Art of Hope and Community with Cheryl Perreault

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. These past months have been quite a challenging time for our community, our country, and our world.

As a host and producer of community arts programs at HCAM-TV for the past 14 years, I have witnessed the significant connecting power that the art of poetry, story and song have when shared with community. Furthermore, I believe that sharing our voices through the arts can serve to better understand one another, uplift and also offer hope.

On this page I have been invited to gather such works in that same hope and belief that when art is shared, it can serve to encourage and inspire one another as community.

This page will include a weekly submission of an original poem, story, song, visual art or film link representing some of the art that people of community have to share.

I am beginning with examples of art that I have received from family and friends as well as some of the art that I have shared with others during the past few months of this pandemic.

Also, if you are so inclined, you are invited to share a submission of your art for potential posting on this page to [email protected]

Take very good care each day.

With very best wishes,
Cheryl Perreault

Click for Video This week I am sharing a festive card of cut-out hearts that you can make for Valentine's Day in case you can't make it out to the card store or you prefer making your own Valentines. My friend Deana Tavares offers an instructional 7 minute video of how to go about making a stunning Valentine's Day card out of construction paper and scissors. Deana is a visual artist/painter, poet, singer-songwriter and performing artist. She has creative arts seeking out of her. Interesting, this same woman has also in her past been confined to being in hospitals for months and years at a time with spinal bifida, tethered cord syndrome and Lyme disease. Now that she is mobile and has somewhat recovered but not cured, she does not let her illness nor her challenging circumstances confine her. She shows through her art and her life the great reverence she has for life. Deana also believes in the power of love. Not only on Valentine's Day but for everyday. She suggests making heart cards for people in your life any calendar day of the year! I send many blessings for all of us giving and receiving love this Valentine's Day weekend and every day in this new year.

This week's submission was written and illustrated (via computer graphics) by my very creative and visionary friend Cynthia Franca of Hopkinton. Last year in March of 2020 as we were dealing with the beginning of the global pandemic and quarantine, Cynthia had the idea to create a community-minded anthology of poems and stories addressing hope. She asked me to work as her co-editor partner and thanks to Cynthia's drive, sense of professionalism and book-making know-how, we were able to have the book created and published by November of 2020! I asked Cynthia to write a little summary below about this book-making project to share as this week's "Art of Hope and Community" contribution. There is also news about the book launch that we hosted in December via HCAM-TV Studios whose crew hosted a LIVE Zoom and Livestream TV hour and a half program of 34 people reading or singing their contributions (see details below.) Now our first edition of books has sold out and we are about to make three donations from book sales to organizations that assist with food scarcity and hunger. We believe that this creation of book and the donations that we are have begun to send out are a community action inspired by our collective hope.

I also wish to share the write-up below written by Cynthia of our co-creation of book as I have asked her to co-host "Art of Hope and Community" with me for the new year of 2021. As I have discovered once again, we make a great team when it comes to focusing on the art of hope! We will alternate weekly in sharing stories and images of the art of poetry, story, song, visual art, dance and more from our community. Stay tuned for more messages of art from community and please see Cynthia's note below.
Cheryl Perreault

To celebrate the new year of 2021 with HOPE, this week's submission is a video of the Virtual Book Launch of the book Hope Through Community: Words and Images in Response to a Global Pandemic, hosted by HCAM-TV in December of 2020. Some of the contributors came from their own homes to share their thoughts and experiences addressing the call for hope in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flow of hearing each of the 34 participants in succession was such a powerful line-up addressing HOPE's topic. You can watch the celebration event HERE.

Cynthia Franca and Cheryl Perreault are the co-editors of this Anthology of community-minded writings submitted by poets, writers, and musicians from the US and beyond that were written in response to the 2020 global pandemic.

The anthology book was put together in seven months, offering words of hope in the form of poems, song lyrics, and stories and providing a spectrum of perspectives and observations addressing the concept of hope in a year of a global pandemic. This book's origin story goes back to April 2020, when the two editors put out a call for submissions from writers of our local communities and writers beyond from other parts of the US and different continents. There were over 120 submissions within a month and a half period, and 72 contributions were selected for the anthology project to represent a diversity of ways people have experienced hope, felt hope, and given and received hope in their lives.

After the payment of the book's publication, all subsequent proceeds earned from the book sales are being donated to three organizations helping communities dealing with food scarcity and hunger at local, national, and global levels: "Project Just Because", "Feeding America," and "Action Against Hunger.”
At the beginning of January of 2021, all 200 books of the first edition of the book sold out! The editors are delighted to announce that they are making the donations still this month. The book sales will continue online forward as the publishers have now created a second edition.

This Anthology project is intended to be community-minded as the words of Hope are from the people for the people. Please help the editors spread the word about this project, sharing the virtual event with family and friends. The Hope is within us!

Learn more about the words of hope project at

This week's submission of art is a photograph of a new and exciting wall mural on display at EMC Park on Hayden Rowe in Hopkinton. This mural offers a vibrant display of outdoor visual art as well as an inspirational message of celebrating diversity in our community. The Hopkinton residents who created this mural include Tej Dalvi, Sushma Tammareddi and Charusmitha Ram.

The mural, titled 'TWO OF A KIND' serves as a tribute to immigrants and is a celebration of diversity. My friend Charusmitha Ram described the process of making this mural, noting The three of us had different strengths which proved very useful in executing the mural from start to finish. We had so much in common too.....our love for the arts, our love for our cultural traditions and different artistic styles and our appreciation for diversity. Materials for this mural include wooden panels painted with outdoor acrylic paint, metal panels with anti-rust oil-based paint, nylon colored threads for the nail and thread art. The photographs which are of women from our own community were taken by Sameer Masurkar printed on metal plates for outdoor display.

When asked to talk more about the meaning behind the mural, Charusmitha replied: The mural is a tribute to all South Asian immigrants who have brought their culture and traditions here, while making Hopkinton their Home. The mural is a celebration of this duality that is at the core of Hopkinton's diversity. We get to enjoy and celebrate the best of both worlds. We hope the community will see this, will bring more of us together in celebration and to better appreciate one another for who we are.

The project was funded by the Hopkinton Cultural Council and supported by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Most people who plan to celebrate Halloween this year are well aware of the need for changes in trick-or-treat protocol due to COVID-19 health restrictions. This admittedly can put a damper on such a festive time of year. However, we as a people are adaptive when need be. We repeatedly have been showing our flexibility and creativity this past year. The two poems below serve as some examples of how people are making the best of these times in small circles of friends and family gatherings. The first poem was submitted by Arhan Shrivastava who is a middle-school student. The second poem, with memorable title "Pumpkin Poop" was written by poet Trisha Knudsen, proud grandmother/"Gah-Gah" of three little trick-or-treatsters (see photos below.)

In Year Of The Pandemic, This Is How We Trick Or Treat

Everyone dressed for Halloween
Dressing up to get candy
Pirates, superheroes, even fairies and soldier
But no one has to dress up to be a doctor
Because everyone has their masks on their face
For the virus we must face
People sending candy through tubes
Putting masks on pumpkins too
Staying safe in their homes
For the virus - everywhere it roams
---Arhan Shrivastava

Pumpkin Poop

We’re throwing a Halloween party for the Littles
since Trick or Treating isn’t the safest choice this year.
We kicked out the idea of Bobbing for Apples.
Who needs to swap spit during a pandemic?
But we can still distance the kids for the classic
Donuts on a String, powdered, of course to create
maximum messiness and happy photos for memory keeping.
Outside, we’ll be hiding tiny plastic pumpkins
that have been filled with wee toys and pieces of candy
that will be the prizes for a pumpkin hunt – spider rings
and mini Hershey bars and bouncy balls and such.
There will also be bowling with mini pumpkins
and jumping in piles of colorful leaves, because autumn
and its beauty are transient and precious.
And somewhere outside, or in, there will be a game of
Pin the Thing on the Thing that is being made by
one of the mama’s, thus I’m not privy to what the things are.

We’ll have mac and cheese and chicken nuggets
And even beef stew and vegetable type things for the big people.
Cider for drinking and Worms in Dirt and Apple Witches
And pumpkin poop (okay, crunchy cheese balls), and
so. much. candy. And to top off the whole day,
we’ll celebrate a little girl who is turning four just days after
the Halloween celebration this Saturday.
Her auntie is even honoring her request for “a chocolate cake
with strawberries smushed right into it”.
I have no doubt it will be delicious and exactly as asked for.
I know there will be a ghost here, and a couple of Spider Men,
Though one may be a Spider Man slash Green Ninja.
Grandpa/Gahpee-Peepaw is gonna be a wizard. He already
has the beard and the bathrobe. And Grandma will be
inviting guests as "Bat GahGah", but you’ll just have to
use your imaginations for that get-up.
I can tell you there’s a mask and a cape of wings
and there will be a whole lot of happy in this house,
not all of it the result of too much sugar.

---Trisha Knudsen

Hope Music Video This week's video is an original song "Hope" performed by guitarist and good friend of HCAM-TV, Steve Rapson and his granddaughter, Savannah Gerard. Savannah is performing her grandfather's song of hope while he accompanies on guitar. This is a very important time for all generations of families and people of our communities to be talking together, about things like hope as well as sharing stories and learning from one another and even singing together too!

Music video
(Suitable for children)
This is Hopkinton's official "back-to-school" week! All students, teachers, school staff and parents are wished the very best. In the spirit of getting back-to-school, this week's submission for "Art of Hope and Community" includes a music video that my friend Tom Smith recorded with musician Seth Connelly and ten wonderful young people ranging in age from 7 to 13 years of age who sing about using our hands, brains, voice and hearts to make the world a better place. Bravo to these musical messengers! Bravo to all those going back to school (whether on-site or remote) too!
More info on this song.

Music video
(Suitable for children)
This is Hopkinton's official "back-to-school" week! All students, teachers, school staff and parents are wished the very best. In the spirit of getting back-to-school, this week's submission for "Art of Hope and Community" includes a music video that my friend Tom Smith recorded with musician Seth Connelly and ten wonderful young people ranging in age from 7 to 13 years of age who sing about using our hands, brains, voice and hearts to make the world a better place. Bravo to these musical messengers! Bravo to all those going back to school (whether on-site or remote) too!

Clouds Have you noticed the natural artwork of the clouds in the sky above us this summer? This is a beautiful song performed by singer-songwriter Deborah Rocha of Newton MA. Deborah has often been to HCAM Studios to share her songs at past programs of "Wake Up And Smell The Poetry." Her beautiful song "Clouds" was set to stunning film and photography by singer-songwriter Steve

This Pretty Planet This is a performance of song by Elmwood Elementary School students (2nd and 3rd grade) submitted by Hopkinton School Superintendent, Dr. Carol Cavanaugh. The students in this music video are singing "This Pretty Planet" and their collective chorus is made possible via Zoom. Elmwood Elementary School has always had a special place in my Hopkinton heart. I remember when my own daughters sang this song at Elmwood School about 20 years ago!

Never Been to Mexico Steve Rapson's performance of the original song in 2018, Never Been to Mexico. I find his words and personable performance incredibly moving and inspiring.

Snowdrops A friend recently shared an article published in The Washington Street Journal indicating that amidst tragic time of pandemic, the snowdrops are still showing up in the US, Europe and other parts of the world as they transition from the harshness of unpredictable weathers of winter months into new growth that comes in the Spring. When I began writing poetry in my late 30s, I remembered how much I loved to get up close to the snowdrops in my mother's garden as a child. I felt like they were teaching me about Spring and it's soon-coming promises of new-growth and transformation. May the snowdrops continue their good teaching for us all.

Saturday Abbey Perreault (who happens to be my daughter), Zawadi Noel and Chris Price have sent along the video of the collaborative song they put together via Zoom.

From all the news I've read this week, this poem stands out - sent with a donation of masks from a Chinese company to Italy. This pandemic is revealing how all humans truly are in it together, globally we are so interconnected, and our lives depend on one another. This is the time to put the common good above all else. let's think about how our actions affect others. Let's first of all take this seriously, stay home to slow the spread, check in with each other, think of ways to support the most vunerable in our communities & to support healthcare providers too. May we shift our collective mindset to act as waves of the same sea.

Words and Drawing
by Jaclyn Perreault