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February 7, 2023 - 6:17pm

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Press release:

The Richmond Library Gallery Room is hosting the Museum Quilt Guild's annual challenge show. It is on display now through February 28, 2023. 

Their "I Thought I Would Never..." 2023 contest challenged members to try using uncommon fabrics such as denim and silk and new techniques such as printing from a fish, to revisiting old ideas like embroidery or finally finishing a project started years ago, to unexpected experiences such as visiting the Pacific Ocean, discovering Hallmark holiday movies or having a vintage Singer featherweight sewing machine.  Two pieces even explore trying to get in touch with one's creativity during the early days of the covid pandemic.  

Also displayed are some of the 2021 Red and White challenge quilts current members had made, which weren't able to be displayed at the library during MQG's usual February time slot in 2021 due to covid restrictions at that time.  Red and white quilts are a traditional quilting theme that goes as far back as the colonial period in America.  Red and white quilts are also reminiscent of Valentine's Day and the cheeriness that their color brings to our usual dark and gloomy February weather.  

Museum Quilt Guild began at the Holland Land Office in 1979 and is where guild meetings were for many years, until there were so many new members and interest that the Batavia VA is their new meeting place.  Themed guild challenges go back to 1990, and the earlier challenge shows were held at HLOM until Richmond Library graciously welcomed the shows as one of their many artist shows held throughout the year.  The themes have ranged from traditional techniques to concepts such as Carnival, Architecture and Modern Solids, and the chosen challenge theme for 2024 will be Music.

The public is invited to vote for their favorites with a Viewer's Choice ballot for both the 2023 and 2021 challenge groupings, and guild members also vote for the favorites for various techniques.  The  two challenges will be on opposite walls, and there will be a different colored ballot and different ID system for each to make voting easier.  Member ballots will be pink for the Red and White challenge and green for the "I Thought I Would Never..." challenge; one will use numbers and the other letters to avoid confusion!  There will also be 2 different colors of Viewer's Choice ballots for the public to choose their favorites.  Voting continues throughout the month, with winners announced at the March Museum Quilt guild meeting.

The quilters gather at the VA every 3rd Saturday of each month, weather permitting, at 9:30 a.m. with various speakers, workshops, community service activities and "show and tell" of new quilts members are making.  Guests may come to visit and check out the guild, and new members are always welcomed, with current annual dues at $20.00.  For more information, contact Martha Lorshbaugh, MQG President at [email protected].  You can also check out the guild's activities online at www.themuseumquiltguild.com, museumquiltguild.blogspot.com, or on Facebook at Museum Quilt Guild.

Submitted photos.

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February 3, 2023 - 4:11pm
posted by Press Release in news, Batavia Society of Artists, GO ART!, batavia, arts.

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Press Release:

The Batavia Society of Artists are kicking off the New Year with a demonstration by artist David Burke on Tuesday February 7th at Go-Art!/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia at 7pm.  The Tavern 2.0.1. will be open for cash purchased that evening.  Membership for 2023 is open to all for $30 single, $50 couple, and $10 for student or Veteran.  Non-members welcome for a $5 fee.

Intuitive Painting With David F. Burke happens when you truly have no preconceived image in your head about how your finished artwork will look, and you just let your blank paper or canvas lead you each step of the way.

It’s an exciting way to paint because there are so many possibilities and ideas for every painting! It is liberating because there are no rules, there are no restraints, you just allow for each paint stroke or mark that you have made to speak to you about the next one.

You are completely freed up from needless self-analyzing or overly scrutinizing your work. And it can be very meditative and self-reflective as you explore all the possible combinations of color, value, shape, visual texture that show up through your own personal style of mark-making.

What you paint will be your very own intuitive style, generated from all that is within you…yet very much inspired by how you see the world.

About David: "I’ve been an artist all my life, but in the last 7 years I began painting full time, have participated in many art shows and done numerous murals around the area. I received a BFA from SUNY Brockport in 1999, he says.

"My artwork has been primarily inspired by nature, and my connection to the life of the earth and that greater Mystery beneath the manifest world. I love how the effects of light and shadow, color and composition evoke subtle emotions and unconscious memories. In the last couple years I began playing with Abstract Expressionism and Intuitive Painting. It’s very liberating!"
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Artist David Burke's works.

January 29, 2023 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jim owen, GO ART!, batavia, news, arts.

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The Owen Library at GO ART! was unveiled today as the James R. Owen Memorial Library, in honor of the late "Mayor" Jim Owen, who passed away Jan. 19.

Owen, notoriously tight-fisted with a dollar, if not a dime, was generous with his donations to causes he supported, especially the arts, and especially music.  Owen, who made no bones about his lack of musical talent (he was quoted at the event as once saying, "I sing solo.  So low, nobody can hear it.") was especially proud of the accomplishments of his father, the late Frank Owen, who was a music teacher at Batavia High School.

In addition to the many donations he made to GO ART! during his lifetime -- such as the funds to help create the library, the books in the library, and the white baby grand piano, he also left a sizeable donation, Director Gregory Hallock (speaking above) said. It's enough that GO ART! can create an endowment fund for the first time in the organization's history. 

Previously:

Photos by Howard Owens

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Andy Rich and Brad Meholick at the Franke E. Owen Memorial Piano in the James R. Owen Memorial Library.

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Carol Reband and Elain Watson toast Jim Owen.

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January 22, 2023 - 3:58pm
posted by Press Release in KISS THIS, Batavia Downs, arts, entertainment, news.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the on-sale dates for 2 upcoming events taking place at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel’s Park Place Room.  These 2 events join other, already announced spring events. 

The 4th annual Batavia Brew Fest, presented by Young Lion and Genesee Brewery, is back on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 5 til 8 p.m.  For $40, attendees receive 3 hours of beer sampling from WNY breweries like Genesee Brewery, Young Lion, Boston Beer, DogFish, Four Mile Brewing, Heineken, Yuengling, K2 Brewing, Clarksburg Cider, Blue Barn Cidery,  Three Heads Brewing, Captain Lawrence Brewery, Constellation, Diago, Molson/Coors, Blue Toad Cider, Press Seltzer, Hop Water and many more.  Light snacks will be served, and attendees will receive a commemorative plastic sampling mug along with $20 in Free Play.  Designated Driver tickets will also be available.

KISS THIS returns to Batavia Downs on Friday, March 3rd.  Western New York’s Premier Tribute to KISS brings all of the theatrics and bombast of a classic KISS show to their performance.  Tickets are $15, and attendees receive $10 in Free Play on the day of the show.

Tickets for these 2 events will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning on Friday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m.

Visitors to the concert ticket website can also purchase tickets for other upcoming events like the BBQ and Bourbon Dinner, the Music of the Stars Tribute Concert and all the recently announced Pepsi’s Rockin’ the Downs Summer Concert Series shows.  Announcements for the rescheduled Furball Animal Shelter Fundraiser, Polka Buzz and the Kentucky Derby Gala will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The tribute acts we bring in are a great addition to our event schedule,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We look forward to welcoming back KISS THIS as well as our annual large-scale events like the Brew Fest and Derby Gala.”

Video by The Batavian:  KISS THIS at Jam at the Ridge in July 2021

January 16, 2023 - 4:07pm

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Press release:

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation has re-scheduled the BBC Band, a Beatles & Sixties Tribute Band. It is being held at the Historic Palace Theatre, 2 East Ave, Lockport, on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. 

Tickets are $40 for regular admission and $75 for premier seats in the lower balcony which includes an hour-long reception prior to the show.

All seats are reserved and may be purchased at https://historicpalaceinc.thundertix.com/events/203461. There is a bus being organized from Batavia -- if interested, call Diane at 585-409-3485.

About the Band
Though the band has local roots in Buffalo, the BBC Band has a true connection with The Beatles.

Russ Thomas has spent a good amount of time with Peter Best, the Beatles' first drummer, pre-Ringo. They talked about the early days and how the band had evolved while and after his tenure with the group.

John Connelly and his family had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with Sir Paul McCartney one afternoon, chatting about life, family and how Paul’s music has inspired and influenced John’s musical career.

Meeting a Beatle has offered musical insights and an incredible inspiration to The BBC Band. Their shows are magical, the music is infectious, making you want to jump out of your seat, sing along and dance in the aisles….and in the words of  “She Loves You”…You know that can’t be bad!

In August of 2018, The BBC Band performed six concerts at International Beatles Week in Liverpool, England, including two standing-room concerts at the world-famous Cavern Club. ( www.bbcband.com)

The beautiful Palace Theatre is newly renovated with spacious seating, your favorite “movie concessions”, beer, wine and non-alcoholic items. There will be Autographed Bills jersey raffle and a 50/50.

A night to sing, dance, and celebrate friends, all while Lending a Hand for Hope to Others.   We do “Get by With a Little Help from our Friends” – Beatles.

January 10, 2023 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee valley wind ensemble, music, arts, news.

A Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble concert originally scheduled for November has a new performance date: Jan 22.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. at the Oakfield-Alabama Junior/Senior High School.

Conductor Philip J. Briatico will lead the ensemble through a varied program.

  • Ride - Samuel Hazo
  • Into Battle- Christopher B. Taylor
  • The Lion King - Arr. Calvin Custer
  • Foundry - John Mackey
  • Selections from the musical: Chicago - Arr. Ted Ricketts
  • Selections from the musical: Mama Mia - Roy Phillipe
  • National Emblem – E.E. Bagley
  • Toccata for Band - Frank Erickson
  • Children’s March - Percy Grainger

Tickets: Adult, $10; seniors, $8, students, $5, and children five and under are free.  

 

January 10, 2023 - 6:54pm
posted by Press Release in news, Rockin the Downs, Batavia Downs, arts, entertainment, music.

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Press Release:                     

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their sixth Rockin’ the Downs concert series, presented by Pepsi, which will take place outside on the racetrack, with eight Friday dates, starting in June and running into August of 2023.  

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 23rd is Almost Queen.  The Ultimate Queen Tribute show delivers a live performance, showcasing signature four part harmonies and intricate musical interludes. Donning genuine costumes, Almost Queen recaptures the live energy and precision that is the Queen experience.  Almost Queen was the first post-pandemic concert to take place at Batavia Downs in June of 2021 and played to a packed house.  Hear hits like We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions and many more.

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Next up, on Friday, June 30th, Batavia Downs welcomes back Get the Led Out.  One of the best attended concerts from last year, this group of professional musicians are passionate about their love of the music of Led Zeppelin, making it their mission to bring the studio recordings of the Mighty Zep to life on stage.  Songs performed by the band could include Led Zeppelin hits like Black Dog, Immigrant Song, Stairway to Heaven and many others.

Making his debut on Friday, July 7th is Country Music Artist, Craig Morgan.  Morgan has charted 17 times on the Billboard Country Charts including That's What I Love About Sunday, Almost Home, Redneck Yacht Club, Little Bit of Life, International Harvester, Love Remembers, and Bonfire.  Morgan’s New Album, God, Family, Country has just been released along with his memoir.  Morgan is an Army Veteran and is involved with several Veterans charities, having also been inducted into the U.S. Field Artillery Hall of Fame in 2022.  Opening for Craig Morgan will be Drake White.

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 14th is Heavy Metal Rockers Skid Row. After forming in New Jersey in 1986, the band has performed all over the world with hard guitars and a unique songwriting style.  They’ll be performing their hits; In a Darkened Room, We Are the Damned, Youth Gone Wild, 18 and Life and many more.

On Friday, July 21st, Batavia Downs welcomes back Southern Rock legends The Marshall Tucker Band.  MTB will bring their 40 years of hits to Batavia Downs with hit singles like Heard It In a Love Song, Fire On The Mountain, Can't You See, and Take The Highway, The Marshall Tucker Band earned seven gold and three platinum albums. During the 90's, the MTB scored four hit singles on Billboard's country chart and one on Billboard's gospel chart.

Performing on Friday, July 28th  is the returning Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone. Peter Noone is a multi-talented entertainer, who achieved international fame as Herman, lead singer of the legendary Sixties pop band Herman’s Hermits.  His classic hits include: I’m Into Something Good, Mrs. Brown, you’ve Got A Lovely Daughter, I’m Henry VIII, I Am.  The Grass Roots will once again open for Peter Noone.  Last year’s Concert featuring both artists saw one of the largest concert crowds in Batavia Downs History.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles, will perform on Friday, August 4th.  As a renowned former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of our time, Don has helped write and perform many iconic classics.  His 2008 memoir was a New York Times best seller.  Don will perform solo and Eagles’ hits during his set including Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride), Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, the Long Run and Tequila Sunrise.

Closing out the series on Friday, August 11th is Mike DelGuidice and the Big Shot Horns. A recording artist, singer and songwriter who is currently on tour with Billy Joel, Mike has wowed audiences across America with his voice and musicianship .  Mike and the Big Shot horns enjoyed a standing ovation after each of their last 5 songs during last year’s concert series.  Mike and his band play all of Billy Joel’s big hits along with other renditions of classic rock songs.

“We are excited to be welcoming new artists and some of the most popular ones from year’s past,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We’re appreciative to have Pepsi again as our headline sponsor this year and looking forward to allowing great charities like Make-A-Wish Western New York and Kat Colony Animal Rescue to utilize our events to help raise much needed funds for their organizations.”

Tickets for all eight concerts will be available only at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning on Wednesday, January 11th at 10 a.m.

Tickets this year will be $15 for General Admission, $30 for VIP, $60 for Premium and $75 for front row seats.  All tickets can be redeemed at Player’s Club at any time in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 950+ gaming machines.

Season Tickets are also back and will also go on sale for General Admission, VIP and Premium Sections.  A Season pass for General Admission will be $100 (a savings of $20) Season Passes for VIP tickets are $200 (a savings of $40). A Premium Season Pass is $400 (a savings of $80).  Season passes may ONLY be purchased online.

Until February 8th, tickets purchased online for the General Admission section will only be $10. Concert goers will still receive $10 in Free Play on show day with this ticket.

Concerts are held Rain or Shine.  Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

Photos: File photos.  Top photo, Almost Queen by Philip Casper; second photo. Get the Led Out, by Howard Owens

January 4, 2023 - 2:44pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, news, arts, batavia.

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Press release:

Join the Richmond Memorial Library on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. for an intriguing virtual program from art historian Mallory Mortillaro. Watch from home on Zoom or screen the virtual program in person at the library!

While cataloging the artwork housed inside of the Hartley Dodge Memorial, Mallory uncovered a masterpiece that had been lost to the art world since the 1930s.  After a year of research, the piece was authenticated as an official work by Auguste Rodin. Mallory will share the story of how a simple art cataloging project evolved into a search for a mysterious piece’s provenance and became one of the biggest art finds in recent history.

To watch from home on Zoom, visit batavialibrary.org/calendar. You must be registered to receive the Zoom link. To watch in person at the library, visit the circulation desk or call 585-343-9550.

Mallory Mortillaro is an art historian and educator.  She has ten years of teaching experience, and has worked on various art research projects for museums and organizations in the New York metropolitan area.  She studied at Drew University.  Mallory resides in New Jersey with her husband.

December 21, 2022 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas, Alex Feig, music, arts, entertainment, news.

Area musician and songwriter, and former WBTA news producer, Alex Feig has released a new Christmas song, "The Truth About Christmas," and a video shot in Medina to go with it.

December 16, 2022 - 8:03pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, arts, GO ART!, batavia.

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Gregory Hallock hid his personal life for “a very long time,” before realizing that he needed to be a better role model for his children.

The GO ART! executive director and father of two stepped out from the shadows to display that it’s ok to be who you are.

“Coming out was hard for me. I prayed to God every day to make me not gay,” Hallock said of his life up to his mid-20s. “My then-husband and I decided that we have to be proud of who we are. And we want our children to be proud of who they are.”

That love and respect he has for himself, his family and his children — Augustus, 7, and 10-year-old Cattaleya — has been folded into a 15-piece exhibit of various artworks that tell “My Journey” at the Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council, 201 East Main St., Batavia.

It was a colleague, Mary Jo Whitman, working as art coordinator for Genesee Community College, who prompted Hallock to submit his first piece in 2016.

“I was doing a piece for a charity auction. And I was selling that piece. And they were auctioning it off, and I bought it back because it didn’t go for what I thought it was worth. And Mary Jo … they were doing an alumni show, and she asked me to apply for the show. So I applied, thinking that I would be putting in that one piece. Only six artists got selected. And she's like, 'you got selected, now I need the rest of your collection,'” he said. “So I added to the collection, and I decided the initial piece was about love. I had taken two chairs that were exactly the same, I cut out half of the seats on both of them … and I combined them to make a bench. For us, we were two separate people that weren't allowed to be together because of being homosexual. And then we were allowed. So that was our love coming together. So from there, I decided to create a collection based on my journey through life.”

Now 42, Hallock has embraced his persona, which has been steeped in the performing arts, having gone to school for theater, acting and dancing. He was not one to give up easily, and in fact, is “very competitive,” even to the point of making sure to win every coloring contest as a kid.

"My first piece, “(I’m) Coming Out” is a collection of stories from all different people about moments in their life, that, upon looking back on, they realized they were literally 'born this way,'" he said. "I have attached them to a closet door in representation of my childhood and the moment I came out at age 24."  

His pieces use materials, such as the wooden chairs, that have been created from two separate pieces to meld into one unified bench. Even his children’s school work has been incorporated into his imagination through decoupage. The collection has been a gradual accumulation of work, much of which was found when a staffer was cleaning out his office. Much of the pieces are from objects found — literally in the street, he said — and fashioned into something meaningful, often weaving family into them.

“I love the arts, fine art is something I have not pursued, he said. “I did that collection to make people smile. In general, it just makes me smile. This is my now. There’s a meaning behind every piece. For photographs, I would make my whole family do a photo shoot with costumes.”

During his first adoption process, it went much quicker than expected, and before he knew it, Hallock and his former husband welcomed Augustus as part of the family. Then Jezebel the dog, a wheaten terrier, got pregnant and had seven puppies. His life had become wrapped up in pregnancies, and he loved every moment of it, he said.

Hallock then had the privilege of cutting Cattaleya’s umbilical cord during his second adoption, and it further strengthened his fatherhood — and personhood — experience, he said.

“And then came the biggest day of our lives: “Our Little Princess” (also one of his pieces) was born.  I remember swearing that I would never buy Disney clothes or in general be that Disney person,” he says in the exhibit statement. “Well, I failed. I am 100 percent that Disney person, but when you have a daughter how can you avoid it (excuse, lol).”

Fast forward six years, and his “now” has changed, he said, to having a 10-year-old daughter, seven-year-old son who was adopted at age four, plus five chickens, two dogs, two gerbils, one cat, one hedgehog, and one fish. He is "flying high" despite having encountered some bumps along the way.

"I have been working my dream job for nearly seven years, I have gone through a bout of cancer, a separation bought a house and am living life to its fullest," he said.

He credits his family for supporting everything in and about his life -- including dressing up in costumes for photos --- and his mom's handiwork of crocheted ornaments and stockings is included in the exhibit as well.

He has a tattoo that simply states where he’s at these days: “love for all, hate for none.”

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Mary Jo Whitman always had an interest in art, she said, and pursued that by obtaining an associates, bachelor and master degree in fine and studio arts, sculpture, and finally, critical museum studies. Her goal was to become a professor, which she accomplished as an adjunct at GCC.

Whitman also wanted to get involved in an art gallery or museum, she said, and was art coordinator at GCC. She is currently at GO ART! as an educational statewide community regrant program director. Long titles aside, Whitman’s craft is short on boring — bringing multiple facets of images together as a completed visual.

“I’m very interested in human behavior and how we come to identify ourselves. So I believe that our identities are socially and culturally constructed. Meaning that every single aspect of your personality, your beliefs, everything that makes you a person has been influenced by someone or something else that you've come in contact with through your life,” Whitman said. “And taking that on the next level, as adults to really be successful in life, you really have to be able to assimilate to whatever situation you're presented with. I really got into what is the psychological impact … who are you at the very root of it.”

Although she answered that for herself through these pieces — there’s an image of Whitman in every photo — she’s reluctant to share that with the world. Considered “very personal,” she wants instead for viewers to interpret for themselves what each piece means, and how they feel when they see it.

Her 18 pieces, “Deconstructed and Raw,” include sculptures and digital photos culled over the last decade, with the last two years being devoted more to the digital realm.

“I’ve always had an interest in art, pretty much my entire life. I went to school for art. And I've always, within doing my art, I'm always experimenting with different mediums, trying different things. I decided, after taking some courses in digital art, I really enjoyed being able to manipulate images in Photoshop,” Whitman said. “I like the kind of freedom it gave you. Because you can't really make mistakes. You know, when you're doing a painting or something, if you make a mistake, it's hard to kind of rectify it where and when you're working in a digital capacity, it's easy; I could just undo whatever I just did.

“I dissect myself into different identities, and break them down,” she said of her “The Disillusioned” piece. “Once the work is shown publicly, it’s the audience’s responsibility to interpret.”

Whitman was doing her grad school research, being drawn heavily into the idea of identity construction, she said.

“And so, in looking at this, I really got interested in what is the psychological impact of knowing that your identity is constructed: who would you be if you had not been influenced by this specific thing, or that specific thing?” she said.

Backdrops are taken from obscure places, such as her gutted basement with pieces of dropped ceiling torn down. That construction material is shot in wide angle with other images positioned on top and merged.

"And when it was on the floor, I was just kind of, you know, enamored with this, these materials, it was all broken up and dusty. So I started taking photographs, I took these very low wide angle photos of it. And usually, when I'm doing one of these digital images, that's my first thing I go to, as I find the central background image of it, and it's usually something wide angle, you know, from an unusual perspective, so that was kind of fitting into it," she said. "And, you know, it was kind of telling through some things that I had going on, ... and I scanned in these incomplete drawings and manipulated them so tha they're overlaid of this image, and then there' an image of me ... And then just kind of put this like introspective silhouette kind of image of myself, it's like sitting amongst this rubble."

Whitman plans to have other exhibits in the next year, she said, depicting “that mode of anxiety of who am I right now? I enjoy the human behavior.”

"I attribute much of the success in my life to my ability to assume whatever identity is necessary to function within any social situation with which I am presented. My appearance, my clothing, my mannerisms, my vocabulary, and even the tone of my voice differ from situation to situation. I am the crazy hippie, dancing barefoot at a festival as my flowing skirt chases me. I am the curator, entertaining pretentious conversation in stilettos," Whitman said. "I am the smart-ass bartender, donning pigtails and a bowtie with a mischievous grin. I am the country girl in mud-covered, ripped-up jeans, destroying targets with a shotgun and riding four-wheelers. I am an artist, conceptualizing all my observations in an array of mediums, often in wax and plaster-covered clothing. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I am an aunt. I am a mom. The sheer size of my closet can attest to how many different people I can be and who I may need to be at any given moment.

"So, who am I beneath the fractured and fluid identity which has been constructed in accordance with societal expectations? The truth is, I am all of these identities… and none of them at the same time," she said in her artist statement.

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How does Program Coordinator Jodi Fisher feel about her first exhibit, “Pictures and Prose?”

“It’s nerve-wracking,” she said.

Her 22 photographs of mostly color scenes focus on the outdoors, nature, and, really, “anything that’s interesting or out of the ordinary,” she said.

One muse she’s drawn to is the sky — she loves”I love taking pictures of the clouds and the infinite blues” — and gaze into Centennial Park.

“I’ve always been into art, and have never been able to draw,” she said. “I’ve always been into poems and poetry — m mom used to read poems to me every night.”

Now that she’s discovered a special lens for the iPhone — noted for capturing “amazing” photos by users these days — Fisher plans to home in on the fine details of close-ups, called “extreme detail photography.”

“I just see something beautiful,” she said. “I don’t necessarily see it as art, it speaks to me in some way or another. It sometimes tells a story about something, like an abandoned building.”

Her poem “Autumn” aptly describes a photo of those leafy trees:

Autumn

The sun peaking through 

The leftover autumn leaves

Casting shadows on the ground

Blue skies above the canopy

The sweet fragrance wafting up

From the forest floor

The sharp crunch with each step

As you trek across the uneven soil

You are transported back

To a time before the lands were spoiled

Before the trees were stripped 

And if only for a moment you are one with everything around you

You are Autumn

 

She began writing poetry, and “wanted to incorporate that with photos,” she said. “Poems and songs have always intrigued me. Those were my nighttime stories.”

The exhibits of Whitman and Fisher will be through Feb. 18.

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Photos of GO ART! staff artists Gregory Hallock, top, Mary Jo Whitman and Jodi Fisher are featured in an exhibit at the facility at 201 East Main St., Batavia; various works on display; and Angie Dickson, above, who contributed some artwork to the exhibit. Photos by Howard Owens.

December 16, 2022 - 1:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Marsha McWilson, Batavia Downs, arts, entertainment, news.

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Marsha McWilson brought down the house at Batavia Downs on Thursday night with her high-energy soul, R&B, and funk Christmas-themed variety show.

Photos by Howard Owens

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December 15, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, Christmas, news, religion.

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The set list for tonight's (Dec. 15) Christmas Concert at City Church promises to be as diverse as it is joyful, with more than just gospel and hymns but also hip-hop, R&B, and smooth jazz celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ryan Macdonald also promises concertgoers will enjoy engaging and energetic performers and great musicians.

"We've done (the Christmas Concert) every year now, with the exception of COVID, for about five years," Macdonald said. "It's really been a wonderful night of really coming together and celebrating."

The artists, Macdonald said, are also personal friends.

"They are not just great artists but great people," Macdonald said.

Carlton Wilcox, Rufus McGee Jr, and Trellis Pore have all performed at previous Christmas concerts.  This is the Batavia debut for Kimera Lattimore (top photo).

Macdonald said he's tried to get her on the bill for years, but there was always a scheduling conflict.  He said he met her in Buffalo years ago, where she is the music director and worship leader of Renovation Church.  She is a national recording artist, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, rapper, vocal teacher, theologian and Elder of the gospel."

"She is really a great spirit, a great believer," Macdonald said. "She believes people matter. She believes humanity matters."

Her bio states that she believes, "We were all created, by the creator, to create."

The concert, Macdonald said, is intended to uplift the whole community, and all are invited.

"Our goal the whole Christmas season is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but beyond that, we're celebrating each other," Macdonald said. "The term that has really stuck with me is that we're not independent; we're interdependent. We need each other.  We don't only need each other as believers, but we need the whole community." 

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at City Church, 210 East Main St., Batavia. The concert is also live-streamed.

Submitted photos.

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Submitted information:

Pastor Trellis Pore, multi-instrumentalist and Vocalist. A Western NY native. He started singing and playing instruments at the age of 5 with his family gospel group, The Cooper family Gospel singers. Singing traditional quartet Gospel music. Also was apart of the band Perifial Vision,  and The Glorious Sons of Rochester.  Currently, he leads The Trellis Cooper Band. Singing gospel music with a twist. Trellis has his own Signature series guitar with the company Mucho Guitars of Rockwall, Texas. Trellis is currently the Pastor of Shiloh Church Albion. 

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Submitted information:

Rufus McGee Jr., son of Bishop & Lady Rufus and Linda McGee is Rochester’s best-kept secret, however, now the secret is out! His parents began molding him at age 2 years old to become a musician. Although he began as the church drummer at 6 years old, at 11, he progressed to becoming one of the most extraordinary organists/keyboardists that anyone has ever heard.

His ability is God-given, but can also be attributed to years of absorbing gospel music passed down through the classic COGIC style of music, and the music of the church that he attended growing up in his hometown, Rochester, New York. His drive and confidence developed from the challenge to rise above mediocrity. 

He is an exemplary musician, producer and the founder of RMJ Productions. He enjoys listening to George Duke, Chick Corea, Kevin Bond, Jason White, Mike Bereal and Eddie Brown. 

He has recorded with: Aaron Lindsey, Kathy Bowman, Ricky Dillard, Jason Wright, Serena Young, Shirley Murdock, Eddie Balltrip, Danell Daymon and Royalty, Malcolm Williams, Amar’rae Hill True Foundation and Jerome Francis and Divine Nature.

Rufus gives every ounce of his being to excelling and finishing well! Rufus has a great passion and love for gospel music and enjoys devoting his life to giving God his all. His greatest inspiration is God. He often says, “Without God, I would be nothing.”

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Submitted information:

Carlton Wilcox has been creating a standard of excellence in music that embodies, style, quality, and substance. This singer, songwriter, and accomplished bassist has been entertaining Western NY for over two decades. Resounding melodies accompanied by rich voice make this crooner one of our area’s sought talents. With gospel, smooth jazz and R&B roots, Carlton wants to spread the message of hope through music. Carlton Wilcox is also a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff, event promoter and music instructor for the City of Rochester’s ROC Music Program. Carlton Wilcox wants to make a difference in the world, one day at a time, by giving back the love and support that he has been given.

December 9, 2022 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Claudia Hoyser, Mr. Wine & Liquor, batavia, news, music, arts, entertainment.

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Country music recording artist Claudia Hoyser, pictured left above with WBTA's Nici "Noir" Johnson, was at Mr. Wine & Liquor in Batavia on Friday evening to promote her coffee-whiskey blend, Drunken Bean Whiskey, during a special event at the store that included tastings of a variety of wine and spirits.

WBTA was on site for a live broadcast during the event.

Hoyser released a music video three months ago that was partially filmed at farms in Genesee County.

Photos by Howard Owens

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December 9, 2022 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Society of Artists, arts, batavia, news.

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Richard Ellingham won the "People's Choice Award" at the opening reception on Thusday for the Batavia Society of Artists annual Winter Show at the Richmond Memorial Library.

The show runs through Dec. 28.

Photos by Howard Owens

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December 7, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in st. james, Genesee Chorale, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Genesee Chorale performs its annual holiday concert -- From Star to Star -- at 4 p.m. on Saturday at St. James Episcopal Church.

Ric Jones is the director. Janine Fagnan is the associate conductor, and Doug Hanson is the accompanist.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or at www.geneseechorale.com/box-office.

St. James is located at 405 East Main St., Batavia.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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December 3, 2022 - 7:30am

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Not naming all of the musical line-up ahead of time is not to be punitive, says conductor S. Shade Zajac.

But rather, it’s similar to how Christmas operates: there’s usually an element of surprise by not opening the gift until it’s time.

“The idea was, normally, we put all the pieces we're playing on the poster, or at least most of them, so people kind of know what to expect. But you know, I've been thinking that it's, it's really easy sometimes to fall into the trap of just doing the same things over and over again, especially for holiday concerts,” Zajac said about his orchestra’s upcoming concert. “And, you know, it'll just have to wait until Sunday when you come to the concert to see or to hear exactly what we're doing, just so that there's a little bit of mystery, kind of like getting a gift or something you can't open until the day of. ”

The gift of Genesee Symphony Orchestra’s Symphonic Holiday Surprise will be opened at 4 p.m. Sunday at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia.

To be sure, there will be plenty of holiday favorites tucked into some new, and perhaps less familiar songs, he said. Zajac, now in his seventh season with GSO, takes his time to develop a concert menu and does so well in advance.

“I’m always looking ahead to what’s next, logistically and practically. We start planning things now for next year, especially when working with soloists,” he said, adding that next year’s soloist has been booked since 2020.

“There are a lot of different holiday pieces with different arrangements of the same piece. So, it always makes things a little difficult. I had this realization this is my seventh season. And I try to always change it up a little bit each year,” he said. “We are always exploring different music and sometimes in different avenues, and always wanting to bring a new experience and bring pieces that people haven't maybe heard before, or maybe the orchestra hasn't played before.”

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After asking the orchestra how many have played a particular piece that he was considering, only a few hands went up, which meant the number would not only introduce a new melody to patrons but also create a challenge for versed musicians.

And they have earned it.

“I just feel us getting better and better. I can certainly feel it, and I know the orchestra is starting to feel it as well,” he said. “There are so many things I still want us to do together. This orchestra really has a special place in my heart.”

Zajac continues to strengthen his own professional chops by performing with other groups and, for a week in January, working with Baltimore Orchestra.

This concert also features a promising violinist, Hilton High School senior Luke Pisani, recipient of GSO’s Young Artist Competition award, among many others.

Pisani, whose LinkedIn account states that he is a motivated, straight-A student who demonstrates a strong work ethic and creative ability, put that hard work on display for the competition, Zajac said. Pisani had competed previously, and, although he did not win that time, his musical prowess was a teaser of what was to come.

When Zajac heard him this time around, he couldn’t believe it was the same person playing.

“Some years, it’s really, really challenging to pick a winner, the talent is so vast. And some years you have someone who comes in, and that’s it,” he said. “He blew us all away; he stood out from the rest of the competition. The Concerto (for violin and orchestra in D major) is a very well-known, very challenging piece of music. He's playing the first movement, and so our audience will absolutely recognize some of the tunes and will just be blown away by his playing, I'm sure.”

Pisani also won competitions with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Violin, Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra, Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra and the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music. His versatility spreads over to jazz piano, basketball and serving at his church. His list of accomplishments is quite lengthy, and his performance for the GSO competition demonstrated that his “amount of growth is incredible,” Zajac said,

“He is very technically advanced, you have to be to be playing Tchaikovsky,” he said. “He has that little something extra that makes people pay attention. And that's, of course, something that we look for in these competitions. A lot of people can play the notes. And then there are people who can actually play the music and just kind of give it that little extra something that grabs your attention. And he did that for us, and we were engaged his entire audition.”

As for the remaining concert, there will be “plenty of holiday cheer,” Zajac said. It will include works by Tchaikovsky, Anderson, Rimsky Korsakov and Vaughan Williams.

“Of course, there's holiday favorites that everyone loves that I'm sure we'll be playing. And maybe a couple of other little pieces that people wouldn't expect," he said.

Click HERE for a sample of Pisani on violin.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and free for students with an ID, and are available at YNGodess, Holland Land Office Museum, The Coffee Press, from any board member or at GSO

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Top Photo: Conductor S. Shade Zajac leads the Genesee Symphony Orchestra through rehearsal for its upcoming holiday concert. Photos by Howard Owens.

November 30, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, entertainment, city centre, Batavia Players, theater, arts.

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After performing twice before in the same Batavia Players show, Heather Ferris is now taking the baton, so to speak, as director of what’s become a holiday favorite for the group each December.

This year’s “A Christmas Carole” has not only made Ferris attentive to the script, but also to every other aspect of production — from auditions early on to the finishing touches of dress rehearsal.

“I definitely enjoy the directing versus being on stage. I’m a little shy. Sometimes getting on stage for me is, it can be a little overwhelming. It can be a little scary. But being able to direct, I feel like I can let my creativity come to life through the actors that are on the stage. So it's more of a creative outlet for me than actually being on stage,” she said prior to rehearsal Tuesday. “I just start thinking about how far we’ve come. My youngest cast member is 3 years old, and then I've got cast members all the way up into their 70s. And just to see them kind of blossom, and just really bring characters to life, for me, it’s just so fun to watch that. And so I get really excited for them when they're bringing it all together.”

Scrooge and his ghosts debut at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the makeshift theater at Batavia City Centre.

This isn’t a first-time directing for Ferris, who is co-directing this one with her husband Richard; however, it is her first experience off-stage guiding the action for the beloved Christmas classic.

“It’s a fun show, it’s very family-friendly,” she said. “You expect the change that Scrooge comes through, and see the spirit of Christmas come alive through him. To see how the story that was written almost 200 years ago can be so much like what we deal with today … money doesn’t always make you happy. It’s a feel-good story, and you go from bah-humbug to a time where people are happy; it makes you feel good at the end.”

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Written by Charles Dickens and published in 1843, the story features Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly, penny-pinching curmudgeon whose ultimate life lessons come to him through ghosts of Jacob Marley and of Christmas past, present, and future. After learning about each phase and its impact on people and the community, Ebenezer’s moral compass and hardened heart are transformed.

Of course, before that idyllic ending takes place — just as with the storyline itself — there are the typical challenges with such shows, especially with a cast of 32 and half of which are youngsters, she said. School activities, sports practices and work schedules all must be juggled amidst a rehearsal timeline that began in October.

And even though the pandemic has rested in most everyone’s rearview mirror, there has been illness to deal with amongst the troupe, she said. But now, with a full dress rehearsal upon them for Wednesday night, it is, as they say, show time. And Batavia Players is ready to entertain, said Ferris, a retirement plan consultant.

“Tomorrow is really just making sure that our lighting is good, our sounds are good, that we have all the costuming in place and things like that,” she said. “So it's literally just the finishing touches, the little things that make the production a whole production.”

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Although by day she crunches numbers and deals with accounting for clients, Ferris, a resident of Medina, can let her innovational nature flow in the after-hours of theater.

“It really allows me to have that creative outlet,” she said. “It’s a way to get away from my everyday challenges, and let that stress melt away.”

Filled with familiar music and traditional Christmas carols, the show is also augmented with pianist Kathy White and Kristin Gelia on violin.

Tickets are going fast, and folks are encouraged to get them sooner than later, said Patrick Burk, aka Ghost of Christmas Future. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, and may be purchased at showtix4u.com or possibly at the door for some dates, Burk said.

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Photos of rehearsal Monday for "A Christmas Carole" by Batavia Players at Batavia City Centre. Photos by Howard Owens.

November 19, 2022 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Terry Webber, GO ART!, batavia, Bethany, news, arts.

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The main gallery at GO ART! is filled with wooly bright colors until Dec. 3 in an exclusive show for East Bethany artist Terry Webber. 

Webber's show of painted wool is unique.  The pictures are bright and vibrant but filled with texture and an element of 3D vision.

Webber, who owns East Bethany Arts and Antiques at 5769 Ellicott Street Road, Bethany, explained the involved process of creating her pictures.  It starts with a sheet of wool, called "pre-felt," and that becomes the background.  She then adds puff balls of color and everything is soaked in soap and water. The work is then placed in a felting machine that spins the felt 4,000 to 5,000 times. The pieces of wool then become one solid piece.  From there, she ads needlework as needed or ads "naps" that provide additional texture.

She's been working in the medium for about a decade. She found out in April she would have a show at GO ART! and began creating 40 new pieces -- she actually exceeded her goal, producing 44 pieces.  

"I like the vibrancy," Webber said.  "It also keeps you from being too nitpicky just because it's not paints and it's not pencil. It's more freeform but the colors are what I like the most."

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November 14, 2022 - 8:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, Seymour Place, batavia, news.

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It says right on the building, "Arts Council," but GO ART! Director Gregory Hallock has been concerned that people don't realize that Seymour Place at 201 East Main St. is a place anybody can come in and see art.

"I think a lot of people don't see our sign, and a lot of people still think we're a membership club," Hallock said. "Yes, we have members but you don't have to be a member to come in."

His solution: Install some works of art -- in this case, sculptures -- in the garden plots in front of the red brick building at the corner of East Main and Bank streets in Batavia.

Hallock and the GO ART! staff had become familiar with the work of Bill Schutt from his showing at the Ramble, what's on display at Eli Fish Brewing Co., his entries into an art competition there, and knew he worked in metal, which seemed like the perfect medium for sculptures placed outside the building.

It might come as a surprise to some that Schutt is an artist.  The Basom resident has been a volunteer firefighter for 32 years and spent a dozen years working for either Genesee County Emergency Management or Mercy EMS.

He often tinkered around the house, working with metal, installing bookshelves or other useful items for the house, often embellishing whatever he made with artistic touches. A few years ago he became inspired to make sculptures using scrap metal on his property.

He's recently branched out into making larger pieces, so the commission from GO ART! came at an opportune time to expand his portfolio.

Schutt's pieces are about "our shared humanity," he said.

The first one is a riff on a popular social media meme about the difference between equality and equity. In the meme, three people of different heights are shown standing on boxes, trying to see over a fence to watch a baseball game.  They're all on the same size box.  The tall person can see, the smallest person can't see at all. That is equality, according to the meme. When the boxes are restacked, so the tallest has no box, the medium-height person has one, and the shortest has two, all three can see.  The meme labels that configuration, "equity."

The second sculpture is of people in silhouette. Their faces look the same but they're all different based on hairstyle and the jewelry they wear.

"It's kind of a reminder that we are more the same than we are different," Schutt said. "We need to celebrate our differences and find our common humanity.  Art does that. It brings together all walks of life."

Hallock loved the work, he said.

"I didn't know what he was going to do, and I'm pleasantly pleased with the pieces," Hallock said.  "The message of equity and unity is there."

Submitted photos.

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November 10, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Oakfield, Haxton Memorial Library, notify, arts.

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Onnalee Berrios was well-known for her compassion and generosity, her brother says.

Whether it was stopping to offer kids a ride to school, delivering homemade gingerbread cookies, buying extra groceries for someone in need, or spending time with family, Berrios had a kind way about her, brother Anthony Terrell said.

“She had very good instincts. My sister was wonderful,” he said by phone from his home in New York City. “I loved going to her house.”

Terrell is a native of Batavia and graduated from Batavia High School in 1967. He returned to the area after being drafted and serving in the Army for two years, though it was as a young teen when he first adored his sister for being so accessible, hospitable, and for being so easygoing with the house rules. He appreciated the little things that she did.

"She would let us watch a movie, we would still have to go to bed like around 11:30, 12 o'clock. But it was better than ... watching your parents watch Ponderosa at 9:30 and telling me, 'don't make so much noise when you go upstairs to your bedroom,'" Terrell said. "Whenever I would go over to the house, she would always have a few bottles of cold beer and pizza." 

Onnie, as she was called, died several years ago at age 64 after a battle with cancer. Terrell — one of the five remaining siblings out of the family’s whopping 17 —  plans to honor her memory with a set of six pastel paintings during a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Haxton Memorial Library, 3 North Pearl St., Oakfield.

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Why Onnie and why now? Terrell’s fondness for his sister while growing up in rural Genesee County is due to her friendly and accommodating nature. An infusion of Beatles mania encouraged kids to be independent, while adolescence brought on rebellion in wanting to break out of the small-town boredom he and his friends often experienced.

And there was Onnie — with her house full of homemade goodies, a few bottles of beer in the fridge for the taking, movies that were too risqué for their parent’s approval, and someone to talk with.

“She was pretty much my mentor,” he said. “There was nothing to do, and it was very, very boring. I would go over to my sister’s house; she had kids, and we’d play basketball and eat cookies. Boys started growing their hair long, which created problems for families. If you had someone that you could gravitate to, you did.”

Terrell had an art show at Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council last year and met up with former classmates and friends. He met Terry Kolb of Oakfield, a former art teacher -- and one of the recipients of his sister's famous gingerbread cookies -- and before they knew it, the artists agreed to have a show in the western part of the county. Since Onnie had lived there, Terrell thought it fitting to commemorate the show to her.

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He then completed six pieces of art as a tribute to his beloved sister.

“Each one replicates what I did when I was there,” he said.

Those activities, illustrated in muted pastels of purples, pinks and blues, include the two of them sitting in rocking chairs that Onnie had restored and refinished herself; sitting in her amethyst-laden room of window sills lined up with the purple stones that reflected the sunlight, casting a violet-flavored veil over everything; and yet another of the two of them sitting in the dark, eating pizza next to a glowing fireplace.

Terrell plans to introduce each one with what it represents and how it came about, he said.

“I’m trying to convey that it’s a very, very rich, deep and rewarding feeling. I think about my sister spiritually,” he said. “She was very well revered. When you love somebody, whether they're here physically or they're not here. When you love somebody, it's continuous. It stays with you. That's the thing about love.”

The first half hour of the reception is for mingling, with the program to begin at 7 p.m., he said.

More about Terrell will be published Friday.

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Photos of artworks painted by Batavia native Anthony Terrell will be featured in an art show debuting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Haxton Memorial Library in Oakfield. Photos by Howard Owens. Submitted photo of Anthony Terrell in his studio.

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