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The Yankee Express

Dr. Helen Whall, Nicholas Gage are Small Stones Festival headliners

Dr. Helen Whall

Though still several months away, the Small Stones Festival of the Arts in Grafton is quickly shaping up with Dr. Helen Whall and Grafton’s own Nicholas Gage stepping forward as key presenters.
In announcing the dates of October 14-23 for this year’s production, Festival Spokesperson Dana Wilson said the event will take place at three locations: the Great Hall at Apple Tree Arts, the Community Meeting Room at the Grafton Public Library and the Congregational Church of Grafton.

 Author Nicholas Gage

An Opening Reception is scheduled for Friday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Hall, on the Grafton Town Common.
Exhibitions to be judged will be available for viewing on Saturday, October 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday, October 16 from noon to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 19 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, October 20 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Friday, October 21 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, October 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 4:00 p.m.
In Dr. Helen Whall and Nicholas Gage, the Festival has two big-name attractions.
Dr. Whall is a retired professor of English who taught for forty-two years at the College of the Holy Cross. Five years after her retirement, the college received an endowment of $2.6 million to establish the Helen M. Whall Chair in Race, Gender and Social Justice. The three-year endowment will allow Dr. Whall’s impact on students to continue. It recognizes her contributions to the students and to the college with her service on many committees.
A graduate of Yale University with a Ph.D. in English Lit, Dr. Whall’s focus at Holy Cross was on William Shakespeare, among other subject matter. She will be discussing the works of Shakespeare—one of her favorite topics—on Saturday, October 15th at 3:00 p.m. at the Grafton Public Library. 
Dr. Whall’s lecture is free to all and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
As it happens, last year, according to Ms. Wilson, the Festival debuted a new and well-received Literary Track Program with The Shakespeare Club of Grafton. This year’s Festival will present three literary programs in collaboration with the Club, to be held at the newly expanded Grafton Public Library.
Nicholas Gage is the Grafton-based author of “Eleni” and “A Place for Us” and is well-known for these autobiographical memoirs. Eleni is about his family’s life in Greece during World War II and the Greek Civil War and his experience as a New York Times reporter traveling to Greece to find out about his past.
Mr. Gage’s presentation as part of the Small Stones Arts Festival is scheduled for Friday, October 21st at 7:00 p.m., also at the Grafton Public Library. He often talks about his investigative reporting and his literary life.
His talk will also be followed by a Q-and-A session.
Another highlight of the Festival will be a Music Program featuring Paul Surapine and musicians from the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and Apple Tree Arts. This will take place on Saturday, October 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Grafton.
Also, “History at Play: Annie Fields,” will be presented on behalf of History at Play, LLC, by Judith Kalaora as another ingredient of the Festival at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22nd at the Grafton Public Library.
“Victorian Gossip Girl” Annie Adams Fields exerted incredible influence on the literary decisions made at Ticknor and Fields Publishing House (forerunner of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She also had a great ear for gossip. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Charles Dickens were among her closest friends. She witnessed a great deal of Victorian revelry at her waterside museum on Beacon Hill in Boston. She wrote about her beloved guests in her novel “Authors and Friends” (1896).
An Art Call for the Festival went out on July 15 for submission of work. All fine-art artists and photographers are invited to join the region’s finest painters, photographers, water colorists and two-dimensional artists for the fifth year of the Festival.
The Festival returns to the Great Hall at One Grafton Common with winning artists to be announced at the Opening Reception. Apple Tree Arts, The Worcester County Camera Club, the Blackstone Valley Art Association, the Shakespeare Club of Grafton and Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra are collaborating to showcase the art exhibition, artist and juror talks, music and literature programs.
Photography and all forms of two-dimensional artwork are welcomed for judging, with a maximum of four entries per artist. The Art Call remains open until midnight of the day five hundred entries are received.
All artwork meeting acceptance criteria will be displayed online.
Visit to submit artwork.