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  • "Take Out" and other still lifes by Larry Smith are on view at Gallery A3.

    "Take Out" and other still lifes by Larry Smith are on view at Gallery A3.

  • Ben Grosscup performs Jan. 5 at the Nacul Center in Amherst.

    Ben Grosscup performs Jan. 5 at the Nacul Center in Amherst.

  • "Take Out" and other still lifes by Larry Smith are on view at Gallery A3.
  • Ben Grosscup performs Jan. 5 at the Nacul Center in Amherst.

Still lifes

An exhibit of still life paintings by Larry Smith will be on view through Feb. 2 at Gallery A3, 28 Amity St., Amherst. An art discussion will take place Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

“I begin with a still life setup and attempt to transform this physical, three-dimensional subject into a flat painted imaged,” Smith writes in an artist’s statement. Although the still lifes consist of common objects — a stamped metal bookend or a 3M tape dispenser, for example — but, he writes, “I do not want the ensemble to fit easily into existing mental categories or narratives, such as ‘breakfast piece’ or ‘workshop tools.’ In the setups these objects are removed from their typical context; ambiguity and anomaly are for me positive qualities.”

For information, call 256-4250 or visit gallerya3.com. Hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m.

Song & Story Swap

Singer-songwriter Ben Grosscup will be the guest performer at the Jan. 5th Song & Story Swap, to be held at 7 p.m. at the Nacul Center, 592 Main St., Amherst. This month’s theme is ecology.

Grosscup performs songs of social critique. His original compositions address issues such as student debt, ecological breakdown and the erosion of personal freedoms. He performs songs of fellow artists that express a sensibility for serious social change and that nurture the longing for a free society.

For more information about Grosscup, visit www.soundclick.com/bengrosscup.

The Song & Story Swap is open to the public, free of charge with donations requested for the performers. People of all ages gather to share stories and songs that are traditional, newly written or about personal experiences. You can tell, sing, lead everyone in singing, or request a story or a song. Listeners are welcome.

For information, call Paul Kaplan at 687-5002 or Jeff Lee at 636-1687.

‘The Little Mermaid’

Pioneer Valley Ballet will hold auditions for its upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid” Jan. 5 at its studio, 116 Pleasant St., in Easthampton. Boys and girls ages 4 to 12 are invited to audition; dance experience is not necessary. All children who audition will be cast in a role.

“The Little Mermaid,” based on the fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen, features original choreography by the school’s artistic directors, Thomas Vacanti and Maryanne Kodzis, and is set to music by Camille Saint Saens. PVB first performed the ballet in 2008.

Show dates are April 6 and 7 at the Academy of Music in Northampton.

Reistration for ages 5 to 7 is at 10:30 a.m.; auditions are from 11 a.m. to noon.

Registration for ages 8 to 12 (no pointe) is at 12:30 p.m.; auditions are from 1 to 3 p.m.

A registration fee of $25 and a costume fee of $20 will be collected at the time of the audition.

For information, call 527-6363 or visit www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

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