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December Happenings at Black Mountain Center

By Jessica Klarp

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) is always humming with activity, but the diversity of offerings is on full display in December. It all starts with the Clay Studio Exhibit and Pottery Market on Friday, December 1, from 5-8 p.m. The entire upper floor of BMCA is occupied with pottery both artistic and functional. The Clay Studio Exhibit in the Upper Gallery will feature the best of BMCA Clay Studio teachers Charles Freeland, Mathilda Tanner, Geoff Bird and Mindy McCormick alongside the excellent work of their students. More than 35 talented resident potters will have work in this yearly exhibition, on display until mid-February.

On the other side of the hall, the Pottery Market is set up with a dozen potters selling their wares at affordable prices in a festive setting befitting the town-wide Holly Jolly celebration. The range of work available includes a vast selection of plates, bowls, cups, mugs, vases, jewelry, ornaments, salt and pepper shakers and wall decorations that make perfect gifts.

Saturday, December 2, has BMCA dancers led by instructor Amy Maze participating in the Christmas parade starting at 4 p.m. followed by Connie Regan-Blake’s Taking Your Story to the Stage storytelling workshop participants appearing in A Slice of Life at 7:30 p.m. The tellers include Christine Phillips Westfeldt, Darcy Ruth Darcy, Jane O Cunningham, Lee Lyons and Frannie Oates. Regan-Blake regularly brings her experienced storytellers to BMCA to share their stories with the community.

Celtic harpist Sue Richards teaches lessons at BMCA and leads the Mountain Folk Harpers Ensemble in a Christmas concert on Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m. This informal, multigenerational group offers a holiday-themed performance featuring solos, duets and ensemble pieces. “We are looking forward to sharing this beautiful repertoire on harps,” says Richards. “The resonance of multiple instruments being played at once thrillingly fills the room.”

For two weekends on December 15–16 and 22–23 at 7:30 p.m., the Front Porch Theatre at BMCA presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry based on the classic holiday movie with a twist. It is staged as a live radio broadcast.

“Our Front Porch Theatre is growing and evolving into a top-notch regional community theatre,” says executive director Gale Jackson, “so we are thrilled that this holiday production will be one that is not only challenging for the cast and crew, but also beloved by audiences everywhere. This is going to be another sold-out show!”

Five actors create all the characters and sound effects to retell the story of George Bailey, a generous, well-meaning man who has lost the will to live. For George to have a change of heart and understand the true spirit of the holidays, it will take help from a lovable angel. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Arts Center.

Back by popular demand, BMCA is proud to present popular poet and personality James Navé in a very special presentation of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas on Sunday, December 17, at 2 p.m. Each year since 1988, when Navé memorized this classic story, he has been reciting it for audiences large and small at holiday time. Be a part of the tradition and join us for this special afternoon presentation. There is no charge for this holiday gift to the community, though donations are welcome.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 West State Street. The Upper Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Slice of Life tickets are $15/$20 and It’s a Wonderful Life tickets are $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit blackmountainarts.org or call 828.669.0930.

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