Outgoing President Joan C. Lester’s Letter to the Membership

Greetings ! After two years of monthly “talks” with you as MAC President, this is my last letter because my term of office is over. It has been an honor to be your President. It has also been fun, very busy, interesting, often challenging, yet always rewarding; I have loved it all.

MAC is a very special place. It is more than the beautiful building and grounds and a Board of Directors who plan artistic events. It is the environment of creativity and caring. It is the Founding Members who gave it life. It is our present members who sustain that life and growth. It is the ambience of history and local culture. It is all of us who support the philosophy of art in its myriad forms as necessary for a full life. It is the artists. It is the art lovers. It is being part of a marvelous venture.

For me this venture has been a particularly vivid experience. As many of you know, my husband Lee & I moved to Italy just after our honeymoon, expecting to stay only for a year or two. Twenty-four years later we did leave, but while there we were blessed to live with the great art, architecture, music, and culture of the western world. Vasari wrote his “Lives of the Artists” about the men whose works became familiar to us. The past is alive wherever you go in Italy, in every city, village, and countryside, on the streets where we lived and the churches and museums we know so well. But Rome, Caput Mundi, is my spiritual home and that past is part of me wherever else I may be.

Then back here in Lee’s home town I found art in the present, both in the sense of time and as a gift. MAC has given me the opportunity to know today’s artists right here, to see them work, to see the world through their eyes, to marvel at how they can change any substance into something unique born of their thoughts and feelings – and to know them as colleagues.

As an art lover, these vastly different experiences have been the best of both worlds: the past and the present. I feel truly blessed and I thank MAC, and all of you, for the pleasure. Frankly, Marlborough and the region is very fortunate to have this Arts Center with all that it signifies.   I am sincerely grateful to be a part of it all.

This sounds like a Farewell in this season of Salve et Vale; it is, but only of a sorts. I have been asked to stay on as Vice- President to Fran Terase’s 4th Presidency. Fran and I are also co-chairmen of the ART PARK committee, therefore seeing that Vision come to fruition means I can be part of MAC’s future too. We still need a few thousand dollars and with additional help through continuing donations we will secure ART PARK for everyone’s future enjoyment.

So I close this letter as I began, with greetings and sincerest thanks to you all.    Grazie mille.


President Joan C. Lester’s June 2015 Letter to the Membership

“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days…” I’m reminded every year of this James Russell Lowell poem I learned in high school, as surely many of us did. So as we live another June, MAC is planning for some perfect days too.

Our Annual Pot Luck Picnic & General Meeting will be on Monday, June 15, at 6:00 p.m. at the Pavilion in Blish Park. This is an open invitation to ALL members to come and join in the fun of a general meeting, meet the Board Members in person, and enjoy the bounty of the Picnic together. The Board hosts and cooks favorite dishes, and we ask that you also bring one of your favorite dishes to add to the Pot Luck. The Pavilion is such a lovely setting with the lake in the background, that it is perfect for this annual tradition.

The latest news on the ART PARK is that fund raising has been extended through June 30. Our application for a $40,000 Grant from the Foundation for Public Giving will be presented to their Board soon, according to our assigned Progress Officer. Local donations are still being received and in these next few days I will be calling in pledges that so many of you have made. Our members, and non-members in the community, have responded so generously and the “positive vibes” (oh, do I give away my age!) are sustaining our efforts to realize this Vision of preserving the land and creating an Art Park within it.

It wouldn’t be another month without the 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe on June 26, this month starring the Rusted Keys. Check our website www.marlborougharts.org and local news media for further information on their show as I am waiting to hear from their leader, David Downs, with more musical details. Logistical details remain the same: Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; concert begins at 7:30; Admission at the door is $10/person; BYOWine; ample parking.

Another perfect evening planned will be the Annual Spring Concert by the Marlborough Elementary School Band next week on Wednesday, June 10 from 7-8:00 p.m. This is always a delight. The young children are charming, but also talented and it is wonderful to share in their artistry. So come just for the fun, or with your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, even if you do not have a child in the band. The “Ice Cream Lady” will be there with her truck parked on the grounds for easy access. How can we miss with music and ice cream on a lovely June evening? We can’t, so join in the pleasure!

Looking forward to seeing you at these “perfect” June events,



President Joan C. Lester’s May 2015 Letter to the Membership

“In the merry, merry month of May…”. These 9 notes keep running through my thoughts as we begin this month of warmth, where yellow forsythia, leafing trees with white and pink blossoms, flashes of colors from pansies and daffodils all brighten our spirits after the very long cold winter. Spring IS here at last. People are smiling again. It is a merry, merry month indeed.

It is also a very, very busy month for the Arts Center. We begin with a special treat for all:    Ashly Cruz’s International Cabaret Show on Friday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. Ashly’s shows are always special, but she has made this one even more special by offering it as Benefit Show, with all proceeds donated to our ART PARK project. She will be singing songs in French & Spanish as well as English, songs from her “Ella” shows, and delighting the audience as only she can. This is a show you do not want to miss. She will put the fun in the fund raiser!

Speaking of the ART PARK, the response has been a very positive: “What a great idea!” Many have made pledges. Many have donated. However, even with the expected grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, we must still raise $26,000 by the end of May. I am sure that those of you who have not yet contributed have thought about a donation but just haven’t gotten around to making a pledge or writing a check. Having full member participation is an important factor in us receiving the grant. We will be making personal telephone calls as a follow-up to the letter you received explaining the project. We will also be contacting other residents and businesses in town as follow-ups to their letters. Please give what you can to make the ART PARK a reality for the future of arts and culture in Marlborough and the region.

The merriment of May continues with 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe on Friday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. featuring a Show by the Drama Students at RHAM. They are young, but the shows are very professional and always a delight. Song/dance/drama. Do plan to attend for a musical treat.

The Arts Center collaborates with the local/regional schools throughout the year as you know because we believe it is important to foster the artistic talents of our youth. Coming up on June 10 is the Summer Concert by the Marlborough Elementary School Band. You’ll hear more about this in my June letter and in the new media, but for those of you who plan ahead: put the date down now on your calendars. If weather permits, this will be an open air concert.

The Arts Center is honored this month to host a Leo Christmas Memorial Exhibition, with over 40 works selected by his family. Leo was a long-time member and artist who was well loved both for his art and for himself. The Exhibition is open every weekend in May, 1-4 p.m., free admission. This is a beautiful show to enjoy while honoring Leo even if you did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, and I hope many of you do just that.

Merry May to you all,   Joan

President Joan C. Lester’s April Letter to the Membership

“Spring has sprung, the grass is rizz”, notes an old ditty from my childhood. Well, the beginning spring was a bit weak after our past winter, but at home we do have 2 crocus blossoms that “rizz”, so surely others will follow. Spring does bring a sense of renewal and energy and that is certainly so at MAC.
First, I want to thank everyone who has contributed so far to make the Vision of the ART PARK a reality. If you haven’t pledged, now is the time to join in. Remember that even with the $80,000 grants we’ve applied for, we must raise half , $40,000, by the end of May! We’ve received a range of pledges, from those at $1,000  to those of $25; ALL are important and appreciated so, if you can, please send a pledge via email to lee.lester@att.net or mail a check payable to Marlborough Arts Center to 231 North Main Street, Marlborough, CT 06447.
This means fund raisers are happening! We start with a Fund Raiser Dinner Party on Saturday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. in our beautiful Charles W. Hall Art Gallery at $30/person. This 4-course Dinner has been planned by Diane Sandler, a master chef, and features chicken piccata as a main course, chocolate truffle cake and whipped cream as dessert, and includes wine and coffee. There will also be a silent auction of art works upon which to bid. What an opportunity for fun while doing good! Board Members have tickets for sale OR to reserve leave a message for Diane at the Arts Center telephone (860) 295-9389.
April has more: the day before the Dinner we have 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe on Friday, April 24 starring the popular Seat of Our Pants. This dynamic group of three musicians is now an even more dynamic group of four: Carolyn Brodginski, Mark Hall, Jeff Gorman, and now Mike Frantzen on fiddle. They are so talented and so much fun to be with; they make the whole atmosphere like just friends getting together, except that fortunately these friends are extremely talented musicians. What a way to enjoy the weekend at the Arts Center.
Watercolor Classes have started (see classes on website), a sure harbinger of Spring along with those wee crocus blossoms. It’s time for joy again.      
As Spring’s warmth blesses us all, I do look forward to seeing you at the Fund Raiser Dinner and at 4th Friday,

President Joan C. Lester’s Letter for March 2015


This is a very special President’s Letter to every member of the Arts Center with exciting news and a call for your financial help and involvement.

We are in an agreement to buy the wooded lot adjacent to our property, one of the last in the area that is not developed nor built upon,  with the goal of Preserving  this land at 225 North Main Street in its natural state while we create an ART PARK within it.

Our Vision for the ART PARK is noted at the end of this letter.  Please read these ten points of our Vision.  When you do hopefully you will sense our enthusiasm and get excited personally about this unique opportunity.

In order to realize this Vision,  we must raise $80,000.

This is a great deal of money but we will raise it through Grants, fund raisers, donations, and pledges.  That is where each one of us comes into this venture because, even with a Grant, we must raise at least half of the monies needed by the end of May.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am asking that every member consider contributing to this cause. The ART PARK is planning for the future of the Marlborough Arts Center and all the people in our regional communities who will benefit from having it as a natural site for the arts.

You can do so by making a pledge that we’ll ask for at the end of May. Just send me an email using my home email address: lee.lester@att.net  noting your name, address, phone number, and the amount of your pledge toward the ART PARK. You could also note your pledge in a note mailed to Marlborough Arts Center, 231 North Main Street, Marlborough, CT 06447,



If you prefer to make a donation now, you could mail a check made payable to “Marlborough Arts Center” to our address as above.

I am delighted to tell you that we have already received our first pledge of $1,000 from a past member who now lives in North Carolina!  We also have a donation of $10 from a non-member when he heard about the idea. Whether you are, or can be, a major donor, it is the aggregate of the monies that counts. And, the likelihood of being awarded a Grant is increased if we can show a high percentage of members’ involvement. It would be quite a tribute to our members who have always supported the arts at MAC if we could say we had a 100{eba5a16469fb4a7f18f8ea69c1431b00c5f2da579f8ac6bd75c322ccea0d0754} response.

So please read our Vision for the ART PARK and give what you can to make it a reality.


With my sincerest thanks,