DANSVILLE — Dansville ArtWorks hosts its Open Mic Performing Arts Series every fourth Friday at 153 Main Street in Dansville.


he May 25 event features Dan Folts, starting at 6 p.m. Following Folts, audience members are invited to participate in the open mic with family friendly performances. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free; donations are welcome.


Dan Folts is a writer and high school English teacher at Wayland-Cohocton High School, the school where Devin Snyder graduated. Folts has been published in local newspapers and has received two Individual Artist Grants (one for poetry, one for nonfiction) from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program. He lives in the Western Finger Lakes Region of New York with his family. Shieldmaiden: The Devin Snyder Story is his first book.


The reading will be from excerpts of the biography of Sgt. Devin A. Snyder, from Cohocton, NY. She was killed in Afghanistan on June 4, 2011. As a biography, it chronicles her life from childhood in one of the many struggling towns in the Southern Tier of Western New York and follows her to Missouri, Alaska, the Philippines, and Afghanistan. The book is also part history. As Devin grows, the narration includes historical interludes that influence Devin’s life without her knowing. The book’s structure follows that of a Greek tragedy in which her determination (to be a strong athlete, to be a better soldier, to remain committed to her fellow service members) becomes her tragic flaw.


Folts shared with us, “Far too often the stories of individual soldiers are forgotten, swept up in the torrent of history. We forget the things about them that made them human: their expressions, their laughs, and their generosity of spirit. Instead we see them as soldiers. Our service members would probably not have it any other way, as committed as they are to their fellow soldier, but their pride obscures the fact that we civilians need to see them as the people that they were before their military training, the people that they were when they are on leave and away from the base. When we see that side of soldiers, it completes the picture. Instead of merely honoring their military service with lip service, or using them as political pawns in debates about foreign policy or government excess, we can see them for who they are. And then when they die in war, we can fully understand what we have lost.”


The Open Mic Performing Arts Series is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts at the Livingston Arts Center, a member-supported organization.


Dansville ArtWorks Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to cultivate and enhance the visual, literary and performing arts opportunities in the greater Dansville community. They operate an arts center and gift shop at 153 Main Street, Dansville that features exhibited and consigned artwork, workshops for children and adults, and programs including Fairy Doors of Dansville and Chalk Walk & ArtsFest. For more information, contact 585.335.4746 or dansvilleartworks@gmail.com.