This is an active time for the art community in West County, from a regional premiere of an award-winning play in Pinole to a new exhibit to musical performances.
The premiere is "Next to Normal," a rock musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey that opens at the Pinole Community Playhouse on Friday.
The story of a suburban mother trying to cope with her mental illness and the consequences it has on her family has already been honored with Tony and Pulitzer awards.
Brian Katz directs the Pinole Players production, which will be limited to eight performances.
"We are honored to be granted the rights to produce this powerful drama on our stage and to bring together an outstanding group of actors, designers and directors," says Pinole Players' producer Patti Clark.
The cast includes Michael Scott Wells, Lisa-Marie Newton, Alex Bonte, Nicolina Akraboff, Brian Dauglash and Perry Aliado.
Shows are at 8 p.m. Feb. 1, 2, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 10.
Tickets are $23 general or $20 for seniors and students, available by calling 510-724-9844 or visiting www.pinoleplayers.org.
Oakes will be showing images taken at Point Molate in Richmond.
Tickets are $15, and details are available at www.pointacoustic.org.
For tickets or details, visit www.westedgeopera.org or call 510-841-1903.
ART ACCOLADES: The Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, or AC5 for short, presented three Arts Recognition Awards on Jan. 15, and two went to Richmond residents.
Honors went to Richmond Arts & Culture Manager Michele Seville and artist and community leader Hershell West.
Seville had been an arts advocate since coming to Richmond in 1992 and has been involved in numerous projects since taking the city post eight years ago, including the Richmond WRITES program, the heralded Blossoms and Thorns exhibit and art on the Richmond Greenway. She also stepped in as interim director of the Richmond Art Center during its search for a new leader.
West is an artist, muralist and arts educator who is a co-founder of the annual exhibit The Art of Living Black, a member of the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission, former board president of the Richmond Art Center, and a former board president of Pro Arts in Oakland. He is also a co-founder of the Rosie the Riveter Trust and a major figure in establishing funding for public art through a percentage of city capital improvement projects.
Also honored was the St. Mary's College Museum of Art.
The awards were presented at the county board of supervisors meeting in Martinez.
At the ceremony, Eugene Rodriguez performed his song "Valor Latino," accompanied by his son, Emiliano, and David Hidalgo of the group Los Lobos.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: The Friends of the Albany Library are holding a 50-cent book sale starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the library, 1247 Marin Ave. A $3 bag sale will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. For more details or to volunteer, call 510-526-3720, ext. 26 or send an email to email@example.com.
For more details, contact TC Ball, aka "The Black Knight," at 510-439-6311.