Studio B hosts ‘Muse,’ exhibit and book release combining literary and visual art

Cover Illustration by Jim Meehan entitled "Scribble"
Cover Illustration by Jim Meehan entitled "Scribble"

“Muse,” the Studio B’s fourth annual show and book release combining literary and visual art opens Feb. 17, with a reception from 5 to 8:p.m. at Studio B, 39A East Philadelphia Avenue in Boyertown, The exhibit runs until March 12.

The exhibit and book will showcase the writers’ and artists’ source(s) of inspiration. People, places, things, ideas … and words are subjects of the prose and poetry and rendered visually by the artists.

Prizes to visual artists will be awarded on Friday night. “The challenge to our visual artists was to represent visually a person, place, or thing that had inspired their art,” explained Jane Stahl, Studio B’s Director of Community Relations. Lesley and Robert Misko, both long-time public school educators, will serve for the third year as jurors for the exhibit’s prizes. The Miskos have again offered the funding for the awards.

A booklet of prose, poetry, and illustrations edited by Stahl and designed by Susan Biebuyck, gallery director, featuring the work of local writers and artists, will be offered for sale in addition to the fine art exhibited in the gallery.

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The theme for the exhibit came from the words of Mother Teresa that introduced a writing assignment Stahl gave to her high school sophomores during her teaching career: “We can do no great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

“I suggested that words are small things, but the right words, at the right moment have power to inspire or degrade, heal or wound, champion or discourage. Words can transform our lives and the lives of others,” explained Stahl.

“The original intent was for our area’s writers to share stories from their lives of words that had inspired them as exemplified in Marlo Thomas’s book entitled “The Right Words at the Right Time” or in Robert Fulghum’s book entitled “Words I Wish I Wrote,” a collection of words and phrases that he loved.

“I thought some might recall their mother’s words at a turning point in their lives, words that clarified a decision, offered comfort, or provided some understanding. Perhaps they’d recall a line of poetry, a slogan from an advertisement or song lyric that had resonated with them,” she added.

“My hope was that, in sharing the stories of how words had influenced their lives, my students would realize their own power through the use of well-chosen words — words with the power to be a supporting actor in someone else’s life story — words that gave someone else’s life story a happy ending or the encouragement to “carry on.”

“Thomas’ book contained revelations from celebrated men and women of our time who shared a moment when words changed their lives. I imagined that they might recall advice like my father often gave me to inspire my courage and that they might share how those words affected their lives. ‘Give ‘em hell, Kiddo!’ was his favorite send-off,” Stahl continued. “My dad’s words carried me through many anxious vocal and athletic performances.”

“Fulgum’s book is a collection of words and phrases that he loved. I found many of my own favorites among his,” offered Stahl.

“Yet, things don’t always turn out as we’ve planned. A number of our local writers preferred the visual artist’s challenge and shared through their words what people, places, things, ideas — and sometimes words — had inspired their lives,” she added.

“Our writers and visual artists have offered a diversity of inspirations and have created a happy change to the original plan! I think you will agree and be inspired as well!” Stahl concluded.

Studio B:

Studio B, located in the heart of historic Boyertown, is the home of the Arts and Activities Alliance, a committee of Building a Better Boyertown, a nonprofit Main Street program dedicated to revitalizing small towns.