What should downtown Longview look like? Volunteers look to add public art, street events | Local

Volunteers are aiming to attract customers to downtown Longview by installing public art and hosting events. 

A nonprofit called The Broadstrokes Project is leading the charge with a mural planned on a historic Commerce Avenue building this year. 

Co-founder Elizabeth Borders said she saw the way public art changed Portland in 2009 when the city’s moratorium on murals and wall art ended. 

“I got to see these neighborhoods transformed. It gave me a totally new perspective on this possibility,” she said. 

Borders is a Realtor based on Commerce Avenue and sits on the city’s downtown advisory committee. In 2021, she founded The Broad Strokes Project along with Ariel Largé, owner of Offbeat Antiques and Oddities and another member of the downtown advisory committee; and Michalyn Killian, a Longview native who works on the production teams for R.A. Long High School’s Mainstage Theater and Stageworks Northwest Theatre.

The nonprofit’s goal is to bring visitors and community engagement in Longview by creating murals and other public artwork in Longview. The first mural is planned for the outside of the Pounder Building on Commerce Avenue, with future work expanding to other parts of the city. 

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“There’s a new wave of energy downtown between businesses and the city. So let’s celebrate it,” Killian said.

Largé said the nonprofit was inspired by the work the Longview Outdoor Gallery has done over the last decade, installing statues downtown and donating the most popular pieces to the city. When she learned the outdoor gallery would stop putting in new sculptures after 2023 — as the group’s original goal was to install 23 sculptures by that year for the city’s 100th anniversary — she began talking with Borders and Killian about other ways they could support public art.

“The local boutiques, the little shops and the art, these are the things that make a town itself instead of the next town over,” Largé said.

Largé said the Pounder Building mural will have a “botanical theme” and split the space among three artists: Elizabath’s husband, Jason Borders; and a pair of artists from Portland known as Rather Severe. Rather Severe has been commissioned to paint murals in Portland, Denver and Kansas City and collaborated with Microsoft to decorate its office in Bellevue.

The group will need to share the mural design with the city to get final approval once funding has been secured. Largé said the hope is to begin work by the end of the summer.

Broad Strokes’ first fundraiser for the mural project is taking place the evening of June 24. The group is selling tickets for an evening in the Bowers Building with food, live music and live painting to raise money for the project.

Longview’s city government also is making plans to improve the look of downtown. The City Council wants to extend the streetscape improvements commissioned in 2014 an additional block south to Florida Street. 

The city requested support from the local Congressional representatives to receive roughly $900,000 from the federal government for the project. The streetscape did not end up making the final cut for Congressional support earlier this spring.


The Broad Strokes founders and other downtown businesses have said they want to see larger events downtown to draw in regular crowds and events. They have floated ideas such as a coordinated late night when local restaurants offer seating on the sidewalks and streets, or weekend markets and celebrations that fully close the street to cars.

“We should be creating those traditions and that is coming. We still have an opportunity with those,” said Jen Albright-Burns, who owns a small business in the Merk Building.

One idea already being discussed for 2023 is holding some weekday sales for the Cowlitz Community Farmers Market downtown. The downtown advisory committee has talked about the shift at several meetings this year. Largé said the newer members of the committee and other city leaders seem to be open to the idea.


Bryan-College Station artists asked to submit artwork to be featured at Reynolds Gallery | Latest Headlines

Artists of Brazos County are asked to submit artwork to be displayed in the first Bryan-College Station Community Showcase at Reynolds Gallery in College Station, hosted by the Texas A&M Memorial Student Center Visual Arts Committee.

Artists must be 18 years or older and live in the B-CS region and any type of art is encouraged, according to Mary Compton, program advisor for the students’ programs office through the A&M student center.

“Every year the [A&M art] students have what they call Art Fest, which is where we encourage all students to contribute art work; and we just thought it would be interesting if we opened this up to the community,” she said. “We will accept any type of artwork of any medium, and it does not have to be something that you produce for this exhibit, but it can be something that you have already created that expresses your creativity and shows your connection to the B-CS community.”

Residents who are interested must fill out the entry form by June 17, and will have their art showcased in the exhibit from June 19 to August 13. All artwork mediums are welcomed including photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, stain glass, mixed media, film or computer-generated images; and all submissions will be considered but not all may be showcased, Compton said. Multiple art pieces may be submitted.

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“The art theme is pretty loose and we did that intentionally so no one felt that they had to create something unique for this exhibit,” she said. “The long-term goal is to let people know in the community that our gallery is on campus, and is primarily focused on students and staff, but we know we have trouble reaching out to the community for a variety of reasons and we want everyone to know we are here.”

Compton is hopeful to receive a good enough response to continue this exhibit each year.

Texas A&M senior Elise Hurry, visual arts committee chair, said the committee will review all entries and choose pieces that display creativity in any form, and will “consider pieces for originality and form as well as skill, but also interesting artist stories about the art.”

“I think residents will be excited to show their art in a new space where they can have a broader reach in the community. This is first time that the Visuals Arts Committee [VAC] has extended the invitation to showcase and support local artists in the B-CS area,” she said. “During the semester, VAC was given a tour of the Arts Council of Brazos Valley in College Station and they were ecstatic to the idea of this showcase. With their help, VAC is looking forward to giving local artists a space to showcase their work, while also meeting other local artists.”

The Reynolds Gallery is a safe space on campus for people to express themselves through the visual arts, Hurry said.

“It is also a place for students to work together to curate gallery spaces to education, share ideas and entertain the College Station community,” she said. “Having this space on campus has given me and many others a home and outlet to incorporate art in our daily lives.”

To submit an entry form, visit tx.ag/BCSShowcase.

For more information or inquiries email visualartscommittee@gmail.com or call 458-8714.

The Reynolds Gallery is located on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. Visit vac.tamu.edu for more details.

For parking at the student center, the Gene Stallings Blvd Garage and the University Center Garage (Koldus) will be open. Parking rates may vary. Visit transport.tamu.edu for more details.


Calendar for Monday, June 6 | Local News

Storyteller Toni Simmons will explore the tradition of dancing in African-American culture and folklore from Africa to America to Emancipation as part of Juneteenth Celebration: Freedom’s Legacy “Dancing for Freedom,” June 15 at the Lincoln Recreation Center, 1000 Eleanor St. in College Station. The event is hosted by the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum’s Education Department.

Activities include a freedom walk at 9 a.m., storytelling at 10:30 a.m. and a pizza lunch for all participants at 11:30 a.m.

To make your reservations email bush.education@nara.gov or call 979-691-4006.

Summer Nature Camp start Monday at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. For more information, call 979-776-2195.

Facilities include classroom areas, the Discovery Room, and a 40-acre park, all used to enhance your child’s learning experience. Staff members are experienced teachers and, to ensure personalized instruction, classes are kept small, with a teacher to student ratio of 1:5.

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The Rio Brazos Audubon Society invites the public to their monthly meeting and program on Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 PM, at the Brazos Museum of Natural History 3232 Briarcrest Rd in Bryan. The program will be “Joys of Costa Rica Birding” by Peter Witt. There will be refreshments.

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum hosts an honorary birthday party for President H.W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the rotunda.

President Bush would have turned 98 on June 12 and Mrs. Bush 97 on June 8.

There will be free birthday cake, popcorn, and refreshments. Guests are encouraged to don their crazy socks and pearls. There is no cost to participate in the festivities, but regular museum admission will apply.

Brazos Bluebonnet Quilt Guild’s 33rd annual Quilt Show: A World of Color, is June 17-18 at the Brazos County Expo Center, 5827 Leonard Rd. in Bryan.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. All money raised goes to support the mission of the guild and includes funding college scholarships for local high school students as well as education programs for guild members. The show will have vendor booths, quilt appraisals, quilts for sale, and more.

The Bryan+College Station Public Library System is having two art contests as a part of its Summer Reading Program. There will be a Youth Art Contest for ages 5 to 18, and there will be an Adult Art Contest for ages 18 and up. Go to www.bcslibrary.org/summer/#art-contest for contest guidelines. The dates for both contests are July 1 to 22. Artwork can be turned in at either Mounce Library, 201 E. 26th St., Bryan, or Ringer Library, 1818 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy. S., College Station.

Texas on Paper, through Sunday at the J. Wayne Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station. The exhibit examines the growth and popularity of printmaking among artists and an exploration of various paper media. The gallery is open noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. tx.ag/paper.

Painting My Legacy, through Tuesday at the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, 4180 Texas 6 in College Station. A collection of work by June Dudley. The gallery is open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Wild/LIFE: Guild of Book Workers Triannual Exhibition, through June 24 at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives on the Texas A&M campus. A collection of 50 works by the members of the Guild of Book Workers interpreting the theme of wildlife. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Primal Forces: Earth, through June 25 at the James R. Reynolds Student Art Gallery on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M campus. A curated collection of artwork depicting the Earth’s beauty through fabrics. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.


Youth to spend week learning to create alebrijes, accordion scrapbooks during WNAC camp | Local

Logan Medina shows off his craft during a recent summer art camp at the West Nebraska Arts Center. This year, Art Camp 1 and 2 will take place June 14-17.

Young artists will have an opportunity to create colorful Mexican art or paper crafts during a four-day art camp at West Nebraska Arts Center.

The arts center will offer two summer art camps June 14-17. The morning camp is for kids, ages 6-9 years, and runs from 9 a.m. to noon. The afternoon camp is for kids, ages 10-15 years, and runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. During the four-day camp, students will create original artwork using various mediums and techniques with guidance from artists Mary Hunt and Kim Cardwell.

“This year, we have a new teacher, Kim Cardwell,” WNAC program manager Stephanie Coley said. “She’ll be teaching card making, origami and box making.”

Cardwell said she is a paper crafter and stamp product demonstrator, so her classes will focus on paper crafting.

“My plan is we are going to create a mini scrapbook that comes out like an accordion and is stored in a box,” she said. “Basically, it’s a box that has a scrapbook inside of it and they’ll make that and can add to it at a later time.”

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Throughout the camp, Cardwell said her main focus is to show youth the mindfulness obtainable from paper crafting to calm the wildness of life.

The most challenging component to creating the mini scrapbook is fitting the pieces together straight, so it properly works like an accordion. Still, Cardwell wants to kids to enjoy themselves.

“I want them to have fun and to find something relaxing and to carry on some traditional things,” she said.

From the leftover scraps, kids will create greeting cards. They will discuss the design aspect of cards.

Hunt had originally planned for an Aztec culture theme, but changed it to colorful Mexican art.

“I picked that because we’re trying to focus more on doing multicultural things and also because little kids are drawn to colorful things,” she said.

Kids will complete a couple sculpting projects using salt dough, painting projects, and create alebrijes, brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures.

“They’ll be using different materials on at least four different projects,” Hunt said. “At that age, it’s good to introduce them to different materials, but then also, in the painting project, I’ll probably go over mixing colors, too. If kids learn how to mix colors from the primary colors early on, then it makes it easier to continue painting.”

Kids will also create a tree of life sculpture and then add papier-mâché.

Hunt said she enjoys seeing the kids get excited when they can create something from a few materials.

“I like to tailor it to the kids,” she said.

The students’ artwork will be on display June 17 during a public reception at the center.

Volunteers are welcomed to help at the arts center classes. For more information, contact the arts center.

For more information about the camp, visit www.thewnac.com, email Coley at steph@thewnac.com or call 308-632-2226.

We’re always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what’s going on!


40+ Things to do in the Bay Area this summer

Summer has begun, and it’s time for some fun! Here are all the upcoming local happenings you might want to add to your calendar.

Cornerstone Music Series: 12-3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Join Cornerstone Sonoma for live music at their outdoor kitchen venue every weekend through the end of October. Hear an exciting lineup of local musicians and enjoy Primal Cuts BBQ, wood-fired pizza, wine, beer and artisan cocktails. Free admission; cornerstonesonoma.com

Keep on Truckin’: Saturdays through June 11. Location varies. Tandy Beal and Company’s Keep on Truckin’ presents its free, outdoor family shows to provide a burst of joy in your neighborhood. tandybeal.com/keep-on-truckin

‘Clue’ on Stage: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, June 2-19, Hillbarn Theater, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City. Based on the 1985 Paramount movie, which in turn was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, “Clue” is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery. $30-58. Hillbarn Theater: hillbarntheatre.org/

‘The Pajama Game’: June 2-19, Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco. The 42nd Street Moon ensemble presents a revised Tony award-winner for best musical. $35-76. 42nd Street: bit.ly/39S5uuj

Friday Nights at OMCA: 5-9 p.m. every Friday starting June 3, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. Reconnect with family, friends and community over delicious local eats from Off the Grid food trucks and exciting museum offerings. Free admission; museumca.org/friday-nights

Diablo Regional Concert Band: 12 p.m. June 4, Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, 115 W. G St., Benicia. Enjoy a free concert and plenty of sunshine. Bring your chair, blanket and lunch from local eateries. Free. Visit Benicia: bit.ly/3sWgVrs

Black Music Month Festival: 2 p.m. June 4, 410 14th St., Oakland. This multigenerational festival celebrates Black Music Month with Oakland’s finest Black artists in jazz, blues, country and gospel. $40. Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/3MLDjfg

Spring Sing!: 3 p.m. June 4, Temple Hill Events, 4780 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. The Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir will present a season finale with performers ages 5-19. $30. Piedmont Choirs: bit.ly/3NvHVpJ

Drive-In Movie ‘The Princess Bride’: 8 p.m. June 4, 1221 Linda Mar Shopping Center, Pacifica. Catch a drive-in showing of the 1987 classic. $40 per vehicle. Facebook Events: bit.ly/3tikB7p

Night Shift – A Shavuot Experience: 7 p.m. June 4, Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Building F), 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Night Shift is a Jewish cultural experience and a new take on Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates Jewish culture and literacy. $25. Palo Alto JCC: paloaltojcc.org

Kairos Music Academy – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’: 7 p.m. June 4 and 4 p.m. June 5, The Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley. The Kairos youth choir brings two performances of Shakespeare’s classic to the stage at the historic Hillside Club. $12-15; kairosmusicacademy.org/

No Mean Reward – Chanticleer and the Golden Fleece: 7:30 p.m. June 4 and 8 p.m. June 10, location varies. Grammy award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer presents an evening of Renaissance choral masterworks from the late 15th century. $20-$62; chanticleer.org

“Ramayana!”: 7 p.m. June 9, Mexican Heritage Theater, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose. This musical theater production, adapted for modern audiences, is replete with lively action, dazzling costumes, humor and universal life lessons. $15. ramayana.brownpapertickets.com/

‘Romeo and Juliet’: 7 p.m. June 9-13, 1320 Willow St., San Jose. William Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers — in the form of two female protagonists — arrive in San José to kick off Pride. Free; svshakespeare.org

Phantom Limb – Headlands Fellowship Exhibition: 12-5 p.m. June 10-July 2, Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. View an exhibition of work by Headlands’ graduate fellows Kristen Wong, Ebtihal Shedid and more. Free; headlands.org/event/phantom-limb/

Breaking Down Walls – Celebrating Our Shared Humanity Through The Arts: 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 11, Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason, San Francisco. This benefit for Ukraine features artists including singer-songwriter Will Hammond Jr., choreographer Mia J. Chong and members of Post:ballet with music by Vân-Ánh Võ, Teatro Nagua and more in a show emceed by comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan. $25. Eventbrite: bit.ly/3MAz6ur

Farms of Tuolumne County Farm & Ranch Tour: 10 a.m. June 11, 16111 Lance Court, Sonora. Tour five farms in Tuolumne County and enjoy free bites, wine tastings and plenty of animals at this family-friendly event. $15; farmsoftuolumnecounty.org/

Doors Open California: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 11-12, location varies. Enthusiasts of historic architecture, design, and cultural heritage will have access to more than 75 sites across the state this weekend from a Preston Castle tour in Gold Country to a behind-the-scenes greenhouse tour at Filoli. $20; californiapreservation.org/doca/

Benicia Arsenal Artists Open Studios: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11-12, 940 Tyler St., Benicia. More than 40 artists in Benicia’s Historic Arsenal Arts District will open their studios to visitors, Studios are located along Tyler and Jackson streets, all studios are within walking distance.  Free. BeniciaArsenalArtists.com

The Black Food & Wine Experience: June 11-19, Oakland venues. This mission-driven event celebrates Black culture with a series of wine dinners and special events at several Oakland locations and a Grand Tasting at The Hive Oakland.  $25-$275; thechefmimi.com/bfwe

Circus Bella – Flip * Flop * Fly *: June 16-July 23, Mission St.,, San Francisco. Circus Bella returns to  Bay Area Parks with its 13th annual open air shows featuring dazzling circus talent from the Bay Area and beyond. Free; circusbella.org/flipflopfly

Circus Bella aerialist Dwoira Galilea performed during a 2021 show at Lincoln Square Park in Oakland.(Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group File) 

ART on the Square Summer 2022: 5 to 8:30 p.m. June 17, July 8, 22, Aug. 26, Hamilton Avenue at Courthouse Square, Redwood City. Summer art shows accompany the city’s Music on the Square series with artists who create jewelry, photography, glass, fiber art, ceramics and woodwork. Free. artonthesquarerwc.com

Transcendence Theater Company – ‘Let’s Dance’: 7:30 p.m. Fri-Sun, June 17-July 3, Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Transcendence Theater Company opens its 2022 season of original outdoor musical revues with “Let’s Dance,” a reimagining of some of Broadway’s biggest dance showstoppers. $25-$165; transcendencetheatre.org/lets-dance/

Benicia Wine Walk: 1-5 p.m. June 18, Main Street, Benicia. A variety of wines will be poured inside participating downtown shops, providing an enjoyable outing to “sip, walk and shop” with friends. $35. Visit Benicia: bit.ly/3wKg5PP

Symphony Royale: 6 p.m. June 18, Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland Sweden’s Queen of Swing, Gunhild Carling, joins forces with members of the California Symphony for an evening of vintage ballroom glamor, jazz and swing-filled entertainment. $500 per table. California Symphony: bit.ly/3MJvmqM

‘Budmo!’ Book Event: 7 p.m. June 18, Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Building F), 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Join chef Anna Voloshyna in support of Ukraine for the pre-launch of her cookbook, “Budmo!” $45; paloaltojcc.org/

Diablo Symphony Family Concert “Animals of the Orchestra”: 2 p.m. June 19, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Ave., Walnut Creek. This interactive concert features familiar and sometimes surprising members of the animal kingdom. $0-$35, diablosymphony.org

Diablo Writers’ Workshop Reading: 6 p.m. June 21, Orinda Books, 276 Village Square, Orinda. The Diablo Writers’ Workshop is celebrating five years of bringing creative writing classes to adults in the Bay Area and beyond with readings from their featured writers. Free. Orinda Books: bit.ly/3wNZMS8

Poetry’s Leading Voices: 7 p.m. June 23, 1960 Olympic Valley Road, Olympic Valley. The Community of Writers Annual Poetry Workshop will host in-person and live-streamed readings of published and unpublished works. $15-30. Community of Writers: bit.ly/3wMVP1l

Oakland Black Pride: June 23-26, Oakland. Oakland Black Pride is pleased to announce its Black Pride Celebration will again take place during Pride Month. This years events include a Queer Pub Crawl, a Queer Expo, a MasQueerade Gala, a Black Pride Brunch and more. Free; oaklandblackpride.org/

Taste of Sonoma: June 25, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton. Enjoy Taste of Sonoma’s annual celebration of all things wine, food and music in Sonoma County, home to world-class wines and remarkable winemakers. $180-210. Taste of Sonoma: bit.ly/3wOFNUk

Sonoma County's Kendall-Jackson has reopened for outdoor food and wine experiences. (Kendall-Jackson)
Sonoma County’s Kendall-Jackson is hosting Taste of Sonoma in June. (Kendall-Jackson) 

Classical on the Square – Redwood Symphony: 6 p.m. June 25, Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Maestro Eric K conducts members of the Redwood Symphony in a concert of classics from Mozart, Haydn and Rimsky-Korsakov to Joplin. Free. Redwood Symphony: bit.ly/3NmI6ng

Bricks by the Bay Public Expo (Lego exhibition): 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25-26 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Parkway in Santa Clara. This fun-filled, family-friendly weekend includes Lego creations built by hobbyists and artists from across the nation, along with vendors selling all kinds of toy bricks and related accessories. $8 to $35. Eventbrite: bit.ly/3vFyKgl

Chopin for Ukraine: 4 p.m. June 26, Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High St., Santa Cruz. Acclaimed pianist Stanislav Khristenko performs four Chopin Ballades, Heroic Polonaise and works by Ukrainian composers to benefit NovaUkraine.org. $100. distinguishedartists.org

2022 Marin County Fair – So Happy Together: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 30-July 4, Marin Fairgrounds, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Enjoy outdoor entertainment including concerts, carnival performers and rides, interactive art experiences, the Global Marketplace, the Barnyard, food and drinks, and nightly fireworks. $20-25. MarinFair.org

Fairgoers rids the Ring of Fire during day 4 of the 2019 Marin County Fair in San Rafael, Calif. Saturday, July 6, 2019. (Jeremy Portje/ Marin Independent Journal)
Fairgoers ride the Ring of Fire during the 2019 Marin County Fair in San Rafael. (Jeremy Portje/ Marin Independent Journal File) 

Broadway and Vine: June through September, 4048 Sonoma Highway in Napa. Hear Broadway stars in concert with acclaimed chefs and winemakers providing bites and sips. Lea Michele, June 7; Nasia Thomas and Jelani Remy, July 11; Ciara Renée and Natalie Tenenbaum, Aug. 10; Abby Mueller, Sept. 20. $25 to $1,200. Broadwayandvine.org

Drive In Movie – ‘Spider-Man No Way Home’ (2021): 8 p.m. July 2, 1221 Linda Mar Shopping Center, Pacifica. Catch a drive-in showing of the 2021 blockbuster.  $40 per vehicle. Facebook Events: bit.ly/3wKfSxp

Guitar Bliss: 8 p.m. July 9, 2209 Broadway St., Redwood City. Guitar virtuosos Daniel Champagne and Christie Lenee bring their showstopping act to Club Fox. $22-27. Eventbrite: bit.ly/3z1eLL8

Festival Napa Valley: July 15-24, Napa Valley. This music, wine and food festival blends the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley with performances spanning all genres. Prices vary; festivalnapavalley.org

Taste of Napa: 11 a.m. July 16, The Meritage Resort and Spa, 875 Bordeaux Way Napa. Taste of Napa is the annual one-day event celebrating food, wine and music in Napa Valley. $150. Festival Napa Valley: bit.ly/3GgFe93


Burlesque Performer Organizes Symbolic Burial for Artists’ Pandemic Losses

Denver burlesque performer and producer Melissa May, known by the stage name Polka Dottie, originally had a straightforward name for her upcoming event: “Colorado Artists: Let’s Mourn the Opportunities Lost to COVID Together.” Although she changed the name to Ghost Light, the event’s message remains the same, and artists from around Colorado will gather at HQ on Monday, May 16, to showcase their art and have a symbolic burial for the artistic opportunities lost during the pandemic.

For many artists, those opportunities aren’t coming back. “I had all this momentum going, all these things planned. And then it stopped,” May reflects.

She says that during quarantine, her motivation and creativity came to a halt. It wasn’t until two years later that her passion for art served as motivation to keep going after losing so much.

“After discussing this topic with several other artists, I realized that the world hasn’t made time or space for us to mourn what could have been, so I wanted to create that opportunity for those desiring closure,” May explains.

She began contacting artists across Colorado to partake in the event. She got the inspiration for the new name from ghost lights, the single bulbs that theaters use to light a stage when it is unoccupied. Ghost lights were also used as a symbol of hope during the lockdown.

Any type of artist is invited to join, from drag performers to painters, sculptors, actors, singers, dancers, tattoo artists and more. The artists are invited to share their losses in a eulogy of sorts, and to bring works to display. During the time artists will be given to speak, items will be shared, and explanations of their meaning will be presented. Being able to speak about these items out loud and share them with others will be a crucial part of the mourning and closure that May hopes to bring to artists with the event.

“Don’t take the arts for granted,” she says, urging the general public to help support artists during these hard times in any way possible. Whether through financial or promotional avenues, any amount of support counts.

“We stayed home, we stayed brave, and we kept the light on. But we never got closure. Let’s create it together,” May says.

Ghost Light, 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, at HQ, 60 South Broadway. Entry is free. For updates, follow @misspolkadottie on Instagram.


Around the Wiregrass | Local News

Hawk-Houston Youth Enrichment Center will hold a Funds2Orgs Shoe Drive fundraiser April 11-May 31. Donations of clean new or gently worn shoes in all sizes for both children and adults are needed. Shoes may be dropped off at 329 Chickasaw St. The center is seeking community and business groups to help with the shoe drive by becoming collection sites. Call 334-792-4618 or email hawkhoustonyec@gmail.com.

Webb Baptist Church will hold Holy Week services at noon Monday-Friday, April 11-15, with a different minister speaking each day on one of the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. A light lunch will begin at noon with services ending by 12:45 p.m. each day for people to get back to work. The public is invited and the meal is provided by the church at no charge. Guest speakers will include: Vann Cooley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Columbia, on Monday; Brad Hardy, pastor of Kinsey Baptist Church, on Tuesday; Joe Wyatt, pastor of Webb United Methodist Church, on Wednesday; Bible teacher and preacher Jerry Oswalt on Thursday; and Jerry Windsor, interim pastor at Webb Baptist, on Friday.

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The Dothan Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) will host their monthly meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12, at the Old Mill Restaurant located at the junction of Highway 231 North and Murphy Mill Road in Dothan. Robert Byrd, funeral director at Sunset Memorial Park, will give a presentation on the importance of prearranging and planning your funeral to protect your loved ones and to give you peace of mind. Call Dr. Angela Allgood, president, Chapter 1609, at 334-803-0405 for additional information.

The Above the Best Silver Chapter of the U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association will meet on Thursday, April 14, at 11:45 a.m. at Swartworth Hall, 5302 Outlaw St., Fort Rucker. Food will be provided. This meeting is open to all warrant officers or those interested in warrant officer issues.

Dothan Leisure Services will host its inaugural Smile, Sparkle, and Shine Therapeutics Pageant on Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Dothan Opera House. The pageant is designed for any special needs girl who lives in the Wiregrass and is 12 years old or older. The pageant provides an opportunity for Dothan Leisure Services to showcase its Therapeutics participants. Pageant registration will open on March 16 and close on April 6. For more information and to register, please contact Lorena Guttowsky at 334-615-4751 or lguttowsky@dothan.org. Participants may also register at www.dothanleisureservices.org/registration.

Deutscher Club will meet Friday, April 15, at Mural City Coffee Company from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Work to build up your German. Trainieren Sie Ihre Kenntnisse mit einigen deutschsprachigen Freunden! Genießen Sie den besten Kaffee und Tee der Stadt! Beim Troy-Universitätsbanner. Kostenlos, für alle zugänglich. Kontakt: vossr@troy.edu.

Grimes Gospel Lighthouse, 1512 County Road 25, Grimes, will host: local talent on April 16; Covenant Group of Asheboro, North Carolina, April 23; David Frost of Ozark, April 30. Music starts at 7 p.m. A love offering will be taken. Call 334-983-4654 or 334-714-4658 for more information.

Enterprise Aglow Community Lighthouse will meet Saturday, April 16, at The Gathering Room, located at 217 S. Main St. in Enterprise. The guest speaker will be Sabrina Reynolds of Opp. For more information, call 334-406-9683.

Holmes Baptist Church, located 1/2 mile inside the Barbour County Line on Alabama Highway 51 North of Ariton, will host singer/songwriter Laura Lewis from Nashville, Tennessee, on Easter Sunday, April 17, during the 10:30 a.m. worship service. No admission will be charged, and everyone is invited.

The Friends of the Library will host a book sale at the Westgate Branch Library, located at 535 Recreation Road in Dothan, on April 21-30. All proceeds will go to the Dothan Houston County Library System. A preview sale for members of Friends of the Library will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, April 21. Anyone can join at the door with a minimum $5 membership. The sale is open to the public April 22-30 during regular library hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The sale will include new and gently used fiction and nonfiction books. Hardback books are $2 each and paperback books are $1 each. Children’s books are 50 cents each. Vintage books and vinyl records are individually priced. DVDs, CDs, and some non-book items are also available. Customers can stuff a provided large brown grocery sack full of books for $20. Items will be half price on April 27-28; 25 cents each on April 29-30; and free from May 2 until they are gone. For more information, contact friends@dhcls.org or 334-796-1594.

Club Italiano will meet Friday, April 22, at Mural City Coffee Company 6:30-8:30 p.m. Trying to get into Italian? Club members practice, play games, and try new things. Esercitate la vostra mente e fate amicizia praticando l’italiano con noi, con il miglior caffè e tè della città. Cercate la bandiera dell’Università di Troy. Gratuito, aperto a tutti. Contatto: vossr@troy.edu.

The Houston County Democratic Executive Board has invited the 2022 Democratic Primary candidates to speak at the Clarion Inn, 2195 Ross Clark Circle, in Dothan on April 22. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and speakers will begin at 6:30 p.m. All interested parties are welcome.

The Coffee County Relay for Life will be held April 22 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Bates Memorial Stadium, located at 502 E. Watts St. in Enterprise. For more information, email Meghan Kennedy at coffeecountyrelayforlife@gmail.com.

All of God’s Children Inc., 912 Andrews Ave., Ozark, will be hold a Community Yard Sale on Saturday, April 23, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Shanika Reeves at 334-400-3283 or Sandra Edwards at 334-828-3149.

A Spring Forest Tour at Landmark Park will be held April 23 at 10 a.m. and hosted by Ed Lewis, a local forester and park volunteer who will provide information about many of the species in the park. Lewis is known for his crosscut saw demonstration during spring and fall Farm Days. The tour will be mostly on the boardwalk, allowing you to learn about and see both upland and wetland tree species and plants, along with information on how settlers, Native Americans, and modern people make use of our forest resources in the Wiregrass. Participants will receive a booklet that includes pictures and descriptions of species discussed. The tour will last for about two hours. The program begins in the Interpretive Center Auditorium and registration is required. Classes are limited to 20 people per session. This will be a walking workshop so make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Free with paid gate admission. Call 334-794-3452 or visit www.landmarkparkdothan.com for more information.

Stakes at the Gates II, an open forum for Alabama 2022 primary candidates, will be held Saturday, April 23, starting at noon at the IAM&AW Union Hall in Daleville. The political forum is hosted by the Legislative Committee of Local Lodge 2003 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Candidates will be allowed to present their platforms and will then answer questions gathered from Lodge 2003 members. The event is open to the public and free to attend. The IAM&AW Union Hall is located at 345 U.S. Highway 84 in Daleville. For more information, contact Patrick Wise, chairman, at 334-406-2253; Michelle Hunt, public relations, at 334-360-5803; or email iamlegislative2003@gmail.com

The Cultural Arts Center’s Chalk Walk Art Competition will be on Saturday, April 23, on the sidewalks of the Cultural Arts Center, from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be a youth category for ages 6 to 15 and an adult category for ages 16 and up. Registration deadline is April 21. Fees are $10 for youth category and $20 for the adult category. All artists will be given professional grade urban chalk at the time of check-in and will be assigned spaces in areas marked for Youth and for Adults at the time of registration. Registration forms can be located online at www.theculturalartscenter.org (click on the events tab and then the Chalk Walk drop down) or in the lobby of the Cultural Arts Center next to the box office. Artist awards include: Best of Show Youth Category, $25; Best of Show Adult Category, $50; second place Youth Category, $15; and second place Adult Category, $25. Check-in for artists begins at 7 a.m. day of the event. Artists will be released to begin chalking on their concrete canvases at 8 a.m. and will have until 11:30 a.m. to compete their work. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m. and awards will be given out at noon. The event is free to the public to come and watch artists (lawn chairs and umbrellas welcome).

The Fifth Annual Butterfly Fling benefitting Chrysalis, A Home for Girls will be held on Sunday, April 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Landmark Park. The event will feature a live butterfly release, arts and crafts, and games for children. Admission includes a live butterfly to release, activities and admission to the park. Advance tickets are $10 or $12 at the event. Adults accompanying children are admitted free. For tickets or further information, visit chrysalishomeforgirls.org or email chrysalis.dothan@gmail.com.

The Wiregrass-Enterprise Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) will hold its monthly lunch program at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 28, at the Enterprise Country Club. Guest speaker will be Kathryn Hensley, secretary and treasurer for NARFE national headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hensley will discuss the latest federal regulations that personally affect and influence current and retired federal employees such as their pay or annuities, health and life insurance, savings plans, personnel rules, and retirement plans. For more information, attend a NARFE program or contact the chapter’s president, Frank Zerbinos, by email at zerbinos47@hotmail.com or text to 334-447-8092.

The Entrepreneurship Council will hold its monthly seminar Thursday, April 28, at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The topic will be “Developing a Business Plan,” with Dr. Richard Voss, Sorrell College of Business, Troy University. As an entrepreneur, your mind has no substitute. Learn how and why to plan – and smartly strategize – your small business. Open to everyone, $10 donation. Sign up at entrepreneurshipcouncil.org.

Esperanto-Klubo will meet Friday, April 29, at Mural City Coffee Company 6:30-8:30 p.m. Looking for a few good Esperantists? Members practice, play games, and question priorities. Ekzercu vian menson kaj amikiĝu praktikante la esperantan kun ni, kun la plej bonaj kafo kaj teo en la urbo. Serĉu la flagon de Universitato Troy. Senpaga, malfermita al ĉiuj. Kontakto: vossr@troy.edu.

The Wiregrass Blues Fest will be held Saturday, April 30, at the Dale County Ag Plex, 202 State Highway 123, in Ozark. Gates will open at 3 p.m. with performances from 3:30-11 p.m. The 2022 line-up will have performances by Shaun Murphy, Johnny Rawls, Crystal Shawanda, Rodney Justo, the Project Preservation Band featuring Lil’ Jimmy Reed, Marla Drake and Peggy Jenkins, and the Carroll High School Jazz Band. Blues Fest Tickets are available to purchase online at wiregrassbluessociety.org/wiregrass-blues-festival/. Wiregrass Blues Society members have special $10 advance ticket pricing until April 19. All other general admission tickets are $20. VIP tickets are available for $100. Guests can purchase tickets online or at the gate.

The Tri-State Community Orchestra will present its annual spring concert “Heroes vs. Villains” on Friday, May 6. This family friendly event will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center, 909 S. St. Andrews St. in Dothan. Special guests include the Wiregrass Youth Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $10 for general admission seating and are available for purchase at the Cultural Arts Center Box Office, online at the TCO website, or at the door the night of the concert. The TCO will also be holding a Shoe Drive Fundraiser. New or clean, gently used shoes can be dropped off at the Cultural Arts Center in advance or the night of the performance. For more information, please look online at tristatecommunityorchestra.org or call 334-699-2787.

A benefit for the Coffee County Community Church Mobile Food Pantry will be held May 7, 9 a.m. to noon at Church on Boll Weevil Circle, located at 2017 Boll Weevil Circle in Enterprise. Free barbecue plates and activities for children. The food pantry currently serves around 300 families but many more families are in need. The purpose of this benefit is to make the service of the food pantry known to those in need. Applications for food will be available. Donations to the food pantry will be accepted. Call Coffee Baptist Association at 334-894-6411 for more information.

The Wiregrass Children’s Home Color Fun Run 5k will be held May 7 starting at 9 a.m. at Kiwanis Park in Dothan. Sponsorships are $500 and include a logo on the Fun Run T-shirt and signage at the event. The fee for individual runners is $25 and includes a T-shirt and medal. Sign up at facebook.com/wiregrasschildrenshome. Kiwanis Park is located off Whatley Drive in Westgate Park.

The Second Annual Sprint Triathlon, hosted by Forward DeFuniak Inc., will be held as a part of Lakefest in DeFuniak Springs on May 21. Registration is limited to 200 participants for this swim, bicycle and running event. Register at dfstriathlon.com. Volunteers and spectators are also welcome. Swim heats start at 7 a.m., so hotel rooms have been blocked and discounted for race participants. Participants are also eligible for primitive tent camping which is available around the lake (call 850-892-8500 ext.114).

The Dothan Ballroom Dance Club will be teaching the Cha-Cha on Tuesdays in April at the Cultural Arts Center. Classes start at 6:30 p.m. in the Choreography Room. Cost is $2 per week. Call or text 501-766-4845 with any questions.

The Columbia Historical Society meets every third Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Train Depot on Highway 52. All guests are welcome.

Dothan Newcomers Club, a social organization, meets the first Thursday of the month in the fellowship hall of First Christian Church, 1401 N. Cherokee Ave. Social time begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the business meeting at 10 a.m. The club is open to individuals who have moved into the Dothan or Wiregrass Area within the past five years or who have faced a change in status (retirement, death of a spouse, divorce) within the past five years. For more information, visit www.dothannewcomers.com, or Facebook @DothanNewcomers, or contact Elaine Brackin, president, via email at dncpresident3@gmail.com.

Alcoholics Anonymous holds regular meetings in the Wiregrass including Ashford, Dothan, Eufaula, and Headland under the organization’s District 10 (www.aadothan.org) meeting locations and Andalusia, Daleville, Enterprise, Level Plains, Opp, Ozark, and Troy under the organization’s District 11 (www.district11aa.com) meeting locations. Visit www.aaarea1.org for a complete list of districts for Alabama and Northwest Florida.

Enterprise Military Support Group is meeting on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The group invites anyone who needs to talk about difficult experiences and needs an understanding friend. Meetings are at Church on Boll Weevil Circle, located at 2017 Boll Weevil Circle in Enterprise. Call 334-894-6411 for more information.

A Disabled American Veterans chapter service officer will be located at the New Brockton Town Hall every Wednesday from 9-11 a.m. Any veteran needing help with a VA claim is welcome. This is on a walk-in basis; no appointment is needed. For more information, contact Mike Doran at 334-406-6700.

Land of Cotton Smocking Guild meets the second Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. at Piney Grove Assembly of God Church, 206 County Road 9 in Newton. The guild, created at the first of year, has begun a Wee Care Project, creating preemie gowns, garments for infants in NICU, and bereavement pouches. For more information, contact Carol Ann Pileggi at 850-516-9960 or Joann Carpenter at 334-790-8328.

The DAV van service for local veterans will make runs to Montgomery and Tuskegee on Mondays and Fridays. The van will leave from the Hardee’s restaurant on Rucker Boulevard in Enterprise at 5 a.m. and from the Dothan Civic Center at 5:30 a.m. Due to COVID restrictions, there is only space for four riders each trip. Veterans who need rides to VA hospitals in Montgomery or Tuskegee can call 334-308-2480 to reserve a seat on the Enterprise van or 334-446-0866 for the Dothan van.

Square Dancing will be held every Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Enterprise YMCA, located on Highway 27 across from Hobby Lobby in Enterprise. Singles and couples welcomed. Never danced? They’ll teach you. For more information, call 334-237-0466 or 334-347-4513.

The Gen. William C. Oates Chapter No. 1342 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy meets the second Thursday from September through May. Women ages 18 and older who have ancestors who fought in the Civil War are eligible for membership, and help will be provided to prove your first Confederate ancestor’s lineage. For meeting locations and information, call Ceya Minder at 334-794-7480 or email ceya.minder@gmail.com.

The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Dothan Unit #87 will meet every third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at Harvest Church, located at 2727 Fortner St. in Dothan. The group will meet in the Main Café located in the church’s Building A. Call 334-596-9610 for more information.