Contact: Julia Schonberg
Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator  

Bethany Arts Community Presents 
Ossining, NY: February 2 – March 8, 2024

Ossining, NY – Bethany Arts Community (BAC) is honored to announce its 4th annual Black History & Culture exhibition, titled “Black History & Culture: BLACK PRESENCE. PROFOUND INFLUENCE.” The exhibition is curated by Ossining Village Historian, Joyce Sharrock-Cole.  

The 4th installation of this award-winning exhibition will open on February 2, 2024, and will be on view in BAC’s galleries through March 8, 2024. It will expand the historic storytelling out of the Ossining borders into the surrounding communities that have impacted the world. Each uniquely themed Exhibit Gallery will highlight a particular period in American History where the Black presence made a profound impact on the community.

The exhibition will utilize oral history accounts and genealogical research to unearth the histories of Black entrepreneurs and Black organizations from all facets of the community’s business and social life. Programming throughout the month will include “Night at the Museum” an opening reception, an original theatre production “The Execution of Helen Ray Fowler,” talks, a film screening, guided curator tours, school tours, and a living museum with local actors. Events will take place in person, online, and traveling throughout the year with the exhibition’s History Walls.

A notable addition is an exhibit room dedicated to the history of the Rosenwald schools, highlighting the partnership of Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington, who built schools and buildings that supported the education of Black people during the Jim Crow era. Bethany will host a Community Build in January in which we invite community members to participate in building the Rosenwald School exhibit space, in the spirit of the school’s creators, Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington. To participate in the Community Build, sign up by emailing

A programming highlight is “The Execution of Helen Ray Fowler,” an original play written by playwright, Misha T. Sinclair, with content created by Joyce Sharrock-Cole. In a notorious red-light district of Niagara Falls, Helen Ray Fowler, a thrice-married woman with five children, ran a boarding house while her husband was drafted into war (WWII) in 1943. Her fragile family dynamic is disastrously disrupted when she takes up with the new hothead boarder, George Knight. A fit of jealousy and a series of bad decisions results in a man’s death. Tried, convicted, and sent “up the river’ to Sing Sing Prison’s condemned cells, they meet their end in “Old Sparky” and Helen makes history as the only black woman legally executed in the state of New York.

The play is directed by Mel Hancock and features an ensemble of local actors including Donna James (as Helen Fowler), Steve Allen (as George Knight), Brian Bagot (as William Fowler), Rick Levi (as Lee Clark), Chasity Perez (as Carla January Philips), Keith Bullock (as Walker Earl Thomson), Jessica Bonds (Birdie Johnson), Caturah Brown (as Ruth Persons), Wanda Tyson (as Genevieve Persons), Richard Troiano (as Prosecutor), Nick Byrne (as Defense Attorney), Jeff Ramsey (as Detective Fitzsimmons), Ari Mack (as Soldier Paul W. Blackwell), and Katrina Holmes (as Death House Matron).

The play will take place February 16 – February 25, 2024. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $30 General Admission and $25 Senior/Student. Tickets are available on the Bethany Arts Community website. Please be advised, this show is meant for mature audiences only. Highly suggested for audiences 18+. To inquire about group ticket rates, email

Recognition, media coverage, and last year’s attendance have set a great foundation for the Black History & Culture exhibition this year. Between 2021-2023 exhibit attendance increased from 500 to 3500 attendees. Media coverage will continue to expand its reach from News 12 to online regional journals with a goal to reach national outlets. As our social media presence and sponsorships grow, we continue to expand our outreach partnerships.

We are excited to announce our partnership with The Ossining Union Free School District and their commitment of over 2,000 student visitors and families for 2024, along with additional local school districts joining us this year for the first time. We have expanded our student docent program to include adults and seniors, who will guide students and community members through the exhibit’s educational experiences. If you are interested in scheduling a school tour, and/or learning more about our Docent Program, please reach out to Julia, BAC’s Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator, at You may also register for a Docent Training on our website. Docent trainings are open to adults, seniors, and high schoolers on Saturday February 3 at 12-2pm and Tuesday, February 6 at 6-8pm.

This year we are continuing a collaboration with Claremont School in Ossining to include student voices in the exhibit. Under the theme of IMPACT and as part of Claremont’s Heritage Week Identity Project, students have been asked to create artwork that expresses what they think about their impact in our community. The artwork will be displayed for the duration of the exhibit.

The exhibition is free and open to the public during gallery hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-4pm. The exhibition is closed on Sundays.

Walk & Talk tours led by curator Joyce Sharrock-Cole are scheduled for Wednesday, February 7 and Wednesday, February 28 at 6pm. Walk & Talk tours are $25 Adult and $15 Student/Senior. To inquire about booking a group tour of the exhibit, email

Black History Month programs at Bethany Arts Community are sponsored by Theater O, Journeys to Change, the Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Revolutionary Westchester 250.

Bethany Arts Community continues to seek sponsorships to continue the success of this engaging exhibition of Black History and Culture in Ossining, greater Westchester, and beyond. Sponsorships offer a unique opportunity for our community, art lovers, businesses, and individuals to support. Businesses can have their brands prominently displayed in conjunction with the exhibit. BAC is a non-profit organization serving the lower Hudson Valley of New York State and beyond. Our goal is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment in which all artists and community members can learn, create, and flourish. All contributions are tax- deductible. Sponsorships will be taken on a rolling basis.

Exhibit open: February 2 – March 8, 2024
Opening reception: Friday, February 2, 2024, 7-9pm
Gallery hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm. Closed Sundays.
Walk & Talk tours with curator: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 & Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 6pm. Register for a tour at BAC’s website.

Docent Trainings (open to adults, seniors, and high schoolers): Saturday February 3, 12-2pm & Tuesday, February 6, 6-8pm. Register for a training at BAC’s website.

Bethany Arts Community 
40 Somerstown Road 
Ossining, NY 10562 

Free admission to exhibition during gallery hours
Walk & Talk tours: $25 adult / $15 student & seniors. Register in advance at BAC’s website.
Individual admission fees to accompanying programs & events (see individual program or event for more information)

February 16 – February 25, 2024: “The Execution of Helen Ray Fowler.” An original play based on actual events. Written and Created by Misha T. Sinclair and Joyce Sharrock-Cole. Tickets on sale now.

Additional programming to be announced. See our website for updates.

For more information about the exhibition:

To watch a promo video for “The Execution of Helen Ray Fowler:”

For information on all accompanying events and programs:

For more information on Bethany Arts Community:


Contact us at:
Visit our website:

Bethany Arts Community, 40 Somerstown Rd., Ossining, NY 10562

About Bethany Arts Community Inc

Bethany is a space and environment where all forms of art can be learned and expressed. Nurturing the creative process, Bethany welcomes artists, from young to old, and all levels of skill, to explore and create art that the community can engage with. Bethany fosters sharing, connection, and collaboration, in an inclusive culture where people experience the power of art to improve lives and deepen their perceptions and perspectives of the world.

Founded in 2015 by David Lyons, Bethany Arts Community aspires to be a leading center for arts creation, instruction and appreciation. After a period of renovation, Bethany opened its doors in January 2018. We have a 44,000 sq ft facility set on 25 serene acres. Our offerings include children’s and adult instruction, a performance venue, multiple galleries, rehearsal spaces, affordable studio spaces, short-term artist residencies, a public sculpture garden and wooded meditation trail. Bethany will provide the community with a range of accessible arts programs and will attract global artists to our region.