Music & Entertainment | Art Exhibits | Poetry & Writing Workshops | Arts & Crafts

Music & Entertainment

Rotunda Rhythms
Central Library Rotundavickie Vickie Phillips Sings! Sunday, April 26, 1 pm:

Award-winning cabaret artist Vickie Phillips shares her exciting song interpretations in this hour of theatrical music making. From Jacques Brel to Sheldon Harnick Ms. Phillips enchants with heart-felt songs delivered like a master. “Vickie Phillips is a Hope Diamond in the world of cabaret singers…Every facet of her voice and show fits together into one incredibly entertaining and moving whole.” Black Tie Magazine.

Billy snare

Jazz Festival at Mason Square

5-8 p.m., Thursday, May 21
Mason Square Branch

Join us for three hours of jazz music, food, and family fun. A buffet of Cajun-influenced foods will be offered, along with three different local jazz groups to entertain and impress including the J Walker Trio (Ed Brainerd, Dan Margolis and Joel Meginsky), the Billy Arnold Trio (Ralph Whittle, Jim Daggs and Billy Arnold), and the Steve Yarbro Sextet.

Art & Photography Exhibits

Forest Park Gallery: Local Women Artists
Forest Park Branch
March 19 – May 22, 2015

In celebration of National Women’s History Month, the Forest Park Gallery presents an exhibit of local women artists. Artists include photographer Denise Mari Stewart, painters Joyce Belliveau and Virginia White, collage artists Amy Sackman and Gineen Cooper, quilter Barbara Stroup, jeweler Delphine Ray and printmaker Gert Joffe, among others.

The exhibit continues through May 22.

Poetry & Writing Workshops

The Artist’s Way: a workshop series for developing writers and artists
Thirteen-week series on Thursdays, 1-3 pm, beginning February 5
Forest Park Branch

Sign up online

artistsway This is an in-depth exploration of the book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron in a thirteen-week series where each week participants will review a chapter and respond with written and spoken exercises. The Artist’s Way develops artists by sharpening their artist-spiritual connection, and promises to be a highly personal and exciting journey. Workshops will be led in alteration by Phyllis St. George, Springfield editor, poet, & writing coach; Ellen Rivers, local actor/director; and Alice Kelly, a seasoned spiritual coach and exponent of The Artist’s Way.

spotlight 7 Minutes: A Literary Arts Spotlight
This series will run on the last Saturday of each month from 1-3 p.m. in the Central Library Community Room. Those dates are: March 28, & April 25, May 23 & June 27, 2015.

stackofbooks In this literary showcase of local and regional writers, pre-registered literary artists (18+) will share a seven-minute reading of their writing from ANY genre. The public (18+) is invited to come listen. Books and other literary materials will be available for sale and for autographs.

Springfield’s first Poet Laureate and award-winning, multilingual poet María Luisa Arroyo will host this monthly event. Please contact María Luisa ( for registration information.

Maria Arroyo Spr Poet Laureate2014 Award-winning multilingual poet and educator, María Luisa Arroyo has facilitated numerous poetry workshops, including at the 2012 Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC, and has performed in various parts of the country and in Puerto Rico. Her publications include Gathering Words: Recogiendo Palabras (Bilingual Press: 2008), Touching and Naming the Roots of This Tree (self-published chapbook, 2007) as well as many poems in various journals. Contact her at: or

Special programs in April for National Poetry Month

CANCELLED: Ekphrasis: Writing Poetry in Response to Art
Saturday, April 4, 2015 from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Mason Square Branch Library Community Room

Special Note: We regret that the Ekphrasis program has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule at a later date.

ekphrasis Always a popular workshop, local and regional visual artists come and share their art as poets of all levels learn or refresh their knowledge of ekphrastic poetry. In the first hour, all participants, including the artists, are welcome to discuss ekphrastic poems inspired by poets. In the second hour, all participants then view the art on display, free-write socs (streams-of-consciousness) in response to the art, and then share aloud their drafts. Facilitated by award-winning multilingual poet and Springfield’s first Poet Laureate María Luisa Arroyo. [18+]


The ABCs of Publishing Poetry
Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 1-3:00 p.m.
Central Library Community Room
Sign up online

writing How do I put together a chapbook? Are entering poems into fee-based poetry contests the only way I can get published? How do I learn which markets are best for my poems? If I have enough poems for a full-length book, how do I approach publishers? In this engaging workshop facilitated by award-winning multilingual poet and Springfield’s first Poet Laureate, María Luisa Arroyo, bring all of your questions and a few poems in order to begin or continue your poetry publishing career. [18+].


An Evening of Poetry / Noche de Poesia
Thursday, April 16, 6:30 pm
Brightwood Branch Library

Join us for an evening of bilingual poetry (English and Spanish) featuring local poets including Isabel Marcheselli, Sheldon Alexander, Mayra Rohena, and others. Tonight’s emcee is Damaris Perez-Pizarro, writer for El Pueblo Latino.


Words of Inspiration: The Poetry of Laura Chagnon
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 1-2:30 p.m.
Sixteen Acres Branch Library Community Room
Sign up online

Please join us during National Poetry Month for a poetry reading and book signing by local poet Laura Chagnon. Despite a brutal assault that left her legally blind and a quadriplegic, Ms. Chagnon’s love of poetry inspired her to learn the wonderful art form and create her own works. Laura’s zeal for poetry comes from her love of sharing her words with others. Laura Chagnon said in a May 20, 2014 MassLive article, “I hope people feel amazed and inspired by the poetry I have written,” she said. “After reading my words and knowing what I have overcome, perhaps others will learn it is possible to do anything if they put their heart into it.”

The Friends of the Library will sponsor a raffle of a tote bag complete with two complimentary books.


Writing Workshops: Strengthen Your Writing’s Power and Effectiveness

** Spring at the Central Library in the Community Room
Wednesday evenings, May 13, 20, & 27 and June 10, 2015 from 6:30-7:45 p.m.

** Fall at the Forest Park Branch Library in the Community Room
Saturday afternoons, September 19 & 26, plus October 3 & 10, 2015 from 1-2:45 p.m.

To register, sign up online on our calendar or call the Reference Desk at 413-263-6828 ext 213 or the Forest Park Branch at 413-263-6843.

writinggroup This is a series of four writing workshops, designed for would-be writers who dream of publishing a book, but see a need to develop their writing skills first. These personalized workshops focus on improving grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and other basic aspects of writing, and include workshops designed to help writers find their voice. The series is led by Phyllis St. George and partially funded by the Springfield Cultural Council.

1. Finding Your Voice: This is the first of four fun writing workshops perfect for the novice or more experienced writer. In Finding Your Voice, you’ll write free-form from visual prompts to find and enliven your unique voice as a writer.
2. Super Sentences: Strengthen your grasp on basic sentence structure, form, and grammar. Review standard syntax, and enjoy building a better writing style and vocabulary.
3. Editing Your Own Writing: In this interactive and dynamic workshop, participants will review the writing of one another and offer helpful and sensitive feedback aimed at increasing awareness of effective grammar, vocabulary, and style.
4. Reading to Find Your Own Voice: The best writers are also readers! Bring in a few pages of a favorite book, story or essay and, using the Amherst Writers Method as a model, write an imitation with your own characters. Feedback on the writing will focus on what is enjoyable and strong.

After the completion of the second series, there will be a public reading at the Central Library (to be announced) of writing samples created by the workshop attendees.

For more information, call Matthew Jaquith at 413-263-6828 ext. 221.


Arts & Crafts

The Springfield City Library offers occasional arts and crafts workshops throughout the year, including needlework coaching, pastel painting workshops, upcycling projects, and more.

face-151319__180 Fifteen Shades of Gray: A Drawing Class
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 6-7:30 p.m.
East Forest Park Branch Library

Sign up online

Enjoy this art class for adults of all skill levels working on line drawing, sketching and shading techniques using charcoal and pencil. An art teacher–Mariza Graziano–will use still life arrangements as the subjects to draw. All art supplies will be provided, and refreshments are offered compliments of the Friends of the Library.

MS_reading-garden Mason Square Paints
Saturdays: May 16th, May 30th, July 11th, and July 25th from 1:00-3:00 pm
Mason Square Branch Reading Garden

Patrons of all ages are encouraged to join us at the Mason Square Branch’s Reading Garden for a free painting and art making session. Keep cool under our umbrellas as you paint whatever inspires you, be it the garden’s new blooms, the branch’s collection of art books, or whatever you like! Comfortable Adirondack chairs and tables are available thanks to a generous grant.

Paper, watercolor paints, crayons, and collaging materials will be provided for free on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Gregs-cropped-single-poppy-257x300 Pastel Painting: Scarlet Poppies and Realism Made Easy

Saturday, June 13, 2015 at the East Forest Park Branch Library Sign up online
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at the Mason Square Branch Library Sign up online

With Georgia O’Keeffe’s scarlet poppies as a guide, participants in this expressive and fun workshop will easily learn painting techniques used to recreate the style. All materials are being supplied by artist and teacher Greg Maichack.

Partial funding provided by the Springfield Cultural Council.

Craft Groups

Are you interested in needlework? Visit any one of our knitting or crochet groups to hone your skills, make new friends, or swap great needlework ideas with other needlework fans. People new to needlework or experienced crafters are both welcomed!