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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The artwork of more than 130 regional artists has been accepted in the Michiana Annual Arts Competition (MAAC in the Box) and will be on exhibit in the Box Factory for the Arts galleries, 1101 Broad St., beginning on May 13 and continuing through July 3rd. The galleries are open Wednesdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m.
Awards will be presented to artists during a reception on May 13 from 5:30-7 p.m. Music will be provided by Matt Lenny and the Breakdown band. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. The event is free and open to the public.
Thea Grigsby, who served as the MAAC judge, will offer comments about this year’s exhibit. She has managed museums and galleries, including the South Haven Center for the Arts, the Holland Museum and the Hearst Art Gallery in California. Prior to her non-profit work, she had a 20-year career in graphic design developing creative graphic software in Silicon Valley
The Best of Show award of $1,000 is sponsored by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council. It goes to Miranda Heward of Bridgman for her drawing “Life is Strange.”
Providing the $200 category awards are: Foster Swift Collins and Smith, Krasl Art Center, DeVries Insurance Agency, MailMax, Cooper and Associates, CPAS, Gast Family Farm, The Aware Lab for Movement and Creativity, and Bryan Lubeck.
The category winners are: Laurel Kuehl, Kalamazoo – Drawing – “Winter Blooms” David Baker, St. Joseph – Water Media – “Storm” Marcy Mitchell, Dowagiac – Oil – “Making Sense of Time” Yehudit Newman, Berrien Springs – Fiber Arts – “Hope and Fury” Andy Sawyer, St. Joseph – Black and White Photography – “Resiliency 1” Carly Norris – Niles – Color Photography – “Equilibrium of Decay – Triptych” Douglas LaFerle – St. Joseph – 3-D/Sculpture, Ceramics/Glass – “Earth, Wind, Rain, Fire” Kathleen Thometz – St. Joseph – Pop-Up-Assemblage/Collage – “Gray Room”
Honorable mention awards also go to: Mary Firtl, South Bend – Drawing – “Nature Entwined” Robert Briggs, St, Joseph, – Water Media – “The Befallen” Rebecca Hungerford, St. Joseph – Oil – “A Night Out” Laurel Izard, Michigan City – Fiber Arts – “5 of Wands” Nathan Harrmann, St. Joseph – Black and White Photography -“Braids” John Gatto, Stevensville – Color Photography – “Relics of Michigan Avenue, Benton Harbor” Becky Rotter, Sodus – 3-D/Sculpture, Ceramics, Glass – “Garden Passage” Teri Starosta, St. Joseph – Pop-Up/Assemblage/Collage – “Love and Lies”
A limited showing of a mural created by local artist Matt Payovich will be at the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St. from April 10 through April 24. The mural depicts a kindergarten room of the 1960s and includes visual reminders of the objects that would have been in the classroom. The Box Factory is open to the public on Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Fridays-Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
Commissioned by Bob and Joan Judd the approximately 8-foot x 8-foot mural has been painted on plywood panels. When the mural leaves the Box Factory, it will find a permanent home in a hallway at the Jefferson Loft Condominiums. The Judd’s home at Jefferson Lofts is actually in the space once occupied by the classroom. Once installed, it will no longer be available for view by the public.
“Lynn Andreen Bowen was the kindergarten teacher for several years during the 60’s,” said Joan. “When we moved into Jefferson Lofts, she gave us photos which have been very valuable resources for Matt. Lynn and Dennis Bowen shared many memories and a few objects that as a teacher Lynn would have used every day.”
In the creative process, Matt sought other historically accurate objects for reference as he painted them into the scene. Noah and Ellison, the son and daughter of Box Factory office coordinator Amy Kuchan, were the models for the two kindergarten students portrayed.
The Judd’s own daughters attended kindergarten at Jefferson as did so many other St. Joseph residents. Matt remembers playing basketball at the school and has a love of St. Joseph history so “he was the perfect fit” to paint the mural, said Joan.
For more on this and other Box Factory events, visit the website at boxfactoryforthearts.org or be a Friend on Facebook.
Alright everyone, after we’ve all been cooped up for the past two years, it’s time to come let your talent out of the box and share it with other like-minded people. Those words were written by Matt Lenny who will take over hosting “Out of the Box Open Mic” at the Box Factory for the Arts on April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. After the April open mic, the sessions will return to the first Wednesday of each month. Those who perform will be admitted free with a $5 charge for those who come to listen.
The Box Factory is excited to announce the return of the monthly open mic/open jam and all comers are welcome. “Musicians, poets, comedians, actors, jugglers, writers…if you can fill the stage with something creative for 5 to 10 minutes, we’d love to have you,” says Matt. “Let’s get together and make joyful noises emanate ‘out of the Box’ once again.”
Inspired by a chance encounter with country legend Steve Earle, who showed him that a single chord can sometimes have more power than anything else, local guitarist and songwriter Matt writes songs that fall somewhere on the rock and roll side of Americana. Matt pursues a powerful simplicity, both as a full band and as a solo singer-songwriter. With simple chord changes and melodies married to heartfelt emotions and old-fashioned storytelling, Matt is a natural leader for the return of the open mic to the Box Factory stage.