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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, August 27, 2009
College-bound artist leaves images behind on the road to adulthood
By Melissa Hale-Spencer
GUILDERLAND When Corrina Goutos heads off to college next month, she will have left her mark here.
Goutos will be studying at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Her paintings of animals painstakingly created with love will remain behind. Long an animal lover, Goutos spent over 65 hours developing promotional materials for Guilderhaven, a not-for-profit group that helps local animals.
Her work helped fulfill the requirements to receive the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor.
“I wanted to do something for the community, animals, and art,” she said. “I could see they needed a younger perspective.”
She made posters that she put up at Guilderland High School, and made a presentation in her public speaking class there.
Sue Greene, Guilderhaven’s chairwoman, called Goutos “a remarkable young lady.” She had helped with Guilderhaven projects for several years, Green said, and then offered to use her artistic talents for posters and pamphlets.
“She’s open to everything we ask her to do,” said Green. When Goutos showed up at a July 25 fund-raiser with “a huge sandwich board” she had painted, Green was bowled over. “She was lugging this great big thing to the park it’s breathtaking,” said Green.
During her years at Guilderland High, Goutos was a leader of Last Chance for Animals, which successfully pushed for adding vegetarian burgers to the school menu and also protested using live animals for dissection in biology lab.
Goutos has made her mark in other ways, too. She is the featured artist of the month at The Moon & River Café in the Schenectady Stockade, at 115 South Ferry Street. Her exhibit consists of 10 paintings, acrylic on canvas, that treat advertising icons as religious icons.
“Religious icons have always fascinated me,” said Goutos. “I displayed advertising icons as if being worshipped by Americans.”
One painting shows Mary holding the Gerber baby instead of Jesus.
Another features a shrine to Uncle Ben. “Roman Catholics in Mexico make Day of the Dead shrines to remember family members,” explained Goutos. Some of the objects in Uncle Ben’s shrine include “slave memorabilia,” she said.
“I hope when people view them, they stop and think awhile,” she said.
The exhibit will close two days before she leaves for Georgia, on Sept. 8. Goutos is excited about the Savannah College of Art & Design. “They gave me a wonderful scholarship,” she said, “and they’re known for their job placement, which is really good for an art school.”
Goutos also received a scholarship through Guilderland High School, Greene said; the money was donated by Gary and Jean Keehfus in honor of their nephew, and was to be awarded who a student who worked for the betterment of animals.
After graduating in four years, Goutos expects she’ll find a job as part of a design team. “My ultimate dream,” she said, “is to open my own shop” where she would sell artwork and “vintage things.”
Her room, in her family’s Altamont home, is filled with things she’s collected at flea markets and estate sales or that people have given to her. “I really like the fifties and sixties,” said Goutos.
Goutos got to live a bit of the sixties when she was picked as an extra in Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee’s film, to be released this week, based on Elliot Tiber’s autobiography.
Goutos had answered a newspaper notice for a casting call, standing in a long line at The College of Saint Rose to get her picture taken and answer questions.
“Two months later, after I had forgotten all about it, they called me,” said Goutos.
She was one of what the directors called the “teen tribe,” made up of seven kids her age.
Although she brought vintage clothing with her for the shoot, they had a costume in mind “a brown-ribbed thin T-shirt and cuffed faded jeans with broken leather flip-flops,” said Goutos.
In one scene, she had to react to people sliding in the mud. In another, it was jumping in a pool. “You got paid to take off your pants,” she said.
In a third scene which she knows made the movie because it is in the trailer two of the main characters dance hysterically after eating brownies laced with pot. “I’m in a VW van, sleeping behind them, screaming and holding a candle.”
Goutos said she has long been intrigued with the Woodstock Festival, seen as emblematic of a generation and celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. “I love Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix,” she said. “If something like that was occurring now, I wouldn’t miss it.”
But Goutos is happy to be a part of her own generation. She has a large group of friends, some of whom she describes as revolutionary. Some of them are musicians, others artists. She and several of her friends were active last summer in organizing protests at school board meetings to fight the transfer of two popular high school teachers.
“Sometimes I wish people my age were a bit more inspired,” Goutos said.
She’s apprehensive about leaving behind everyone she knows. “A lot of my friends are staying in the area,” said Goutos. “I don’t even know what people do in Savannah on a Saturday night.”
This week, she’s making lists of what to bring, and starting to tear her room apart. Her parents will make the 15-hour car ride with her to Savannah.
“My friends are driving me back at the end of the year,” said Goutos.
When Goutos graduated from Guilderland, at a ceremony in Albany’s convention center in June, she wore a distinctive mortarboard. She painted ’09 on the chest of a doll, mimicking the Red Sea, fans who had cheered on Dutchmen teams. Rhinestones and money also bedecked the black square, along with the words, in a large gold font, “Stay Classy.”