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Soft opening this weekend for Erick Jean Center for the Arts

Erick Jean Center for the Arts: Photo by Rosanne FoleyErick Jean Center for the Arts: Photo by Rosanne Foley The Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC) is inviting the public to stop by on Saturday (Feb. 16) and explore the brand-new, still-evolving Erick Jean Center for the Arts (EJCA) at 157 Washington Street in Codman Square. This weekend’s “soft” opening‑ from noon to 3p.m.— is largely to let Four Corner neighbors and interested Dot residents get a peek at the space and an idea about future programming. The Mayor and other local bigwigs have been invited to a grander official opening sometime in the spring which will feature musical performances on the plaza and many more solid details on DAC programming.

Visitors this Saturday can admire the inaugural gallery show by Dot’s prolific Destiny Palmer, have cookies and a hot beverage, pick up a schedule of classes and events, and catch a few class demos including one by local drummer Brandon Guillermo.

Dot artist Franklin Marvel, who designed the DAC new Open Studio logo and its map, will lead a collaborative art project.  He is asking that people bring colorful objects from home, (beads, old jewelry, marbles, feathers, etc.) as well as cereal or other empty boxes.  Anyone who comes to the opening can be part of the creative process.

“This is Dorchester’s first gallery/performance/office space, and we want your ideas and energy!” explained Andrea Kunst, chair of the DAC Board.  “You can also check out our wish list on the DAC website and drop off anything you may want to donate.  And, if you are an artist who exhibited or participated in Open Studios, stop by, see the place, and pick up your free GoLocal card, courtesy of an anonymous donor who was inspired by the amazing work he or she saw all over Dorchester in October!”

Dot-based Can’t Wait Productions live up to their name by getting a jump-start on the festivities the evening before the opening in the EJCA space.  This Friday evening at 6:30, Can’t Wait will present a staged reading of MJ Halberstadt’s new play The Da Vinci Commission, a satire about the aftermath of the awarding of a major art prize. Ticket info at cantwaitproductions.org.

 Black History Month Dramas

On Wed., Feb. 20 at 7p.m. at the Strand Theatre, two prestigious Boston theatrical organizations will be collaborating on a thought-provoking free preview of their upcoming shows. Two Plays, One House will feature scenes from the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun and from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, which picks up story elements from Raisin and fast-forwards the action 50 years.

Hosted by Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB-TV’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Services and host and executive producer of “CityLine,” the evening will also feature a panel conversation moderated by Ward with directors Liesl Tommy (Raisin) and M. Bevin O’Gara (Clybourne) about the issues of racism and gentrification raised in the plays. The evening is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged at huntingtontheatre.org/StrandRSVP.

The parents of playwright Lorraine Hansberry (the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway) bought a home in a white Chicago neighborhood, which led to a historic court case. Hansberry used her family experience in Raisin, in which she refers to the fictional Chicago neighborhood of Clybourne Park.

Playwright Bruce Norris, inspired by Hansberry’s acclaimed work, imagines incidents before and long after the action of Raisin in his Clybourne Park, which won both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and London’s Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play.

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