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Art & Jazz at the Gettysburg Majestic Theater

Gettysburg, PA - Does music change what we see? Does painting change what we hear? Last October, Americasí Arts owner Larry Knutson, abstract painter Leslie Meier and jazz composer Paul Austerlitz discussed the two questions one night over dinner in a local restaurant. The resulting response was their agreement to create a collaborative event which, one year later, will be enjoyed at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, on Saturday evening, September 12th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Meier will reveal an entirely new body of work and Austerlitz will perform with his professional jazz group, in a program titled See Hear Now. In addition, a Silent Auction will be held to benefit the South Central Community Action Programís (SCCAP) Food Pantry. The silent auction will include both a Meier painting and a jazz performance, donated by the two artists for that purpose.

Meier and Austerlitz approached the See Hear Now collaboration, which is being produced by Knutsonís Americasí Arts, as artists addressing each otherís chosen mediums. The intention was not that the two artists illustrate each otherís work, but use their respective vehicles of expression to play off of one another. Each piece stands alone as a complete visual or aural composition.

See Hear Now also provided opportunity for the artists to create visual or aural commentary on issues or events important to them as individuals. For Leslie Meier, an abstract-minimalist artist, the idea was to create a specific piece titled Assembling Lines. Meier created a community art project one Friday at the Farm Fresh Market at the Gettysburg Outlet Mall. She provided $100 in quarters, as well as paper, pencils, a table and a chair at the market. She invited passersby to make a quick drawing using the themes of `foodí or `agriculture.í The artist says that the "Friday Farm Fresh Marketís own mission and commitment to growing and producing high quality food and goods for the community provided a wonderful underscore to the purpose behind my endeavor. We paid each person who produced a piece on July 3rd, 25 cents for their drawing. Then, we offered participants the option to either keep the 25 cents or to donate the quarter directly to the food pantry."

Those community-based drawings were then utilized by Meier in the creation of her own multi-medium painting, Assembling Lines. The piece of artwork will be offered by silent auction, as part of the "See Hear Now" event at the Majestic Theater on September 12. All of the proceeds from the Assembling Lines winning bid will be donated to the Food Pantry.

Jazz composer Paul Austerlitz, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Africana Studies in Gettysburg Collegeís Sunderman Conservatory of Music, will donate a 30 minute performance with his student band, to the highest bidder in the Silent Auction. "In my travels this year in Haiti and West Africa, where I have been doing research, the issues of hunger and nutrition are very present," the musician says. "It is a universal problem and it is my hope that the universal medium of music can help to address it in our community, with this event." For the See Hear Now event at the Majestic Theater, Austerlitz will perform with his band consisting of three other professional jazz musicians from Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. "Itís going to be an awesome night," he says. "These guys are really fantastic."

Paul Austerlitz combines his creative work as a jazz composer with his background as an ethnomusicologist. He has completed composing residencies at the Yaddo and Omi artist colonies and recorded four CDs featuring original compositions. Austerlitz is a past recipient of the Macoll Johnson Fellowship for Music Composition from the Rhode Island Foundation, which supported the production of his latest CD entitled Journey; recorded in the Dominican Republic, New York City, and Rhode Island. It blends jazz with Afro-Dominican, African, and Indian music as well as influences from European composers such as Debussy and Stravinsky. As an instrumentalist, Austerlitz has dedicated himself to mastering the bass and contrabass clarinets. He also plays soprano clarinet and tenor saxophone. As a sideman, Austerlitz has worked with musicians such as Doc Cheatham, Julius Hemphill, Dave Murray, Don Byron, Roswell Rudd, Jimmy Knepper, Ed Blackwell, Gunter Hampel, the poet Michael Harper, the Haitian Vodou-jazz group Foula, and the African jazz group of Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng.

Leslie Meier's work has been featured at the Boston International Fine Arts Show, the Maryland McClean Project for the Arts, and exhibits in Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania. Meier studied with both Marilyn Dintenfass at the Parsons School of Design, and Jacqueline Weaver, in New York. She received her BA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland in 1994.

"When Leslie created the Assembling Lines experience at the Farm Fresh Market, and the resulting idea to raise money for SCCAP and the Adams County Food Pantry, the three of us had no idea that our See Hear Now event would come at a time when there is so much need for financial support of such programs" Americasí Arts owner Larry Knutson explained. "We hope that Leslieís Assembling Lines and Paulís performance donation will produce a substantial donation to the SCCAP Food Pantry. We also hope it will serve to underscore the serious situation that has existed this summer as regards the operating, funding and support of such programs in the county and around the state."

See Hear Now will take place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, September 12th, at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg. Tickets for the event are $10.00 and may be purchased through the box office by calling (717) 337-8200, or in person at 25 Carlisle Street during box office hours (Monday-Saturday: Noon-7:30p.m., Sunday: 3-7:30p.m.).