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Widow’s letters to husband led to book, stage and short film about grief
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Widow’s letters to husband led to book, stage and short film about grief

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The Loss World

Cabarrus County resident Mary London Szpara’s letters to her husband after he died became a book called “The Loss World.” The book is now being made into a short film, supported through an Artist Support Grant. Read more about Artist Support Grants on the Cabarrus Arts Council’s website at Grants – Cabarrus Arts Council.

When Mary London Szpara lost her husband, she began writing letters to him every night to cope with the immense pain. When the letters grew into a thick journal, her friends suggested she publish them as a book.

When the book, called The Loss World, began generating a therapeutic response from others who had experienced loss, too, she was encouraged to take the book into the theatre, with nine female actresses reading the letters in a stage production called The Loss World Monologues.

Now, the letters have evolved once more. This time in the form of a short film called “The Loss World Monologues – Snapshots of Grief & Grace,” and Szpara feels the timing couldn’t be more appropriate for a discussion about grief.

“With COVID, people were a lot more subjected to the sadness of death, and it became a reality in many more homes than we ever expected,” she said. “ So there’s opportunity to be able to reach out to those people and hopefully help in their healing.”

Mary London Szpara

Mary London Szpara turned her grief as a widow into a book, stage production and film about coping with loss. They’re not only lessons in healing, but homages to her husband. “We had an incredible marriage. He was my soulmate, and I still feel his presence with me, and I think that’s a celebration of our relationship.”

The 20-minute film was made possible through an Artist Support Grants Szpara received. Artist Support Grants are awarded by the North Carolina Arts Council to artists for assistance with their arts projects. Applicants are judged by a multicounty panel of established artists, arts professionals, arts educators and administrators. The Cabarrus Arts Council assists in selecting panelists.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without a grant,” said Szpara, who plans to submit the film to the Sundance Short Film Festival once production raps up this month. “I feel blessed.”

For more information about the book, stage production or short film, visit www.thelossworld.com.

THIS WEEK

Open Mic Night – Lil’ Robert’s Place, Wednesday, June 16, 7-10 p.m. - Think you have some talent that you’d like to share with our patrons? Well bring it on! They’d love to hear you! Lil’ Robert’s Place, 23 Union Street S, downtown Concord; lilrobertsplace.com.

Exhibition in The Galleries - Discover Local – Now - Saturday, Sept. 18; Discover Local is a group invitational celebrating local artists from Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties; Artists: Scott Avett, Malia Bryngelson, Nancy Hilliard Joyce, Anne Marie Propst, Nathaniel Rogers, Elisa Sanchez, Brittani Taylor and Wabwila Mugala; Come visit this exhibition in-person in The Galleries. Admission is free. Hours: Tuesdays - Fridays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Cabarrus Arts Council, 65 Union Street South, downtown Concord.

The Charlotte Fair: Thursday, June 17, 4 p.m. to Sunday, June 20, 10 p.m. Your entire family will have a blast with The Charlotte Fair’s thrilling rides, food, entertainment shows, and more! Tickets are $4-$36; Recommended for families; The Charlotte Fair, 6558 Bruton Smith Boulevard, Concord. For more information and registration, see The Charlotte Fair - Summer 2021 (June 17-27) Tickets, Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 4 p.m. | Eventbrite.

Too Much Sylvia at Village Park: Saturday, June 19, 7 p.m. Come to Village Park to eat food and hear entertaining vocal and instrumental music by this highly celebrated group, 2MS. Admission is free; recommended for all ages; Village Park, 700 West C Street, Kannapolis. For more information, see Too Much Sylvia at Village Park > City of Kannapolis | City of Kannapolis > Community > Calendar (kannapolisnc.gov).

NEXT WEEK

Block Printing: Monday, June 21, 7 p.m. Block printing is the ancient art technique of applying paint to a carved block and stamping fabric or paper. In this class, we will use pencils to draw and “carve” your own design onto a foam block and create a custom printed tea towel. Recommended age: 12-17; Registration required:Library System - Block Printing (KAN) (RR) (activecalendar.com); Kannapolis Public Library, 850 Mountain Street, Kannapolis.

Music Masterpieces: Tuesday, June 22, 4 p.m. Delve into art with the help of epic fantasy soundtracks. You’ll have many different art materials to use while moved by the music. Recommended age: 6-12; Registration is required:Library System - Music Masterpieces (HAR)(RR) (activecalendar.com); Harrisburg Library, 201 Sims Pkwy, Harrisburg.

Open Mic Night – Lil’ Robert’s Place, Wednesday, June 23, 7-10 p.m. - Think you have some talent that you’d like to share with our patrons? Well bring it on! They’d love to hear you! Lil’ Robert’s Place, 23 Union Street S, downtown Concord; lilrobertsplace.com.

UPCOMING

Cabarrus 4-H Digital Artisan Spin Club – Mondays, June 28 - July 19, 9-10 am; Explore digital creations to design your own custom logos, stickers, T-shirts and other apparel using Cricut. Canva and other programs. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25. Some meetings will be virtual, while others will be in-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Cabarrus 4-H Jewelry Day Camp – Monday & Tuesday, June 28 & 29, 1-4 p.m.; Learn different methods for making pieces in a variety of media. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25.In-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Cabarrus 4-H Photography Day Camp – Tuesday - Thursday, June 29 - July 1, 10 am - noon; Tips and tricks with daily challenges. Meets virtually. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25. Meets virtually; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Charlotte Symphony at Village Park: Wednesday, June 30, 7 p.m. Bring your family to enjoy an evening in the park with food and live orchestral music by the Charlotte Symphony; Admission is free; Recommended for all ages; Village Park, 700 West C Street, Kannapolis. For more information, see Charlotte Symphony at Village Park > City of Kannapolis | City of Kannapolis > Community > Calendar (kannapolisnc.gov).

Cabarrus 4-H Theater Day Camp – Tuesday, July 27, 9 am - 3 pm; Fun with Fashion Day Camp. Reinvent your wardrobe by refashioning, redesigning, and sharing with others. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25. In-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Cabarrus 4-H Gogh With It Spin Club – Thursdays, July 15 - August 12, 1-3 pm; Art History Club. Explore famous painters and their painting styles through interpretation and try to recreate some of the classics. Age 8-13. Cost: $25. In-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Cabarrus 4-H Theater Day Camp – Wednesday - Friday, July 28-30, 9 a.m. - noon; Improv, puppets and monologues. Come and learn the basics. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25.In-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Cabarrus 4-H Creative Crew Day Camp – Tuesday - Friday, August 17-20, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Creative Crew: Explore a different craft medium each day. Ages 8-13. Cost: $25. In-person at Cabarrus 4-H Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W, Concord; Contact Tracy LeCompte, tracy_lecompte@ncsu.edu, 704-920-3310 for details.

Virtual Art Show by PALEFACE: Monday, June 21, 8:05 p.m.; Join Paleface for a Virtual Art Show. http://bit.ly/2OYTNr9 

ONGOING:

The Galleries of the Cabarrus Arts Council Gift Shop – Support local artists and the arts council by purchasing handcrafted works from The Galleries Gift Shop. Purchases online and then choose a time to pick up curbside at the Cabarrus Arts Council, 65 Union Street South, Downtown Concord. Cabarrusartscouncil.org/shop.

SUMMER ART CAMPS New camps each week of the summer. Drawing, painting, pottery, sculpture, and various crafts will be included. All materials will be included. Camps are from Monday-Friday from 9-11:30 a.m. each day for one week. call 704-786-8570 to register.

Pottery lessons – Learn to throw a bowl, tumbler or vase on a potter’s wheel. Lessons adapted for Kindergarten - Adult; Class size: individual, or groups up to four. Sessions are scheduled at mutually convenient days/times. Visit www.linbarnhardt.com or info@linbarnhardt.com for details; Lin Barnhardt Studio, Mt. Pleasant.

Paint Your Hearts Out: Kids Day - Every Tuesday from 12-6 p.m.; 10% off for kids 12 and under. Pricing depends on canvas size. Times: 12-2:30 p.m. or 3-6 p.m.; call 704-312-2699 to reserve your spot; for more information visit https://bit.ly/3fu6F10 543 Winecoff School Rd, Concord.

Art Studio Kannapolis: Kids Workshop: Every Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; Children ages 5-12 will make arts and crafts. Space is limited to 15 children. Each child is required to wear a mask and gloves will be provided. $25. Private parties and crafting sessions available on Saturdays. Registration email artstudiobynicolina@gmail.com; 812 North Main Street, Kannapolis.

North Carolina Music Hall of Fame: Open by appointment: The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Museum is a safe, fun, and touch-free visit for your friends & family! The Museum is open to the public by appointment Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed 12-1 p.m. for lunch. Reserve your visit at Make A Reservation - North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame; 600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd, Kannapolis.

The Cabarrus Arts Council contributes the Arts & Entertainment column, which highlights the arts in Cabarrus County, to the Independent Tribune each Wednesday. Use the contact information provided to confirm the details of events. If you would like your arts information to be considered for inclusion, email Elisabeth Thornton at elisabeth@cabarrusartscouncil.org.

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