Official statement from board president Carla Anderton

Yesterday, I broke my silence about the so-called “riot” at Homecoming in California and spoke to the good people at the Herald Standard. Hopefully, you’ve read the article that was printed in today’s edition, but for those who haven’t, I feel it’s important to go on the social media record, so to speak.

As many of you are aware, two fraternities rented the Jozart space to have an alcohol free party for California University of Pennsylvania students last Saturday night. We required the fraternities to hire security for the event in the form of two on-duty Sheriff’s deputies. The party was shut down around midnight due to overcrowding. Because of the large number of students involved, local police felt it was prudent to ask other departments for assistance. They made one arrest outside the Center. That’s it. Period.

However, several members of the media irresponsibly reported that the situation turned violent. This is blatantly untrue. Based on every account, one fight broke out at the bar across the street from Jozart and was quickly ended. There was no violence whatsoever inside the function being held in the Jozart space.

It’s our belief that local law enforcement acted in the manner they felt was appropriate and we aren’t contesting their wisdom by any stretch of the imagination. However, we feel it’s important to air our voice on this matter.

Furthermore, it’s been reported that 400 people were inside the party. Again, I must point out the inaccuracy in this allegation. Jozart can’t hold 400 people, even at full capacity, and we blocked off several areas of the Center and told the event organizers beforehand we could at best handle 200 occupants. I wish we could hold 400 people but we simply can’t.

Additionally, we would like to state that our experience with the two fraternities was overwhelmingly positive. As I mentioned to the reporter at the Herald Standard, they were extremely polite and extremely respectful to both myself and to other Center volunteers. They worked tirelessly ahead of the event to ensure no one would be able to damage the space. After the party was ended, they cleaned up after themselves and left the Center in an immaculate condition. You don’t have to take my word for it; I’m also posting pictures taken at Jozart less than six hours after the event ended.

When the fraternities first asked us if they could rent the space for their event, I personally was impressed by the fact that they specifically intended to throw an alcohol free event. I’ve lived in California since 1999 and can testify to the truth that students and alcohol aren’t a good mix. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer students to congregate in safe spaces as opposed to gathering in bars where alcohol is definitely a factor. That’s one of the reasons Jozart offers a weekly Open Mic Night every Wednesday from 8-11 p.m. that is and has always been an alcohol free event. We want to be a space where people can gather without worrying about the dangers associated with drinking.

Jozart Center for the Arts is, always has been, and will continue to be a responsible member of the community. We are an all-volunteer organization and we’re funded entirely by donations, proceeds from our own sponsored, free or low cost events and proceeds from event rentals. Our board members and volunteers donate their time and talent to help us survive and thrive. While we treasure our interactions with California University students and faculty, we aren’t affiliated with California University of Pennsylvania. We don’t receive any local, state or federal funding. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization whose stated mission is to preserve and promote the cultural arts.

While I’ve got you on the hook, let me tell you what we do at Jozart. In addition to the Open Mic Nights I mentioned, we also have art workshops, gallery exhibitions, concerts by local and touring musical acts, plays, readings by local authors, workshops for grade school and high school students and we offer guitar and mandolin lessons. Inside of our space, we have a large selection of books that anyone is welcome to take and read. A generation of children, including my own son, have grown up on our stage, learning self-confidence that’s taken them in amazing directions.

I could go on and on about all the great stuff that happens at Jozart but, again, don’t take my word for it, come visit us. Don’t let a situation that was overhyped by social media and inaccurately reported on by everyone but the Herald Standard keep you from experiencing all that we have to offer. On a final and related note, I would like to say the Herald Standard was the only news organization who reached out to us at Jozart and asked for our version of events.

I’m posting this to both my personal Facebook as well as the Jozart FB page and web site. Feel free to share and to contact me at carla@jozart.com with any questions or comments.IMG_20141012_092437 IMG_20141012_092425 IMG_20141012_092319 IMG_20141012_092218 IMG_20141012_091739 IMG_20141012_091702 IMG_20141012_091623 IMG_20141012_091610 IMG_20141012_091601 IMG_20141012_091554

The Autumn of Fear

Join us at Jozart CFTA for the first annual “Autumn of Fear” Reading, Signing and Q&A with Horror Authors

Date & Time: Oct. 5, 2013 from 6-9 p.m.

Featuring four horror authors/poets from the Southwestern Pennsylvania region reading from their works, followed by a Q&A with all authors who will have books available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served.

Featuring the following authors:

Stephanie Wytovich: Stephanie M. Wytovich is an Alum of Seton Hill University where she was a double major in English Literature and Art History. Wytovich is published in over 40 literary magazines and HYSTERIA is her first collection. She is currently attending graduate school to pursue her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, and is working on a novel. She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press and a book reviewer for S.T. Joshi, Jason V. Brock and William F. Nolan’s Nameless Magazine. She plans to continue in academia to get her doctorate in Gothic Literature.

Lee Allen Howard: Lee Allen Howard writes horror, psychological thrillers, and supernatural crime. He’s been a professional writer in the software industry since 1985. Besides editing fiction and non-fiction, Lee serves as a book publishing consultant. His fiction credits include Call of the Piss Fairy, Death Perception, The Sixth Seed, Mama Said, Desperate Spirits, Night Monsters, and Stray. Lee blogs about his writing at leeallenhoward.com. He also nitpicks editorial topics at wordsmithereens.net.

Sheldon Higdon: Sheldon Higdon has numerous publications in magazines and anthologies. He has written short stories, nonfiction articles, poetry, and is an award-winning screenwriter winning the Best Short Screenplay category at the 2009 Eerie Horror Film Festival. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife, three kids, and his insanity. To learn more or to contact Sheldon please visit his website at www.sheldonhigdon.com.

Carla E. Anderton: A voracious reader from an early age, Carla E. Anderton is fascinated by history and the human condition, and prefers to read/write fiction based on fact. A recognized expert on the infamous serial murderer Jack the Ripper, she made the elusive killer the focus of her debut novel, The Heart Absent, which was published by New Libri Press in April 2013. Anderton earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from California University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Anderton is an adjunct professor of English. She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Jozart Center for the Arts in California, Pennsylvania.

The Weedrags w/ Solomon Crow & The Bourbon Valley Boys

The Weedrags return to Jozart Center for the Arts on April 12 at 8 p.m. with special guests Solomon Crow & The Bourbon Valley Boys.

Check out The Weedrags online or on their Facebook page

Solomon Crow & the Bourbon Valley Boys

Check out Solomon Crow & the Bourbon Valley Boys on their Facebook page

Tickets are $10 at the door.

BYOB for over 21.

Come enjoy some old time and bluegrass music in a wonderful intimate setting.

To reserve your tickets, call Carla at 724-938-9730 or email carla@jozart.com. You may also RSVP online on the Facebook event page.