A Friend Indeed

Whether you are an artist, curator, gallery director, promoter of the arts, or a member of the regional audience, you are aware of Ron Schira. He has regularly reviewed art and culture events for Reading Eagle Company since the early 1990s. Ron is also a visual artist who has worked creatively in this region for decades. He recently launched a YouTube site that brings to a global audience the work of creative artists in our city, our community, and our region as well as that of other well-known artists who execute and perform artwork here.Writers on art are often taken for granted. We expect to encounter their words, opinions, and views on a regular basis. Artists anticipate reviews of their gallery shows. Gallery directors look forward to a mention of their current offerings. Museums and cultural institutions expect their exhibits to be discussed in the press. Behind all these occurrences, the writer is kept busy giving exposure to the constant stream of noteworthy people and events that constitute an area’s contemporary culture. Art writers are typically paid very little for their work and their words. Let’s put it this way, most of us do not make a living wage from these endeavors. Often, we are also artists, craftspersons, teachers. We may do free-lance work – that sort of thing. In many instances we’ll take a job to pay the bills just the same as everyone else must do. The extra measure of risk we take as artists, writers, promoters of art has to do with the desire to make a difference in the world, our passion for culture and the arts, and the satisfaction of giving something of unique value back to the community. And Ron Schira is one of the most significant contributors to our cultural landscape.*I’ve known Ron since my return to Berks County in the 1980s. He has never asked for help – yet he has helped us all. But now, we have a real opportunity to lend a hand. As I write this, Ron is a patient at the Reading Hospital. He is fighting and winning a battle against pneumonia and other illnesses. He is not covered by disability insurance and he has used up his sick time at work from the serious heart problems he had earlier in the year. It will take him many weeks to recover.The arts community is beginning to respond to Ron’s situation. Peg and Glen Spiers of Gallery 908 are helping to spread the word and artist Nancy Sarangoulis is collecting funds. If you are in a position to assist Ron and give back to him something that reflects the positive things he’s given us over the years, please send a donation to Nancy Sarangoulis at 328 Carsonia Avenue, Reading, Pa 19606. You may also call Nancy at 610-779-0708.*And while we are at it. Let us have the most positively creative holiday season ever!*Image: self-portrait of Ron Schira

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