Lake Effect Jazz Big Band Wraps Season at the Box Factory

Lake Effect Jazz Big Band Wraps Season at the Box Factory

The Lake Effect Jazz Big Band wraps up its 2022 summer concert season at 7 p.m. on September 24 at the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad Street. Online tickets with reserved cabaret seating at $15 and general admission of $12 are available at Ticketstripe.com/Lakeeffectjazz. Tickets at the door for each performance will be $15. A cash bar and light snacks will be available.

Now in its 22nd year, the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band continues to be one of the premier big bands in the Midwest. Specializing in new arrangements of classic standards, new compositions for contemporary big bands and golden oldies, the band will be performing music from the libraries of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basic and others.

The band is led by Steven L. Reed, retired instrumental music teacher for the St. Joseph Public Schools. Several members of the band are current or retired music educators and jazz education is a priority for Lake Effect Jazz.

Joining the band for the Box Factory concert will be solo vocalists Becky Selvidge and Andrew Fisher. Each will be featured individually as well as together in popular jazz standards ranging from Broadway show tunes to the “American Songbook.”

Rebecca (Becky) Derbas-Selvidge holds a Bachelor of Music in Choral Education Western Michigan University and a Certificate of Musical Theatre Performance from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. After many years of teaching music for the Coloma Public Schools, she is the new instructor of voice at Lake Michigan College.

Andrew B. Fisher has been a musician and singer for many years in Southwestern Michigan. He studied vocal performance at Andrews University. His Andrew Fisher Quartet has achieved an incredible level of success in the Michiana area and in 2022 he introduced Sunday Simmer Sessions at the Box Factory. Andrew also is the vocal instructor at the Citadel Dance and Music center in downtown Benton Harbor.

For more information about the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band, please visit the band online at http://www.lakeeffectjazz.org.

Series 5 of the 2022 Gallery Exhibition Opens September 16

Series 5 of the 2022 Gallery Exhibition Opens September 16

The Series 5 exhibits open September 16 at the Box Factory for the Arts with artists’ work in all four galleries. The five exhibits of distinctly different genres share a common theme of storytelling. An opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. is open to the public with light refreshments and a cash bar. Exhibits will continue through October 30, 2022.

The exhibits include painting narratives by Lea Goldman of South Bend in the Williams Gallery; collage art by Box Factory studio artist Fred Holland in the Whitlow Gallery; small assemblages and a retrospective of her watercolors by Box Factory studio artist Elaine Harju in the Sky Level Gallery; and the paintings of John Moga of Berrien Springs and 3-D mosaics of Chris Stiller of LaPorte, IN in the Riverwalk Gallery.

WILLIAMS GALLERY

Lea Goldman is a full-time painter and printmaker who incorporates multi-cultural traditions, legends and folklore into her images. Born in Romania and raised in Russia and the Middle East, she immigrated to the United States in 1975. She lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago before moving to South Bend.

“My paintings, that look like big story book pages, aim to tap the collective unconscious and speak the language of human struggle without the traditional chronicle,” she says in her artist statement. “In my painted narrative I do not strive to achieve correct academic representation. Instead, I use the images to tell my stories authentically, the best I can.”

Lea, now in her 80s, earned an MA in Arts and Education from Columbia University Teacher’s College in New York City and an MFA in Studio Arts from California State University, Los Angeles.

WHITLOW GALLERY

Fred Holland says he has “worn a number of stylish hats” over his more than 40 plus years of working in different mediums. His current work reflects his interest in collage art which was created between 2019 and August, 2022, in his Box Factory studio.

“It’s been a very productive period of time for me as I have been fully engaged in these investigations, Fred says in his artist statement. “If someone were to ask me what the purpose of this new work is, I would say it’s about getting back to a too often overlooked but essential component of Art, entertainment”

SKY LEVEL GALLERY

Elaine Harju considers her assemblage work a combination of pure imagination and a love of small pieces of junk. She says, “My work begins with a saying, song or quote and ends with a product reflecting that pursuit.” It was a new way of creating during the shutdown of the pandemic

Before the pandemic, Elaine considered herself a watercolor artist and her exhibit will include some of that work. She is a self-taught artist who has learned her craft through books and workshops and is now returning to her first love of painting.

Originally from Chicago, she has lived in St. Joseph since 2000 and has been a studio artist since she discovered the Box Factory.

RIVERWALK GALLERY

John Moga is a practicing artist and curator at the History Center at Courthouse Square. His work is about interesting shapes and colors. In his artist statement, he says “the imagery consists of the lyric elements of time and the illusory sense of space through clouded form and color. The application of color and form is automatic.”

John holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and and an MFA from the University of Windsor. He and his wife, Yehudit Newman, share an interest in theater where he often works as a scenic artist for professional and community theaters, as well as film.

Chris Stiller studied art and art history at Valparaiso University. She is a mixed media artist who uses organic materials such as glass, metal, wood and found objects to incorporate into composed art pieces.

Winners Announced for the “thru the lens” Exhibit

Winners Announced for the “thru the lens” Exhibit

The Box Factory for the Arts Gallery Committee has announced the winners of the “thru the lens” photography exhibit which opened on Saturday, July 23 and runs through September 10. The photography exhibit in the Riverwalk Gallery joins a sculpture exhibit by Foster Willey in the Williams Gallery; and puzzle exhibits in the Whitlow and Sky View galleries. Judging the photography exhibit was Tom Tackett of Stevensville.

The grand prize goes to “Untitled” by Ethan Jones. Others receiving awards in the four categories include:

Animals:
1st place – “It isn’t Easy Being Green” by Sherry Saenz               
2nd place – “Ruby Throated Rescue: Water Street, Benton Harbor” by John Gatto

Still Life:
1st place – “Lilly Pads and Koi” by Dee Thornton               
2nd place – “Town City Center” by Dennis Hafer

People :
1st place – “South Pier, South Haven, Michigan” by Martin Burch               
2nd place – “I Spy …” by Sarah Lund

Landscape:
1st place – “Sintra House” by James Genellie                     
2nd place – “Summer Nights” by Keith Sawyer

Thank you to all of the artists who are exhibiting in the “thru the lens” exhibit. The exhibition is part of the Series 4 show at the Box Factory for the Arts. Learn more at https://boxfactoryforthearts.org.

Announced Partnership Brings Theatre to the Box

Announced Partnership Brings Theatre to the Box

A partnership between Twin City Players and the Berrien Artist Guild brings two productions to the Box Factory for the Arts stage on the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August. Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. 

Then at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 through Saturday, August 6, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 7, Women and War by Jack Hilton Cunningham will bring a “moving and poignant scrapbook of the American war experience” to the Box Factory stage. Financial support for the productions was provided by a Berrien Community Foundation “For Good” grant.

Online tickets with reserved cabaret seating at $15 and general admission of $12 are available at TicketStripe. Go to  
https://ticketstripe.com/scotlandroad for Scotland Road tickets and https://ticketstripe.com/womenandwar for Women and War.

Scotland Road
Presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Scotland Road, finds a young woman in the last decade of the 20th century floating on an iceberg in the middle of the North Atlantic. When rescued she says only one word: Titanic. During the course of the play, an expert on the sinking of the liner tries to get the woman named Winifred to confess she is a fake and reveal her true identity.

 “A subtle play of ideas masquerading wonderfully as an edge of your seat mystery, Hatcher’s insights are perceptive, satisfying and a bit unsettling.” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Women and War
Women and War,
 presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc., is a collection of fictional stories based on historical fact told by generations of Americans impacted by conflicts from The Great War to the War in Afghanistan. These are tales of sacrifice, love, determination and hope told by those who bravely persevered on the home front and on the battlefield.

 “Awe inspiring. Playwright Cunningham is a magician delivering the internal voices of multiple generations of women who served as wives, nurses, sweethearts and officers spanning from WWI to Afghanistan.” – United Stages

The Return of the Box Factory Annual Poster

The Return of the Box Factory Annual Poster

The Berrien Artist Guild has announced the return of the annual poster which was collected over a period of several years by friends of the Box Factory for the Arts. The last poster of the lighthouse by the late Foster Willey, Sr. was issued in 2005. 

The 2022 poster which features a photograph of a Water Lily pays tribute to the women who in 1962 founded the Berrien Artist Guild. It also celebrates the “reblooming” of the Box Factory after the pandemic. The co-chairs of the poster committee, Julie Brockman and June Starke, selected the water lily image because the flower symbolizes feminine power and rebirth. Betsy Gill incorporated the design details and typeface used in the past posters into the 2022 one.

Jennifer Tomshack whose photograph “Illumined” was selected for the poster said she was “flabbergasted with honor” that her image was picked. 

“I submitted the photo, taken last summer in the Paw Paw River, for consideration because I felt it represented the renaissance happening at the Box. Witnessing the incredible creative spirit at work there through difficult years reaffirms my belief in the saving grace of art and beauty.”

The limited-edition posters are $25 and are available in the Box Factory’s gift shop. They will also be available at the Krasl Art Market on July 16 and August 20. 

Series Four Gallery Exhibits Open July 22

Series Four Gallery Exhibits Open July 22

Sculpture, photography, and puzzles (yes, puzzles) will be featured in all four Box Factory for the Arts galleries beginning July 22. An opening reception on Saturday, July 23rd, will have a cash bar with special cocktails and light snacks by Kate and Joe Ulrey as well as live music by Hickory Creek Revival, musician members of the Willey family. The reception which is free and open to the public will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Exhibits close on September 10.

Foster Willey

IN THE WILLIAMS GALLERY
On exhibit in the Williams Gallery is the artwork of Detroit sculptor Foster. Willey. The exhibit represents an overview of the past twenty years of Public Art and Commission work including documentation, models and drawings. Also on display are a series of small sculptures reflecting the artist’s interest in the figurative, architectural ornament, and the early modernists.

“Utilizing negative space to create forms that express both mass and transparency have been the focus of many of my sculptural investigations,” said Willey in his artist statement. “These formal concerns inform the symbolic content of my work, which often involves the search for something archetypal, innate, and universal. As a sculptor I am very interested in the built environment. Public Art and large-scale sculptures are exciting fields because of their range of expression and impact on our surroundings and the experience of daily life.”
Foster has participated in numerous design settings including large-scale projects throughout the State of Minnesota where he worked for more many years. Since moving to Detroit with his wife Valerie, he has completed commissions for the City of Oak Park, MI and Pincanna in East Lansing MI.

Originally from St. Joseph, Foster is the son of Barbara Willey and the late Foster Willey. He received a B.F.A. from Grand Valley State University and expanded his education at Andrews University where his mentor was British sculptor Allan Collins.  He also attended the Naguib School of Sculpture in Chicago where he worked with Egyptian sculptor Mustafa Naguib.

IN THE WHITLOW GALLERY
The jigsaw puzzlers at the Whitcomb Senior Living Community Center have prepared a one-man show of about 45 framed puzzles based on the artwork of Detroit folk art painter Charles Wysocki. “American Folk Art painting is in a class of its own and in these unusual works of art, Wysocki has given the common man visions of a new country bursting with immigrant energy to build a new nation,” said Lou Deshantz, who coordinated the Whitcomb puzzle exhibit.

Lou will speak at the opening reception about the Whitcomb puzzle group and their quest to update the Whitcomb’s aging collection of jigsaw puzzles by purchasing puzzles of several renown American Folk Art painters. He also will announce how those who love puzzles will have the opportunity to obtain one of the framed puzzles on exhibit at no cost at the close of the exhibit.

IN THE RIVERWALK GALLERY
“thru the lens,” an exhibit by photographers of all ages will be in the Riverwalk Gallery. Photographers entered their work in the categories of people, still life, animals or landscape. The exhibit will be judged by local photographer Tom Tackett.

SKY LEVEL GALLERY
“This is Puzzling,” an exhibit by Berrien Artist Guild members, will be in the Sky Level Gallery. This fun exhibit using puzzles as the theme for individual and/or collaborative work was inspired by the puzzlers’ group from the Whitcomb Senior Center. A prize will be awarded to the best use of media done as a collaboration.

For more on Foster Willey, visit his website at www.fosterwilley.com
For more on this and other Box Factory events, visit the Box online at https://boxfactoryforthearts.org or on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/boxfactoryforthearts