Miriam Kashiwa

Miriam Kawisha

Photography by Howard Jennings

          Miriam “Mirnie” Davis Kashiwa came to Old Forge in 1950 as a young woman with her husband, Henry “Hank,” and their year-old son and infant daughter. Mirnie pursued her interests in art, education and community-building. Her greatest passion was watercolors. 

          She started an annual art show that grew from being displayed on chicken wire to redwood fencing (which was painted silver in their 25th year) to pegboard frames. As the show grew, it moved from Mirnie’s front yard to the town gazebo, to the fire hall and to the Masonic Hall. In 2002, the Annual Central Adirondacks Art Show celebrated its 50st year. 

          Meanwhile, Mirnie enlisted members of the community to form an arts guild to support the performing arts, as well as the visual arts. In 1974, the newly incorporated Arts Guild of Old Forge purchased the Butler Building, which has remained its home for thirty years. 

          Education was another of Mirnie’s passions. She went back to college and earned two master’s degrees, one in elementary education, one in art education. Soon she started Kinderwood Pre-school, having classes for three and four-year-olds in her own living room.

          Mirnie is not happy to rest on her laurels; she is now launching an ambitious project: an Adirondack Ecological Center in Old Forge. This complex will have an ecological facility, lodging for Elder and Youth hostel participants, staff, and visiting artists, and eventually, a theatre and concert auditorium and a conference center to facilitate communication among the disciplines. 

Miriam Kashiwa