Cultural Art Happenings
 January 2014  
Welcome to 2014! And what better way for arts enthusiasts to usher in the new year than with a few resolutions aimed at improving ourselves, helping others and broadening our cultural horizon. Check out our Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for arts lovers in this issue.
Abilene has some wonderful events and performances happening in January. These include Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" on Jan. 28 at the Abilene Civic Center and Disney's "The Little Mermaid Junior" playing Jan. 17-19 at the Historic Paramount Theatre.

This new year also mark the 25th anniversary of The Center for Contemporary Arts, which started out as the Artists League of Texas. One thing that hasn't changed about the Center over the years is its commitment to explore, challenge and inspire us with contemporary art.


Artfully Yours,

Lynn Barnett

Executive Director

Abilene Cultural Affairs Council 


Q&A with Halle Puckett: Pianist, singer, writer
Piano prodigy Halle Puckett, 15, has tickled the ivories since she was 4 years old. The Abilene High School sophomore is the daughter of two piano professors and the granddaughter of a well-known jazz pianist in Cleveland, Ohio. Halle has performed on the National Public Radio show "From the Top" and is the 2012 winner of the Abilene Philharmonic's Young Artist Scholarship Competition. She will perform with the philharmonic at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Abilene Civic Center in the show "Masterworks III: Mad for Mozart."   
Q. What will you perform with the philharmonic? 
A. Mozart Concerto in A Major, K. 488
Q. Is it intimidating to be playing with the philharmonic's professional musicians?

A. I wouldn't really say "intimidating," but since I am the youngest performer to be featured this season, and since the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra is so good and has such a great reputation, I might say it is a little nerve-wracking!

Q. What inspires you? 
A. A huge source of my inspiration is from my teacher, Dr. Leslie Spotz. She's taught me the most important thing - to try to have fun while still doing the busy work. I'm also inspired by recordings of wonderful pianists and great live performances, and I love getting positive feedback from my audiences who aren't too familiar with classical music. It's really satisfying to know that I've "reached" a listener. But the most inspiring thing of all is the simply beautiful music I get to perform! 
Q. What is your favorite music to play? 
A. I love to play Romantic works, especially Chopin and Rachmaninoff; but right now I'm especially enjoying this Mozart Concerto.
Q.What is it like growing up in a piano playing family? 
A. It's convenient to have piano teachers under the same roof to help me when I need it, but it's also challenging because sometimes I need my space and time to develop my own ideas. I actually love when my parents leave the house and I have it all to myself to practice!
Q.What do you enjoy besides piano? 
A. I like to play tennis and hang out at Nikki's Swirl Shoppe or Monks with my friends. I'm also into creative writing and am a member of Concert Choir at Abilene High School.
Q.What are your career plans? 
A. I definitely want to pursue music. I hope to go to a great music school or conservatory and see what happens from there.


Dream-inspired art explored at ArtWalk this month
Start paying attention to your dreams! Record them and bring them to The Center for Contemporary Arts on
Thursday, Jan. 9 for the ArtWalk themed "DreamWalk." The Dream Teams  will be there to interpret them. Dreams have inspired the works of Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Francisco de Goya and Max Ernst, just to name a few. It was said that Dali "induced" dreams by falling asleep in a chair with his chin propped in the cup of his hand. He would jerk awake just as he entered the dream state and capture the surreal imagery in his own art.

ArtWalk is monthly program of The Center for Contemporary Arts involving all of downtown. 

5 to 8 p.m. ArtWalk begins with shops, museums and restaurants open.  

-Make-and-take art activities at The Grace Museum.  

-National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature is open and free.

-The Cockerell Galleries Upstairs will be open. 

-2014 Intercollegiate Student Art Competition, Gallery Three, The Center for Contemporary Arts  

6 p.m. Clint Hamilton panel discussion at The Grace Museum 

6 p.m. Opening reception: "The Natural World through My Eyes" photography by Jill Geeslin
at The Center for Contemporary Arts. Jill will speak at 7:30 p.m. about the exhibit.
6 to 6:30 p.m. ArtTalk with Russell Ellison, Larry Millar, Steve Neves about their art in the new "Transcending" exhibit at The Center.
7 p.m. Merry Bruton from Destiny Dreamz discussed the art of dream interpretation at The Center.
Children's event with "Lunch Lady's" Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in downtown Abilene will host a free children's event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 called "Lunch Lady: Serving Lunch, Serving Justice!"  

The event's highlight is a visit from Jarrett J. Krosoczka, a two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Award for the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year, and is author and illustrator of 20 books, including the "Lunch Lady" graphic novel series and the just released "Platypus Police Squad" middle-grade series. Krosoczka's work is on display at the NCCIL along with four other graphic novel artists in the exhibit "BAM! It's a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels." The exhibit runs through Feb. 28. For more information, go to

Chautauqua Learning Series: Fort Chadbourne
Fort Chadbourne is home to five fully restored military structures, a restored stage coach station, a new visitors center and an annual history event that brings the Old West to life.
The fort, which is about 55 miles southwest of Abilene, is well over 150 years old, but it remains active thanks to the Fort Chadbourne Foundation. The Fort Chadbourne museum staff will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 at Buffalo Gap Historic Village as part of its Chautauqua Learning Series.
The Fort Chadbourne Foundation was founded in 1999 and its mission is to manage, preserve, and protect a registered national historic site in Bronte. The foundation has worked to stabilize existing structures that were in ruins and make the site available for public tours.
Several structures were reconstructed back to their original 1852 appearance. The Butterfield Stage Station has also been restored, and is the only restored Butterfield Stage Stop in Texas.   
Paramount dives into Disney's "Little Mermaid"  

Disney's "The Little Mermaid, Junior" comes splashing onto the Paramount Theatre stage Jan. 17-19 featuring a youthful cast of mermaids, princes, sailors, sea creatures, and one scary evil octopus.

The production is set mostly under water in the realm of Ariel the mermaid, the iconic Disney character who longs to explore the dry land above her. More than 80 kids auditioned for the production, and ultimately 30 of them received coveted roles in the show. Directed by Taylor Compton, Paramount technical director. Richard Transki, the show's costume designer, has created vibrant, elaborate, and original designs. Choreography by Teri Wilkerson, lighting and projections by Paramount Artistic Director Barry Smoot, and professional backdrops from Kenmark Studios will complete the professional look of the production.

Disney's "The Little Mermaid, Junior" performs Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17-18, at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee is Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. For more information, call the Paramount at (325) 676-9620.

"Beauty and the Beast" roars into civic center
The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life in this lush, romantic Broadway musical for all generations. Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming back to the Abilene Civic Center at 7:30 p.m.Tuesday, Jan. 28!
Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of more than 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers, including "Be Our Guest" and the beloved title song. Celebrity Attractions recommends this show for all ages. Tickets start at $30. To purchase tickets, go to or call 800-869-1451. Group prices available.  
10 New Year's Resolutions for Arts Enthusiasts
1. Get fit by walking the Outdoor Exhibition and Sculpture Tour.  
2. Help others by volunteering for an arts or cultural group. 
3. Improve yourself by taking a pottery, painting or other class.   
4. Decrease stress levels by visiting a quiet gallery.    
5. Visit a cultural attraction you have never been to before.   
6. Save on shipping and gas by buying art and gifts locally. 
7. Eat better with healthy selections at downtown restaurants.    
8. Take a TSTC Culinary Institute class at the T&P Center and excel in the art of cooking! 
9. Spend a Thursday evening at ArtWalk and watch downtown Abilene come alive.   
10. Save money by buying a museum or other attraction membership with discounts and passes.  
Abilene Scene magazine moves from quarterly to six times a year
The Abilene Scene magazine published by Zachry Publications, LP, and a partner of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, is moving from a quarterly print schedule to six issues a year starting with the January/February issue. The newest issue hits stands this week. Top stories include a civilian's guide to Dyess Air Force Base, the Abilene Zoo's fundraising drive for a new giraffe exhibit, healthy habits for 2014 plus lots of pictures from the best parties in town! You can read the magazine online or pick up a free copy; the distribution list is on the website. You can have the magazine mailed to you for $15 for six issues or $24 for 12 issues.


Downtown Abilene welcomes newest resident
The newest addition to the Storybook Sculpture Project in downtown Abilene arrived this fall and has taken up residence in Minter Park on Cypress Street.
The 4-foot-tall bronze Seymour sculpture was installed during ArtWalk in November with the help of Dick Spalding and Lauren and Catherine Gilley. The character of Seymour was created by Walter Wick (honoree of the 2013 Children's Art & Literacy Festival). The statue was created by Randy Gilman, Wick's studio artist, and was cast by Geoff Broderick, an Abilene Christian University art profressor (pictured on the right with his wife).
The Storybook Sculpture Project is a program of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. Besides Seymour, there are eight other outdoor Storybook sculptures.


January 1 - Closed for New Year's Holiday

The Grace Museum


January 2 - Tot Spot

9:30 and 11 a.m.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │


January 3 - Tot Spot

9:30 and 11 a.m.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │


January 6 - Kindermusik classes begin

Kindermusik classes begin the week of Jan. 6th.  Classes will be open to registration until they reach capacity. 
Abilene Performing Arts Company Inc.
1049 Industrial Blvd. Ste. 200 325-437-2486 │ 


January 7 - Los Aficionados meeting

11:30 a.m.

Volunteer support group for museum.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │


January 7 - Opening Exhibit Reception

6-9 p.m., Jane Breed Gallery

"Transcending" - Works by Russell Ellison, with Anthony Brown, Judy Deaton, Linda Fawcett, Saybra Giles, Anthony Huff, Mary K Huff, Martha Kiel, Kathy Walker-Millar, Larry Millar, Linda Murray, Steve Neves, Sharon Rathbun, and Julia Six. Exhibit runs through Feb. 22.

The Center for Contemporary Arts

220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │


January 9 - ArtWalk

5-8 p.m.

Theme is DreamWalk. This is a monthly downtown celebration sponsored by The Center for Contemporary Arts.


January 9 - "Speaking of Clint"

6 p.m.

Clint Hamilton panel discussion with Anna Powell, Judy Tedford Deaton and Linda Murray.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │  


January 9 - Dancing with the Abilene Stars

6 p.m. Abilene Civic Center

Annual fundraiser benefiting Hendrick Home for Children. Local celebrities will be paired with professional dancers to perform a ballroom dance contest. Cost to attend is $100-$400 a person and includes dinner and drinks. 

Hendrick Home for Children

2758 Jeanette St. │ 325.692.0112 │   


January 11: Lunch Lady: Serving Lunch, Serving Justice!

10 a.m.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Award for the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year, and is author and illustrator of twenty books including the Lunch Lady graphic novel series and the just released Platypus Police Squad middle-grade series.

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature
102 Cedar St. │ 325.673.4586 │ 


January 11 - Chautauqua Learning Series

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Presentation by Fort Chadbourne museum staff.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ 


January 12 - Key City Winds

4 p.m.

2013-14 Concert Series at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest.

602 Meander │ 325.677.2091 │  


January 15 - Mid-Month Movie Matinee
12-1 p.m.
"Art in the 21st Century: Systems"
The Center for Contemporary Arts
220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │  


January 16 - "The Color of Light"
6 p.m.
Artist talk by photographer Arthur Meyerson.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │


January 17-19 - Disney's "Little Mermaid Junior"

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

This live musical features local children ages 8 to 14 in the popular stage adaptation of the animated tale of Princess Ariel the mermaid and her friends under the sea. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for students/seniors/military/children.

Paramount Theatre

352 Cypress │ 325.676.9620 │ 


January 18 - Last day for exhibit

Mediterranea, American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection. Journeys, Photography by Arthur Meyerson.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │


January 19 - Military Appreciation Day

Noon-5 p.m.
Free to active and retired military and their family.
Buffalo Gap Historic Village
133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ 


January 19 - Craft Sunday

2-4 p.m.
Create and take home a balloon ghost. $7 adults/$6 seniors and free for military and children 12 and younger.
Buffalo Gap Historic Village
133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ 


January 23 - Guest Artist Recital

7:30 p.m. at Williams Performing Arts Center's recital hall

Featuring Andrew Whitfield, baritone, and Jessica Paul, piano.

Abilene Christian University's Music Department   

ACU Drive │ 674.2199 │ 


January 24 - Guest Vocal Recital

7:30 p.m., Woodward Dellis Recital Hall at Hardin-Simmons University
Nicole Kenley performs. Free.


January 25 - Mad for Mozart

7:30 p.m.

Orchestra performance featuring Abilene teen Halle Puckett on piano. She is the first prize winner of the 2012 Young Artist Scholarship Competition.

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra 

401 Cypress #520 │ 677.6710 │ 


January 28 - Broadway in Abilene presents "Beauty and the Beast"

7:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center

National Broadway touring show. Tickets are $30-$60.

Celebrity Attractions

800.869.1451 │ 


January 30 - Faculty Recital

7:30 p.m. at Williams Performing Arts Center's recital hall

Featuring John Madura, violin, and Cheryl Lemmons, piano.

Abilene Christian University's Music Department   

ACU Drive │ 674.2199 │ 


January 31 - A Cappella Choir Concert

7:30 p.m. at Williams Performing Arts Center's recital hall

Abilene Christian University's Music Department   

ACU Drive │ 674.2199 │ 



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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 /