By Jessica Klarp
For a full dose of the holiday spirit, look no farther than the Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) where the month is full of events for all tastes and budgets.
Starting on Friday, December 6, the Arts Center keeps its doors open until 8 p.m. to accommodate the revelers of the community-wide Holly Jolly celebration. The Upper Gallery opens with the Clay Studio Exhibit, featuring the best work of students and faculty working in the BMCA Clay studio. This exhibit runs through January 3. Across the hall, potters will have hundreds of pieces available for sale. This is the perfect time to pick up last-minute gifts, stocking stuffers, ornaments, jewelry and teacher gifts. On the theater level a Youth Makers Market will be in full swing with children ages 8–18 putting their handmade items and entrepreneurial spirits on display. Local authors will have a variety of fiction and non-fiction books for sale. More than 100 BMCA dancers led by instructor Amy Maze will take to the stage on the street by the Old Depot starting at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, December 7, BMCA dancers paint the town red during the Black Mountain Christmas Parade. Later that evening, at 7:30 p.m., nationally celebrated storyteller Connie Regan-Blake and other storytellers transform a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends with old-timey charm, wisdom, and humor in Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.
Sunday, December 8, starts with a holiday sing-along at 4 p.m. The whole family can enjoy this community experience of carols and holiday songs in the warmth of our theater. At 6 p.m., personality and poet James Navé will transfix audience members with his yearly recitation of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. As a gift to the community, Navé has been presenting the rich language of Thomas’ evocative holiday classic poem since 1988.
The Black Mountain Center for the Arts Theatre (BMCAT) presents the David Sedaris comedy Santaland Diaries opening Friday, December 13, and running two laugh-filled weekends through Sunday, December 22. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. David Broshar stars as Crumpet the Elf in this one-man, seasonal staple adapted from the original Sedaris essay by Joe Mantello and used by permission of Dramatist Play Service. The show is directed by BMCAT artistic director Matt Lutz.
The Mountain Friends Trio is an ensemble made up of multi-instrumentalists Mike Gosey and Cheryl and Doug Frey who will share their wide musical tastes ranging from traditional Appalachian folk and gospel to jazz and the Beatles (with some holiday music thrown in) on Thursday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m.
After the final matinee performance of Santaland Diaries, the theatre is transformed for the Mountain Folk Harpers who take the stage for a magical night of Celtic harp music on Sunday, December 22, at 7:30 p.m. This will be the third year the Folk Harpers, a loose association of harp enthusiasts led by award-winning harpist Sue Richards, have performed together at BMCA. Expect solos, duets and ensemble works where up to ten harps all play together to create a warm resonance fit for the season.
The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 West State Street in Black Mountain. BMCA and the Upper Gallery are free and open to the public Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. BMCA will be closed December 23 through Jan 2. For more information or to purchase tickets to any performance, visit BlackMountainArts.org or call 828.669.0930.