Skip to main content

The Yankee Express

BVEF-Green Bean Project’s Arts in the Valley a showstopper

Steve Gagliastro’s collection of “cells” drew people to his table, at Arts in the Valley.


The Blackstone Valley Education Foundation (BVEF) in collaboration with the Green Bean Project could not have capped its 2022-23 year in a more splendid fashion than by hosting “Arts in the Valley,” a free family event held at Sutton Middle-Senior High School on May 20th.

 Vikrant Rana shows a young visitor to his booth how to use a singing bowl, at the Arts in the Valley event on May 20th.

The production, with ran from mid-morning to early afternoon, was packed with such ingredients as a fine arts show, a chance to “paint the community canvas with Mrs. Hehir,” “crafts with Mrs. Hutchinson,” virtual reality arts experiences, vendor booths and workshops including “Arts Integration for ALL! With Lisa Donovan,” a panel discussion featuring arts professionals and a “Green Bean Kids Fashion Show.”
Among those in attendance was Vikrant B. Rana of Quincy, owner of Everest Wings and Boston Vibrations.
Mr. Rana is a sound bath therapist and Kundalini yoga practitioner whose business involves handmade hemp products from Nepal, women-made fair trade items, retail/wholesale, sound bath therapy, energy healing, Chakra balancing and “authentic singing bowls.”
“I want to introduce my culture of peace, happiness and humanity,” Mr. Rana said. He described the spot he was assigned on the floor as “very open” and welcoming.
“I am happy with the people,” he added, of event organizers and individuals frequenting his table.
Mr. Rana took a moment to tout services offered by a fellow health advocate, Sarah Coyne of Millbury, a Reiki practitioner whose focus is on fostering wellness in her clientele.
Also present and pleased to be represented was Mia Bonahan of Dudley, who has been doing professional photography for “more than five years.” High school seniors, maternity, family, couples and engagement pictures are a specialty of Ms. Bonahan’s, who was told about the event by actress, director and marketing consultant Annie Kerins “and I said yes.”
Ms. Kerins’s husband Steve Gagliastro’s display of celluloids, or “cells,” was one of the more interesting exhibits of those available to patrons of the event. Mr. Gagliastro is an actor and musician who also teaches at Worcester State.
“I obtain these from auctions and collectors who are downsizing,” Mr. Gagliastro said, of his cells. “I’m a little bit curator, a little bit museum. Stick figures are a dream for me. Anything from Warner Bros., MTV; over a couple of years we have grown from nothing to something” with hundreds of cells to choose from.
The BVEF’s Danielle Wence was understandably ecstatic about how things went.
“We were happy to display over 365 pieces of artwork from 10-plus school districts in and around the Blackstone Valley,” Ms. Wence said. “We had 23 art teachers participate/representing students in Grades K through 12. Taking place during the celebration were three interactive workshops—Curriculum in Motion and Make a Story, Make a Play with Kelli Deliso as well as a workshop ARTS Integration for ALL with Dr. Lisa Donovan from Brainworks and MCLA.
“Our career speaker panel included Visual & Performing Artist Keri Anderson, Photographer Mia Bohanan, Actor & Music Director Steve Gagliastro, DJ, Drag Queen and Social Media Director Patrick Allen Joslyn and Actress, Director and Marketing Consultant Annie Kerins.
“Other notable activities included a Community Canvas facilities by Kathy Hehir and sponsored by the Sutton Cultural Council; “Slay the Runway,” a theatrical fashion show; a virtual reality headset set; yoga with Michele Hutchinson; sound bathing with S.C. Wellness of Millbury; demonstrations by the Blackstone Valley Hub for Workforce Development; bounce houses; the Red Rock Wood Fired Pizza Truck; Sweetwise Ice Cream and so much more!”
Ms. Wence noted that “we were blown away by the talent and enthusiasm of all the participations in our celebration. Our staff loves this event and we are grateful for the opportunity to engage over 700 attendees and participants.
“Our closing ceremony honored Denise Harrison for her efforts in fostering the ARTS programming in Sutton through the partnership with the Green Bean Project. Denise is retiring as the elementary school principal in June.”

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.