Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Minutes of Past Meetings


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October 7, 2022
The Train Station

Present: Romayne Naylor. Joseph Griffin, Dave Eggler, Jim Dunne, Gay Dunne,  Dave Kurtz, True Fisher, Karen Arnold, Melady Kehm


Treasurer’s Report (Dave Eggler) –  Click here to view the report


 Review of BHCA Activities 


Summer Sounds -The 2022 concerts were well attended and well received. Committee: JoAnn Knupp,  Bonnie Leathers, Tom Wilson, Renee Nicholes


Bellefonte Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music Series - Sundays, 2:30 PM, Trinity UMC.  A motion (Kurtz, Griffin) to raise the compensation for performers to $250 per person for group performers,  and $300 per perfomance for solo performers was approved.                               


                                      Next concert  Oct. 30     Jonathan Gangi, solo guitar


 Poetry - Julia Kasdorf proposal (text of request attached below) was agreed to in concept while awaiting more specific information on total costs.


 Old House Fair - Nothing planned for this year.


Historic Preservation  - With the death of Jeannr Newlin, we need a new chair person for the committee and someone to be in charge of the foundation.


Freight House - Dave Kurtz’s computer died, delaying aspects of the project. He still needs to write texts for several   of the boats. K.C. Murphy is helping with the boat display. Dave suggests hiring someone to be at the building  during the summer to allow the public to have access. He would like to have signs on the outside of the building. A brochure should be available, and possibly a small book for sale.. A computer will be needed to show videos on the TV.


Talleyrand Park - BHCA has several members on the Talleyrand Park Committee. BHCA and the Bellefonte   Garden Club sponsor the Edible Landscape and Pollinator Gardens


Bellefonte Victorian Christmas  Arts & Crafts Show - Saturday, December 10, 2022, 9 AM -5PM

                        The Bellefonte YMCA and the  Bellefonte Elementary School


BHCA - Joseph Proposal -(text of request attached below) - The group agreed to have Joseph proceed.


Environmental Advisory Board - Gay requested that BHCA , as a non-profit, send a letter of support for the    Bellefonte Borough to distribute the Climate Sustainability Survey. A motion of approval (Joseph, Melady) was approved.


 Next BHCA Meeting - November 11, 2022 at the Train Station


Jim Dunne, Secretary


Julia Kasdorf  Report


1) Thanks for the support BHCA gave to “aMUSEment”—the organization provided $350 fees for 3 of the 4 singers, much appreciated! (And we may have an invitation to perform next year at the Grange Fair…not sure yet.)


2) Tentative plans are being made for the resurrection of  the literary arts series “Out Loud in Bellefonte," but in a slightly different form. I’ve met with two individuals interested in working on the project and one idea was to include music between readers. We will probably locate the readings in St. John’s Episcopal Church (better sound and space/seating, and possibility of Zooming--and the church has offered the space free of charge).  Is BHCA interested in co-sponsoring, as in the past? (Dave can give you an estimated figure, but typically BHCA provided modest honoraria for a few featured readers per year.  (And at one point, also funds for wine, although we’ll probably drop that idea or let people provide that as they wish.)


3) Finally, I had hoped to approach BHCA to see if the organization might be interested in helping co-sponsor a musical/theatrical project created in collaboration with Tony Leach, director Essence of Joy, using Phil’s research and historic choral music, about the little-known Black history in Centre County. Performance date is set for the weekend of April 21-23, located (possibly) at two locations: St. Paul AME and a State College venue, such as St. Paul Methodist on College Ave. I attach a report that describes the on-going project with more detail about the performance. We would appreciate something along the lines of direct payment for performers as BHCA granted “aMUSEment.”



Joseph Proposal -






BHCA grew out of the Talleyrand Park Committee formed in 1974 to help plan the park we enjoy today. In 1976, BHCA was created as an umbrella nonprofit to facilitate the work of the Talleyrand Park Committee and it still retains that function. BHCA also served as an umbrella organization for the Project for the Performing Arts, a theatre group. Over the decades many projects not as durable as the Park have come and gone. Among these are the Project for the Performing Arts, The Bellefonte Light Opera Company, the Film Forum, and the Old House Fair. Two current BHCA projects entering their fifth decade of service to the community are Summer Sounds and the Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music Series. Another continuing project is the Victorian Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, which had been running for decades.


Since its founding, BHCA has contributed profoundly to the quality of life in Bellefonte. A beautiful park, music, the fine arts, film, and informative programs about how to understand and care for our architectural heritage – all these have been provided by our organization. Moreover, BHCA has been a meeting place for those who want to see enriching activities proliferate in our town; it’s been a cultural confluence; and a marketplace for those intangible things so valuable to the human spirit, enabling ideas to accumulate enough energy and enthusiasm to become actions.




After 46 years of service, some BHCA founders are still on the job. Although our mailing lists are large, our membership is modest and not increasing. Past efforts to swell the ranks of our continual cultural crusade have faltered, perhaps because BHCA regulars have become so familiar with one another that outsiders find it difficult to fit in. The pandemic exacerbated our participation problem. Today, our officers have exceeded their term limits, our official membership has dwindled to a negligible number, and we have failed to follow the mandates of our Bylaws. In another decade, most of those who have guarded the flame of BHCA will be extinguished themselves. In short, if we can’t renew BHCA, it will necessarily


relinquish its place in the vanguard of local cultural promotion, perhaps to be replaced by organizations not as interested in the preservation of Bellefonte’s beautiful buildings and less attuned to the subtleties of music, history and the fine and literary arts.




Despite our problems, the viability of BHCA is buttressed by several substantial assets. First among these is seniority – BHCA has been serving our community for almost half a century. And so, our organization has had a hand in many of Bellefonte’s better attributes. If past is prologue, we should not fear the future. A related asset is our healthy funding stream. For many years, we have received consistent grant support from local and state sources. Our funders trust BHCA to deliver reliable programing in return for regular support. A third asset is strictly financial. We have enough money in the bank to do plenty of good things. Our final asset grows out of our longevity and the continued popularity of some of our projects. Local people have been attending our concerts and the Victorian Christmas Craft Show for decades and anticipate that they will continue. If only for these activities, BHCA satisfies a community expectation. We are still needed.




Within the past decade, the Bellefonte Museum was dramatically transformed from a quiescent local history museum into the vibrant Bellefonte Art Museum. While the change must have been controversial, there can be little doubt that the renewed Museum has a much greater impact on the community than the original.


Just last November, the Bellefonte Cemetery Association experienced a rapid metamorphosis that more than doubled its Board while significantly increasing the number of volunteers caring for the Union Cemetery. The result of this sudden transformation is plain to anyone who walks through or drives by the cemetery. Besides the improved grounds maintenance, there are new projects underway such as cleaning and repairing headstones, developing a new cemetery website, and establishing a computerized grave inventory. These changes seem to have been instigated by just one very interested community member.


Downtown Bellefonte, Inc. is a young organization that received its 501(c)3 designation in 2015. From a small start, it has grown to a thriving entity that is

competing with the Chamber of Commerce for the attention of the business community and with BHCA for the patronage of craft show shoppers. A review of DBI’s website reveals an extensive membership and a broad range of community programming. Its rapid expansion serves as another existence proof that nonprofits can flourish in our environment.




The achievements of the Bellefonte Cemetery Association, DBI, and the Bellefonte Art Museum can be attributed to their ability to attract and involve community members. They have done what we haven’t and, accordingly, have prospered as we have declined. We have tried to attract new members in the past without much success. Certainly, we have learned that extending invitations to attend our monthly meetings is not a winning strategy.


 When we held our “reorganization” meeting in Talleyrand Park last July, we were joined by several people who are not a part of our regular deliberations. Some suggested that we reach out to other organizations, one advised us to figure out what we are doing, and all our visitors seemed amenable to helping us achieve our mission.


Clearly, we need help. Perhaps it must come from outside our membership. Hence, a MODEST PROPOSAL:


Identify and recruit at least ten new Board members, one or more from each of the following categories:


a poet or prose writer a fine artist a musician a historian a theater professional an architect interested in historic preservation a representative from the Bellefonte schools a representative from the Bellefonte Art Museum a representative from the Bellefonte branch of the Centre County Library and Historical Museum a representative from the Bellefonte Cemetery Association


Plan on eventually revising our Bylaws to institutionalize such representation so that BHCA becomes a cultural commons, where aspirations, knowledge, and ideas about local culture beget increased cultural opportunities for the residents of Bellefonte.


Accepting and acting on this PROPOSAL would entail a loss of power for those currently on the Board for we could easily be outvoted. However, the old-timers could stick around long enough to help guide a fresh cohort of people concerned about the very things that BHCA has promoted for the past five decades.


It is important to observe that this proposal does not involve finding additional members, but additional directors. It offers leadership to others, not followership. Should there be interest in pursuing this PROPOSAL, I will volunteer to organize the recruitment of new Board members.


Respectfully Submitted, Joseph Griffin