Authors Make Appearances at ArtiCulture 2023

Westfield MA April 18, 2023 --- ArtWorks Westfield, a Westfield-based arts & cultural organization promoting the rich and talented artistic diversity of Westfield and the surrounding communities, is proud to present its sixth annual ArtiCulture experience on May 5-6 at the Amelia Park Arena. This eclectic showcase of local and regional artists, authors and musicians will be open free-of-charge to the public on Friday, May 5 from 6-8pm, and on Saturday, May 6 from 10am-4pm. ArtiCulture is made possible by a generous sponsor donation from Westfield Gas & Electric, and by grants from the Westfield Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and generous donations from Westfield businesses. Additional support comes from ArtWorks members, community supporters, and donors who support the cultural arts in the city. 

Twelve authors will be featured at ArtiCulture, five of them making their first appearances in Westfield at this event. New this year will be Westfield author Trudy Knowles, a retired educator whose book Radishes and Red Bandanas tells the story of a college girl’s experiences during the Vietnam War era with a narrative that draws the reader into those unsettled times of peace & love, protests and rallies, the daily sobering death toll of US troops in Vietnam, the assassinations of both President Kennedy and his younger brother, Senator Robert Kennedy and of young men facing the draft, everyone struggling to find their way through chaotic political times.  

Erica Damon from western MA writes thrillers and horror under her own name and equestrian romance under the pen name Isla Ryder. She loves helping writers—reading their work in its initial stages and working with them to polish it as it nears completion. Erica is also an artist who does pet portraits and equine art.  

Laura Progulske is a retired nurse who has published a children’s book called K-9 Fitzgerlad Sniffs Out Bullies: The K-9 Academy. It’s a book about a dog with a short front leg who aspires to be a K-9 officer. He experiences bullying at the K-9 Academy. With determination and perseverance, he bravely continues his training. This is the first book in a planned series. 

Nancy Condon is also making her first appearance at ArtiCulture this year. She is an environmental educator in West Springfield who shares her adventures paddling a canoe 5,000 miles across the United States in her book Paddle for Water. Through her writing and her job as an educator, Nancy relates the important message that “water is our earth’s best treasure.” Environmentalists, conservationists, water sports enthusiasts and anyone with respect for earth’s greatest resource—our waterways—will enjoy reading about Nancy and Tom’s canoe journey from coast-to-coast. 

Joanne Blazej, a local author, will have her adult novel Sensual Vibrations available at her table. The book is an erotic and dramatic tale of deceit, intrigue, murder, violence, lust, and sultry indulgence.  

Returning authors include dark fantasy author Jeff Vanouvenhove who will showcase his Dark series of novels and also his new detective novel, The Alphabet Killer, a new genre for him. Jeff’s Dark series books have reached international sales levels. Andrea Veras, a children’s author and illustrator, returns with her bilingual children’s books. Botija:A Lost and Found Treasure was published in 2021. The book integrates fiction and history to tell a story full of adventures about new people and places. She is also the author and illustrator of another bilingual children’s book, A Doll For Christmas. New this year is her book Memories of Grandma—Recuerdos de mi Abuela that relates the greatest and most important lesson she learned from her grandmother. Dulce Santana also returns with her bilingual children’s book Flowers in the City which she wrote, translated, and illustrated. This heartwarming story teaches kindness, diversity, and inclusion. Coming back again for 2023 at side-by-side tables will be author and editor Rebecca Rowland and author Michael Aloisi. Rebecca grew up in western MA, and is a member of The Horror Writers Association, The New England Horror Writers, Horror Authors Guild, and the WhipCity Wordsmiths. She’s a dark fiction author and horror and speculative fiction editor. Michael Aloisi, who co-wrote the book Pieces with Rebecca is known to his fans as AuthorMike. He’s written over a dozen books including the official biographies for film legends Tom Savini and Kane Hodder and paranormal investigator icon Steve Gonsalves. Mike founded AM Ink and Dark Ink Publishing and has published around a hundred books. Both Rebecca and Michael will have dozens of book offerings at the event. Also returning is Westfield author Lindsay Stenico who began publishing when she was a teenager. The Assignment is a young adult novel about a high school sophomore who is just trying to make her way through one final project to finish the year. Along the way she learns unforgettable lessons about life, love, loss, and what “family” truly means. Lindsay is a graduate of Westfield State University where she studied English and Communications. She studies Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing at Emerson College Graduate Programs. Lindsay also writes poetry. Judith Foard-Giucastro rounds out the dozen authors. She has a published novel, Senior Year, and a number of books that reflect her Christian faith, among them Scrapbook Reflections and Journey to Christmas.  

In addition to the twelve authors, Silver Street Media from Agawam will have a table at ArtiCulture. Silver Street helps authors to publish their work. Cindy Rosendale will be available to chat with aspiring authors about the publishing process. The WhipCity Wordsmiths—Westfield’s writers/authors social and support group—will also have a table at ArtiCulture. WhipCity Wordsmiths is open to all writers, and membership forms will be available at the table. The group holds monthly meetings at the Westfield Athenaeum that is open to members and guests. Writing and publishing are discussed, and authors are welcome to read from their work and receive feedback. The WhipCity Wordsmiths group was founded in June of 2017 by mother/daughter authors Susan Buffum and Kelly Buffum, both of Westfield. The group will celebrate its 6th anniversary in June of this year. 

“This year the authors will be on the arena floor scattered among the artists. Writing is an art form using imagination, words and subtleties of language to draw readers into a world of the author’s creation populated by characters they breathe life into who live within the story but often seem so real that the reader feels they could step outside their front door and meet these vividly drawn characters on the street in their hometowns. Storytelling has existed since before language was fully developed—stories told in vocalized sounds, gestures, and drawings. Every day we tell stories when we talk to one another—sharing the highlights of our lives, describing an event, gossiping, and so on. When you think about it, song lyrics, poetry, plays, television programs, video clips—everything we see and hear is the result of someone telling a story,” says Susan Buffum who will be at the WhipCity Wordsmiths table with MaryAnn Scognamiglio who’s active with the Westfield Theater Group. “Come to ArtiCulture! Take home some art and some books and enjoy the music!”  

About ArtWorks of Westfield, Inc. 

ArtWorks of Westfield Inc., a local arts & cultural organization promoting the rich and talented artistic diversity of Westfield and the surrounding communities, is a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501 (c) (3). Membership and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

Our mission is to create and promote the widest variety of Cultural Arts, Literary Arts, Musical Events, and Performing Arts for the Westfield Community and to collaborate with businesses and invested groups to develop and maintain venues for presentations and performances. 

We aspire to bring together creators and community to engage, inform, inspire, empower, educate, and entertain in the heart of downtown Westfield. 

Contact Information 

Bill Westerlind, President 

ArtWorks of Westfield Inc. 

Cell: (413)335-6976 

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