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    Lexington gallery offers portraits of grandchildren

    Granddaughter Brynn stood in front of her portrait, painted by Lois Woolley.
    Francesca Anderson
    Granddaughter Brynn stood in front of her portrait, painted by Lois Woolley.

    After relocating for 19 months to Portland, Ore., to help her daughter with a new baby, Francesca Anderson was ready to return home. She missed her everyday life — but most of all, she missed the Lexington art gallery that bears her name.

    “It’s like my second child,” she said recently.

    And Anderson is celebrating her own homecoming with a very special show: “Portraits of the Smith Grandchildren,” featuring the 10 grandchildren of Lexington residents Bill and Polly Smith.


    As Anderson sees it, the Smiths have given their children an unusual and generous gift. As each grandchild reached the age of 5 or so, the senior Smiths commissioned a painter, all but one chosen by the child’s parents, to create a portrait of the youngster.

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    The results, Anderson said, are a fascinating study in portraiture styles, since each set of parents was attracted to a different artist from among the many whose work Anderson showed them as they tried to make a decision.

    “Back in 2001, Polly Smith came to me and said she and her husband were interested in having their grandchildren’s portraits painted,” Anderson recalled. “So I talked to them about the considerations. The first, of course, is price range. Next, what size did they have in mind? They weren’t sure, so they came to my annual spring portrait show to get more ideas. They decided to go with half-length portraits,’’ measuring 34 by 20 inches.

    For the eldest grandchild, Polly Smith chose artist Robina MacIntyre. But when the next grandchild reached the age of 5, MacIntyre had moved to England. Smith brought her daughter into the gallery and asked her to choose; she was attracted to the work of a New York-based artist, Lois Woolley. As it turned out, each of the Smiths’ four children chose a different artist for their family’s portraits.

    “The first artist, Robina ­MacIntyre, is not really a Realist nor an Impressionist, but falls somewhere in between,” said Anderson. “The second daughter wanted a softer look, so she chose Lois Woolley, who is more of an Impressionist portrait painter, to paint her three children.”


    The Smith’s third child is a son; his wife got to make the choice for her family, and since she favors a more realistic style, she chose John Ennis. The youngest daughter chose Sergei Chernikov of Wisconsin.

    “There’s no right and wrong about the choice,” said Anderson. “It’s a personal choice based on what someone identifies with emotionally, what makes them feel good when they look at a painting.”

    The portraits were painted over the course of nearly a decade, from 2003 to last year. There are eight works in all, since one set of parents chose to have their three sons painted together.

    “It’s so interesting to note the likenesses among the 10 cousins; they are clearly all from the same family. But it’s even more interesting because each mother chose a different artist, which makes the exhibit much more diverse than if one artist had painted all 10 children.”

    To Anderson, the Smith family exhibition — which, because it is small, is being displayed in her gallery with a group show, called “Snow Scenes” — is a tribute not only to these growing children, but also to the vision and artistic commitment of the grandparents.


    “Parents are rightfully caught up in the day-to-day lives of their child or children, taking them to school, doctors, games, lessons, thinking about summer camps and vacations,” Anderson said.

    “Grandparents may be more likely to think of something like a portrait. They sometimes have the money to do this, but also the foresight to capture their grandchild in a beautiful work of art.”

    “Portraits of the Smith Grandchildren” can be seen through March 9 at Francesca Anderson Fine Art, 56 Adams St. in Lexington. For more information, call 781-862-0660 or go to www.fafineart.com.

    HERITAGE, EN FRANCAIS: “Voyages en Francophonie,” the latest in a series of Heritage Festivals celebrating the cultural diversity of Newton, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Newton Cultural Center, 225 Nevada St. in the city’s Newtonville section.

    The event focuses on the 40 countries around the world where French is the primary language, with stalls featuring décor, costumes, food, story reading and children’s games rooted in each country’s culture. Other attractions planned are art exhibitions, French literature for sale, a puppet workshop, and a scavenger hunt.

    The suggested family donation is $15 for the daylong event. For more details, go to www.efgboston.org/en.

    The next events in the Newton Community Pride series are a Chinese festival on March 9, a Latin American festival on March 23, and the second annual ‘‘From Russia with Arts and Culture’’ on April 19-21.

    For more information, call 617-527-8283 or go online to www.newtoncommunitypride.org.

    MIXING MEDIA: The ArtSpace Gallery, at 63 Summer St. in Maynard, is exhibiting pieces in a variety of media by members of the nonprofit organization’s directors.

    “The Committee Shows: Work by the Artspace Gallery Committee,” which features 10 local artists who work in paint, photography, printmaking, and sculpture, among other forms, opened this week and continues through March 23.

    A reception with the artists, who all have studios in the ArtSpace building, is set for March 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

    For more information, call 978-897-9828 or go to www.artspacemaynard.com.

    CROSS-CONCORD PACT: An inaugural cross-town creative arts collaboration, “East Meets West,” is on display at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord Center and the ArtScape space at the Bradford Mill in West Concord.

    The parallel shows, which feature artists from the other venue, are open through Monday at the Emerson Umbrella, 40 Stow St., and the ArtScape gallery in the newly renovated mill at 43 Bradford St.

    A closing reception will be held at ArtScape from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday.

    Call 978-371-0828 or go to www.emersonumbrella.org for more information.

    KLEZMER MOVES: Jim Guttmann brings a night of klezmer music and Yiddish dancing to the Acton Jazz Café on Friday, with a dinner show starting at 7 p.m. followed by a klezmer dance party at 9:30.

    For more information about Guttman’s “Bessarabian Breakdown’’ project, or the cafe, which is at 103 Nagog Park in Acton, call 978-263-6161 or visit www.actonjazzcafe.com.

    “VOICES’’ FOR SILENT FILM: On Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, the Assabet Valley Mastersingers ensemble presents “Voices of Light,’’ a program merging a silent film masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” and a live performance, with orchestral accompaniment, of a score by award-winning composer Richard Einhorn.

    Boston College professor John Michalczyk will set the stage for the performance with a talk on the film’s director, Carl Dreyer, starting at 2:40 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, at 25 Marlboro Road (Route 85). Primary parking will be at the Woodward School, 28 Cordaville Road, with a free shuttle service.

    Tickets are $25, or $20 for students and senior citizens. For tickets or more information, call 978-562-9838 or go to www.avmsingers.org.

    “RHAPSODY’’ IN CONCERT: The Concord Band presents a rare performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” featuring piano soloist Michael Lewin of the Boston Conservatory, on Saturday at 8 p.m. at 51 Walden St. in Concord.

    Tickets are $20, and $10 for seniors and students, available at the door or online at www.concordband.org.

    “YANKEES’’ ON STAGE: Students from the Fenn School and the Nashoba Brooks School, both in Concord, join forces this weekend in production of a 1955 Broadway musical, “Damn Yankees.”

    Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Fenn School, 516 Monument St. Tickets are $5, with a family maximum of $25.

    “MUSIC’’ IN FRANKLIN: The Franklin Performing Arts Company presents “The Sound of Music,” accompanied by a professional orchestra, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Thomas D. Mercer Auditorium, 224 Oak St. in Franklin.

    The 111-member cast represents 21 area towns. Tickets for “The Sound of Music” cost $30, $28, and $26. To purchase tickets, call 508-528-8668, visit the box office at the Spotlight Shop, 34 Main St., Franklin, or visit www.fpaconline.com.

    Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com. Please include the date of the event in the subject line