August 9, 2007

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Park of arts
Greeley Park hosts Shakespeare performance and local artists’ show
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

The Nashua Area Artists Association is breaking out of its two-dimensional tradition for the 54th annual Greeley Park Art Show. It attracts between 75 and 100 vendors, and this year jewelry and polymer clay artisans are able to enter.

Each artist submits one piece to be judged. Categories include acrylic, oil, sculpture, mixed media, print and photography, pastel and drawing and watercolor.

Another major change is that the group decided to pay the lead organizer to recognize the time, effort and networking necessary to run the event, said NAAA president Lynne Guimond Findlay. NAAA hired business-savvy member Darleen Bellan of Hollis. The polymer clay artist was featured on HGTV.

It takes months for volunteer teams to prepare for the two-day show, which happens Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Findlay said.

NAAA added a three-dimensional category last year for sculpture, Bellan said. While jewelry and polymer clay artists are NAAA members and show their work at the group’s Gallery One exhibit space, it seemed fair to include those media in the Greeley Park Art Show, Bellan said.

“I think it’s a natural evolution and reflection of what’s going on in arts community,” Guimond said.

Guimond said she doesn’t think people realize that original work is available at the Greeley Park Art show for about the same price people pay for mass-produced prints at home décor stores.

This year the children’s art contest, long held in conjunction with the Greeley show, will be held separately. Bellan said last year it was postponed until the fall at Gallery One because of rain: “It actually drew quite a bit of people to the gallery.” It had higher participation, and the children enjoyed being the focus. This year’s date has not been set.

At the Greeley Park show, a wood-turning demonstration is planned as well as a marionette show from a marionette artist.

Submissions to the contest will be judged at 10 a.m. on Saturday by Jerry King, owner of The Framers Market Gallery, and Adelle Buford Baker, former director of the Franco American Center and an honorary consul of France.

To purchase work, folks need to walk to the sidewalk because Joseph Thornton Greeley said the park could not be used commercially when he left the land to the town. His rules also prevent showing artwork of nudes.

“Everything has to be in good taste,” Bellan said.

Also happening that weekend is a free production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at Greeley Park’s bandstand at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19. It also runs Saturday, Aug. 25, and Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m.

“It’s very entertaining. I think it’s one of Shakespeare’s most accessible plays,” said producer Mike Wood. “You don’t really need the travel guide you need in a lot of Shakespeare plays to know what’s going on ... it’s the plot for every teen movie in the ’90s but better,” Wood said.

This is the community theater group’s fifteenth year producing Shakespeare in the Park, and their first time repeating one of the Bard’s plays. They are using traditional sets and costumes, something they haven’t done in a few years. Much Ado About Nothing takes place in an Italian village, where soldiers are returning from war, and the count is planning to marry his daughter off to a prince, but she falls for the prince’s friend. Bob Foster directs and there are several seasoned Shakespeare actors involved. The cast includes Will McGregor, Renee MacNeil, Robert Haas, Eric Eastman, Don Tongue, Anna Paratore, Len Deming and Ian Belczyk.

Greeley Park is located on Concord Street in Nashua. Call 320-2530 or go to nashuatheatreguild.org for more about the play, or see naaasite.com for more about the art show.



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