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‘Our Shared Planet — The Animal Kingdom Portrayed’ to benefit Mass Audubon

Nancy Whitin’s pastel and acrylic portrait of a donkey is among the animal depictions on display in “Our Shared Planet” at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society.

Nancy Whitin

Nancy Whitin’s pastel and acrylic portrait of a donkey is among the animal depictions on display in “Our Shared Planet” at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society.

Connecting her work as an artist to her passion for the natural world has long been a driving force for Bedford sculptor Ronnie Gould. And when she received a grant recently, she made a personal vow to find a way to give back — in this case, to the realm of endangered animals.

This is such a heartfelt issue to me,” Gould said. “I’m so concerned about the loss of habitat for so many of the world’s animals. My goal was to weave awareness for conservancy and animal issues into my art. I know I’m not the only artist who feels this way. So I decided to put the challenge out there to other artists.”

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The result is an exhibition on display at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society, “Our Shared Planet — The Animal Kingdom Portrayed.” The goal of the show is to raise awareness of humans’ connection with animals, both domestic and wild, said Gould. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the art will go to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

The display, which runs through July 9 in the society’s Parsons Gallery at 130 Waltham St. in Lexington, includes the work of 19 New England artists, each with a different take on the animal world.

“Some are very traditional oil paintings, and some are alternative three-dimensional pieces,” said Gould, who served as curator. “One artist weaves plastic bags into depictions of sea creatures. Another uses found materials. The overall message speaks volumes in terms of both conservation and artistry.”

To further underscore the message, the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society invited Mass Audubon to serve as a partner on the exhibition. On Sunday, a reception with the artists from 5 to 7 p.m. will include a talk by Christopher Leahy, a professional conservationist who holds the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, and has served as director of the nonprofit organization’s Center for Biological Conservation.

Waltham artist Alison Lauriat said that her interest in depicting dolphins originated with her 5-year-old granddaughter.

“My work in the exhibit is a series of functional ware: a large platter, bowl, and three small bowls, all showing dolphins,” she said. “My granddaughter has an extreme fascination with and love for these sea mammals. As we read books about them together and talked about them, I discovered the extent to which dolphins were being threatened by all kinds of man-made factors. Suddenly it occurred to me that this planet will belong to my granddaughter long after it belongs to me, and I’d like to be able to assure her that we can share the planet with these creatures in perpetuity. That’s what the title of the show, ‘Our Shared Planet,’ means to me.”

Sculptor Suzanne Grey of Lincoln makes horses out of plaster onto which she then superimposes other materials. “The elongated legs convey the natural grace of these creatures and an ancient quality is added through rusted metal collected from around the world. For me it communicates the marriage of man, beast. and earth through time,” Grey said. “I think of my works as artifacts such as are found at archaeological sites, where the layers are interpreted to construct the existence of man.”

For more information on the show or the Lexington arts group, call 781-862-9696 or go to www.lacsma.org.

ALTERNATIVE MEDIA: The Center for Arts in Natick is exhibiting works by Boston artists David Palmquist and Andrew Fish through June 30.

Fish, a Vermont native, trained in New York City as an artist assistant and art gallery employee before becoming a member of the Vernon Street Studios artists’ community in Somerville. He works in oil paintings based on photographs, often in the form of unusually cropped compositions that redirect the eye to the outer edges of the canvas.

Palmquist, also part of the Vernon Street Studios collaborative, is a Midwesterner who describes his work as an exploration of the capabilities of “graphing, pixilation, and exaggerated definition” in paintings.

For more information on the exhibition at TCAN, 14 Summer St. in Natick, go to www.natickarts.org.

MUSIC ALL AROUND: The Boston Saengerfest Men’s Chorus performs Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Newton, 848 Beacon St. in Newton Centre, in a joint concert with the Metropolitan Male Choir of South Australia that will feature more than 100 performers. The award-winning Australian choir is visiting the area as part of a world tour, with stops in Boston and Canada to be followed by a special concert in London to celebrate the start of the Olympics. Tickets are $25. For advance tickets or more details, go to www.saengerfest.org.

The Hopkinton Center for the Arts kicks off the summer with a festival of continuous live music Saturday from 1 to 8:30 p.m. at 98 Hayden Rowe St. The event will feature performances by local artists in the genres of rock, alternative rock, blues, ska, and folk. There will also be food, crafts, artisans, hot air balloon rides, and raffles. All-day admission wristbands are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for children under 5. For more information, go to www.hopartscenter.org.

The Sounds of Concord welcomes the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, visiting from Australia en route to the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, for a joint performance Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, 40 Stow St. in Concord. After being named the Barbershop Harmony Society’s Northeastern District champion last year, the Sounds of Concord will be competing at the organization’s international finals for choruses next month in Portland, Ore. Tickets for Saturday’s show are $20 to $25, and are available at www.soundsofconcord.org or 866-537-1584.

SOLSTICE AFLOAT: The annual outdoor Musketaquid Summer Solstice Celebration takes place Thursday night in Concord, welcoming the arrival of summer along the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord rivers, and serving as the kickoff event for this weekend’s OARS RiverFest.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a picnic on the grounds of the Old Manse, 269 Monument St. Bring food, drink, and a blanket, and relax while listening to music performed by the Voices for the Earth Chorus, Snow Crow, and others.

At 8 p.m., launch your canoe, rowboat, or kayak from the nearby North Bridge for an illuminated flotilla up the Concord River to historic Egg Rock at the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers. Bring along a candle lantern for your boat. To rent a canoe, call South Bridge Boat House at 978-371-2465, and ask for the Solstice group rate.

For those who wish to view the flotilla as it passes by, the best location is the Lowell Road Bridge just outside Concord Center, which is also the setting for the Drum and Dance Circle beginning at 8:30 p.m.

The Musketaquid Arts and Environment event is presented in collaboration with OARS, or the Organization for the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers, and is dedicated to the memory of Nat Marden. For more information, contact OARS at 978-369-3956, office@oars3rivers.org, or Musketaquid at 978-254-1092.

THE BARD’S WORDS: Actor Stephen Collins makes Shakespeare’s words come alive — from the evil machinations of Richard III to the philosophical bantering of Falstaff to the brilliant oratory of Brutus and Antony — on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Waltham Public Library, 735 Main St.

The program is free, but seating is limited, so to reserve a place call 781-314-3425, ext. 2, or register online under “Events Calendar” at www.waltham.lib.ma.us.

Nancy Shohet West can be reached at nancyswest@ gmail.com.
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