Monthly Archives: March 2016

Along These Lines: 5th Annual Walsh University Student Art Exhibition

by Evan Chwalek

An art exhibition curated by Walsh University students will present over fifty works created by their peers. Along These Lines, the fifth annual Walsh University student exposition, premieres March 23 at the Atrium Gallery at the Birk Center for the Arts.

Dr. Katherine Brown has organized the event since its inception, now entering its fifth year. The first exhibition, held in January 2012, celebrated the opening of the Birk Center for the Arts. The event continues as an annual tradition, celebrating student artists and serving as a hands-on lesson to museum studies students.

The students are given ample latitude in all aspects of the exhibition, from creating, selecting, and displaying the artwork, promotion, jurying and discussing their work.

“It is critically important to involve students in every aspect of preparing for the show… We view the Atrium Gallery at the Birk Center as a teaching space,”  Brown said. “We want to make sure that every studio class offered over the course of an academic year is represented.”

Student jurors also verify that the artwork conforms with the program’s expectations.

“The jurying process is less about judging the works than making sure we have adhered to the goals and objectives for the exhibition,” Brown said. “The student jurors do want to be sure that the best artwork is included in the show but are also limited to a certain extent by the physical space of the gallery.”

Because Walsh does not offer art as a major, this exhibition is a first for many of the featured artists. According to Brown, “For many of [the students], their art class during that academic year is their first ever collegiate art course.”

Brown takes pride in the freedom she allows the students and the professional result. “The most rewarding aspect of hosting the show is seeing the looks of surprise on art students’ faces when they realize that their work looks great matted and installed with proper lighting. The museum students also experience satisfaction when the exhibition is installed. All of the students have a sense of pride and a boost of confidence at the show opening.”

The Walsh University student art exhibition Along These Lines opens March 23 at 3:00pm, with opening remarks to begin at 3:15pm. The exhibition will feature students in Visual Order, Painting, Drawing and Watercolor classes.


Peep-A-Palooza at Fieldcrest Estate

by Judi Christy

I’ve never been a big fan of Easter.  I hate ham.  The Bunny at all the breakfasts looks weird.  The vigil Mass is way, way too long.  So, when I was approached about “creating an Easter event” for Fieldcrest, I was thrilled (read sarcasm) to hop right on it.

The name came easy:  I love alliteration.  But, I also love tying things up with a bright shiny bow, so I thought that this event had to somehow click (or would that be “cluck?”) with The Coop Gift Shop, another new venture at our Estate.  And, considering that the word, “chick” has all sorts of associations, I decided that the word, “peep” was much safer and more family-friendly.  I know you are smirking.

So Peep-A-Palooza was hatched.  It’s a six-station setup of ways to artistically decorate unbreakable Easter eggs.  Think practice golf balls and you’ll have the gist.  Also think about bubble wrap and decoupage, zentagle and marbles.  That’s what Sarah Shumaker did.  She’s not only an expert on egg decorating (the kind you eat and the kind we will have), but she’s my #1 go-to gal when I need help (or her husband) to assist with a creative project that does not involve writing.  Sarah is an artist, art teacher, arts advocate and adrenaline junky.  I love her.  She answered my call to help out with putting the dressing on Peep-A-Palooza by making sure that the activities were different, educational, and fun.

My co-worker, Amanda Deneen, is actually coordinating Peep-A-Palooza which will include live baby animals brought to us by Uncle David (he insists on being called this) from Spring Mist Farms.  So, we will have a petting zoo on site.  We will also have the historic 1925 lodge all gussied up for Easter with Peep-approved decorations.  And, since the eggs used in Peep-A-Palooza aren’t edible, we will have lunch provisions like brightly colored deviled eggs, Peep cookies, strawberry “carrots,” carrot cake and more non-holiday fare like good old hot dogs and walking tacos.

My daughter is already on my pecking order, so you might as well come too – because this is one hen party you won’t want to miss.  (Okay, I’ll stop.)

Peep-A-Palooza is Saturday, March 26 beginning at 10 a.m.   There are actually three different start times, making it convenient for parents/grandparents to fit this activity in between attending a local hunt or searching for whole cloves in the far corners of a cupboard.  So besides the 10 a.m. start, we offer an 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. time.  The costs are dependent on how many eggs you want to put in your basket – with “all” being the optimal choice.   A 6-egg basket is $18; a dozen will run $25; and a basket with 18 unbreakable eggs to decorate will be $40.

Easter basket essentials and just-because Easter décor will be on sale at The Coop during the event.

Details and reservations for Peep-A-Palooza are available at

VOCI’s The Sounds of ‘Silents’: A Silent Film Tribute

by Evan Chwalek

A night of historic cinema and local talent will be hosted at the Canton Palace Theatre on March 19. Voices of Canton, Inc. will provide a live choral soundtrack to a screening of the classic film Beyond the Rocks, featuring silent movie stars Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson.

Jay Spencer, a collaborator on the project and Palace organist of roughly 20 years, arranged the score and will accompany Voices of Canton on the Palace’s restored Kilgen pipe organ. Silent films often lacked a set score, giving Spencer the opportunity to choose from a great breadth of music.

“We have chosen music for the chorus that is fun and fits what’s happening in the scene. I think we’ve done a good job mixing older and newer music. Some from Phantom, Broadway old and new, and some standards.” Spencer elaborated on the chorus’ role, saying, “The chorus will be background and sound just like the organ would be on its own. It wasn’t unusual for some human voices to be used in movies in the 1920s. Sometimes as crowd scenes, or as a solo talking voice for effect.”

Beyond the Rocks was a selected for its drama, famous cast and rarity. The film, presumed lost for over half a century, was rediscovered and restored in 2003.

It is fitting that Beyond the Rocks will be shown at the Canton Palace Theatre, as both the film and theater debuted in the 1920s. Spencer doubts an event like this would be as immersive in a modern theater, saying, “There is an ambience that you only get in [the Palace’s] setting. I don’t think that we have ever had a chorus accompany a movie, even in the 1920s. Banks Kennedy played the organ in 1926, along with The Palace orchestra. We are trying to recreate that feeling. I think we have.”

Spencer’s goal is to give viewers the same experience that the Palace would have provided on opening night in 1926. “I hope they get involved with the movie so that they forget we are in the [orchestra] pit. It’s a lovely movie from a visual standpoint and from the story is very classic. I hope they appreciate the medium… It’s what theatres like the Palace were built for.”

VOCI’s event, The Sounds of ‘Silents’ will run one night only at the Canton Palace Theatre. The screening begins at 7:30pm and tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students.

Live Musician Profile : Scott Paris

Live Musician Profile : Scott Paris

By James Dennison


This week’s spotlight is Canton alternative rock, singer-songwriter Scott Paris. Scott was born and raised in Canton, Ohio and began playing music at the age of ten and within the next few years he was playing in front of an audience. Now it’s 24 years later and Scott has been a functional, full-time professional musician for a decade now. Scott Paris plays music for an audience almost every night of his life.

Scott’s main gig is touring Ohio playing cover songs, but his passion is writing and performing. On the last album release titled Whatever I Said, Scott played and recorded almost all of the instruments on Album with exception of a few hired professionals. Scott writes and records his music in his home studio and can add tracks from remote musicians. He can keep in touch with his fans via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and sell and sample music from his website where he is instantly notified when someone downloads his songs or subscribes to his Pandora station. Scott says the electronic age has made a huge change in the way his music is produced and created.

Scott has kept busy in the studio. He currently has five albums and one single available on his website. All songs are available for 99 cents or for a free sample listen. Scott’s songs are often upbeat and reminiscent of the Rembrandts, the Lemonheads, the Spin Doctors or Matthew Sweet. His lyrics, music and musicianship are all clearly work of a seasoned and experienced road musician. His song Bury The Hatchet is quiet, somber and soulful and has the melody and pacing of an early song by Soundgarden.  


The easiest way to see this talented Canton musician perform is to check the calendar on his website and pick one of the million dates he has booked. Scott says that on tour he mostly plays alone, but when playing in Canton he’ll tend to borrow a musician or two from another group and play as “Scott Paris and the..”. An excellent chance to see this talented jack of all trades is March 24th at the Palace Theater for the 200th Anniversary of the Canton Repository Newspaper with a lot of other amazing Canton artists.

Visit Scott Paris online at and follow the links to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.Check Scott’s music out live at March 24th at the Palace Theater or Friday April 15th at the Barrell Room in North Canton. You’ll always be glad you took the time to see this wonderful musician and Canton treasure play live.

MasterWorks Concert “Scenic Moments” featuring Béla Fleck, banjo

by Jara Anton

Fun fact: the iconic song “Dueling Banjos” from Deliverance was actually a banjo and a guitar! Further, it was the first time that song was ever professionally recorded with a guitar and banjo. Banjos have come a long way, originating in the south by slaves in America. They modeled the modern day banjo after the musical instruments of their homeland. Do you have a burning love for all things banjo? Perhaps you really love orchestral music and your interest is piqued? Or maybe you just need a fancy night on the town and you’re thinking you’d like to see an orchestra performance from local musicians?

The latest MasterWorks installment is upon us. Saturday, March 19, the Canton Symphony Orchestra will be performing MasterWorks 6, “Scenic Moments” with Gerhardt Zimmerman as the conductor. There will, however, be a very exciting special guest for the “Scenic Moments” installment—-banjo artist Bela Fleck. Fleck will be playing his banjo with the Canton Symphony, the second world premier of his Banjo Concerto No. 2, “Juno.”

Named after a Hungarian composer, the American born Bela Fleck was gifted with a banjo in 1973 and his life has centered around the instrument for many years. He has also performed several times with his wife—a fellow banjo player. Fleck is recognized as one of the most innovative and technically gifted banjo players of our time. Many banjo music lovers will recognize him from his work with New Grass Revival and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. 

Enjoy a lovely night full of brilliant music with a brilliant program including the orchestral favorites from  Glinka, Rossini, Sibelius, and Enescu. But what can you expect from a professional banjo player fronting the Canton Orchestra? If Bela Fleck’s past performances are any indicator, you will hear fingers of fury dancing over the strings. If you’re expecting a hoedown, you’re in the wrong place—Fleck is able to create many different types of soundscapes from fun to very somber and dark. 

Tickets start at $24 and go up to $48. You can find out more by visiting 

The program is below:

  • Glinka – Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture
  • Rossini – Semiramide Overture
  • Bela Fleck – Banjo Concerto No. 2 “Juno” WORLD PREMIERE
  • Sibelius – Finlandia, Op. 26
  • Enescu – Romanian Rhapsody No. 1

74th Annual May Show Call for Entries

The Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library has released the call for entries for the 74th Annual May Show. The call is open to any artist at least 16 years of age residing in Stark County. All works submitted must be original, recent and not previously exhibited at the Little Art Gallery. All media, with the exception of photography (unless altered as mixed media fine art), will be accepted for consideration. Official submission categories are acrylic, watercolor, oil, drawing and original prints, mixed media and three-dimensional.

The 2016 May Show opens the first week of May and will be on display in the gallery through May 31. Awards are given for best of show and first and second place in each of the six categories. Last year 76 artists submitted 96 total works, and 47 of those artists were featured in the show.

“The May Show provides a unique opportunity for artists to have their works juried in person rather than through a digital eye. We choose two new jurors each year, and they are able to pay careful attention to the details of each entry. The outcome, including pieces from both emerging and seasoned artists, is always a reflection of art within our community. The May Show provides a look at who we are as a community today – our likes, dislikes, stories, environment and culture,” explained gallery curator, Elizabeth Blakemore.

For 74 years, this show has featured emerging talents in this community, and the Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library is honored to showcase these local artists.

May Show entry forms are available at area art organizations, the Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library and online at The 2016 entry fee is $25 per artist. Questions about entries should be directed to Gallery Curator, Elizabeth Blakemore, at 330.499.4712 x312. Entries are accepted Monday, April 4 from 4-7 p.m. and Tuesday, April 5 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

ArtsinStark Kicks Off $1.7 Million Campaign

On Wednesday at the Cultural Center, ArtsinStark kicked off the 2016 Annual Arts Campaign. Its goal is to raise $1.7 million for all the arts in Stark County during the 11-weeks from March 9 to May 25. The drive is being chaired by Jim Porter, CEO/Publisher of The Repository. The theme is how “Art Changes Lives.” On Wednesday morning, one after another, volunteers and community leaders took the stage to tell stories about the important impact the arts are having in schools, downtowns, and neighborhoods across the county. “It’s very impressive to be the only united arts fund drive in America that has ever made goal for ten years in a row,” said Porter. “But now to keep on growing, we need to get hundreds of new donors to join us in supporting this incredible arts explosion.” More information at

Over 200,000 people a year are reached by the arts here. The majority of these are impacted by our seven largest arts organizations: the Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton. Every day they bring us world class art, and over the last 10 years ArtsinStark has awarded those organizations more than $10 million in grants.

During that same time period, ArtsinStark has given out another $1.5 million in 600 little grants in every single community in Stark County. Those grants have gone to churches, YMCA’s, YWCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, universities, libraries, schools, theatres, museums, historical societies, festivals, hospitals, Girl Scouts, food pantries, and individual artists. “There is not a single community in Stark County that has not received an ArtsinStark grant or program of some kind,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins.

In Canton, ArtsinStark created the Arts District with 26 art galleries and studios. It has produced over 100 monthly First Fridays for 175,000 people there, and installed 55 new pieces of public art. But it’s not just downtown Canton where ArtsinStark is working in. The County Arts Council’s programs and grants are also at work in downtown Alliance, Jackson, Louisville, Massillon, Minerva, Hartville, North Canton, and Canal Fulton.

“Our SmArts Program is changing our schools by integrating art and academics to supercharge learning,” says ArtsinStark board chair Max Deuble. “SmArts projects have reached 30,000 kids, and today we’re in every one of the 17 public schools systems in Stark County — and all of the Catholic elementary and middle schools as well.”

The County Arts Council is also trying to change tourism with the arts. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and ArtsinStark are creating a new tourist attraction in downtown Canton called The ELEVEN. This monumental public art series celebrating the 11 greatest moments in professional football history, is also part of the strategy for connecting the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s new “Village” to downtown.
Want to help? DONATE NOW!
BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark — Kids, Jobs, Communities. We are a 46 year old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, and runs the Annual Arts Campaign — and much more (Canton Arts District, First Fridays, SmArts Program in the schools, 20/20 Vision, and the ELEVEN). More at Our annual budget is $3 million. What we don’t earn, we raise each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign. In May 2015 the Campaign raised the highest amount in 45 years — to become the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 10 years in a row. (Over the last decade we have increased private sector giving to the arts by 85%.)

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Live Musician Profile: Ryan Humbert

Each week we will be featuring a different Stark County artist. Get to know the amazing talent in our community.

by James Dennison

In Canton and Akron, it would be easier to find a location where local singer/songwriter Ryan Humbert hasn’t performed than one of the million stages he’s graced in his many years playing music. When he’s not busy rocking stages in NE Ohio, Ryan is busy touring around the nation and opening for amazing acts like Elvis Costello, Chris Isaak, Third Eye Blind and The Gin Blossoms.

Ryan has been playing music since he was seventeen years old and has been at it ever since. His musical stylings are an earthy blend of American singer songwriter, with a sprinkle of Tom Petty, a dash of Lucinda Williams, and a healthy handful of Bruce Springsteen. His songs feature swinging guitar grooves that have a nice mellow Dave Matthews vibe to them, but with some nice piano and steel on top. Humbert’s vocals sound so honest and relaxed, you’d think he’d recorded on the back of a pickup truck, watching the sunset from a dirt road. His lyrics are heartfelt, nostalgic, and sometimes romantic.

Not only does Ryan sing and play guitar, but he also sings harmony and plays mandolin, as heard in the song “Don’t Tell My Heart” on his album: Sometimes The Game Plays You (on which he also holds a production and graphic design credit). Ryan is an extremely talented person and makes quick work of learning every creative job that falls in his lap.

If you’d like to catch Ryan live, he’ll be in Akron on March 3 and 26 at Jilly’s Music Room. Ryan will be in Canton March 12-13 at the Stark County Home and Garden Show, March 15 at the 24th Annual Celebrity Cuisine, March 16 at the Gervasi Vineyard’s Crush House, March 18 at Royal Docks Brewing, March 24 at the 200th Year Canton Repository Celebration at the beautiful Palace Theater in Downtown Canton. He’ll be playing in Cleveland March 9th at The Music Box Supper Club and March 31st at the Songwriter’s Round Up.

For more information on Ryan Humbert and his amazing music please check his website at

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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Judi Christy

My mother-in-law smiles when she recalls my husband, as a tyke between 6-8, running through the neighbor’s field, with only the sight of butterfly net in her view.  “He’d be out there for hours, running back and forth, catching and then releasing the things.  There were so many.”

Yes, there were.  But, now, thanks to pesticides and temperature tantrums, butterflies are mostly viewed under the protective custody of zoos and botanical gardens.

So, it is with this in mind, that I began reading, In the Time of the Butterflies, a work of historical fiction by Julia Alvarez. The title intrigued me, as did the book’s cover, an image of a monarch in a sealed jar.  But, it wasn’t until I discovered the storyline, concerning four sisters and the courage and conviction each faced in the Dominican Republic, that the flutter in my heart began to awake.

I was, in fact, held captive.  This story, I soon discovered, is documented in history.  Look up Minerva, Patria and Maria Teresa Mirabal.  Their code name was butterfly (miraposa), a delicate creature of not only beauty but also strength and resourcefulness.  In doing your homework, you’ll find a factual accounting of their plight against a dictator named Trujillo, mention of their other sister, Dede, and sadly, a statement of their fate on November 25, 1960.

I won’t spoil it for you.

But, I will encourage you to pick up this book.  Now.  (In fact, I believe you can still get one for FREE by stopping in to the Massillon Museum.)

In the Time of the Butterflies is the choice for the Museum’s The BIG READ program, as funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and celebrated throughout March and April.  The many layers of plot allow for timely discussions on women’s empowerment and immigration, while also providing related art and history programming at the Museum and throughout the surrounding community.

Author Julia Alvarez will be holding a discussion and book signing on March 23 at 7 p.m. at the Lions Lincoln Theatre.  This event, well as all other related programming for The BIG READ, is free and open to the public.  Almost a month later, on April 20, four local authors (including me) will present Taking Flight with Butterflies:  Original one act plays, directed, acted and performed by senior theatre students at Washington High School at 7 p.m.

In between these events, you will find nature hikes, children’s art projects, first-person accounts from area immigrants, a documentary film on the sisters, loads of book discussions, a Brown Bag Lunch at the Museum, and a “don’t blink or you will miss it” chance to see the making of Guatemalan carpet artwork.   In addition, the Museum has two related art/history exhibits, currently running:  “Las Mariposas: The Mirabel Sisters,” plus “Growing Seasons: The Life of the Immigrant.”

If nothing else, the book and all things related to it, will serve as a good lesson in the human condition – then and now.

But, for me, the story of the Mirabal sisters seems incredibly timely as we move into Spring and the turned up heat of an election year.  As we do so, I think of my youth where there we so many butterflies, so many heroes, so much hope.

And I have to wonder:  Will the butterflies ever return or only remain as memories of sunnier days when their beauty was just out of reach?

Time will tell, I realize.  But, in the interim, I will leave the lid off of the jar.

For more information about Massillon Museum’s The BIG READ, including the book giveaway and the activities associated with it – please visit


Musical Discovery Open House for Children

Young children love to bang on things and make noise! That’s why Canton Creative Music Studio offers times each month where kids can come explore a world of musical instruments.  The Musical Discovery Open House is an indoor instrument playground where children can play instruments from all over the world. From stringed instruments like guitar, ukulele, harp, dulcimer, and violin, to drums and xylophones of all shapes and sizes, to unique percussion instruments like the vibraslap, clatterpillar, ginga shaker, boomwhackers, thunder tube and much, much more– they have a huge variety!  Another favorite toy is the “sound tree” which makes different pitches when marbles or balls spiral down the leaves. There is also a small library of children’s books with stories about music, instruments, and composers as well as coloring pages available when you need a break from playing with instruments. Children as young as about 6 months are able to play with a lot of the instruments, and often parents enjoy playing around with all of the unique instruments just as much as the kids!
Open houses are at Creative Canton Music Studio inside of Sempre Piano School- 2719 Fulton Dr. NW, Canton, OH 44718
Admission is $5/child. (Caregivers are free. Infants under 6 months are free.) 50% of proceeds are donated to Canton Parks & Recreation to go towards building a musical playground in the former Mother Gooseland area. (More details on about how you can help with this supplies for this special park project)
The March open house dates are:  
Sunday, March 6th 12pm-3pm
Monday, March 7th 10am-1:30pm
Tuesday, March 22nd 10am-1:30pm
Wednesday, March 23rd 10am-1:30pm
Details can be found on the website here:
Creative Canton Music Studio specializes in early childhood music & art classes and piano lessons for age 6 through adult. They offer private play dates, birthday party music activities, Usborne book parties, summer camps, and homeschool & retiree group piano lessons.