1999 he produced between 400 to 600 black-and-white drawings. The current show, curated by Nancy Azara, Byron Bell, Matt Leaycraft and Ann Pachner, shows 41 of these works.
On Saturday, April 6 William Pachner appeared with the poet and personal friend, Michael Perkins, at the Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts for a gallery talk. At one point Michael turned to Pachner and suggested that some people who attend art colleges declare that they’re artists upon graduation. Mr. Pachner replied (and I am paraphrasing) that art is a lifelong struggle and requires one to dedicate oneself to trying many things. Hopefully one is able reach an inner truth through one’s works and that this in turn ignites recognition by one’s fellows. The rhythmic chiaroscuro of Pachner’s works in the show allows the observer to not only feel the pathos of his life, but to experience the truth of his art.