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Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro Re-appoints Bettina "Gold" Wilkerson as the Dutchess County Poet Laureate

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro announced today he has re-appointed Poughkeepsie resident Bettina "Gold" Wilkerson as the 2018 Dutchess County Poet Laureate. Poet Gold, as she is known, will continue to serve Dutchess County in her unpaid role as Dutchess County's Poet Laureate through 2018 and bring poetry to the community through a series of readings and events.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "Poet Gold's passion and energy for poetry is evident in all she does and she has shared that passion throughout the county as our Poet Laureate. We are thrilled that she has agreed to continue as Poet Laureate for 2018, as now more than ever, poetry provides an outlet for expression and sharing and enables us to communicate with one other in a unique and beautiful way."

Poet Gold said, "As I serve as Dutchess County Poet Laureate through 2018, my hope is to leave an imprint, an annual PoughEtry Festival to be held in Poughkeepsie, welcoming the expression of diverse voices in our community and elevating the art of poetry in the Hudson Valley for years to come."

Arts Mid-Hudson will promote a public call for nominations for the 2019 Dutchess County Poet Laureate during the fall of 2018. Arts Mid-Hudson managed the process of the public call for nominations, inviting a panel of literary professionals and community members to make a selection from 65 nominations in 2016 for her appointment in 2017.

Background on Poet Gold

 "When I was appointed 2017 Dutchess County Poet Laureate, it took my breath away," Poet Gold said. "The fact that poetry, let alone spoken word, is now recognized throughout the county and has become a permanent fixture in the artistic landscape in our area, is humbling and awesome. 2017 has been a year of tremendous poetic opportunities of facilitating workshops where participants use poetry to express their dreams and goals, process their fears, work through disappointment, exercise their voice for social justice, build community and perhaps, through words, discover a new joy," she observed. “My recent visit and participation in Dutchess County Jail writing group, led by Pam Wright, affirm my belief that poetry can serve to heal and sometimes rebuild what may have appeared to be lost."

Honors include Poet Gold being the recipient of:

  • the 2016 Dutchess County Executive's "Artivist Award”;
  • 2016 Dutchess County Athena Award Honoree by The Chamber Foundation, Inc.;
  • the 2016 recipient of the Exempt Firemen's Association Black Heritage Committee's "Outstanding Community Service Award" for Extraordinary Contribution and Dedication, and
  • the 2014 NYSCA Individual Artist Tier Grant Awardee for Dutchess County.

Poet Gold was the "Artist-in- Residence" for the "Leadership Overnight Camp" hosted by Rural Migrant Ministry, has served as host for the 2016 RMM Rural Women's Assembly, hosted the 2015 NYS Women's Rural Conference and spoken at renowned organizations such as Omega Institute 2014 "Women Serving Women Summit" and has inspired women with her words for the Women's Leadership Alliance International Women's Day.

She has opened for esteemed artists as Jermaine Paul (winner of the 2012 NBC hit series "The Voice"), MC Lyte and Lauryn Hill (Tribute to the Ladies of Hip Hop, Martha’s Vineyard). Her poetic work has been featured at Arts Westchester-SHE Exhibit (part of "HER"), Barnes & Noble (Poetry Month 2016), and Queens New Music Festival/Tenri Cultural Center. Presently, Poet Gold is the Host for "POELODIES" at the prominent venue - The Falcon, Marlboro, and "Newburgh's Open Mic" at The Wherehouse in Newburgh.

Her book, "When My Soul Speaks, I Scribe...poetry" is available on www.amazon.com. Further information about Ms. Wilkerson is available here.

READ: Poet Gold's work here!

“We appreciate County Executive Molinaro’s dedication to Dutchess County’s arts community, and his renaming of Poet Gold as our 2018 Poet Laureate is something we can all celebrate,” said Linda Marston-Reid, Executive Director for Arts Mid-Hudson. “The promotion of poetry throughout Dutchess County benefits residents of all ages and backgrounds, and we applaud County Executive Molinaro for his continued appreciation of the arts.”

The mission of Arts Mid-Hudson is to provide vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Fostering a diverse offering of arts and cultural programs, many free, attract a range of age groups, and are produced across a broad geographic area.




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