BEE the Change

970172_10151941566901324_7809360038521488933_nIn honor of Earth Week, ACA teamed up with Arlington’s Whole Foods to talk about the health of our earth, natural processes, like pollination and how we can help.  Together, we came up with the art installation, Bee the Change, which is on view at the Arlington Whole Foods on Mass Ave.



During our week long Vacation Arts Camp in April, our team of campers and staff made bees from recycled materials.  We used paper tubes, posters and old advertisements donated by Whole Foods.  We also reused their banners and painted signs to to display in the store.



IMG_2606All totaled, our campers made over 150 bees of all sizes and designs. Different age groups of kids contributed different aspects of the project, from cutting out the wings to drawing the faces.   The project was overseen and organized by our Counselors in Training, who helped install the artwork at Whole Foods.

The result is a beautiful swarm of friendly bees hanging over the café at the Mass Ave Whole Foods!  Be sure to check them out next time you are in the area!

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Cupcakes are Coming: Arlington Native Makes a Sweet Return at Open Studios


“My favorite moments are watching people take their first bite of our cupcakes, and talking with them about our mission to generate funds for Arts education. The stories we hear from clients and event guests about the role the Arts have played in their lives, or their children’s lives, remind us daily of the importance and significance of our mission. ”

As ACA begins ramping up for Open Studios – one of our biggest events of the year – we have been lucky enough to have a new addition among our usual 80+ artists and fine crafters that will temporarily set up shop in our building.

Amy Chasan, Arlington native, turned herself into a woman of many trades; an artist, activist, and a businesswoman. With the start of her bakery, Sweet Generation, Amy has created a truly inspiring business model that we at ACA feel empowered to share with our community.

Sweet Generation is an online bakery that creates beautifully crafted treats for purchase in the New York City area, while also providing a customizing option for businesses and organizations. While it is easy to go through the gallery of the many delectable desserts that can be ordered, it is important to not overlook what makes Sweet Generation such an important company – a portion of every sale goes towards Arts Education.

Sweet Generation has had an incredible start thus far. Amy has catered events for celebrities like Wyclef Jean and Sheryl Sandberg, as well as galas for nonprofits like Citizen Schools at NYC’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, Sweet Generation has won the 2013 New Challenge for Social Innovation for their work.

Amy discussed her childhood growing up in Arlington and how it shaped her interest in Arts Education. She looked back on memories of attending Bright Start after school and the Arlington Boys & Girls Club for summer camp, going on to eventually get her first job there as a camp counselor and end up getting her Arts Teaching License. She goes on to explain, “Weekends doing art projects and baking with my mom truly cultivated my creativity and made me realize my love of the arts.”

This won’t be the first time Amy has utilized her talents to give back to ACA – this past year Amy generously created custom cupcakes for our Silver! ACA’s 25th Anniversary Gala Celebration.

We are thrilled to have Amy’s delicious assortment of cupcakes make another appearance at this year’s Open Studios, which are available for pre-order to help support ACA and can be picked up at the event. 15% of the proceeds will go towards Arts Education for kids and teens at ACA.

We hope to see you at the event and helping to support ACA through Sweet Generation. As it was well articulated by Amy herself, “… who doesn’t love a cupcake with a cause?!”

More information about Arlington Open Studios can be found HERE as well as a sneak peek of what will be seen at the event.

Celebrating the Life and Work of African American Folk Artist Winfred Rembert

All me posterOn the heels of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, The Arlington Center for the Arts and Arlington International Film Festival invites the public to attend a film, panel discussion and art show/sale with Winfred Rembert, a self-taught folk artist from Georgia whose carved and dyed leather artwork depicts the daily lives of African Americans in the pre-civil rights segregated south.

The event takes place on Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 in the Theater at the Arlington Center for the Arts, 41 Foster Street, Arlington, MA. Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors) are available online.

The Panel discussion will include the artist, Winfred Rembert, the film director, Vivian Ducat, and moderator John Voci, from WGBH.

Winfred Rembert

Left to right: John Voci, Winfred Rembert, Vivian Ducat

Film Synopsis: A feature documentary, the film chronicles the life of Winfred Rembert, a 66-year-old African American who grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia. Rembert spent most of his childhood working in the cotton and peanut fields. When he could attend school he loved drawing but not much else. Attendance at a civil rights demonstration got him thrown in jail without charges or a trial. An escape over a year later resulted in a prison sentence, but only after Rembert had survived an attempted lynching. While serving seven years on Georgia chain gangs, Rembert fell in love with both his future wife and with leather as an art medium. Life and eight children intervened after prison; it was not until 1995 that Rembert began to carve, tool and then dye pictures on leather in his studio in the front room of his home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Winfred Rembert, "Amazing Grace"

Winfred Rembert, “Amazing Grace”

About Winfred Rembert:  With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history. His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry they show as recently as the 1960s and 70s.

All-Me-IINow in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. In “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” the artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.

For more information or advance tickets, please visit our website.

This event is co-sponsored with the Arlington International Film Festival, presenting films and special events throughout the fall.  Weekend festival dates: October 23-27.

A-Town Aerialist comes to town with FAQ Circus Collective

Arlington native Lindsay Culbert-Olds returns home with a new circus troupe to perform at the Arlington Center for the Arts, August 19 & 20.

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Lindsay (below) and Kia (above) on the duo trapeze

22-year old Arlington native Lindsay Culbert-Olds didn’t grow up dreaming of joining the circus. Sure, she loved gymnastics and attended Circus Smirkus camp as a youngster.  During high school, she even studied trapeze at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont.  But she never imagined she could make a career as a circus artist.

After a short stint at Mount Holyoke college in the US, Lindsay’s passion for the trapeze took her to circus school in Montreal, where she and a dynamic group of 10 fellow circus arts students have formed the FAQ Circus Collective, a company made up of 10 circus friends, classmates and coworkers who share the dream of creating a new American circus company.  They’re touring the US this summer, hoping to challenge preconceptions about what a circus is, and what it can be.

FAQ Circus Collective.  Photo credit: Renald Laurin

FAQ Circus Collective. Photo credit: Renald Laurin

So many other countries throughout the world have an incredibly rich circus culture and respect for the art.  The United States is just beginning to discover modern circus, and we hope to bring what we have learned from studying abroad back to our home country to inspire the growth of the modern American circus.”  –FAQ Circus

FAQ Circus will perform two evening shows at the Arlington Center for the Arts – August 19 & 20 at 7:30 pm.  Please note: advance tickets are currently sold out.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, first come, first served.

FAQ will perform an abbreviated version of their show on Tuesday, August 20 at 1:00, as guest artists during ACA’s summer arts camp.  The public is invited to attend this performance for a $5 admission fee.  Seats are limited, doors open at 12:45.

In a wonderful Arlington Center for the Arts connection, Lindsay is the daughter of Arlington artist Henry Olds, a frequent participant in Arlington Open Studios and Gibbs Gallery Exhibits.  ACA Blog readers may remember Henry from a series of blog posts back in 2011:  “Behind the design… introducing Henry Olds, Jr. and an unexpected artistic inspiration”  and…  Open Studios Inspiration, part 2: Happy Reunions

For more information about FAQ Circus, visit their website.

Arlington Animation Fest this Weekend

8/8/2013: WEATHER UPDATE: due to predicted rain, the Animation Festival is rescheduled for Saturday, August 10th, at 7:00pm at Robbins Farm Park.  The Wicked Pickers will be unable to join us, but members of the AHS Jazz Band will play!  Don’t miss it!!

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Come to Robbins Farm Park on Friday, August 9th (rain date: August 10th) for an evening outdoor festival showcasing local animated work for all ages.

Animation Festival LogoArlington’s own eclectic bluegrass band the Wicked Pickers will be kicking off the evening at 7pm, with the films starting at 8:30pm when the sun has set. Bring a picnic and blanket, buy some food from our vendors, and enjoy the night!

The event is presented by Arlington Community Media Inc, Arlington Center for the Arts, The Friends of Robbins Farm Park, and Arlington International Film Festival.

Directions to Robbins Farm Park.

Emily Malin: watercolor artist gives a glimpse into the worlds of fruit, flowers, and (a little bit of) her own remarkable journey as an artist

Emily Malin is a remarkable watercolor artist who has confronted challenges beyond the imaginations of most of us, but has persevered to create a remarkable body of artwork, which is now on display in the Tufts Street Community Gallery of the Arlington Center for the Arts.

Emily will host a reception for her show on Friday, August 23, from 5-7pm in the Tufts Street Gallery, on the 2nd floor of the Arlington Center for the Arts.  Please join us to celebrate a very special artist!

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Emily Malin’s watercolor fruits and flowers bring a playful, joyful exuberance to the Tufts Street Community Gallery, Summer 2013

Through her watercolors, Emily provides insight into the lives of fruit, flowers, trees and animals that most of us cannot imagine. Through Emily’s artwork we find a way to let a vegetable cheer us up (as in “Beet”ing the Blues), see the wonder of a piece of fruit (as in Magnificent Mango), and enjoy the simple beauty that surrounds us. All these things Emily sees, feels and puts into her art for us to enjoy.

Emily Malin, portrait

Emily Malin, artist

Emily’s artwork is more remarkable still given that she produces it despite a severe neurological impairment. At the age of 11, when, for most of us, the future holds nothing but promise and the days hold only leisure and an absence of worry, Emily began to show signs of the illness that would eventually lead to a life confined to a wheelchair.

Unable to speak, and with little control over the right side of her body, Emily has, for more than two decades, faced challenges that would overwhelm the best of us. Not content to survive, Emily sought out her passion and early on found that she had a talent (at the prodding of an insightful art teacher) – a talent that manifested itself when she picked up a brush.

Emily Malin, Sunflower

Emily Malin, Sunflower

For more than 15 years now (about as long as she has been living on her own), Emily has been painting. Her work has hung in coffee houses, in galleries and at exhibits. She founded Emily Enterprises (which she operates with the assistance of her mother, Diane Malin) in 1998. Emily Enterprises produces, markets and sells her artwork in the form of Iris prints and note cards.

Emily’s work will be on display in the Tufts Street Gallery at the Arlington Center for the Arts through August 30, 2013.

For more information, visit Emily Malin online.

Emily Malin, Three Pretty Persimmons

Emily Malin, Three Pretty Persimmons

Images of Arlington 5th grade artists honored at the State House

Kids Images of Arlington at the State House (20)This summer, anyone visiting Senator Ken Donnelly’s office at the Massachusetts State House will be treated to an exhibit of 30+ works of art by Arlington 5th graders, part of the Arlington Center for the Arts’ annual “Kids Images of Arlington” exhibit, now in its 8th year.

Each year, all 400+ 5th graders in the Arlington public schools create artwork depicting something unique about the town.  The artwork is displayed in a massive exhibit that fills all three floors of the Arlington Center for the Arts building.

A small subset of the students’ artwork is selected to go on display at the State House in Senator Donnelly’s offices.

Last week, the Senator hosted the students in a special reception in their honor, and took the kids on a private tour of the State House.

Several of the 5th grade "Images of Arlington" artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Several of the 5th grade “Images of Arlington” artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Donnelly loves the tradition – whenever he has visitors to his offices – other Senators and Representatives, or constituents from his district, he says he loves showing off the artwork, which depicts so many landmarks and special places in Arlington.

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate...!)

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate…!)

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon.  We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon. We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!


See more of the “Kids Images of Arlington” artwork in our online slideshow…