Young Audiences Piano Ballroom with a Twist
Cultural Art Happenings September 2013 
School is back in session, and many of our talented youth will be busy at their campuses and after school working on plays, musicals, art exhibits and more.
Experiencing the arts is a key ingredient in learning. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Shirley Brice Heath while she was an English professor at Stanford University found conclusive evidence linking involvement in the arts with academic success.
According to her study, youth who participate in the arts at least three hours a week for a year are:
  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools.
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair.
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of a local program that brings the arts to area schools - Young Audiences of Abilene. Read all about this fun program and how you can celebrate its milestone with us in this issue of "Artfully Abilene." Also in this issue are plenty of other fun arts events going on this month, so sharpen your pencils and take good notes!

Artfully Yours,

Lynn Barnett

Executive Director

Abilene Cultural Affairs Council 


Young Audiences Young Audiences celebrates 20 years with ArtWalk performances
A nonprofit program that introduces the arts to children by bringing professional performers to schools across the Big Country celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Young Audiences of Abilene is marking its anniversary with performances by its professional artists during the Sept. 12 ArtWalk, which is a monthly program of the Center for Contemporary Arts. The performances start at 5:30 p.m. in The Grace Museum ballroom with vocalists singing Disney songs. Other entertainment includes storytelling at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, a woodwind quintet at the Center, FLY Dance Co. from Houston hip-hop dancing at Minter Park and Key City Brass playing at Everman Park.

Young Audiences works with schools to show that the fine arts can help students in all academic areas. Last school year, 14,475 children experienced a Young Audiences program.

This summer, Young Audiences of Abilene presented the 18th Summer Performance Series with the Abilene Public Library, enabling an audience of 1,600 to watch and participate in four programs.


Ballroom with a Twist Hello, Broadway! Sally Struthers stars this season

Season tickets are on sale now for the 2013-14 season of Broadway in Abilene.

One of the benefits of being a season subscriber is choosing your Abilene Civic Center seat for the entire season, which gets off to a running start Nov. 12 with "Ballroom with a Twist." This dance production is choreographed by Emmy nominated Louis van Amstel from ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."  

On Jan. 28, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" roars back into Abilene with hit song "Be Our Guest" and the beloved title song. The Tony Award-winning musical "Hair" is playing Feb. 25. This exuberant musical about youth searching for peace and love in a turbulent time includes "Aquarius" and "Let the Sun Shine In." "Hello, Dolly!" starring "All in the Family" TV actress Sally Struthers is April 3.   

Season tickets to all four shows start at $92.For ticket information, go online to or call 800-869-1451.

Explore the Mediterranean through the art of American artists abroad

The Grace Museum invites you to travel to the major cultures and monuments of the Mediterranean region through the artwork of American artists abroad during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.   

 "Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection" will be on view Sept. 14 through Jan. 18 in the first floor gallery. The exhibition includes extraordinary paintings by late 19th and early 20th century American artists William Merritt Chase, Charles Caryl Coleman, Oliver Dennett Grover, Elihu Veddar and many others who traveled abroad and created romantic visions of ancient Mediterranean cultures. 

(Pictured: "Latin Boy" by William Merritt Chase)

Sean Chen Van Cliburn finalist lends dazzling fingers to opening concert con
The first American to make the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finals since 1997 is the featured guest artist at the Abilene Philharmonic's season opening concert.

The 63rd season starts Sept. 21 with " Masterworks I - Heroic Beethoven."

The concert includes Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3," also known as "Eroica," and Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3." The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Abilene Civic Center. Maestro David Itkin's pre-concert lecture begins at 6:45 p.m. in the auditorium.

The guest artist is Sean Chen, Crystal Winner from the 2013 Van Cliburn piano competition. Chen, 24, already has an impressive resume - schooled at Juilliard; second-prize winner at the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition; and Los Angeles Music Center's Spotlight Award.

"If you had asked me when I was a freshman at Juilliard if I ever would have medaled in the Cliburn I would have laughed and left," he said at a press conference after the awards ceremony. "... This experience has been really awesome, but kind of the most stressful thing I've ever done in my life."

2013 West Texas Book Festival Calling all bookworms! Festival draws in big author names
The week-long West Texas Book Festival kicks off Sept. 24 with a lunch program at the Abilene Public Library with author Julie Kibler talking about her first novel, "Calling Me Home." Warner Brothers has optioned the book's movie rights.
The festival will feature "Cowboy Stuntman" author Dean Smith on Wednesday, with a cookbook luncheon and gala and authors visiting schools during the week.  
Speakers on Saturday at the Abilene Civic Center include former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison ("Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas"), Jeff Guinn ("Manson"), Marci Peschke ("Kylie Jean" children's series) and A.C. Greene Award winner Jodi Thomas, a best-selling novelist.
This is the West Texas Book Festival's 13th year. The event brings in about 2,500 people. Its mission is to celebrate reading and writing in Texas.



September exhibits at the Center for Contemporary Arts

Breed Gallery: "In Through Out" by Dub Wellborn
Gallery 2: "Our Houses of History: Portraits of Rural Texas Museums." Photographs by Beth Purcell
Gallery 3: Julia Ousley Sculpture
Gallery 4: Paintings by Katy Presswood 


"Freud's Last Session"

Sept. 5-7. Down Center Stage at Hardin-Simmons University.  


ArtWalk: Memories

5-8 p.m. Sept. 12.  

Free entertainment and exhibits around downtown Abilene. 


Paramount Film Series: "Out of Africa"

7:30 p.m. Sept. 13; 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at Historic Paramount Theatre.   


Chautauqua Learning Series: Incredible Critters!

11 a.m.-noon Sept. 14 at Buffalo Gap Historic Village.  


New art exhibits open at The Grace Museum

Sept. 14

"Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection," Main Gallery

"Exotic Locales," 2nd Floor Art Galleries

"The Art of Clint Hamilton," 2nd Floor Art Galleries

"The Color of Light," Wright Photography Gallery       


"A New Nation" musical drama 

8:30 p.m. Sept. 15-16 at Paramount Theatre.

Premier of a new biblical opera from Benevolent Music Corp. involving local talent.    


Museum Matters

6 p.m. Sept. 19 at The Grace Museum.    


Art exhibit reception 

5-6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Ira M. Taylor Memorial Art Gallery in the Frost Art Building at Hardin-Simmons University   

"The Kabul Photography Project:  Darkness to Light"

Selected work by students of Bill Wright.  


American Abstract: A Kaleidoscope of the Music of America 

7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall at Hardin-Simmons University.

This free concert is presented by Dr. Melody Rich, soprano. She will be accompanied by Marc Sanders on the piano.   


Abilene Philharmonic presents "Masterworks I - Heroic Beethoven"

7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Abilene Civic Center.  


West Texas Book Festival

Sept. 24-28 at the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Civic Center.  


"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety" 

7:30 p.m. Sept. 26-28 and Oct. 3-5; 2 p.m. Oct. 6

A 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist directed by Teri Wilkerson.

Van Ellis Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University.  


Graduate piano recital: Wenhui "Sherry" Dou   

3 p.m. Sept. 28 at Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall at Hardin-Simmons University.   


The Appetizer Radio Anniversary Show  

7 p.m. Sept. 28 at Paramount Theatre

Celebrate 10 years of KACU's "The Appetizer Radio Show" with a special concert featuring Lindsay Katt and Elliott Park.    


New exhibit opens at Hardin-Simmons gallery 

Sculptures by Casey Cooper will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 18 at the Ira M. Taylor Memorial Art Gallery in the Frost Art Building  

Reception: 5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 12  

 Arts Calendar


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We want to hear from you! Please let us know what you would like to see included in this newsletter as well as any other ideas you have to strengthen Abilene's cultural arts community. Send your emails to Sidney Levesque at 

or Executive Director Lynn Barnett 325.677.1161 /