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Small Stones Festival Premieres Nov. 9-11 in Grafton

Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 10:00am

The public is invited to enjoy fine artwork and fine art photography accompanied by a music program at the opening reception of the Small Stones Festival of the Arts, Fri. Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. and during exhibit hours, Sat., Nov. 10, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 11, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Great Hall, One Grafton Common in Grafton. The free juried regional arts festival is a collaboration of three arts organizations – Apple Tree Arts, Worcester County Camera Club and Blackstone Valley Art Association.

The co-chairs of the Festival Ken Crater, of the Worcester County Camera Club and Donna Blanchard, executive director of Apple Tree Arts began working in March with an organizing committee to create a regional arts festival to help elevate the practice and appreciation of fine art and photography in Central Massachusetts and to provide artists with a venue to showcase their work.

The name of the Festival is significant for a few reasons. According to Co-Chair Ken Crater, the name of the original Native American settlement in Grafton, Hassanamesit refers to a place of small stones. Mr. Crater also explained that “Bob Hassinger, a member of the Worcester County Camera Club and organizing committee suggested Small Stones as a name for the Festival.” He added, “that today the phrase also has a literary meaning as a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.” The breathtaking beauty of the artwork exhibited embodies the literary meaning.

The Festival conducted a Call to Art, requesting artists and photographs to submit their artwork in two categories – Fine Art Painting & Drawing (acrylic, watercolor, drawing and other two-dimensional work) and Fine Art Photography (digital, film, cyanotype and infrared; post processing permitted). Almost 400 pieces of artwork were submitted by artists from towns in Central and Southeast Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

A panel of six independent jurors selected 144 submissions for the exhibit and will award cash prizes for first ($500), second ($250) and third ($100) place winners in fine art painting and drawing and fine art photography categories.  

There are several jurors for each category. Carol Arnold of the Putney Painters group; Juliet Feibel, executive director of ArtsWorcester; and Piya Samant, a contemporary artist and a curator for The Sprinkler Factory are jurors for the Fine Art category. Photography jurors include Nancy Burns, associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Worcester Art Museum; Scott Erb and Donna Dufault of Erb/Dufault Photography; and Robert Ring, cofounder of New England Photo Workshops.

The dynamic music program features Apple Tree Arts’ faculty and friends who are professional musicians and students of the nonprofit community school of the arts. Violinist Kathryn Haddad, flutist Amy Carroll and pianist Corbin Calloway Bolton will play chamber music at the Friday evening reception. On Saturday, Apple Tree Arts Woodwind Trio; the Kelly Clark Jazz Trio; vocalists Stephanie Sarkisian and Christina Pierro with the accompaniment of trombonist Russell Jewell; and Rhythmic Heart Kirtan will perform. Sunday performers include pianists Matt Torres and Laura Dufresne, Apple Tree Arts Performance Troupe, Sutton Ukulele Strummers and The Studio of Alaina Calloway Bolton.

At the free event, some of the artists and photographers work exhibited will be for sale. The Worcester County Camera Club and The Blackstone Valley Art Association will have displays showcasing their organizations and art related merchandise for sale, too.