City hosts Creative Georgetown workshop on Feb. 11

City leaders are seeking public input on the future direction of the City’s role in arts and culture in Georgetown at the inaugural Creative Georgetown event Feb. 11 in the Georgetown Public Library.

The come-and-go event will give attendees the opportunity to learn about the wide-ranging art, music, theater and cultural opportunities for audiences, learners, makers and doers at all levels as well as an overview of the City’s study of the economic impact of arts and culture.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get together for a morning of fun and valuable information,” Library Services Director Eric Lashley said. “Artists, musicians, actors, writers, organizers and our many residents who don’t make art but love to attend plays, exhibits and concerts will all find something of interest. We’re hoping for a good turnout because no matter their level of interest in the arts everyone will come away with something of value.”

From 8:30 a.m. to noon, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in several sessions discussing the arts, including presentations by local arts groups and a professional development workshop focused on promotional tools and techniques for artists.

Children will also be able to participate in a Hands on History program presented by The Williamson Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children will learn about Valentine’s Day traditions and make their own vintage Valentines.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include refreshments and door prizes from local arts and culture organizations. Registration is not required; however, individuals are asked to indicate their interest in attending on Facebook at This will allow organizers to have an approximate headcount.

A full schedule is available at

Courageous Conversations begins new series Jan. 31

Beginning Jan. 31, the Georgetown Public Library and Courageous Conversations of Georgetown, TX will continue its partnership hosting moderated conversations about race and social justice.

The series of conversations will use “March,” a three-volume graphic memoir by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, as a basis for discussions modeled on The Red Bench program developed by Interfaith Action of Central Texas.

“March” is Lewis’ firsthand account of his experiences during the Civil Rights movement. “March: Book One” explores Lewis’ childhood in rural Alabama, Lewis meeting Martin Luther King Jr., the Nashville Student Movement and the lunch counter sit-ins. “March: Book Two” focuses on Lewis’ participation in the Freedom Riders campaign and his leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. “March: Book Three” follows Lewis’ continued leadership of SNCC through the Mississippi Freedom Summer and Freedom vote initiatives, and his involvement in civil rights efforts in Selma, Alabama. Copies of all three books are available for checkout at the library.

“We selected ‘March’ for its civil rights ties to John Lewis and the graphic novel form as an appeal to our Georgetown youth, all in the hopes of helping to create a beloved community,” said Jaquita Wilson a member of Courageous Conversations of Georgetown, TX.

Moderators will facilitate small table discussions of topics addressed in each volume of the memoir Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. The series will conclude Feb. 28 with a screening of the documentary “Good Hair” followed by a brief discussion. No discussion will take place Feb. 14.

Registration is not required, and all events are free and open to the public.

Visit or for more information.

Ellsworth Peterson to be recognized

After receiving his doctorate in music from Harvard, Georgetown native Ellsworth Peterson realized his dream of coming home and building a career that has enriched the lives of students, residents and visitors through music.

His many contributions to the arts will be acknowledged by a mayoral proclamation naming Jan. 24 as Ellsworth Peterson Day. The recognition will take place at the beginning of the Jan. 24 City Council meeting.

“I don’t think there is anyone as influential as Ellsworth Peterson in terms of the arts and culture scene in Georgetown,” Library Services Director Eric Lashley said. “Georgetown is fortunate that Ellsworth continued to contribute to arts and culture well after he retired from Southwestern University. This recognition is well deserved.”

Peterson, who was born Nov. 22, 1933, attended Georgetown schools where he was taught by well-known first grade teacher Annie Purl before attending Southwestern University.

“After a two-year period of military service—I played oboe in the Eighth Army Band in Korea—I attended Union Theological Seminary in New York, where I received a master’s degree in sacred music, and Harvard University, where I received my doctorate,”  Peterson said.

He returned to Georgetown in 1965 as the Margaret Root Brown Professor of Fine Arts at Southwestern University, where he taught for 37 years. He has also served as an organist for Georgetown’s First United Methodist Church and university organist at Southwestern.

Peterson smiles when he is asked about changes in Georgetown’s arts scene over his lifetime.

“Things have changed in Georgetown,” he said. “The coming of Sun City has brought more people with time to help in the arts, and just the way the town has grown overall means we can do so much more now.”

Peterson has been organizing public arts events in Georgetown since 1982, including five Brown Symposia at Southwestern University focusing on the works of Mahler, Britten, Shostakovich and Messiaen as well as the arts and culture of Thailand.

Peterson also established a program at Southwestern that brought music professors from Thailand to teach students to play Thai Classical music.

Peterson traveled to Thailand seven times, teaching Western music to students in the Thai language. His facility with the Thai language led to some translation work in addition to including Thai music in the SU curriculum.

“Hearing our SU students playing Thai instruments was one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

Peterson retired from Southwestern in 2002.

“Ellsworth Peterson is one of the most significant members of our arts and culture community in Georgetown,” said Laura Sewell, Sarofim School of Fine Arts Administration manager at Southwestern University, and member of the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board. “It seems that Ellsworth’s constant motivator is how to give Georgetown the very best in culture through music. In so many ways his life is about how to make us all better as a community and we cannot be more grateful for his dedication to Georgetown and all of us.”

After retiring from Southwestern, Peterson worked to create the annual Georgetown Festival of the Arts, which arose from conversations with colleagues over coffee at Cianfrani Coffee Co. about ways to bring people who love classical music together.

He has now served as artistic director of thirteen festivals each of which focused on a major composer or group of composers. Each festival includes multiple concerts and lectures in various locations throughout Georgetown, including a free community concert in San Gabriel Park that is followed by a fireworks show.

“I’ve enjoyed being involved with the festival over the years very much,” Peterson said. “One of the biggest thrills of all was seeing student musicians from Georgetown High School and East View High School performing Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ with Round Rock Symphony Orchestra musicians during the 2013 concert in the park.”

He said he stays in touch with several former high school students, many of whom have gone on to become professional musicians.

In addition to continuing work with the festival, Peterson is teaching a Senior University class this spring about the composers featured in this year’s festival Great Britons, which will focus on three British composers. He also writes the program notes for Georgetown Symphony Society concert programs.

“I love teaching, and this gives me the opportunity to do that,” he said. “I enjoy doing research and having the opportunity to meet people and really try to give people with an interest in classical music these opportunities.”

Peterson has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2009 Community Arts Leadership Award presented by the Performing Arts Alliance of Georgetown, the 2010 Martha Diaz Hurtado College Town Award presented by Southwestern University and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and of the 2010 Future Trails Award presented by the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation.

City Boards and Commissions: Apply by Jan. 6

The City of Georgetown is recruiting highly-qualified and dedicated individuals to serve as volunteers on one of Georgetown’s advisory boards or commissions.  The deadline to apply for a volunteer position is Friday, Jan. 6.

Vacancies for volunteer positions need to be filled on the Building Standards Commission, Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation, Georgetown Village Public Improvement District Advisory Board, and Youth Advisory Board. (Applicants to the Youth Advisory Board need to be students enrolled in the 8th through 12th grades.) Persons interested in serving on any of the boards and commissions are encouraged to apply.

The City’s boards and commissions advise the City Council and guide City staff.  Boards address a range of civic areas including accessibility, aging, animal services, arts and culture, building standards, civil service, community services, economic development, ethics, finance, historic preservation, housing, library, main street, parks and recreation, planning, tourism, transportation, utilities, youth, and zoning.

An online application to apply as well as descriptions of boards and commissions can be found at Applicants may include a resume of no more than two pages with the application. An application also may be printed and mailed to Mayor Ross and the City Council, PO Box 409, Georgetown, TX, 78627.

Terms for City board and commission members begin in March. Most board and commission members serve two-year terms and most boards and commissions meet monthly or as needed.

If you have questions about City boards and commissions, contact the City Secretary’s office at (512) 930-3651.

Call for Arts and Culture Grant Proposals

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board invites grant proposals for art, music, theatre, and cultural heritage events or projects to take place in Georgetown between December 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. The total budget for grants is $20,000. Recent grants have averaged $2,000 apiece. Nonprofit organizations, schools, and informal arts and culture organizations are eligible to apply.

Proposals should be no more than 2 pages long and include:

  • Purpose and description of the event or project
  • Amount being requested and total budget, including other anticipated funding sources (e.g., donations, ticket sales, other grants)
  • Date, location, admission charge, and anticipated attendance
  • Size and demographic makeup of past audiences or participants
  • Contact information (phone and email) for someone who is readily available to answer questions about the proposal

Special consideration will be given for events or projects that meet one or more of these criteria:

  • Are free and open to the public
  • Include outreach to populations that are traditionally underrepresented
  • Have a cultural tourism or economic impact (e.g., events that may attract people who also attend other arts & culture venues or events, stay overnight, shop, or dine in Georgetown)

Organizations that receive funding will be required to follow up by:

  • Recognizing the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board in their advertising and programs
  • Submitting a one-page report to the Arts and Culture Board no later than Oct. 1, 2016, with a description of the use of grant funds and copies of event promotion materials

The deadline for grant proposals is 5 pm on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Organizations will be notified by email about funding decisions by November 30.

Submit grant proposals to Lawren Weiss, Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street, Georgetown, TX, 78626, or by email to

Applicants who have questions about the grant process should contact Library Director Eric Lashley at 512-930-3551 or

Gallery Georgetown Annual Art Tour Oct. 10

Gallery Georgetown

Gallery Georgetown 2015 takes place this Saturday, Oct. 10, from 5-10 pm. It is a community-wide tour of art galleries, exhibition spaces, and studios now in its fourth year. Gallery Georgetown benefits the Georgetown Art Center: participants can support the art center by purchasing the evening’s original 5×7″ artwork or bidding on silent auction artwork.

Participating Gallery Georgetown venues open from 5-8:30 are:

A Premium Blend
Artisans Connect Gallery
Atelier Thomas Anselment
The BiG Shop
Kathleen McElwaine Art
The Gallery at One Love Tattoos
Southwestern University Fine Arts Gallery
Visual Arts Club at Sun City
The Courtyard at Two Rivers Retail
Georgetown Public Library
The Williamson Museum

Each art venue listed above will be open to the public from 5 pm to 8:30 pm to showcase an art exhibition, a performance, or a demonstration. The Gallery Georgetown Shuttle will run between all of the venues. Participants are encouraged to visit as many venues as possible before they close at 8:30.

At 6 pm, the Georgetown Art Center will open, showcasing and selling 5×7″ art pieces priced at $20 and $50, as well as silent auction artwork. After the art tour ends at 8:30 and the other venues close, everyone will gather at the Georgetown Art Center for a reception to announce the winners of the silent auction pieces. Winners will be announced at 9:30 pm.

The last Gallery Georgetown Shuttle run will be at 10 pm when the party concludes.

Arts & Culture Guide 2015-2016 cover imageThursday, Oct. 8, there will be a Preview Party where participants can view the silent auction artwork before the night of the event. One piece that will be included in the silent auction is “Lost in Your Charms” by Leslie Kell, the artist whose work graces the cover of the Georgetown Arts & Culture Guide for 2015-16 (shown at left).

Join with Georgetown residents, visitors, and artists for an engaging evening of art on Oct. 10, and consider coming to the Preview Party Oct. 8, as well. Gallery Georgetown is a great arts tradition in Georgetown and a wonderful way to spend time with friends.

Art Hop Exhibit at Art Center and Library Oct. 2-30

Art Hop Library WallThe Georgetown Art Center and the Georgetown Public Library are the locations for the 2015 Art Hop exhibit. Now in its eighth year, the Art Hop is a statewide arts competition that celebrates Texas artists. Hundreds of artists from 71 cities across Texas entered works in the competition; 150 works of art from 112 artists were selected to be exhibited in the show.

The competition categories include 2D Abstract, 2D Representational, 3D, Photography, and Printmaking. The 2015 Art Hop Judge Panel includes Fidéncio Duran, Claude Van Lingen, Jason Makepeace, Donna De Cesare, and Lynwood Kreneck.

An artist reception and awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Oct. 4, from 2-5, and is free and open to the public.  The progressive reception will take place at both the Georgetown Art Center and at the Georgetown Public Library in sequence:

Georgetown Public Library 2-3:15 pm
Georgetown Art Center opens 3:15-5 pm, with awards given at 3:45

The exhibit is free and open to the public, and will run at both locations through Oct. 30. The Georgetown Art Center is at 816 South Main Street, and the Georgetown Public Library is at 402 West 8th Street. For more information, visit



Austin Classical Guitar Ensemble to Perform in Library Oct. 18

The Austin Classical Guitar Ensemble, under the direction of Eric Pearson, will perform in the library on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 2 pm. The program will consist of arrangements of earlier period works by Bach, Palestrina and Saint-Saëns as well as works by contemporary composers for guitar ensemble including Roland Dyens, Francis Kleynjans and Jürg Kindle.

The Austin Classical Guitar Community Ensembles have been in existence for well over a decade and offer performing opportunities for adult amateurs and professionals in the Austin community. The community guitar ensembles play frequently in Austin and the surrounding areas. The ensemble program also hosts the ACG Fest each spring and invites other guitar ensembles from Texas and the Southwestern region to Austin to perform and premiere a new composition for guitar ensemble each year.

Eric Pearson is originally from Western New York and serves as the director of Austin Classical Guitar’s community ensembles. Formerly the Executive Director of the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Program of Jamestown, New York, Mr. Pearson also taught in public schools and has maintained a private studio for over a decade.  As a performer, he has worked with Rich Little, John Bacon, and Bruce Johnstone, among others, and has toured frequently as a member of the Fredonia Guitar Quartet.  In addition to his duties as director of the Community Guitarists program, he also serves as an educator in ACG’s outreach program that currently works with guitar programs in over 50 Austin ISD schools.

Free and open to the public, this performance is a gift of the Friends of the Georgetown Public Library. Come and go, or have a seat in the library Lobby and enjoy the concert. The Georgetown Public Library is located at 402 W. Eighth Street in Georgetown.

Five Artists to Participate in Sculpture Demonstrations Sept. 19 in the Library

Five accomplished Texas sculptors will demonstrate varied creative techniques in the Lobby of the Georgetown Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. The demonstration is open to the public free of charge, and will be a friendly and informal come-and-go event where attendees can observe and talk with the artists as they work and explain their process.

Mary Thrasher Griffin will be demonstrating two methods of sculpting in wax. After teaching music for 27 years, she traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and studied sculpting techniques. In 2014 she had a one-woman show of 82 pieces. She says, “Years of teaching and my love of music forged my work as a sculptor. I strive for lyrical rhythms and expressive form and movement. Concentrating on figures and portraits, my goal is for each piece to tell its own story through expression, form and movement.”

Summertime, by Mary Thrasher Griffin
Summertime, by Mary Thrasher Griffin

Joe Kenney, a bronze sculptor, will demonstrate two methods of creating fine art bronze sculpture from tabletop to monumental size: clay sculpting to bronze casting, and 3-dimensional digital sculpting to 3-D printing to bronze casting. Since 2005, 27 pieces of Mr. Kenney’s sculptures have been or are scheduled for installations in museum, public, educational and religious settings.

Kenney-Joe Infinite Possibilities_view02
Infinite Possibilities, by Joe Kenney

Dar Richardson will demonstrate how to hand build with terra cotta clay.  Creating with terra cotta clay can be accomplished at any age and any skill level. Dar says, “Creating with clay is fun. I enjoy showing what is involved in working with clay.”

When in Doubt by Dar Richardson
When in Doubt by Dar Richardson

Marla Ripperda will be demonstrating built-up cement sculpting, and explaining how this medium is appropriate for garden applications as well as fine art.

Sad & Mad by Marla Ripperda
Sad & Mad by Marla Ripperda

Linda Wilde is a mosaic artist who works mainly on 3-dimensional pieces.  She will demonstrate scoring and cutting glass, using different adhesive types and creating a sculptural mosaic.  Her work is shown in galleries in Austin and Fredericksburg.

Relations, by Linda Wilde
Relations, by Linda Wilde

All of the artists welcome questions during the demonstration.

All five of the participating sculptors have work on exhibit currently in the Texas Society of Sculptors 8th Annual Show, which runs through Sept. 25 in the library.

The Georgetown Public Library is at 402 West Eighth Street. For more information, call the library at (512) 930-3551.