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Taking page from Arts Night Out, event showcases Florence as arts mecca

Even before the last swimsuit is put away, Florence is looking ahead to fall with three events, to welcome in the shedding of the leaves.

A Florence artist is hoping to bring the creative spirits of the Pacific Northwest and Western Massachusetts together this fall.

Donnabelle Casis is helping organize the inaugural Florence Night Out, set for Sept. 26.

The event will incorporate local artists, restaurants and musicians in an evening designed to celebrate the Florence community and all it has to offer, Casis said.

Casis said she noted the success of Northampton’s monthly Arts Night Out and thought “Why can’t we do that in Florence?”

She aims to springboard that concept into an event that is Florence’s alone. She said she wants to give people the idea of Florence as a “destination” and not an appendage of Northampton.

“It sounds like Florence needs something like this,” she said. “I’m surprised by types and amount of art that is produced in Florence. There’s a huge creative community in Florence proper and we’d like to highlight that.”

Casis, a painter who works mostly in oils, said she moved to the area with her family in 2004 from Seattle and hopes to foster the same type of tight-knit artistic community she found there.

She’s begun shopping the idea around to local businesses and restaurants as well as other artists, all of whom are excited about the prospect, she said.

During the event, from 5 to 8 p.m., artists including Casis, Donna Eastabrooks, Heather Kasunick, Phoebe Berkel and Sean Greene will open their studios in the building at 30 North Maple Street to greet visitors.

Video and sound art by duo Bell & Howl (Andrew Greto and Dana Gentes) will be projected in the building’s main hall and Florence-based bands Original Cowards and Shangri-Lips are scheduled to perform, among others. Casis said.

Photo exhibits, art displays at the Cup and Top Cafe and Cafe Evolution and dance lessons and special from other Florence businesses are all expected, Casis said.

The event is still looking for volunteers as well as sponsors to help offset some of the costs, said Casis.

For more information contact Casis at 413-320-2828.

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Fall barbecue planned

For those who prefer their brushes used on grilling chicken than blank canvases, the annual Florence chicken barbecue will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15 from noon to 3 p.m.

Tickets for the event are limited, according to the Florence Civic and Business Association, so its recommended getting them as soon as possible.

Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $5 for children and are available at Florence Barber Shop, Florence Hardware, American Hairlines and Florence Village Flower Shop.

•••

Annual antique show

Summer’s not quite over yet, but it’s not too early to start preparing for fall in Florence.

The annual Florence Antique Show and Flea Market will be held on Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the lawn of the Florence Civic Center building.

The event is free and food and refreshments will be available.

Information for prospective dealers is available by calling Roger or Peggy Clapp at 586-1242.

All other questions about the event should be directed to Mary Clark at 584-9595.

Send items for Around Florence to bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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