Remembering Ralph Hall

Ralph Hall passed away last Thursday (July 30) in Duchess County, close to his children and grandchildren.  Ralph was my predecessor here at the Broome County Arts Council, and he made a difference during his 17-month tenure as interim executive director.  Among other things, Ralph created the Heart of the Arts Awards, which have evolved into a signature BCAC program and community celebration.  Ralph envisioned an award that would recognize individuals for their significant contributions to the arts in Broome County.  Since 2004, when Ralph launched the first celebration, BCAC has honored 45 LOCAL actors, artists, dancers, gallery and theater founders, musicians, arts administrators,  patrons, business leaders, educators, technicians and creative visionaries who love and support the arts in Greater Binghamton and Broome.  Heart of the Arts is Ralph’s legacy. Ralph and I worked together for two weeks during the transition from his time at BCAC to mine. We even had a couple of loud arguments. They were honest, cathartic and perfectly normal for people who work in the arts or know anyone who does.  The change-over went smoothly, and Ralph moved on to political work for former Mayor Matt Ryan; to KNOW Theatre as executive director; to BCC (now SUNY Broome), as adjunct instructor, and more. Gil & Ralph2I took this photo on First Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.  That’s Ralph on the right.  He came to our opening reception for an exhibition called “When Modern Art Came To Binghamton: A. Wendell Gallagher & His Friends.”  The show was curated by Ralph’s friend Gil Williams (that’s Gil on the left), who created a wonderful retrospective of paintings by Gallagher and other pioneering post-war artists of the Southern Tier.  Their work continues to influence talented new generations.  This community has always nurtured creative, and the current arts revival is building on that history.  This was Ralph’s last visit to BCAC, and I’m happy to report that he had a really good time.   Arts to you, Ralph, and thank you. To express personal condolences to Ralph’s daughter, Tara, and son, Mark,  e-mail