Tupper Arts has rhythm

Celebrates nonprofit status, 1st birthday

A crew of 20 Tupper Lakers, led by Johnna Macdougall of Soma Beats, pound out a rhythm for Tupper Arts’ first birthday celebration. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — Tupper Arts grew up on Wednesday.

The arts organization celebrated its first birthday with a concert at the bandshell Wednesday, and on Aug. 12 it received its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.

With this new IRS designation, the organization left the wing of Jim LaValley’s ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), through which Tupper Arts had been raising money since it started a year ago.

Local rock band Night School filled the stage with pounding rhythms, flying synthesizer sounds and the strange rattle of the vibraslap.

Johnna Macdougall, who leads Soma Beats and teaches yoga at the arts center, brought out armfuls of drums and gathered a collection of around 20 people to play them. Business owners, elementary school principals and mayors sat in a line and, led by Macdougall, quickly found their way into the rhythm of a birthday song for Tupper Arts.

From left, Ian Roantree (drums), Jay Martin (guitar), Micah Tyo (bass), Andrew McClelland (vibraslap) and Ben McClelland (keyboard) of the band Night School play at the bandshell for Tupper Arts’ first birthday celebration Wednesday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Tupper Arts put its application for the nonprofit status late around the start of the year, proving that it is a true organization with a board of directors and bylaws, but the application was delayed.

“It’s been a long process, and part of that is because of the government shutdown that happened at the beginning of the year,” Tupper Arts board member Susan Delehanty said. “That happened right around the time that we filed.

“Actually, our accountant Ray Martin was very influential in getting the 501(c)(3),” she explained. “He made a phone call, and a week after, we were notified that we had our 501(c)(3).”

With the nonprofit designation, all the goods and services the organization purchases are tax-exempt, and people who donate to the organization can get tax deductions.

Delehanty said the status also lets Tupper Arts apply for grants that only nonprofit organizations can apply for. Now the group can start focusing more on marketing.