Arts Briefs: John Sheldon on screen in Greenfield, celebrating Hispanic culture in Springfield, and more

  • A filmed version of John Sheldon’s one-man stage show, “THE RED GUITAR,” premiers in Greenfield Sept. 29. Gazette file photo

  • The inaugural Latino Arts Festival takes place at the Springfield Museums Sept. 30. Image courtesy Springfield Museums

  • Conway weaver Lisa Hill is part of the Working Weavers studio tour Oct. 14 and 15. Image courtesy Working Weavers

  • Megan Karlen will show her work in Florence as part of the Working Weavers studio tour Oct. 14 and 15. Image courtesy Working Weavers

  • Anita Anderson Cooper has been appointed interim conductor of the South Hadley Chorale. Image courtesy Sue Jubinville

  • Easthampton artist Sharona Color is one of five local artists who will show their work Oct. 6 at “IN BETWEEN, an exhibit in Eastworks. Image from Sharona Color website

Published: 9/28/2023 3:14:41 PM
Modified: 9/28/2023 3:13:54 PM
“THE RED GUITAR”on screen

GREENFIELD — Valley guitar ace John Sheldon, who made a big impression several years ago at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland with his one-man show “THE RED GUITAR,” will reprise that role Sept. 29 at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center — this time on film.

In the production, Sheldon recounts his long journey as a musician, with a special focus on how he first came to pick up the guitar, and he plays the riffs and chords of the guitarists who first inspired him — Mike Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix, Duane Eddy, Jeff Beck — while talking about his own development as a player, as well as growing up in the turbulent 1960s.

The play, sprinkled with the entertaining anecdotes Sheldon’s fans have heard at his shows over the years — such as how James Taylor, a family friend, taught him some of his first guitar licks in Cambridge in the 1960s — was a big hit at The Fringe Festival, playing sold-out shows over two weeks and earning critical notice.

The production was written by Sheldon, with direction and assistance by Sheryl Stoodley of Serious Play Theatre Ensemble, who traveled with Sheldon to Scotland. He’s also performed the show in a number of places in the Valley, including the Shea Theater in Turners Falls.

The premier of the filmed version of the show begins at Hawks & Reed at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by music and discussion with Sheldon.


A local salute toNational HispanicHeritage Month

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums are hosting their inaugural Latino Arts Festival on Sept. 30, beginning at 11 a.m., with events geared both for children and families and adults.

Running during National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15), the festival is a daylong celebration of the myriad arts and cultures of the Puerto Rican, Cuban, Afro-Cuban, Portuguese, Mexican, Dominican, and Central and South American populations of the greater Springfield area.

The “Family Day” activities, which run until 3 p.m., include performances by a mariachi band and Latino poet Jose Gonzalez; opportunities to make Latin American instruments or individually designed buttons; a paint-by-number community mural; appearances by the Cat in the Hat; and a Sesame Street Planetarium show in Spanish at 12:15 p.m.

A free, adults-only party from 5 to 8 p.m. features music from DJ Cowboy and the Choco Band, food trucks, and a cash bar. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at by clicking on the link for the Latino Arts Festival.

The festival coincides with the opening of “Latinos en SPRINGFIELD, Presente y Pasado” (Latinos in Springfield, Past and Present,) a photo exhibition at the Wood Museum of Springfield History on the local Latino community, from its early roots in the city in the 1940s to today.

Funded primarily by a $100,000 state earmark sponsored by State Rep. Carlos González, State Sen. Adam Gomez, and the Springfield Legislative delegation, the festival has been organized by the Mi Museo Committee. Additional support comes from a number of organizations, including the Association of Latinos at MassMutual and Allies.


The warp and the weft

FLORENCE — The Working Weavers organization will host its fifth Studio Trail tour Oct. 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, with eight weavers opening their studios in Florence, Conway and Shelburne Falls to the public for demonstrations and sales.

“We are weavers dedicated to bringing handwoven textiles into the future,” says Paula Veleta, one of two founding members of Working Weavers. “Our mission is to make cloth visible again,” in part by showing visitors how textiles are produced by local artisans.

Textiles are “something all of us use, but we take it for granted and don’t realize how it’s produced,” adds Veleta, of Florence.

The tour is designed to coincide with fall foliage season and give visitors opportunities to enjoy the scenery between the artists’ studios. Three studios are in Florence, two are in Shelburne Falls, and a third in a barn in Conway that dates to the 1840s. Two additional guest artists will show their work in two of the studios.

Table linens, towels, napkins, blankets, clothing and other items will be available for sale during the studio tour, and the weavers will also talk about and demonstrate how they do their work.

More information on the tour, including an opportunity to win selected handwoven items or a $100 gift certificate that can be redeemed with any of this year’s Working Weavers, can be found at


New director, new season for South Hadley Chorale

SOUTH HADLEY — Anita Anderson Cooper, who studied music at Westminster College, Boston University, and Delta State University, has been appointed interim conductor of the South Hadley Choral for the 2023-2024 season.

Cooper, who currently teaches music at Paul Baird Middle School in Ludlow, has an extensive background as professional musician, composer, conductor and teacher.

She’ll lead the chorale, now in its 39th season and comprised of 50 singers from 17 communities, during a season devoted to the John Rutter edition of Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem,” plus Paul Basler’s “Missa Kenya,” and smaller pieces to be announced.

The chorale will also give a performance Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley as part the Oct. 6 through 8 townwide festival “Showcase South Hadley.”


Creativity in the raw in Eastworks

EASTHAMPTON — IN BETWEEN is a multi-media exhibition and art market featuring the work of five regional artists, a show designed to celebrate the moments when they “embrace the unfinished” — a collection of work that “catches the artists in the midst of uncharted stages in their process.”

An opening reception takes place Oct. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Color Collaborative in Eastworks, Studio #228. Light refreshments will be served, and original artwork and prints by the artists will be available for purchase in a coinciding art market, with prices starting at $10.

The exhibit showcases work by Sharona Color, Hani Rosenbaum, Maddie McDougall, Amelia Moore and Mi Belitsky.

Color, who runs the The Color Collaborative, a shared studio space and art classroom, is an abstract painter and muralist and an art teacher, and Rosenbaum is a self-taught visual artist and musician whose work includes abstract acrylic paintings and more.

McDougall’s work includes painting, video, and sculptural installations, while Moore, an art therapist, is an illustrator who “draws inspiration from everyday things — Kim Kardashian’s latest Instagram post, grumpy old men, Ketchup bottles left out after dinner.” 

Belitsky, also an art therapist, is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist specializing in painting, mixed media, printing, fiber art, mosaic, and community street paintings and outdoor murals.

— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer


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