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collaboration nation

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on January 11th, 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! Did you make resolutions to be more creative and to be more social in 2017? If so, you can kill two birds with one stone by joining Brunswick Art Collaborative! Brunswick Art Collaborative is a friendly, informal, low-key group of people of all ages (yes, it’s all women, but that’s by chance and not design- men are welcome!), and we’ve been getting together once a month for the last several years. Usually, we all bring whatever project we’re working on, but sometimes, a member of the group will lead us in a mini-workshop (such as ornament-making or paper-bead-making).


When we first started meeting, we would gather in the art room at Thornton Oaks, then we moved to the ArtVan studio in Fort Andross; now that it’s a new year, Brunswick Art Collaborative has a new location: the basement of Curtis Memorial Library! We meet on the second Tuesday of the month from 6pm to 8pm, and last night was our first one of 2017. Here are some photos!









Amanda (our fearless leader!)



Kathleen and Joanne


Curious about joining us? Please leave a comment so we can add you to our email list- or just stop by!

after midnight

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on December 28th, 2016

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions. That doesn’t mean I think everything is perfect and nothing needs to change, it’s just that I’m much more comfortable with attempting to foster new habits on, say, a random Tuesday in the middle of Spring. There’s an expectation with New Year’s resolutions that I don’t like, a collective arc within our society that goes something like promise > work > stumble > complete abandonment. I’d much rather quietly do my own thing on my own timetable and see where it takes me.


That being said, there is an energy in the air right now that is undeniable, and I find myself getting pulled into thinking about the coming year. While I won’t use the word “resolutions,” here are a few things I would like to explore in 2017.


1. Being more present.

2. Having a more organized space.

3. Reading more.


Thankfully, Curtis Memorial Library can help with all three of these things! Here are some books that might be on my “to read” list…but don’t hold me to it:


The Mindfulness Habit: Six Weeks To Creating The Habit of Being Present 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over The Place: The Art Of Being Messy 


How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Do you make them, or do you avoid them? Please share in the comments…or don’t…no pressure…



you’ll shoot your eye out!

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on December 14th, 2016

It’s December, and you know what that means: cold temperatures, snow, and hours upon hours of watching Christmas movies!




One of my favorites is A Christmas Story, the saga of young Ralphie and his quest for the ultimate Christmas present, a Red Ryder BB gun. I lost count a long time ago how many times I’ve seen A Christmas Story, so it’s safe to say I know it rather well…but thanks to Curtis Memorial Library, I’ve been able to enjoy Ralphie’s story in a whole new way: behold, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Jean Shepherd’s book, which A Christmas Story is based on!


In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash is a must-read for fans of the film. We get a glimpse into the life of Ralph as an adult, looking back on his childhood and telling tales of growing up in Depression-era Indiana. There are familiar characters in the book: Flick, Schwartz, Randy, Grover Dill, and of course, The Old Man, to name a few. Instead of just focusing on Christmas, the stories that make up In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash take place all throughout the year (including special spotlights on Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July). As is the case with most books, we get to know Ralphie and his family in a more thorough way, and thanks to the narration that is such a major part of A Christmas Storyit’s easy to hear Jean Shepherd‘s voice coming through loud and clear as you read his words.


The added perspective is wonderful, and the new-story-per-chapter format makes In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash a perfect book for a busy time of year. The chapter all about the infamous leg lamp is probably my favorite (entitled “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award That Heralded the Birth of Pop Art”). What about you, kind reader? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section!