The Small Stones Festival of the Arts

The 2021 Small Stones Festival
Live again, and Bigger than Ever!

Now in 3 Locations!

With the expansion of the Festival this year, we are moving to three locations, all centered around the scenic Grafton Common. We are proud to announce that our new Literary Track (see separate announcement), organized by the Shakespeare Club of Grafton, will be held at the newly-expanded Grafton Public Library.

A special music program organized by Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and Apple Tree Arts will be held this year at the Congregational Church of Grafton.

Our signature Art and Photography Exhibition remains at the beautiful Great Hall, One Grafton Common, courtesy of Apple Tree Arts.

We are delighted to have our return to in-person activity hosted at these three iconic locations around the common. Please plan on attending the Festival events this year to show your support!

Festival Locations around Grafton Common

The Schedule

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although all events are free, many require advance ticketing due to capacity limitations. MASKS REQUIRED FOR ALL EVENTS.

The Exhibition – click for more information

  • Saturday, October 16: Exhibition open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 17: Exhibition open 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Wednesday, October 20: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 21: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, October 22: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 23: Exhibition open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 24: Exhibition open 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Literary Track – click for more information

* Spoon River Anthology by Charles Aidmon. Conceived from Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology. “Spoon River Anthology” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.,

Art and Music Events – click for more information

The Painting and Photography Exhibition


Time, by Susan Hong-Sammons

The highlight of our festival is a juried exhibition of fine art painting and photography, bringing together many of the most talented artists in our region. This year we’ve expanded our schedule to provide more opportunity for our community to experience the breadth of emotion and inspiration offered by this great body of work.

Admission is free and open, although we may have to limit attendance during peak periods.

Located at Apple Tree Arts, in the Great Hall, One Grafton Common.

NEW Expanded Schedule This Year

Saturday, October 16: Exhibition open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Sunday, October 17: Exhibition open 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Wednesday, October 20: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Thursday, October 21: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Friday, October 22: Exhibition open 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Saturday, October 23: Exhibition open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Sunday, October 24: Exhibition open 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm



Hummingbird, by Louise Allain

New Literary Track features Local Authors, Speaker, and Performance

New this year at the Small Stones Festival is a Literary Track organized by the Shakespeare Club of Grafton. The Club has planned a diverse set of offerings, including:

  • A live performance of excerpts from the Spoon River Anthology* by the Radio Active Theater, which includes local members of the Shakespeare Club.
  • Presentations by renowned local author Nicholas A. Basbanes and his newly-published daughter, Barbara Basbanes Richter. Nick will be discussing his most recent book, Cross of Snow, A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Barbara will talk about her translation of Fanny Reybaud’s 19th century French novel, Mademoiselle de Malepeire. Representatives of Tidepool Bookshop, a local independent bookseller, will be on hand offering copies of the books.
  • Dr. Daniel Mahoney, Political Science professor at Assumption University, will use George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 to illuminate the totalitarian effect of the corruption and manipulation of language.

All of these events will be held in the newly-expanded Grafton Public Library.

Spoon River Anthology

Spoon River Anthology
A joint production of Audio Journal’s Radio Active Theater and the Shakespeare Club of Grafton, Spoon River Anthology is presented as a radio play performed by members of both organizations.

It is based on the 1915 book by Edgar Lee Masters, in which deceased residents of Spoon River come back to life to tell the provocative secrets of small town America. For some, this means relating the stories of their deaths; for others, it is the subjective insights into the scandals of their day.

Spoon River Anthology by Charles Aidmon. Conceived from Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology. “Spoon River Anthology” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.,

Two Performances – Advance (free) ticketing required

Saturday, October 16, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm


Art Auction Complete
Thank you!

We’d like to thank our art donors and our bidders for making our first (annual?) benefit Art Auction a great success!

Contributing artists were:

  • Carol Arnold
  • Frank Bartucca
  • Sue Cardosi
  • Ken Crater
  • Norm Eggert
  • Bonnie Frederico
  • Carol Frieswick
  • Marsha Gleason
  • Anne Greene
  • James Hunt
  • Nastassia Hunt
  • Carolyn Kinloch-Winkler
  • Richard Lapping
  • David Long
  • Matt Reynolds
  • Bennie Thornton
  • Sharon Whitham

Author Talks by Nicholas Basbanes and Barbara Basbanes Richter

Nicholas Basbanes and Barbara Basbanes Richter
In the debut of the Literary Track for the Small Stones Festival, we are proud to welcome a prominent local author, Nicholas Basbanes, who will discuss his most recently published work, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Nick’s decades-long love affair with literature is evidenced by his many works delving into humanity’s interaction with the printed word. Truly a bibliophile’s bibliophile, there may be no one else worldwide who has so thoroughly examined and documented in his books the process of book collecting and library formation.

His book Cross of Snow looks at one of the most popular poets of his time, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who is now experiencing a resurgence of popularity and stature after years of inattention. Cross of Snow not only traces the influences and evolution of Longfellow’s work, but also provides fascinating insight into the daily life of a formative literary giant in the early years of the nineteenth century.

It is, perhaps, not at all surprising that Nicholas Basbanes’ daughter, Barbara Basbanes Richter, has also recent authored a book, a translation of a mid-nineteenth century French novel by Fanny Reybaud entitled Mademoiselle de Malepeire. As a special treat, Barbara will also be joining us to share her experiences in bringing this ambitious work to fruition.

A local independent bookseller, Tidepool Book Shop, will be on hand offering copies of the two works to interested parties.

For more information about our authors, check out their websites at:

Nicholas Basbanes:

Barbara Basbanes Richter: Ghostwriting| In Ink Ghostwriting

Mademoiselle de Malepeire: Book | Mademoiselle de Malepeire (

Advance (free) ticketing required

Friday, October 22, 7:00 pm


Dr. Daniel Mahoney on Truth, Tyranny and Human Nature

Dr. Daniel Mahoney

Dr. Daniel Mahoney, Assumption University Political Science professor, will discuss George Orwell, focusing mainly on the novel “1984” to help deepen people’s understanding of what the author was trying to communicate about the true nature of human beings and the ongoing threats to the integrity of the human soul. He wants the audience to discover what Orwell meant in a broader approach directed at the meaning of truth and the essence of human nature.

The lecture will bring a sustained focus to Orwell’s pivotal work so attendees may arrive at their own conclusion about the current political climate and use Orwell’s work as a guide to their own reflection.

Dr. Mahoney said, “The most terrible kind of politics believes human nature can be manipulated or simply transformed, that there is no enduring human soul, so human beings may be reengineered at will. In this understanding there is no objective distinction between truth and falsehood, right and wrong. In this understanding of things, there’s a tendency to reinvent the past or almost erase it.”

He wants us also to reflect, following Orwell, on how dangerous it is when we attempt to change the meaning of language and the structure of reality. “Orwell remains our teacher in no small part because his thought is finally unclassifiable. He was a democratic socialist who despised Communism as murderous and mendacious, an anti-colonialist and an unapologetic British patriot, an agnostic or atheist who defended a traditional or commonsensical view of right and wrong,” Dr. Mahoney explained.

Advance (free) ticketing required

Saturday, October 23, 3:00 pm


Artist and Juror Talks

Jim Welu

One of the most popular events at the Small Stones Festival is our series of Artist and Juror Talks. This year will be no exception, as we plan to continue the series with live presentations that will also be recorded for later viewing.

Each year, two or more of the artists appearing in our exhibition agree to talk about their work, using their entries as examples and discussing the techniques and inspirations that guide their efforts. Artists and non-artists alike can find inspiration and greater understanding and appreciation from the insights they offer.

Additionally, several of our jurors discuss their experience of judging the exhibition, highlighting specific works that spoke to them and the attributes they found most compelling. As an art appreciation exercise, everyone can gain from exposure to the perspectives and erudition offered by these talks. But for attending artists who ever wondered “what were they thinking?” when seeing the often-subjective results of a juried exhibition, this is your chance to find out.

NOTE: Artist Talks begin at 2:00 pm, Juror Talks begin at 3:00 pm.

Advance (free) ticketing required

Saturday, October 17, 2:00 pm


Eclectic Eye: Collecting Art on a Limited Budget

Tom Saupe

Tom Saupe, a long-time art collector with over 300 pieces in his collection, will discuss the ins and outs of collecting art in his lecture “Eclectic Eye: Collecting Art on a Limited Budget” Oct. 20, 6:00 p.m. at the Great Hall, One Grafton Common.

A graduate of Worcester Art Museum, Mr. Saupe started collecting art 50 years ago when he discovered good local art was readily available and affordable. “You don’t have to spend a fortune to own art. Local artists need to be supported. You just need to know where to look, great local art is available,” he said. His presentation will feature work from his collection including masters to contemporary art.

Mr. Saupe learned about collecting art at a young age from his mother who treasured her collection of glass and Asian Art. “Being a painter myself and coming from a collecting background, collecting art was sort of in my blood,” he said. He continued the tradition collecting a wide variety of art with his wife Linda. She also enjoys collecting early Italian Majolica pottery, a vibrant, soft paste pottery with tinge glaze.

Several years ago, bits and pieces of his art collection were displayed at the Spaulding Heritage Aldrich gallery at Alternatives Unlimited in Whitinsville, Mass. At that time, Mr. Saupe was the director of community outreach and responsible for all the cultural activities that happened at the gallery and theatre. Now known as Open Sky Community Services the organization has administrative offices at its Worcester and Whitin Mill locations. In his retirement, he is enjoying his life by painting and collecting art.

Advance (free) ticketing required

Wednesday, October 20, 6:00 pm


Mirror Images – Art and Music through The Periods

Paul Surapine

This year’s music offering “Mirror Images – Art and Music through The Periods” will be held Saturday, Oct. 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Grafton, 25 Grafton Common, Grafton.

The concert features a historical retrospective of the musical arts through the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern (twentieth century) periods hosted by Paul Surapine, founding executive and artistic director of the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and a distinguished faculty member of Apple Tree Arts.

Before each period of music, Mr. Surapine will provide insights about the era and music selection. He will discuss what makes a piece of music different in each era. “Music of the classical time is all about structure. The romantic period is more colorful, emotional and sensational,” he noted. Musicians will perform a few of their favorite selections from each period.

For the Baroque period, organist Caleb Collins, a Vassar College student, will perform selections of composer Johann Sebastian Bach and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck on the church’s majestic pipe organ. The Baroque period includes music created
from the 1600s to 1750s.

Selections from a few Classical period composers including Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini will be performed by flutist Amy Carroll, a member of Apple Tree Arts faculty and Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Surapine will accompany her on the clarinet for a few selections of the Classical period, too.

Ms. Carroll will perform selections of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other works from different composers from the Romantic period. Mr. Surapine will perform the “Clarinet Sonate, Op. 167” by French composer Camille Saint-Saens.

The Modern period features music from the early to mid-twentieth century. Apple Tree Arts’ faculty member and accomplished pianist Corbin Calloway Bolton will perform “Gargoyles” by American composer Lowell Libermann. Igor Stravinsky’s “Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet” will be performed by Mr. Surapine.

Advance (free) ticketing required

Saturday, October 23, 7:00 pm


We gratefully acknowledge the support of our sponsors

Anytime Fitness
Gaudette Insurance
Grafton Cultural Council
Homefield Credit Union
Jubilee Chocolate
Millbury Cultural Council
Northbridge Cultural Council
Roney Funeral Home
Shrewsbury Cultural Council
Sotheby’s Real Estate
Theroux Dental Associates
Touchstone Crystal
Town House Tavern at One Grafton Common
Yesod Foundation, Inc.
Westborough Cultural CouncilMass Cultural Council

2021 Organizing Committee

Small Stones Festival of the Arts

2021 Organizing Committee

Alaina Calloway BoltonApple Tree Arts
Sue CardosiWorcester County Camera Club
Ken Crater (Chair)Worcester County Camera Club
Gary Cunningham (Exhibition Coordinator)Blackstone Valley Art Assoc.
Bonnie FredericoSellar Shop, BVAA
Carol Frieswick (Artist/Juror Liaison)Blackstone Valley Art Assoc.
Bob HassingerWorcester County Camera Club
James HuntFine Art and Environmental Photography
Carolyn Kinloch-Winkler – Grafton Artist
Sean Padgett – One Grafton Common LLC
Bennie ThorntonWorcester County Camera Club
Dana Wilson (Public Relations/Marketing)Apple Tree Arts


2021 Fine Art Photography Jurors

David DeMelim
David is founder and Managing Director of the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts in Providence also works as a commercial and fine art photographer. With training as both a printmaker and photographer, his 30 years of experience has spanned the transition to digital technologies, and his dual role has informed his work to develop new ways to create a visual narrative.

Jessica Roscio
Jessica serves as Director and Curator at the Danforth Art Museum. Selected exhibitions include Barbara Swan: Reflected Self, The Memory Palace: Domesticity, Objects, and the Interior, Beautiful Decay, and Lois Tarlow: Material Vocabulary. Jessica has held positions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Arts, and has taught courses at Emerson College and Suffolk University. Jessica has an MA in Art History from the University at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in American Studies, with a focus on the History of Photography, from Boston University.

Al Weems
For several decades, Al was a corporate and commercial photographer with a focus on environmental portraiture. He now concentrates on fine art portraiture with a practice that seeks to elevate the ordinary. Al’s work has been widely published, and displayed in numerous exhibitions including shows at the Providence Art Club, the Newport Art Museum, and the Art League, Rhode Island.

2021 Fine Art Painting Jurors

Carol Arnold
Carol has been a part of the Putney Painters group, mentored by Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, since 2006. She served as a faculty member at the Portrait Society of America’s annual conference in 2015 and 2016 with responsibilities including mentoring, portfolio critiques and a workshop.

Susan Swinand
Sue Swinand is primarily a painter with a preference for water media. Although her work is usually abstract, the structures and forms of nature are a big influence for her. Sue was graduated, magna cum laude, from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia with a BFA in Painting. She has taught extensively at the Worcester Art Museum, Clark University, and at Wellesley College Greenhouses. She has had one person shows at a variety of prestigious museums and galleries, and is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society.

Charlotte Wharton
Charlotte is a highly-accomplished portrait, plein-air and genre artist with over 600 pieces of artwork displayed in national and European collections. She is the author of The Language Of Energy In Art: Finding Your Vision, and has received over five dozen major awards including the Copley Society of Boston’s Gold Medal, the Award for Excellence in Portraiture and the Oil Painters of American Award for Excellence in Painting.

Worcester County Camera Club
Blackstone Valley Art Association
Shakespeare Club of Grafton
Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra
Apple Tree Arts
Small Stones Festival of the Arts

The Small Stones Festival of the Arts, held each autumn, is a collaboration of Apple Tree Arts, the Worcester County Camera Club, the Blackstone Valley Arts Association, the Shakespeare Club of Grafton and Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra. The festival includes a juried exhibition of photography and painting, a musical program, and literary events.

Admission to the exhibit is free to the general public, although some performances may have admission fees. Some artists will also make their work available for sale at the exhibition.

For information about this year’s festival, including how to participate with your artwork, see our Current Festival page. You can also read about our previous festivals:

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