The gorgeous new arts center in Old Forge, View, was sprouted from a tiny seed in 1952, when a young woman in Thendara boldly told a summer resident that there would be an art show in two weeks. Miriam Kashiwa was manning her small store in Thendara and visiting with a member of the Hay Fever Club when he said, "You know, it's unfortunate there aren't more cultural activities for people here." To which she responded, "You know we're going to have an art show here in two weeks." From that retort everything else followed that led to the state of the art building that is celebrating its grand opening on July 8 (2011). Kashiwa is not sure what led to her response, maybe a little community pride, but after the statement was made, all that was left was to put on an art show. The art show was publicized in the local paper and Kashiwa's husband, Hank, started building a display area in their yard.
"Of course, my husband was my champion. I didn't know how we were going to have it out there on the lawn, but he went out and cut down some little trees and stuck them in the ground and brought home some hardware cloth and put it between the trees and that's where we hung the art." She found a judge, her old college professor who stayed at the Bald Mountain Colony, C. Bertram Walker. When she was in Walker's class in college and she was bemoaning her artistic abilities, he told her to be patient and that there were many ways someone could contribute to the arts. Truer words were never spoken. She scraped together some prizes -- shampoo and wine and such -- from local businesses. Then she wanted to have awards, so Hank came to the rescue. He cut little slabs from trees and the chips became the awards. The chips are still used today. "We call them Adirondack Chips," Kashiwa said.
By the day of the art show, there were about 100 entries, but one from the local clergy bothered her. "The Father at St. Bart's entered a painting he did by number. He treated it like a big joke. I was so mad at him," said Kashiwa. One of the paintings that won, by Helena Palmer, is still in the View's collection. "The whole thing was public interest driven. None of it was planned." The lack of planning carried the show on for years. After the first year on the lawn, Kashiwa set up in the bandstand that used to be across from where the Visitor's Center is now. Publicity, headed by the town’s publicity director June Kiefer, brought in entries and Kashiwa would put the paintings out during the day in the gazebo and store them in the American Legion Hall at night.