Cultural Art Happenings
 February 2014  
This is the month for art lovers, and to help you seal the deal with your loved one, we have put together a list of "Top 10 Marriage Proposal Ideas" in this issue. Each one involves a beloved Abilene cultural attraction.
Also in this issue are highlights of the exciting events happening in February. These include the "The Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!" Feb. 16 at the Historic Paramount Theatre and the musical "Hair" playing Feb. 25 at the Abilene Civic Center.
Both shows are one performance only so don't miss them!
We're also in love with a new report out by the U.S. Commerce Department
that says America's arts and cultural sector contributed $504 billion to the national economic output in 2011, or 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product. That's larger than major industries such as travel and tourism! It's further proof that the arts matter, and they play an important role in our economy.

Artfully Yours,

Lynn Barnett

Executive Director

Abilene Cultural Affairs Council 


Q&A with Judy Tedford Deaton: Art curator, teacher, writer
Judy Tedford Deaton brought a honed eye for beauty when she started as chief curator of The Grace Museum seven years ago. Her work experience includes commercial interior design, graphic design, university art history teaching, directing a university art gallery and art writing. Her current job involves curating, designing and implementing 12-15 art exhibitions and two history exhibits a year. Judy's latest exhibit, "Drawn In /Drawn Out," investigates contemporary concepts in drawing through the work of several artists. The Grace exhibition runs Feb. 8 through April 19 and is a collaborative exhibition with the Old Jail Art Center in Albany. The two museums will hold a joint progressive artist reception at both locations 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 with a bus available to those who RSVP early.
Q. What is a progressive artist reception?
A. "Drawn In / Drawn Out" is one exhibition in two locations - The Grace Museum and the Old Jail Art Center. Patrick Kelly and I co-curated the exhibition and thought coordinating visits to both museums in one evening would be the best way to experience both parts of the exhibition and bring artists, guests and museums together. You can check The Grace website for details and bus reservations for the Feb. 8 artists' reception and opening. 
Q. What can people expect from this exhibit?
A. Expect the unexpected. In the last decade, the definition of drawing has expanded to include new conceptual forms such as site-specific installations, wall drawings, multilayered compositions of fiber, neon, wood and a variety of non-traditional drawing materials. The artists invited to participate at The Grace take drawing off the page and into a new dimension.  
Q. Do you have a favorite exhibit you've put together?
A. My standard response to this questions is "this one." Because I have created more than 50 unique art exhibitions for The Grace, I have a lot of favorites. 
Q. What was your most challenging exhibit?
A. Each exhibition has unique challenges compounded by the fact that we typically have five concurrent exhibitions on view at any one time. The concepts for exhibitions come easy for me, but working with art collectors, artists, art dealers and museums to make the exhibitions a reality can be very complex. Installation challenges, such as James Surls' ceiling suspended, 8-foot sculptures, and Sedrick Huckaby's 8-by-60 foot painting "A Love Supreme" in our historical building was challenging as was negotiating a loan from the Louvre in Paris.
Q. When did you know you loved art?
A. My high school art teacher showed a slide of Jacque-Louis David's 1880 "Portrait of Madame
Récamier," and I was transfixed. I have been on an art quest ever since.
Q. What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
A. I have to admit I am very art centric and go to art museums, art openings, lectures and artist studios whenever I get a chance. Locally, I am involved in several arts and charitable organizations and church ministries. Travel to California and New York City to visit my children is always on my agenda.
ACU's winter comedy plays on Mark Twain's humor
Abilene Christian University's Theatre Department presents Mark Twain's "Is He Dead?" this month at Fulks Theatre. The play is described as a sparkling slapstick comedy composed in 1898 in Vienna by Twain and left virtually undiscovered until its heavily acclaimed Broadway production in 2007.
To find success in 1840s Paris, a penniless painter fakes his demise and disguises himself as his identical twin sister. Variety called "Is He Dead?" an "elaborate madcap comedy that reaches especially high comic heights."
The show was adapted by David Ives and is directed by Kari Hatfield. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22. Tickets cost $15 and may be ordered online at The Talkback is Feb. 15.
"A Mile in Her Shoes" to raise awareness about violence
There's an old saying: "You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes." This month's ArtWalk on Thursday, Feb. 13 is themed "A Mile in Her Shoes" and is aimed at raising awareness of the problem of violence against women. This ArtWalk is presented by The Center for Contemporary Arts and sponsored by Mick's Restaurant. Area arts groups are joining the Regional Crime Victim Crisis Center in its mission to abolish violence against women. At 5:30 p.m., State Rep. Susan King (famous for her red high heels) will coach area "Men of Strength," who will walk from the Paramount Theatre to The Center for Contemporary Arts in women's shoes. They will be greeted by King and music of The Wristband for a peace rally in front of The Center at 6 p.m. Street dance will follow.
ALSO DURING ARTWALK: Meet "Big Nate" creator Lincoln Peirce at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, and children can make free crafts at The Grace Museum!
Busybodies, eccentrics at center of McMurry comedic play
Luigi Pirandello's "Right You Are If You Think You Are" is an existentialist comedy that explores the prismatic nature of perceived truth, the need for human beings to construct illusions for themselves, and the idea that what we call "illusion" and what we call "reality" are not significantly different constructs. These themes are illustrated dramatically by the fruitless (but amusing) efforts of a group of busybodies to get to the bottom of a mystery presented by the baffling behavior of a small, eccentric family.
The show is directed by David Ainsworth, a McMurry University associate professor of theater. The show is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 20-22 at the Ryan Little Theatre at McMurry. Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for McMurry students and employees. The box office will open two weeks before the show starts. Hours are 3-6 p.m. weekdays and show days.
"Vox Pandora" explores hope for modern generation
A play written by award-winning Chicago playwright and Neo-Futurist Bilal Dardai called "Vox Pandora" receives its Texas debut at the Van Ellis Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University this month. The play takes a clever look into Pandora's box, picking up where Greek mythology left off. Vox begins with the spirit of Hope still cloistered in the box, free to leave, but choosing to stay. With the distance between humanity and Hope thus greater than the distance between humanity and all the evils Zeus could muster, Hope is little to mankind but a vague, pleasant feeling. When an idealist politician shows up, Hope finds herself challenged by reality and forced to define who she is to herself and who she is to the world. Directed by Victoria Spangler. Show times are Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 general admission; $5 for military/seniors/students; and free for HSU employees and students.
"Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!" promises mind-blowing illusions
Bill Blagg received his first magic set when he was 5 years old.
Today, he claims to have the most entertaining magic and illusion show on tour in the country. "The Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!" will appear at the Historic Paramount Theatre at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16 as part of the Children's Performing Arts Series.
The 75-minute family friendly show combines high-end intelligent lighting, elite stage sets and never-before-seen illusions. Some of his mind-blowing illusions include Walking Thru Steel and the the world's only Hoverboard! Blagg combines his original illusions along with audience participation, comedy and his trademark, off-the-cuff personality. Tickets are $9 and going fast. Two-show season tickets are $18 for Blagg and the last CPAS show of the season, "The Wizard of Oz" on April 27. For $25, you can receive a ticket to both shows plus admission to the "The Wizard of Oz" after party at The Grace Museum and Cypress Street Restaurant. Order at
Philharmonic celebrates jazz at Guild Ball, performance
The Abilene Philharmonic is all about jazz this month with two major events happening. The first is the 53rd annual Abilene Philharmonic Gold Medallion Ball on Saturday, Feb. 1 honoring Billye Proctor Shaw, a true champion of the arts. Her husband, Glynn Ray, is the 2014 Noble Gold. The Guild will showcase the talents of the Belle and Beau youth, who volunteer for the philharmonic.

For tickets, call Beth Seals at 325-665-5902 or Janet Payne at 325-665-3717.

The second major Philharmonic event this month is Jazz Night at the Phil at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Abilene Civic Center. Join guest artist, com­poser and arranger Rich DeRosa in an evening of clas­sic jazz stan­dards from the "Great Amer­i­can Song­book," includ­ing "Autumn in New York," "Stardust" and "The Man I Love." The show also fea­tur­es jazz vocal­ists and musi­cians from the Grammy-nominated UNT One O'clock Lab Band. For information, go to
Hit-maker Jim Brickman returns to Abilene for "The Love Tour"
Award-winning hitmaker, recording artist and pianist Jim Brickman is making his way back to Abilene to perform "The Love Tour" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Abilene Civic Center. Brickman's engaging stage presence seamlessly blends mood and music to touch the heart in a special way, letting fans' imaginations take them wherever they want to go. With dazzling solo piano and star-studded vocal collaborations, Brickman will wow audience members with his hits, including "Valentine," "If You Believe," "Love of My Life" and more.
Tickets start at $20 and are available by calling 800-869-1451 or by going online to or going to the box office at the Abilene Civic Center, 1100 N. 6th St. 
Truth, peace and love reign in "Hair" musical
Join the celebration of youth and a poignant journey through a tumultuous 1960s America in the touring musical "Hair" coming to the Abilene Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25. The long list of chart-topping hit songs include "Aquarius," "Let the Sun Shine In," "Good Morning, Starshine" and "Easy to be Hard." "Hair" tells the story of the "tribe," a group of politically active hippies of the "Age of Aquarius," living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.
Ticket prices are $25-$50 and can be ordered at or by calling 800-869-1451. "Hair" is part of the 2013-14 Broadway in Abilene season made possible by a partnership between Celebrity Attractions, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council and local sponsors. 

Abilene Opera leads journey to "The Magic Flute"

The Abilene Opera Association is playing Pied Piper over the next 12 months in an effort to lead new audience members to opera.  

The journey begins with a night of Flutes and Feasts at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest  at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. Guests will be treated to a true Italian feast complete with wandering troubadours of local talent. The music will cover an eclectic mix of arias, Broadway, pop, Big Band and more. Tickets are $60 or $400 for a table of eight. Call 325-676-7372. Local schoolchildren will be introduced to Mozart's "The Magic Flute" in an educational, age-appropriate format in May. In fall 2014, a music competition will take place for local students.  The 12-month journey culminates in a full production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" in February 2015 at the Historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene.  

BOOK BUZZ: "The Texas Forts Trail," "Authentic Texas"
The Texas Forts Trail Region and Abilene Christian University Press released a pictorial coffee table book in November as part of the region's 15th anniversary as an organized entity of the Texas Historical Commission. "The Texas Forts Trail" highlights eight historic forts (including Fort Phantom Hill) and one Spanish presidio that anchor the trail. Photographs are by Derrick Birdsall; text by Kristine Davis. The 144-page book retails for  $34.99.
"Authentic Texas: People of the Big Bend" by Marcia Hatfield Daudistel and Bill Wright introduces us to several dozen Big Bend residents - old and young, long-settled and recently arrived, racially diverse - who show us what it means to be an authentic Texan. Wright's photographs of the people and landscapes from Alpine to Presidio complement the stories of ranchers and writers, entrepreneurs and artists, people living off the grid and even urban refugees. The 255-page paperback book was published last fall by the University of Texas Press and retails for $24.95. 
10 Marriage Proposal Ideas For Art Lovers
1. Pop the question on the rooftop of The Grace Museum.   
2. Propose during a picnic in the Storybook Sculpture Garden. 
3. Get down on one knee in front of Minter Park's waterfall.
4. Surprise her by renting the Paramount Theatre marquee.   
5. Ask her to marry you after the Philharmonic jazz concert.    
6. Hire an Abilene singing group to perform a love song.   
7. Plan a scavenger hunt around your favorite downtown Abilene places that ends with you down on one knee.     
8. Slip a ring on the Sam-I-Am Seuss statue at Everman Park.
9. Rent an art gallery for the night and display a hand-painted marriage proposal.  
10. Ask permission to propose over the loudspeakers during a production's intermission.   


February 1 - Gold Medallion Ball
7:30 p.m.
53rd annual Abilene Philharmonic Gold Medallion Ball at the Abilene Civic Center themed "All That Jazz" honoring Billye Proctor-Shaw.
Abilene Philharmonic Guild
672.8033 │

February 3 - Faculty Trombone Recital
7:30 p.m., Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall
Jeff Cottrell performs. Free.
Hardin-Simmons University.
2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │

February 4 - Los Aficionados meeting
11:30 a.m.
Museum's volunteer support group.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 4 - Master Art Class
4-6 p.m.
Artist Bryan Collier will lead a Master Art Class. There is no admission charge; this event is open to the public. Follow the link to RSVP:
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 4 - New Exhibits Open
Ellie Hamby's "The Face of India" and Nick Hottmann's "Dualism."

February 6 - Tot Spot
9:30 and 11 a.m.
Activities for children ages 3-5 and parents.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 7 - Tot Spot
9:30 and 11 a.m.
Activities for children ages 3-5 and parents.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

Februrary 7 - Art Adventure
10:30 a.m.
Monthly art and reading event for ages 2-5 p.m. Reservations requested.
National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature
102 Cedar St. │ 325.673.4586 │

February 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 - Mark Twain's "Is He Dead?"
This season's winter comedy is about a penniless painter who fakes his death and takes on a new identify in Paris.
ACU Theatre Box Office
EN 10th St. & Judge Ely │ 325.674.ARTS │

February 8 - Brunch & Style Show
10 a.m.
Los Aficionados Valentine Brunch and Style Show.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 8 - Progressive Artist Reception
6-9 p.m.
Joint Progressive Artist Reception with The Old Jail Art Center for the Drawn In | Drawn Out exhibition
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 8 - Chautauqua Learning Series
12-1 p.m.
Dr. Larry Gill of the Merkel Area Historical Museum.
Buffalo Gap Historic Village
133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │

February 8 - Evening for the Expo (SOLD OUT) 

6:30 p.m. Big Country Hall & Display Building

Benefiting the Taylor County Expo Center. This night showcases the talents of songwriters who have contributed to the success of such artist as Kenney Chesney, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Clay Walker and Tim McGraw.  

Taylor County Expo Center

1700 Hwy. 36 │ 677-4376 │  


February 11 - Revolution
7:30 p.m.
2013-14 Concert Series at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest. Revolution is a troupe of 13 violinists, two violists, two guitarists, one cellist and one bass player between the ages of 14 and 18. Their performances highlight the talent and musicianship of the finest string players from the Abilene and Cooper high schools' orchestra programs.
602 Meander │ 325.677.2091 │

February 13 - ArtWalk
5-8 p.m.
The theme is "A Mile in Her Shoes." Artist Talk at 6:30 p.m. by Nick Hottmann on his new exhibit. Awards reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Center for Contemporary Arts for Intercollegiate Student Art Competition. Free Make 'N Take craft for children at The Grace Museum.

February 13 - Meet "Big Nate" creator Lincoln Peirce!
During ArtWalk at the NCCIL Gallery
National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature
102 Cedar St. │ 325.673.4586 │

February 13-15 and 20-22 - "Right You Are if You Think You Are"
7:30 p.m. at Ryan Little Theatre
Play by Luigi Pirandello. Directed by David Ainsworth.
McMurry University Box Office
Sayles Blvd. & Hunt St. │ 325.793.3889 │

February 13-15 and 20-23 - "Vox Pandora"
All shows 7:30 p.m. except Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.
Texas premier of the show by Bilal Dardai. Directed by Victoria Spangler. Tickets are $8 general admission; $5 for military, seniors and students; and free for HSU staff, faculty and students.
Van Ellis Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University
2410 Cedar St. │ 325.670.1405 │

February 13 - "Love in Bloom"
8 p.m. Paramount Theatre
An evening of dance and romance featuring the ABT company along with guest artists Michele Gifford (formerly New York City Ballet), Shea Johnson (formerly Ballet Arizona) and many more. Tickets go on sale Feb. 10. at the Paramount box office. Prices are $25 adults and $10 students and senior citizens.
Abilene Ballet Theatre
1265 N 2nd │ 325.675.0303 │

February 14-15 - Sing Song
58th annual Sing Song involving more than 1,200 students at Abilene Christian University. Tickets are $16-$25 and can be ordered here.

February 14-15 - Paramount Film Series: "Les Miserables"
7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
"Les Miserables" (2013) is the musical version of Victor Hugo's epic tale of love and sacrifice. First produced for the stage in 1985, it now receives the big-screen treatment. Tickets are $6 adults and $5 students, seniors, military and children.
Historic Paramount Theatre
352 Cypress │ 325.676.9620 │

February 15 - Last day for exhibit
Last day for On Display, The Art of Clint Hamilton, James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Realism in Print.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 15 - Dreamnight
5 p.m.
Event for special needs children that includes games, face painting, May Farm and refreshments.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 16 - "The Magic of Bill Blagg - LIVE!"
2 p.m. Paramount Theatre
Over 90 minutes of high-energy, grand scale magic and illusion. Family show.
Children's Performing Arts Series
1101 N. 1st St. │ 325.677.1161 │

February 17 - Faculty Violin Recital
7:30 p.m., Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall
Peter Isaacson performs. Free.
Hardin-Simmons University.
2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │

February 19 - Mid-Month Movie Matinee
12-1 p.m.
"Art in the 21st Century: Change"
The Center for Contemporary Arts
220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │

February 20 - Museum Matters
6 p.m.
Guest speaker.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 20 - Jim Brickman's "The Love Tour"
7:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center
Hit-maker, pianist and recording artist Jim Brickman returns with romantic songs.
For more info call: 800-869-1451 or go to
February 22 -"European Vacation" in song
6:30 p.m.
Travel along in song with Chorus Abilene for "European Vacation" at Abilene Christian University's Hunter Welcome Center. Evening includes finger food buffet and performances by choirs and soloists. Reservations required. Tickets are $25.
Chorus Abilene
1174 North 1st St. │ 325.673.SING │

February 22 - Jazz Night at the Phil
7:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center
"Pops II: Jazz Night at the Phil" featuring guest artist Rich DeRosa in an evening of classic jazz standards with the Grammy-nominated UNT One O'Clock Lab Band.
Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra
401 Cypress #520 │ 677.6710 │

February 23 - Jim Henson's "Sid the Science Kid - Live!"
2:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center
Henson's popular PBS KIDS show comes to life in this incredible live stage experience! Kids and parents alike will be thrilled as Sid, May, Gabriele and Gerald come to their town to discover the excitement and curiosities of the world. Tickets are $16.50 to $23.50. Presented by Cory's Toys and Gifts. For information call Kim Meyer at 325-428-0810 or

February 25 - "Hair" the musical
7:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center
Musical about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time. Features popular hits "Aquarius," "Let The Sun Shine In" and "Good Morning, Starshine." Part of the 2013-14 Broadway in Abilene series.
Celebrity Attractions
800.869.1451 │

February 27 - Youth Art Month reception
5:30 p.m.
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │

February 27-28 and March 1 - "100 Saints You Should Know"
The studio premier of the student-directed show "100 Saints You Should Know." Three characters struggle with identity and spiritual issues.
ACU Theatre Box Office
EN 10th St. & Judge Ely │ 325.674.ARTS │

February 27 - ACU Wind Ensemble Concert 

7:30 p.m. Abilene Civic Center

Abilene Christian University's Music Department   

ACU Drive │ 674.2199 │  


February 28 - Flutes and Feasts
7 p.m. Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Abilene Opera Association's kicks off a 12-month journey of entertainment and opera education with a night of Flutes and Feasts. Guests will be treated to an Italian feast complete with wandering troubadours of local talent. The evening also includes a silent auction.
Abilene Opera Association
P.O. Box 6611 │

February 28 - HSU Orchestra Concert
7:30 p.m. Behrens Auditorium. Free.
Hardin-Simmons University.
2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │
  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 /