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The Black Fly: Back to School

3 to 5 pm Sunday, September 8

GLENS FALLS, New York—Every day for his first five years of school, Chip Perone sobbed, clinging to his mother as she dragged him to the classroom.

“It got so, my mom had to walk me because I was crying my eyes out,” the Queensbury resident said. “It went on for years, until I was in, like, the fifth grade.”

Perone will share what changed everything at The Black Fly: Back to School, a storytelling event in which nine community members will share their experiences on the back-to-school theme. The Hyde collaborates with Art in the Public Eye to host the event at 3 pm Sunday, September 8, at the 161 Warren St. museum.

Perone is joined in the lineup by Tab Burton, an art administrator; Lesley Dobis, teller of tales, Adirondacks or otherwise; Pam Fisher, director of employer relations at Skidmore College; Doug Gruse, director of marketing at SUNY Adirondack; Donna E. Hayles, assistant professor of English at SUNY Adirondack; Katie MacDougall, student intervention specialist at Glens Falls Middle School, and Kristy Moore, principal of Glens Falls Middle School, coworkers who will tell a story together; and Michelle Waters, annual giving and donor relations coordinator at Glens Falls Hospital.

The Black Fly is APE’s regional take on NPR’s The Moth series. Each speaker will share a story themed — however loosely or literally — on Back to School.

“Like artwork, a story can bring us to new places, inspire us, and help us make connections,” said Jenny Hutchinson, The Hyde’s curator of Museum education and programming. “And I think all of us can relate to back to school and all the emotions and memories it brings forth.”

The Hyde also teamed with APE in June to present a Black Fly event centered on the theme Calling All Fakes. It was the first time APE held The Black Fly in more than three years.

“The program made an incredible return,” said Erin Coon, president of APE’s board of directors. “Our storytellers made us laugh, made us cry, got us thinking, and moved us.”

Perone is a retired tax assessor with a lifelong love of theater. “I’m an actor at heart,” he said.

He studied theater in college, then spent a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before changing course. “I can tell you exactly where it was, on the corner of 34th in Manhattan, when I had my epiphany,” he said. “I was dating my soon-to-be wife and decided I wanted a different direction in life. I wanted a roof over my head, a good family, a steady income. That took a while to happen, but it did. I have no regrets.”

And he has no fear of telling his story on stage. “I’m used to telling my stories,” he said. “I tell my friends, my kids, everyone — if they know me, they know my stories.”

Supporting storytelling — written or performed — is part of APE’s mission, Coon said. “We’re excited to present another nine community members who are willing to share pieces of themselves,” she said.

Admission to The Black Fly at The Hyde is free, but donations are appreciated. RSVP by contacting Kayla at 518-792-1761, ext. 310, or [email protected].

The program will be held on the Second Sunday of the month, during which The Hyde offers free admission all day, as well as Art Lab from 1 to 4 pm. The free gallery and art-making activity gives groups of all ages new ways to look at art and how it impacts our lives. This month, learn about nature, art, and how artists helped develop camouflage for the military during World War II, then create your own camouflage in the Art Studio.