President Joan C. Lester’s Letter for February 2015

In this the shortest month of the year, my message will also be short, unlike the six more weeks of winter predicted by Punxsutawney Phil and this state’s Chuckles. New England winters can certainly test our strength of character, flexibility, and frustration levels, can’t they? But Spring in all its promise of new life will surely follow and then we’ll have summer heat and humidity to test our spirits.

Whatever the weather, our 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe will continue with the return of an evening of bluegrass pleasure with “Grass Routes” on Friday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m. with admission at the door of $10/person. Doors open at 7:00 so you can browse the art works and fine crafts in the Gift Shop that are all for sale.

Although known as bluegrass players, the Grass Routes also play folk and country and are a delightful and personable five-member group with Bill Reveley, Marilyn Toback-Reveley, Dave Orlomski, Joe Lemeris, and Tim St. Jean playing multiple instruments including mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, and upright bass. Unique to this group that has been together for over 20 years is that each member sings lead, so their harmonies change with each song and promise a night to remember in our beautiful Charles W. Hall Art Gallery. This is a real gift for all you bluegrass lovers, and an unexpected pleasure for those of you who may not be familiar with the group.

And in the middle of the month there is Valentine’s Day. The myths surrounding this day and its patron saint, of which there were at least three Valentines, may be apocryphal but celebrating love and friendship is real. May you each and all enjoy the presence, and memories, of loved ones on February 14 and every other day too.

Stay warm and safe and we hope to see you at MAC soon, and often.


Joan C. Lester, President     at     &      (860) 295-9565

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

Happy New Year! This is always a time to reflect on the year past as we think toward what the new year can bring, so January is perfectly named after the Roman god, Janus, who could see both behind and in front of himself. In fact, one of Rome’s many arches is the Arch of Janus, carved exactly the same on both sides, bringing the ancient world to mind in the present. It is through art that so much culture and history and beauty live on through the centuries.

But art is not just in the great cities of the world, nor in their great museums. It is all around us and we are so fortunate in Marlborough to have art with us in its many forms at the Arts Center. I am grateful, we should all be grateful, to the core group of founders who were determined to make our town a regional center for the arts, who at the beginning had to meet and exhibit at local spots like the American Legion Hall, who had the goal of their own site, and who earned the money by grants and pledges to buy the Charles W. Hall building and land, and literally move this historic building from the roadside and rebuild it to meet the modern needs of exhibition space and classrooms that we now have. Their foresight is to be applauded. Kudos to them and to all the volunteers who gave of their time and talents in that rebuilding.

I am also excited that more and more people are coming to the Arts Center as we continue to reach out to the community and region with our art exhibits and classes, the 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe musical evenings, and our close relationship with the schools’ art and music programs, and groups who rent out our beautiful facility for their special events.

In fact, WNPR contacted us about the possibility to use the Arts Center as a site to record a new project: “Words To Live By”. This is similar to their storycore programs, but emphasizing the good things that happen to people, the generosity and helpfulness that we give and receive in life but which often goes unspoken. We will be notified if chosen for this honor of hosting WNPR and all the people chosen to tell their stories. I will certainly tell you as soon as we know!

January also brings music back with Chris Devine and Michael Nix, internationally known classical guitarists and founding members of the world chamber music trio The Pioneer Concert. Their versatility on their many string instruments and their personal charm promise a delightful evening on Friday, January 23. Details are already on our website so please do check there and then come to this first of the 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe performances in 2015.

You will soon be receiving the invitation to renew membership for the 2015 year, another January tradition. Remember, it is our dues that support the arts here, the artists, and all our activities as well as our beautiful setting. Please do renew and know you are appreciated.


feel free to contact me at: (860) 295-9565 or by email at


SHOUT OUT TO MEMBER-ARTISTS! At our last Board Meeting we discussed extending our presence and art works more into the community. We would like to hear from any member-artists who would be interested in exhibiting their work in one of our several Marlborough businesses. Let us know how many pieces you would be able to show over a 90-day period. You may leave a message on our MAC telephone (860) 295-9389 or email me directly at

This month at the Arts Center, we will be hosting the Elmer Thienes-Mary Hall Elementary School Band and vocalists for their annual holiday concert on Thursday, December 4. This is always a delight and our Charles W. Hall Art Gallery rings with their music and seasonal joy. It is one time that we can literally say everyone has a smile on their face. No grinches anywhere!

The Dance Academy of Colchester presents their Holiday Show the following week on Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, another young people’s show of talent and joy through dance. This has also become an annual event and joins Colchester and Marlborough residents in pleasure, as we were once joined geographically in the past. This is another time when everyone leaves with a smile, appreciating the dancers’ exuberance and skill, as we dance with them in spirit out the door.

Through it all, remember that MAC is the place to come for finding the perfect gift(s) during this season of giving. The Artist Member Show is open for viewing and buying every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. through December 28. These are award-winning artists whose works are absolutely unique, as are the creations in the Gift Shop by fine crafters whose jewelry, wool objects, ceramics, glass, beeswax, and designs would please anyone. We also have a very nice collection of exceptional photographs ready to be framed. Remember that as a member you receive a 10{eba5a16469fb4a7f18f8ea69c1431b00c5f2da579f8ac6bd75c322ccea0d0754} discount on your purchases of these one-of-a-kind art works. I sincerely hope you think of MAC’s art for sale when you are thinking of a gift to buy – whatever month of the year it is.

So here we are all in the fascinating month of December, a month that has been celebrated since recorded history. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day but knowing that daylight will increase in length afterwards, the Saturnalia, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, all have been and are celebrated with joy. So however you do celebrate the days in this month, my wish is that you too feel their joy and have a December filled with the giving and love of the season.


(860) 295-9565


November Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one.

At our last 4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe (starring Steve Donovan, Mike Esatta, and Barbara Lewis), someone said to me: “This was wonderful! And to think, right here in Marlborough!” Yes, it was wonderful, as those of you who came know. But what her comment also expressed to me was delight, maybe even with some surprise, that we had so much talent around and that one could find it so easily “right here” in Marlborough’s Arts Center at 231 North Main Street.

And there are wonderful things happening this month too. In fact, our Artist Member Show will have its Opening Reception on Friday, November 14, from 7-9 p.m. and this annual show is a great reason for visiting, viewing the creations of our artists, and having the fun of meeting and talking with them about their works. The Show has been judged by Katherine Simmons, a well-known and respected art judge. Winning artists will receive their Awards at the Reception that is open to all, of all ages, with free admission. I mention all ages because there are many children who love art and who would enjoy the variety of the media exhibited and who are likely to be stimulated by it in their own work. The Show continues to be open every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. from November 15-December 28, so you have many opportunities to come even during the busy holidays.

Accompanying the Art Show is our Holiday Craft Show and Gift Shop. The creativity of our artisans is truly impressive. At this traditional season for giving , the Gift Shop at MAC is the place to find unique gifts. No two items are alike, so different from shopping in a Mall. Artist crafted jewelry, carved wood, ceramics, woven wool, small paintings, and much more. Prices vary yet we have a host of items from $5 – $25 that anyone would be thrilled to receive.

It is also one of our annual holiday traditions at MAC to have Gail Wade and Turning Point give a special musical concert in November, this year on Friday, November the 21st, 7:30-9:30 p.m.. They are known both nationally and internationally with Gail as singer, song-crafter, and guitarist and their music is an eclectic blend of Americana, Blues, and Jazz. With our beautiful Charles W. Hall Art Gallery and its great acoustics as background, and their open interactive way, being at this concert is a gift to yourself. Admission at the door is $15/individual. The doors open at 7:00 so come early to peruse the art and the Gift Shop before you settle down for the music. As I’ve mentioned before, we cannot reserve seats for any of our shows.

After an hiatus in November and December, our monthly 4th Fridays @ the Arts Cafe resume in January, 2015. But before then we have two other holiday traditions coming in December: the concert by the Elmer Thienes Elementary School Band on December 4, as well as The Dance Academy of Colchester’s Holiday Dance Spectacular on December 13, 14, and 15. These young and talented artists bring such joy. They rock the place!

 I hope you do join us “right here in Marlborough” for these holiday pleasures. As you plan your own holidays, think MAC. And right now, again best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving, my personal favorite holiday of them all.          Joan                             (

President Joan C. Lester’s October 2014 Letter to the Membership

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the beautiful “golden” month of October. Our grounds at 231 North Main Street are beautiful every month, but that beauty has been enhanced recently by the planting of a Kwauzan Cherry Tree, the gift of Dennis Hawrylko as a memorial to his wife, Ginny McCullough, who was a founding member of the Marlborough Arts Center. Ginny was one of that core group of artists and art lovers who believed Marlborough could be, and should be, a regional center for the arts and then went about making it happen. Volunteers all. Everyone who knew Ginny loved her and now her life will be remembered even by those who did not have that privilege. We are honored to have this memorial on our grounds and thank Dennis and family for their great generosity.

We have a beautiful building too, again thanks to those original volunteers. We also have great acoustics in the Charles W. Hall Gallery, as you know, and as our visiting artists and musicians all have learned. Our next “4th Friday @ the Arts Cafe” stars classical jazz pianist Steve Donovan, who is literally back by popular demand. He will be accompanied by Barbara Lewis, a teacher at Hartt School and a finalist in the Sarah Vaughn Voice Contest. Her lush voice will add so much to this evening, so do plan to attend: Friday, October 24, 7:30-9:00 p.m., with doors open at 7.

And, because of our beauty and accessibility, more and more individuals and groups are choosing to come to the Arts Center, such as the Marlborough Business Association holding their “Meet The Candidates” evening on October 16, open to the public beginning at 5:30 p.m. (at 5:00 p.m. for Marlborough residents and the candidates). Do think about contacting us for your parties or receptions too. Call (860) 295-9389, leave a message, and the appropriate Board Member will return your call with all the details about renting space at the Arts Center.

For those planning home Halloween parties, creating artistic costumes, or preparing with bags of sweets for the trick or treaters, it’s fun to think of the origins of this holiday evolving from centuries of religious observances. There have been millennia of harvest festivals, and some say Halloween began as a Celtic harvest fest. Perhaps. But we do know that November 1 has long been celebrated in the Catholic calendar as “All Saints Day” or “All Hallows Day”. That makes the last day of October 31st “All Hallows Eve”, eventually “Halloween”, with cultural observances including sweets and lights. Then again, do we really need an historic reason to raise our endorphins with fun and extra chocolates?!

But however you see the end of October, I hope you take time to ENJOY…                           Joan