Mayor’s Arts Awards, More Poetry, and Cool Benefit Events

Renowned author and professor Clyde Ford leads a discussion on race in modern-day America with an emphasis on audience participation at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, at Northwood Hall, 3240 Northwest Ave. Participants will come away with tools for engaging in conversations about race in an honest, transparent, and meaningful way. Though ambitious, this talk aims to make a difference in bridging and healing the racial divide. Ford was an instructor at Western Washington University where he taught “The Introduction to the African American Experience.” His books include “We CAN All Get Along: 50 Steps You Can Take To Help End Racism” and “The Long Mile,” for which he received the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award. Ford was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where he discussed practical steps people can take to help end racism. He is a 30-year resident of Bellingham who received the Mayor’s Arts Award in 2006. Get tickets at

In honor of National Poetry Month, Village Books and Colophon Cafe are teaming up with poet Dee Dee Chapman to host the second annual The Write Riot Poetry Slam, Wednesday, April 24, at Colophon Cafe, 1208 11th St. Poets who would like to read their work can sign up for available spots beginning at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. The popular event will fill up; arrive early to grab a good seat. The slam is open to all ages; there may be adult language and themes. Taylor Xavier, a fiber and spoken word artist from Everett, will be the featured poet. The Colophon will offer literary-themed drink and food specials. Please thank the venue for hosting the free event by purchasing from the menu. During the slam, poets face off in the friendly competition. Judges score performances with good-natured encouragement from the audience. A slam just brings a more interactive and communal appreciation to poetry, says Chapman. In rounds, our poets will share their work with the audience and judges made up from volunteers in the crowd. The judges, who will NOT be swayed by the audience’s opinion of the poem, will score each poem on a scale of 1 to 10. The audience, who MUST sway the judges, will cheer/boo the correct/incorrect scoring of that poem. After three rounds, a winner will be declared. Contact Village Book’s website or the Facebook event listing.  To read more about Village Books’ National Poetry Month celebration, visit the bookstore’s website. All poetry is 20 percent off during the month of April at Village Books’ stores in Fairhaven and Lynden. Books will be available for purchase at the event. The Write Riot Slam was originally hosted from 2014 to 2016 in downtown Bellingham by poet Jessica Lohafer. Village Books and Colophon Cafe were honored to work with Lohafer in 2018 to revive the celebration of local poets and poetry. Lohafer recommended Chapman as this year’s host.

Mayor Kelli Linville recently announced the recipients of the 40th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. A reception and awards ceremony honoring the awardees is scheduled for May 15 at Mount Baker Theatre’s Walton Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. This year the Mayor is honoring a broad range of artists, advocates, organizations, and performances that have significantly contributed to the arts in our community. Award winners were chosen based on nominations submitted by community members. Mayor’s Arts Awards will be presented to Garland Richmond, Renee Sherrer, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Barbara Matilsky, and Whatcom Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, Whatcom Museum Advocates and Whatcom Museum Docents, A short reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the cerrmony beginning at 6 p.m. This event is open to the public.

Bellingham Festival of Music’s annual gala event, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, takes place Saturday, April 27, at Bellingham Golf and Country Club, 3729 Meridian St. Registration starts at 5:45 p.m., followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. Dinner and the live auction begin at 7 p.m., and the silent auction closes at the same time. Tickets are $125. For details and reservations, go to

At 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Greene’s Corner, Greene’s Corner, 2208 James St., Bellingham songwriter, marimba builder, and guitarist Tom Bourne will join singer Rich Hinrichsen in a concert that celebrates the release of their self-titled album, Tango Cowboys at The duo tells stories directly to their listeners, inviting them on a journey from the open range of the Old West to the small cafes of Buenos Aires. Many styles are explored in Tango Cowboys, from good ol’ cowboy songs like “Back in the Saddle Again” and “Cool Water,” to the boleros, “Man of La Mancha (I Don Quixote)” and “Dulcinea”, to vocal tangos “Vergüenza” (penned by Bourne) and “Melodía de Arrabal.” Other contributors to the album include Bellingham harmonica player Jan Peters, who conjures the prairie; and several crackerjack session players from Seattle, Nashville, and New York. Details: 360-306-8137,

Canadian singer and pianist Jennifer Scott performs with bassist Rene Worst at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., in Lynden. Scott is a Canadian singer and pianist specializing in jazz, blues and world music. Scott is considered one of the more important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. As well as performing, she arranges and writes jazz and pop tunes and has several CDs. Scott has appeared on many CBC recordings and has worked with many other musicians both live and in the studio. Born in New Guinea, Rene Worst has been a professional bassist since 1971. His virtuosic and supportive playing on both acoustic and electric basses has made him a Canadian treasure. Worst is as gifted on fretless as he is on acoustic – a rarity in the industry. He is a founding member of the fusion band “Skywalk” and has anchored and produced six recordings with them. Tickets are $25. Call 360-354-3600 or go to for reservations.

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering with Congregation Beth Israel for a used book sale from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Congregation Beth Israel, 751 San Juan Boulevard. A large selection of Judaic books and media will be available, including fiction and non-fiction, children’s titles, Jewish life and religion, Torah commentary, reference and art books, Jewish history and the Holocaust, records and CDs, and more. The sale is to be held in the downstairs nursery school. Most books will be priced at $1 and cash or check only will be accepted as payment. Proceeds will benefit the Beth Israel Library and the Western Libraries Heritage Resources Judaica Collection. If you have any questions, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Joan Wayne  at, or David Schlitt at

Recreation Northwest sponsors Whatcom Parkscriptions Day, an opportunity for the people in our community to connect with positive outdoor experiences, and reap the many proven health benefits of time spent in nature, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28. There will be a variety of free hosted events, offering a variety of experiences, at various parks throughout Whatcom County. Whatcom Parkscriptions Day headquarters will be at Zuanich Point Park, Squalicum Boathouse from 11am-1pm. For the full list of events at local parks (Whatcom Falls, Larrabee, Hovander, Stimpson Reserve, Peace Arch, Lake Padden and others) visit: or go to Facebook.

Attend a benefit to help luthier Dorothy Smith, who makes and restores fine stringed instruments and their bows, on Sunday, April 28, at Greene’s Corner, 2208 James St. Her Allegro Strings Violin Shop on Cornwall Avenue was recently flooded by a pipe that burst in the adjacent space. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage to Dorothy’s inventory, but the studio needs major repairs. The shop had to be closed and everything was moved next door to the old Folk School space. The financial hit of having to be closed for so long, and being forced to move locations in a moment, is significant. Come by Greene’s Corner, 2208 James St., on Sunday, April 28, between 3 and 6 p.m., for a casual afternoon of music from wonderful local musicians. All of the 10 suggested donations will go to helping Dorothy recoup her loses. You can also enter a drawing for some great goodies, with all proceeds going towards Allegro Strings.  Would you like to contribute your music or an item for the drawing? Maybe you can’t come on this date but would like to contribute? Please email

Whatcom Community College Library’s 13th annual Kumquat Challenge Awards ceremony takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, April 29, at the Syre Center Black Box Theater, 237 W. Kellogg Road. In celebration of National Poetry Month (April), the library invites the entire campus community to participate in the 13th Annual Kumquat Poetry Challenge. Each year the library publishes a variety of poems by WCC students, faculty, staff, and board members. The challenge: write a poem which includes all 10 of these words:
The open mic publishing party is open to all, whether or note you submitted a poem. Details: 360-383-3285.