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Arts Previews

  • “Herbarium 1: New England Spring,” a print by Madge Evers, is one of the new artworks from the 2019 Northampton Biennial, on exhibit through October at Forbes Library.   Submitted photo


Thursday, October 10, 2019
Jones Library to honor Julius Lester

The Jones Library will host a staged reading of Julius Lester’s epic “Day of Tears,” his historical novel for young readers, based on the largest slave auction in U.S. history, which took place over two days in March, 1859 in Savannah, Georgia.

For Lester, the late children’s writer, University of Massachusetts Amherst professor and Amherst resident, many consider “Day of Tears” to be the crowning achievement of his long literary career.

The reading of “Day of Tears,” on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2:30 p.m., has been adapted by Laurie Maria Cabral and will include an introduction by Lester’s daughter, Lian Amaris. Selections from the Julius Lester Papers, from the library’s Special Collections, will be on display, and a reception will follow the reading. The event is free.

Opening celebrations for Northampton Biennial

The third Northampton Biennial, a mix of visual art and poetry that’s produced by the Northampton Arts Council, will celebrate its visual art contributions with a reception on Friday, Oct. 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will host a poetry reading on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.

For the Biennial, exhibited in Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library, artists and writers in western Massachusetts submit work to the Arts Council for consideration. This year the council asked contributors to work with the theme “from seed to fruition” in a literal form, or as a work/body of work that has been fully developed and most closely represents the artist’s personal artistic vision.

Judges for the 2019 Biennial, which runs through Oct. 30, have chosen visual art from several mediums, including painting, printmaking, book arts, photography, video and sculpture.

Jurors for the poetry contributors are Nellie Prior, co-organizer of Departure Reading series; Karen Skolfield, current poet laureate of Northampton; and Catherine Weiss, organizer of Northampton Poetry.

Smith College funds arts in Northampton

The Northampton Community Arts Trust has received a $50,000 gift from Smith College to support the continued renovation of 33 Hawley Street. The donation comes on the heels of a $100,000 gift the college made in 2016 for earlier phases of renovation.

“The Arts Trust is thrilled to receive this additional gift from Smith College,” Arts Trust President Kathy Couch said in statement. “Smith is an important part of our community and we are deeply grateful for the college’s continued support of this exciting project.”

Renovations to 33 Hawley are approximately 70% complete with two large work studios, a dance studio and a 2000-square-foot flexible performance space in regular use by the Northampton Center for the Arts, A.P.E. Ltd, and Northampton Open Media (formerly Northampton Community Television).  

Fundraising continues, as about $2.5 million is needed to complete the unfinished portions of 33 Hawley, including a black box theater and theater support spaces. Approximately $6 million has already been raised for the 23,000-square-foot arts center.

Laurie Fenlason, vice president for strategic initiatives at Smith, said the college is pleased to invest in city arts and “gratified to see that the 33 Hawley Street building is already providing arts spaces for the community at large.”

Climate change in the theater

A series of staged readings of short plays about climate change, featuring work from playwrights from around the world, will open Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Great Falls International Word Festival in Turners Falls.

“Climate Change Theatre Action Greenfield: Lighting the Way” will offer a subsequent series of staged readings in various locations in Greenfield through each coming weekend in October and on Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. The series is part of a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays that is presented every two years.

Sunday’s staged readings take place at 3 p.m. at the Shea Theatre in Turners Falls. And on Monday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m., also at the Shea Theatre, an open mic will include plays from Scotland and Croatia as well as poems and flash fiction from festival attendees.

For more information, contact Program Director Jan Maher at (206) 234-9146 or localaccess@aol.com.