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This Week

Culture worthy of your calendar

Josh Garrick

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Josh Garrick

Columnist Josh Garrick

The Art of Hope

“Hope” is a word laden with emotion, and “hope” was one of the magical words that elected our current president. That same hope is about to be interpreted by artists from throughout the southeastern U.S. in a two-part exhibit called, “The Art of Hope — A Regional Juried Exhibition Commemorating the First African American U.S. President, Barack Obama”. Artists from all visual mediums were invited by the Crealde School of Art to use their creativity to commemorate the hope surrounding the Obama presidency. “This single event in history,” says Crealde Director Peter Schreyer, “has re-established America as a beacon of hope for millions of people around the globe.” The two-part opening reception on Friday, Oct. 8 begins at Crealde’s Jenkins Gallery from 6-7:30 p.m. and then moves on to the Hannibal Square Heritage Center from 7:30-9 p.m. The reception is free, and the exhibit runs through Jan. 15. Call 407-671-1886 or visit www.crealde.org.

The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival

This glorious time of year is the perfect time to check out the latest works by Florida artists at the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. The only festival to feature Florida artists exclusively, this community-oriented, volunteer-run sidewalk art show also offers loads of entertainment and events for all ages. Held in beautiful Central Park in downtown Winter Park, attendees will enjoy work from 150 artists who were selected from more than 400 applicants. Painting, ceramics, crafts, drawing, graphics, sculpture, jewelry and photography will all be exhibited, and purchasing an original piece of art helps support a Florida artist. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9-10, the festival is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Complimentary valet parking is available). Visit www.autumnartfestival.com or call 407-644-8281.

‘Pump Boys and Dinettes’

The Tony Award-Nominated Best Musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes” comes to The Winter Park Playhouse Oct. 15-Nov. 7. Created by the singer/actors of the original Broadway cast, this “slice-of-the-South” musical is about the Pump Boys who sell high octane fuel on North Carolina’s Highway 57 and the sassy Dinettes, who run the Double Cupp diner next door. Between changing tires and baking pies, the gang performs a smile-a-minute, down-home mix of country-western, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and blues music in this tale of friendship and life’s simple pleasures. The much-anticipated return to the stage of Playhouse favorite Heather Alexander will take place as she takes on the role of ‘Prudie’. Artistic Director Roy Alan says, “‘Pump Boys and Dinettes’ fits right into the genre of feel-good musicals we produce that help you forget your troubles and walk out of the theater with a big smile on your face!” The Playhouse is located at 711-C Orange Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-645-0145 or visit www.winterparkplayhouse.org.

‘Phantasmagoria’

“A haunting nightmare of puppetry, dance, and storytelling” is how Artistic Director John Didonna describes the Empty Spaces Theatre Company’s next production. Consider it the adult Halloween entry into the Orlando Puppet Festival 2010. We can be assured — with Didonna’s always inventive and fascinating direction — this is a most appropriate addition to the Halloween season. “Phantasmagoria” promises large-scale puppets, shadow puppets, and a “Grand Guignol” version of Punch and Judy (complete with spurting blood!). Then add live actors, dancers and haunted storytelling to the theatrical craziness. Along the way, stories of “Frankenstein”, Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, Poe’s “The Raven” and “Varney the Vampire” are brought to terrifying life (and death). With performances from Oct. 15-31 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park, Empty Spaces presents us with an intriguingly macabre Halloween entertainment. For tickets call 407-328-9005 or visit www.redchairproject.com