Arts & Entertainment Briefs: Gateway City Arts reopening, other upcoming events in the Valley

  • Gateway City Arts on Race Street in Holyoke. Gazette file photo

For the Gazette
Published: 2/1/2022 2:11:20 PM

HOLYOKE — Following the temporary closing at the end of 2021 brought on by the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area, Gateway City Arts is reopening in February with a series of events including new art in the Small Works Gallery, and several new and returning events in the Divine Theater, one of which is a new vinyl swap and DJ meetup event.

First up at the 92 Race St. arts center is an exhibit that opens Wednesday, Feb. 2, and runs through March 4, called “What Lies Beneath,” a collaborative by artist Vitek J. Kruta, Gateway City Arts co-owner/director, and Jessica Gorman, an employee and artist.

The mixed-media exhibit features Gorman’s photographs accompanied by Kruta’s paintings, which are inspired by the photographs. Each work is accompanied by an original poem by each artist.

The exhibition in the Small Works Gallery will be on view starting Wednesday by appointment only until the venue fully reopens. It will also be on display during when events are held in the Divine Theater.

Divine Theater

Meantime, the Divine Theater will offer many events and performances in February, including “The Friday Experiment,” a monthly experimental music series free to the public. The event can be attended online or live and is an adaptation of a previous program called the Thursday Experiment. The first edition of “The Friday Experiment” is scheduled for Friday, Feb 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The StompBoxTrio is bringing some 21st century mojo to the Divine Theater with a live performance scheduled for Friday, Feb. 11. at 7 p.m. Pulling inspiration from the worlds of American blues, funk, and rock and roll, the members of the StompboxTrio intend to create a sonic and soulful experience, bound to keep your hips shaking.

Then on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., the Divine is introducing a new monthly series called “Vinyl Sessions: Open Decks,” an open mic-style showcase, meetup and vinyl swap all-in-one.

Hosts DJ Billy Holiday (Bill Alatalo) and Just Joan (Casey Williams) invite new and experienced DJ’s to bring their own records and headphones and take over the house decks by signing up for slots throughout the night. For the less experienced, Alatalo and Williams will offer lessons on the basics during the event.

Admission to the first installment of Vinyl Sessions is free to the public. The event is scheduled to occur monthly at Gateway, and future dates are to be determined.

One event originally scheduled for February, “Nerd Nite Returns!” has been postponed to March. This social event is designed to provide a space for passionate individuals to grab a beer, and present and discuss niche subject matter. Individuals under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Gateway City Arts is located in Holyoke’s Arts and Innovation District downtown.

PVPA to present
‘Stars — A New Musical’

SOUTH HADLEY — The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School’s latest presentation, “Stars — A New Musical,” will run this weekend, Feb 4-5, with performances beginning at 7 p.m. in the main stage theater at 15 Mulligan Drive. A snow date is set for Feb. 6, with performance beginning at 4 p.m.

“Stars” was written by PVPA student Arin Andrews. A musical adaptation of PVPA’s “Thirteenth Night” (and its source material, the famous “Twelfth Night”), “Stars” follows Orsino, Malvolio, and their therapist Klesliek as they search for true love, self-acceptance and the meaning of fate. “Stars” is performed as an ensemble show, incorporating many of the characters from the source material in a whirlwind “theatrical experience” filled with comedy, reflection, catchy musical numbers … and dance battles.

Tickets are $10 general admission; $7 military and seniors; $5 PVPA alumni, and $3 students. Due to limited capacity due to COVID restrictions, no tickets will be sold at the door. Ticket reservation at, call 413-552-1590, or — search for PVPA Stars Musical. This performance is part of a full and varied production calendar, available at

PVPA is a regional public charter school serving 400 students grades 7-12, from over 60 towns throughout Western Massachusetts.

Smith College Museum of Art names new associate director

NORTHAMPTON — The Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) has appointed Nina C. Pelaez as associate director of learning and interpretation.

Pelaez brings experience in public programming and interpretation, most recently through her work as curator of programs and interpretation at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), where she has served since 2015. She joins the SCMA staff on March 7.

As a member of SCMA’s senior leadership team, Pelaez will contribute to the development of educational, artistic and engagement goals for the museum, lead the team responsible for interdisciplinary teaching, learning and engagement, and oversee all aspects of academic engagement, public and student programming, K–12 activities and museum interpretation.

Don White will
join Feb. 5
Song & Story Swap

The Pioneer Valley Folklore Society’s Song & Story Swap for Saturday, Feb. 5, 7-9 p.m., will feature singer-songwriter Don White. Due to the ongoing pandemic precautions, this month’s event will be conducted online via Zoom. To register please visit Viewers may also watch the event via YouTube Livestream.

White is an award-winning singer/songwriter, a comedian, an author, and a storyteller.

Clark Art Institute to air ‘Follies’

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Clark Art Institute airs an encore presentation of “Follies,” a production of London’s National Theatre, on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 1 pm.

“Follies” is being shown to honor the memory of its composer, Stephen Sondheim, a graduate of Williams College, who maintained ties to Williamstown throughout his life. Widely recognized as one of Sondheim’s most acclaimed musicals, “Follies” is set in New York in 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre, an iconic building due to be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance on its stage, the former Follies dancers gather at the Weissmann to have a few drinks, sing a few songs, and lie about themselves. Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies girls in the dazzling production.

Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, this production was directed by Dominic Cooke and was filmed live on stage in 2017 at London’s National Theatre. Tickets are $18 ($16 for Clark members, $12 for children 10 and under). To purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 413 458 0524. All sales are final.

Seating capacity in the Clark’s auditorium has been reduced to accommodate greater social distancing. Tickets are limited to 100 guests and a sell-out capacity is expected. Proof of COVID vaccination for all visitors age twelve and older is required. All guests age five and older are required to wear facemasks at all times while inside the Clark’s facilities.

Gallery A3 marking 20th anniversary

AMHERST — Gallery A3 of Amherst, a cooperative contemporary gallery, celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exhibit called “Constellations” — clusters of verbal and visual constructs by artist and founding member, Sue Katz.

The anniversary and retrospective exhibit features art from the gallery’s earliest days to never-before-seen creations from late 2021. Showcased within the gallery are Katz mixed-media encaustic pieces, along with a collection she’s titled “signs”; a body of work encapsulating her experience with love, and signaling to the world’s injustices.

Although the gallery has reduced its in-person viewing hours, they are expanding their presence online offering an Instagram exhibit and an online gallery with virtual touring. The gallery is also hosting an online forum on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m., where Katz will discuss the diverse themes carried throughout her work.

“Constellations” is set to be open Feb. 4-27, with a preview night and reception scheduled for Feb. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. A3 Gallery is open for in-person viewing Friday-Sunday, 3-7 p.m.

UMass Opera to Present Strauss’ ‘Die Fledermaus’

AMHERST — The UMass Opera program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music and Dance will present Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m., in Bowker Auditorium. The performances will be sung in English; all attendees must agree to abide by the department’s protocols regarding COVID-19 (see below).

Perhaps the most beloved operetta ever written, “Die Fledermaus” (or The Bat) features practical jokes, masked identities, a test of true love, and other lively goings-on, all conveyed by the memorable and virtuosic music of Strauss and the witty libretto by Karl Hafner and Richard Genée.

The artistic team for this production features several UMass faculty members, including Marjorie Melnick (musical preparation), Tony Thornton (Chorus Master), and Morihiko Nakahara conducting the UMass Symphony Orchestra. Nathan Troup from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee will return to UMass as stage director.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for seniors; students and children 17 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413-545-2511, or online at

Important COVID-19 information: In accordance with current guidance from the university regarding events, all attendees must wear a face mask; those ages 5+ must also be prepared to present either (1) proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 (the original CDC vaccination record card, a copy of the card, or mobile photograph of the card) plus a matching photo ID bearing the same name; OR (2) proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test with collection date and time stamp within 72 hours of the event. For UMass faculty, students, and staff, valid UCard is sufficient to verify full vaccination.

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