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    Thankful for Barry Kornhauser: The Barry I Know

    After participating in a variety of art week events, I had the pleasure of attending The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and watching the six recipients receive awards. While impressed by the vast array of accomplishments by each of the state award winners, I’d only met one of these honored recipients in person: Barry Kornhauser.


    Recently, I’d read several news releases about him being named Pennsylvania Artist of the Year.


    “Barry Kornhauser, Lancaster – Artist of the Year Award: Nationally-recognized playwright, director and educator, whose works have been performed nationally and internationally and commissioned and produced by renowned theatre festivals and Tony Award-winning theaters.” – PA Council on the Arts


    This official Pennsylvania Council on the Arts information about Barry Kornhauser and the praise given to him during the awards ceremony highlighted his accomplishments, but it didn’t depict the Barry I know.


    Admittedly, I don’t really know Barry. I’ve only recently been introduced to him and exchanged a few pleasantries. Having crossed paths with him three times last month, he made such a good impression that I was inspired to share the Barry I know.


    The Barry I know plans and participates in local art events. I was first introduced to Barry Kornhauser by artist Loryn Spangler-Jones. In preparation for arts week, I attended one of Loryn’s free mask-making events and Barry was there, paintbrush in hand creating his cardboard mask. The introduction was brief — but I recognized his name as THE artist of the year. I remember congratulating him and then saying “nice eyes.” His mask did have unique eyes, and we had a brief conversation about their creative evolution.

    The Barry I know encourages young Lancaster artists. As I was working on my mask in the midst of children, teens, and families, I’d occasionally catch glimpses of Barry sharing his love of the creative process with others. At the time, I remember thinking: “This Barry guy is impressive.” Being Artist of the Year is an impressive title, and I had yet to read about all his accolades. But the Barry I had just met was taking the time to participate in a local art event and to share his creation with the next generation, helping them develop their creative talents and love of the arts.


    The Barry I know joins in the playful amusement of celebrating art in his community. During the Arts Parade, Barry was riding a bike, proudly wearing his aforementioned mask-creation and stopping to chat with people all along the parade route.


    The Barry I know supports local art projects and finds ways to expand art in the city. The day before the Governor’s Awards for the Arts Ceremony, Barry stopped by Prince Street Park to see the progress of the Friendship Heart Gallery chalk mural project. During this brief visit, Barry established a plan for a sidewalk chalk welcome in front of the Pressroom Restaurant for Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf.


    The Barry I know, that I’ve seen in action, greets everyone with a smile and shares his passion of art locally.


    Very proud that Barry won the Artist of the Year Award. Very Proud that his talent is recognized nationally and internationally. But as a Lancastrian, I’m especially proud of and thankful for Barry’s dedication to local arts programs. Thankful that Barry has made Lancaster County his artistic home for more than 35 years.


    As Shakespeare noted: “All the world’s a stage . . .  and one man in his time plays many parts.” Thankful for all the parts Barry Kornhauser has played and continues to play, enriching Lancaster through the arts.