Small Stones 2021 is over –
Long Live Small Stones 2021!

Check out the online vestiges of a great festival year!

In 2021, we expanded to three separate locations, adding a new Literary Track organized by the Shakespeare Club of Grafton. We proudly presented this new aspect of our festival as the inaugural events at the newly-expanded Grafton Public Library.

Our music program, organized by Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and Apple Tree Arts was held across Grafton Common at the Congregational Church of Grafton.

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

Festival Locations around Grafton Common

The Painting and Photography Exhibition


Time, by Susan Hong-Sammons

Each year, 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. The winners of this year’s top prizes may be seen at the top of this page, but you can view all submissions to the festival in our Web Gallery, using the button below.


Hummingbird, by Louise Allain

Artist and Juror Talks

One of the most popular events at the Small Stones Festival is our series of Artist and Juror Talks. 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.

You can view videos of some of the 2021 talks below.

New Literary Track featured Local Authors, Speaker, and Performance

New for 2021 was a Literary Track organized by the Shakespeare Club of Grafton.  The Club planned and presented a diverse set of offerings, all held at the newly-expanded Grafton Public Library, including:

  • A live performance of excerpts from the Spoon River Anthology* by the Radio Active Theater, including local members of the Shakespeare Club.
  • Presentations by renowned local author Nicholas A. Basbanes and his newly-published daughter, Barbara Basbanes Richter.  Nick discussed his most recent book, Cross of Snow, A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Barbara talked about her translation of Fanny Reybaud’s 19th century French novel, Mademoiselle de Malepeire.
  • Dr. Daniel Mahoney, Political Science professor at Assumption University, used George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 to illuminate the totalitarian effect of the corruption and manipulation of language.

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 was presented as a radio play performed by members of both organizations.

The play 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.,

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 proudly welcomed a prominent local author, Nicholas Basbanes, to 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 also joined us to share her experiences in bringing this ambitious work to fruition.

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 (

Dr. Daniel Mahoney on Truth, Tyranny and Human Nature

Dr. Daniel Mahoney

Dr. Daniel Mahoney, Assumption University Political Science professor, joined us to 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 invited 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 brought 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.

Eclectic Eye: Collecting Art on a Limited Budget

Tom Saupe

Tom Saupe, a long-time art collector with over 300 pieces in his collection, presented the ins and outs of collecting art in his lecture “Eclectic Eye: Collecting Art on a Limited Budget”.

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 featured work from his extensive 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.

Mirror Images – Art and Music through The Periods

Paul Surapine

The music offering for the 2021 festival, “Mirror Images – Art and Music through The Periods,” was held at the Congregational Church of Grafton.

The concert featured 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 provided insights about the era and music selection, discussing 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 performed a few of their favorite selections from each period.

For the Baroque period, organist Caleb Collins, a Vassar College student, performed 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 were performed by flutist Amy Carroll, a member of Apple Tree Arts faculty and Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Surapine accompanied her on the clarinet for a few selections of the Classical period, too.

Ms. Carroll performed selections of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other works from different composers from the Romantic period. Mr. Surapine performed 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 performed “Gargoyles” by American composer Lowell Libermann. Igor Stravinsky’s “Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet” was performed by Mr. Surapine.

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
Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra
Shakespeare Club of Grafton
Apple Tree Arts

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