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


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
Rapson.

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