Poetry, Music, and Art at the Falmouth Art Center

Artist’s Choice—Poet’s Choice at the Falmouth Art Center

The Falmouth Artists Guild and the Calliope Poetry Series have collaborated to create a new exhibit, “Artists Choice—Poet’s Choice,” at the Falmouth Art Center through August 19.

The exhibit is a prelude to Calliope Summer Readings, which takes place at the art center on Sunday, August 19, from 3 to 5 PM. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham will read from her most recent collection of poetry, “P L  A C E.” Opening for her is poet/artist/novelist Lauren Wolk, associate director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. The Chappoquoit Cello Quartet will provide music, and refreshments will be served.

The event is funded in part by a grant from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. The Featherstone Center for the Arts on Martha’s Vineyard helped arrange Graham’s participation

Suggested donation for the August 19th event is $20.  Proceeds will help fund the poets’ stipend for the three featured poets who read at Calliope’s eight monthly readings, from September to May, and each instructor who will teach its second series of winter Craft Workshops.  “Calliope has a tradition of offering a modest stipend to each featured poet and teacher to honor their time and craft,” said Kociemba.

The art and poetry exhibit, “Artist’s Choice—Poet’s Choice,” has been coordinated by Suzy Bergman, executive director of the guild and Alice Kociemba, director of Calliope and celebrates the connection between the two organizations and the visual, literary, and musical arts, and to serve as the perfect surroundings for Calliope Summer Readings.

The show features “fresh pieces that have been created in the last year by the artist or the poet,” said Bergman.

The poetry is by poets from Eastham to Falmouth, Kociemba said. She e-mailed 20 poets and asked for short works, 20 lines or less. Guild member Kathleen Casey formatted the poetry so that, Kociemba said, “you can very quickly take in the poem.” Betty Jameson, also a guild member and both a pastelist and a poet, was very helpful in getting the exhibit together, said Kociemba.

Unlike most exhibits at the art center, this exhibit does not have a proscribed theme, said Bergman.  “This gives the artists real control over choosing their freshest and favorite works, rather than having to create something to fit a theme.”

Bergman considered trying to finding connections between the poetry and the art and hang the pairs near each other, but “that would take the choice away from the visitor,” she said. “I am hoping that visitors will find a painting and a poem that could go together. It should be a fun exhibit.”

“Artist’s Choice—Poet’s Choice” presents landscapes and seascapes, still lifes, abstract and classical styles, paintings, photographs, and three-dimensional work. Visitors will find old barns, weathered buildings by the sea, country roads, covered bridges, lighthouses, row boats and sailboats at rest on the water, familiar local scenes, travels to distant places, and a fanciful look at a house full of mermaids.

Betty Jameson’s pastel, “Little Sippewissett Marsh,” is a serene depiction of a pair of white herons in a vast marsh, the grasses many hues of greens, blues, and yellows, the ocean off in the distance.

Jameson’s poem, “In Air So Still,” also recalls a quiet moment: “The bells chime—hang there/in air so still/the bee crawls out of his lily/to feel the silence.” Even the clouds are part of the stillness: “The scudding clouds pause, curl, pause again.”

Noreen Greetham provides a sunlit view of “Truro Light House” in acrylic, fluffy white clouds in the blue sky.

Martha Payne’s watercolor, “The Flower Seller,” provides a delightful burst of colors in a bucolic setting.

In Amy Rice’s “Seaworthy,” the same shades of blue and white form the sky and water, a white sailboat in the foreground. The strong colors and rectangular brushstrokes give the piece a dramatic look.

More subdued is Kate Aubrey’s watercolor “Waquoit Boathouse,” a vision in serenity.

“A Pearl of Great Price,” an acrylic by James Musto is a close-up look at a multi-hued oyster, a pearl glistening in the center.

Lise Delaplace’s “Skimming the Wave” in ceramic patina/sculpture is a graceful bird, flying low over the water; pieces of driftwood supplement the sculpture.

Sue Beardsly’s sculpture, “Here’s Looking at You,” is a somewhat abstract glass sculpture of birds flying over the waves, but quite different in mood. Framed in a freestanding wood stand, the piece features a circular mirror amid the cattails.

Two artists pay tribute to Rembrandt, both in oils. Muriel Donovan’s “After Rembrandt’s Girl Leaning on a Window Sill” is a lovely copy of that painting, capturing well the girl’s position and expression. Robert R. Ryder’s “Rembrandt, An Artist Hero” is a tromp l’oeil style painting of a bookcase full of an artist’s things.

There are poems about nature and special places, the coming of spring, the coldness of winter, the joys and sorrows of relationships, and about the act of writing itself.

Kociemba’s poem, “Why We Write,” honors Adelaide Cummings, Falmouth’s first poet laureate:

“because the songbirds have gone,

because the only sound at dawn—an intermittent hiss of rain,

because the surf thumped and shushed the empty shore,

because an insipid blue sky suddenly turns blood orange,

because such beauty evokes such loneliness,

that could also be yours.”

“Woven Basket,” by Robin Smith-Johnson, contemplates what to do with a large basket, “a place to put anything, to put anything, to refill when empty, to empty when full.”

“Stasis” by Roger Kessel reflects on “all I never said still unsaid,” using images of a flower and a stone.

“Friday Nights on the Southern Artery” by J. Lorraine Brown recalls the ambiance of “Eddie’s Diner, shiny and slick as a silver bullet.”

“Bull Frogs at Dusk,” by Sheila Whitehouse, speaks of bullfrogs: “It begins–blind tone-deaf musicians strum the slack strings of a shattered cello, swelling, persistent, hidden on their lily pads,” but also of the universal “search for a safe patch and someone to love.”

And Susan Berlin asks, in “Recidivists,” “How many times in our blunder-bent lives do we cross out precisely what we meant to underline?”

There is much more to see and experience at the exhibit and the Calliope Summer Readings performance.

The Falmouth Art Center is at 137 Gifford Street in Falmouth. For more information, visit www.falmouthart.org or call 508-540-3304. For more information on Calliope, visit www.calliopepoetryseries.com, e-mail calliopepoetry readings@verizon.net or call 508-566-1090.

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