July 27, 2022

Rhiannon Giddens

On Sunday, October 9 at 3 p.m., musician Rhiannon Giddens will perform with her frequent collaborator Francesco Turrisi at McCarter Theatre.

Giddens, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, co-founded the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. She has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Turrisi, there is no Other (2019).

Giddens’ 12-track album They’re Calling Me Home, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown, speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.   

Giddens’s lifelong mission is to lift up people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased, and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins.  more

“BARN WINDOW”: This watercolor by Gail Bracegirdle is featured in “Light & Shadow,” her dual exhibit with Joe Kazimierczyk, on view August 4 to September 4 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

Watercolorist Gail Bracegirdle and oil painter Joe Kazimierczyk are exhibiting together in “Light & Shadow,” on view at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street, Lambertville, August 4  through September 4. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Bracegirdle enjoys exploring different ways of painting with watercolors by experimenting with textures and working on various watercolor papers. She always begins with a subject in mind and then “gets creative.”

“OCTOBER SKY”: This painting by Joe Kazimierczyk is part of “Light & Shadow,” his joint show with Gail Bracegirdle, on view August 4 to September 4 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is on Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Kazimierczyk’s landscape paintings are a natural extension of his hiking and cycling trips as he explores and searches out new places for inspiration. His artwork is a distillation of his experiences of a place, and the resulting paintings are somewhere between reality, memory, and imagination.

Artists’ Gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit lambertvilleArts.com.

“BOTANICA — SOUTH BROAD STREET”: This painting by Marge Miccio is part of “Urban Art Scenes,” on view August 3 through August 27 at the Trenton Free Public Library. An opening reception will be held on Friday, August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) and the Trenton Free Public Library will present the exhibition “Urban Art Scenes” at the Trenton Free Public Library from August 3 to August 27. An opening reception will be held on Friday, August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. An artist’s talk is scheduled for August 10 at 6 p.m.

The opening night for the exhibit will be a part of the Trenton Downtown Association’s First Fridays events.

“Urban Art Scenes” features work by two regional artists — Marge Miccio and Kate Graves. Both artists portray colorful and nostalgic scenes of Trenton.

Miccio is a Trenton-based painter known in part for her works depicting Trenton shops, businesses, and homes. She is the recipient of the First Prize for the “2020 Mercer County Senior Art Show”; Juror’s Award for the “2012 Trenton Makes Show”; and is currently represented in the Trenton City Museum’s Ellarslie Open. She studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Italian University for Foreigners. more

HEADING FORWARD: Michael Sowers heads to goal in a 2020 game during his senior season with the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team. Star attackman Sowers, who ended his Princeton career as the program leader in points (302) and assists (181), is currently making an impact on the next level for the Waterdogs of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). After being sidelined last summer in his rookie season due to a head injury, Sowers has tallied 18 points on 11 goals and seven assists to help the Waterdog go 3-3. He played in the PLL All-Star game on July 16, tallying three goals to help Team Baptiste rout Team Farrell 33-13 in the contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Michael Sowers may be two years removed from ending his Princeton University career and is technically a second-year pro, but he feels like a rookie in the Professional Lacrosse League (PLL).

His debut season in the PLL for the Waterdogs in 2021 was limited by a head injury to two games last year, but he has rebounded this summer to help the club start 3-3. Earlier this month, Sowers played in the PLL All-Star game, tallying three goals to help Team Baptiste rout Team Farrell 33-13 in the contest. Capping the day, the shifty, acrobatic 5’9, 165-pound Sowers won the freestyle competition in the All-Star Skills contest.

For Sowers, getting the chance to participate in the All-Star weekend in Boston on July 16 had a special meaning after his abbreviated 2021 campaign.

“In college, when the PLL first got going, watching the all-star game, it just always was a super cool event,” said star attackman Sowers, who ended his Princeton career as the program leader in points (302) and assists (181). “It’s definitely a cool honor to be a part of it.”

Sowers accrued 15 points on eight goals and seven assists in his first four games this season to earn the All-Star selection. After scoring three goals to help the Waterdogs edge the Chrome 11-10 last Sunday, Sowers now has 18 points on 11 goals and seven assists. The second pick in the 2021 draft after finishing his college career at Duke as a graduate transfer, Sowers has fit in well in the PLL. more

AIMING HIGH: Ben Amon delivers a pitch this spring in his junior season for The College of New Jersey baseball team. Former Princeton High standout Amon emerged as the ace this year for TCNJ, going 4-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 61 innings. Amon earned All-NJAC Second Team honors and was also named as Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region Team and D3baseball.com All-Region performer. (Photo provided courtesy of The College of New Jersey Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Ben Amon began his sophomore season with The College of New Jersey baseball team in 2021 as a relief pitcher, but injuries thrust him into the starting rotation.

“We had two of our top starting pitchers get hurt, they both had shoulder and arm injuries,” said former Princeton High standout Amon. “I was thrown into that first game on Saturday role — that helped me take a big step. I got very used to coming out and facing the ace.”

After going 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA and 37 strikeouts on 44 1/3 innings over the rest of that season, Amon emerged as the ace for the Lions in 2022. The lanky 6’5, 170-pound right-hander posted a 4-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 61 innings. more

RECORD PACE: Coby Auslander, left, races upfield in a game this spring in his junior season for the Christopher Newport University men’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton Day School star Auslander produced a historic campaign for the Captains, setting a program single-season record for assists with 46. Midfielder Auslander, who also scored 30 goals, earned first-team United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American recognition, among other honors, as CNU went 18-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. (Photo provided courtesy of Christopher Newport University Athletics)

By Bill Alden

After the Christopher Newport University men’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2021 for the first time in program history, Coby Auslander and his teammates were primed for a return trip to the national semis this spring.

“There was just a completely different mindset in fall ball,” said former Princeton Day School standout midfielder Auslander. “I think over the summer a lot of guys were just absolute freaks and just took their game to a completely different level. We knew we had the culture and the teammate vibe where everybody was already close-knit. We just needed to take our skills to a different level and I think we did that in the fall.”

This spring, junior Auslander and the Captains took things to a higher level, going 16-0 in regular season play and rising to No. 1 in the D-III national polls. Cementing his status as one of the top playmakers in the country, Auslander set a program single-season record for assists with 46.

The squad had four players earn United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American honors, including Auslander, who was a first-team selection.

But CNU fell short of its ultimate goal as it lost 10-9 in overtime to York College in the NCAA D-III quarterfinals, ending the spring with an 18-2 record. more

INSIDE PRESENCE: Ethan Garita heads to the hoop during his career for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team. Last Monday, Garita, who played last winter for the Lincoln University men’s hoops program, tallied 20 points to help fifth-seeded Jefferson Plumbing defeat fourth-seeded Planet Fitness 50-38 in the quarterfinals of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League playoffs. In other playoff action on Monday, seventh-seeded Princeton Supply defeated PATH Academy 75-56 and ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation topped eighth-seeded Market on Main 45-26 in first round contests. In quarterfinal action on Wednesday at the Community Park courts, top-seeded and three-time defending champion LoyalTees will face Majeski while third-seeded Athlete Engineering Institute will play sixth-seeded Pizza Den and second-seeded Homestead will take on Princeton Supply. The semis are slated for July 29 with game one of the best-of-three championships series scheduled for August 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Garita put his nose to the grindstone last winter in order to make an impact in his freshman season for the Lincoln University men’s basketball program.

“It is a different experience, going against great competition, going against grown men,” said former Princeton Day School standout Garita, a 6’9, 200-pound forward, who averaged 1.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 23 games last winter for the Division II program. “I had to work for it, gradually I got better. I got more playing time, putting in the work in practice and the gym and it showed. It was a great season.”

Garita’s transition was aided by having some familiar faces on the squad, including former Princeton High star Zahrion Blue, fellow PDS player Freddy Young Jr., and former Trenton Catholic standout Peter Sorber.

“It is a great fit, great chemistry,” said Garita. “It is good to have some of the guys back from home.”

This summer, Garita had found a good fit, joining the Jefferson Plumbing team in his first season playing in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. more

July 20, 2022

Youngsters helped farmers feed and water the animals, collect eggs in the henhouse, grind corn in the barn, scrub and fill water tubs, clean the horses’ stalls, and more on Saturday evening at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township. Participants share what they learned at the event in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

The decision by Mercer County to build a roundabout on Rosedale Road this summer came as welcome news to area residents, who had lobbied for years for traffic calming at General Johnson Drive and Greenway Meadows. Construction began a few weeks ago. But due to the behavior of some motorists — ignoring road closure signs and moving barricades — the site, where a pedestrian was killed last August, continues to be dangerous.

“Access to Johnson Park Elementary School and the park is only from the west side. You cannot go through the construction zone to get from one side to the other, but people are doing that,” said Jim Purcell, Princeton’s assistant municipal engineer, on Tuesday. “I was out there this morning with a police officer, and we actually turned three cars away. And this was while the contractors were out there doing work. It is truly a construction zone, and there are open trenches, equipment, and materials they cannot get through. I’m pleading with the public to please pay attention. Driving through a construction zone is unsafe. And so is moving barricades.”

The Rosedale Road roundabout is just one of several sites throughout Princeton where some sort of construction is in progress. In and around downtown, and on the Princeton University campus, workers are in the process of demolishing, blasting, and building.

At the Graduate Hotel project, which has closed Chambers Street in one direction as demolition has been completed along the street, things are going more smoothly than expected. The hotel is to be located in the former office building at 20 Nassau Street, with new construction along Chambers Street where a row of shops stood until recently. more

By Donald Gilpin

The COVID-19 virus, in its current predominant BA.5 variant, is “still evolving rapidly,” warned White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha in a July 17 interview. But around town in Princeton it looks like the pandemic is over, with most people behaving normally, showing little hesitation to go out and few masks in evidence.

Infection rates seem to have leveled off locally, but nationwide they’re rising. Is Princeton prepared for the fall flu and back-to-school season, with cooler weather and activities moving indoors?

Princeton Board of Health Chair George DiFerdinando noted that we’re still not out of the woods, and he emphasized some essential guidance based on lessons learned from the pandemic so far.

“While it’s clear that many people have moved on from mask wearing and social distancing, there are still clear benefits to both those non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he wrote in an email Tuesday. “BA.5 is the most infectious variant yet, with its impact on severe disease being ‘softened’ by the high rates of vaccination in New Jersey in general and Princeton in particular.”

He continued, “We do know that BA.5 can cause infection and disease even if you’re fully vaccinated and boosted. If you have other health conditions that might make a case of COVID worse, if you’re older, or if you’re planning to attend a large event that you really don’t want to miss, mask wearing, keeping your distance, and shopping or dining during ‘off hours’ still make sense.”

The BA.5 subvariant has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a variant of concern,” which accounted for about 65 percent of all new infections last week.

New Jersey reported a COVID-19 transmission rate of 1.11 on Monday, up from 1.10 over the weekend, with any number above 1 indicating that the outbreak is expanding, with each new case leading to more than one additional new case.

Mercer County is considered in the medium risk category for COVID-19 transmission, along with Hunterdon, Salem, and  Cumberland counties.

All 17 other New Jersey counties are now considered high risk according to the CDC. more

ART AND COMMUNITY: Collages like this one, by the late photographer Romus Broadway, will soon fly from banners on streets near the Arts Council of Princeton.

By Anne Levin

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has been sponsoring a lot of public art in recent months, mostly in the form of murals. Thanks to a resolution passed by Princeton Council last week, the ACP is planning to add 20 4-by-2-foot banners to the mix, on poles along Paul Robeson Place, John Street, Birch Avenue, and Witherspoon Street.

These vinyl banners are digital depictions of collages made by photographer and historian Romus Broadway, a beloved figure in the Witherspoon-Jackson community who died two years ago. Broadway was known for the collages he made of numerous events in Princeton, particularly involving people in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. They come from a collection acquired from his family by Princeton University, which gave the ACP 20 of the collages in digital format that were used to create the banners.

“We’ve been displaying his collages here in our gallery every summer for the past eight years or so,” said Adam Welch, ACP executive director, “generally during the annual Joint Effort Safe Streets Program. Me being relatively new to the neighborhood and trying to get involved [Welch joined the ACP in September 2020], this was something that really interested me.”

Last month, the ACP held a “Naming Party” to help identify friends, family, and neighbors pictured in Broadway’s collages. The event was co-sponsored by the Joint Effort Safe Streets Program, the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, and the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association. “We invited the neighbors in,” said Welch. “We saw this real sense of pride and honor, and we wanted to be able to uplift everyone, not just the people who came to the event. We wanted a public art piece that highlighted the art, but also brought the community together.” more

DOCUMENTING A FAMILY: The Post-it notes that artist Karen Stolper tucked into her daughters’ lunch boxes every day as they attended Princeton public schools became an art project that is currently on view at Princeton Public Library.

By Anne Levin

Back when Karen Stolper and her husband lived in Manhattan, he received a lifetime supply of Post-it notes after making a donation to a charitable foundation. As an artist and admitted saver, Stolper made sure the Post-it notes came with them when they moved to Princeton, where they raised two daughters and put them through the public school system.

Those 3-inch-by-3-inch squares of paper soon became the basis of an art project. Every day for 12 years, Stolper tucked tiny scenes of everyday life into her daughters’ lunch boxes. And every day, her daughters (now in college), brought the notes home again.

Some 700 of these compact works of art make up “In Lunch with Love,” a series on view at Princeton Public Library’s second floor Reading Room through August 28. Some 2,300 more are part of Stolper’s collection at her home.

In her artist’s statement, Stolper said, “This project is about all the big days and many little things that make a family, and make a life. ‘In Lunch with Love’ is a reminder that our children have the most important place in our hearts, souls, and funny bones, no matter where they are.”

“They were about universal things, but also things just between us,” Stolper said in an interview. “They were about things as small as when we had ants in the kitchen, and as big as a birthday party. They started to show themselves as a story of what it’s like to grow up. They became a document of our family.”

A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, Stolper works in acrylic paint and pen-and-ink. Her illustrations have appeared in newspapers, magazines, book covers, greeting cards, art stamps, and paper goods. In addition to her illustration work, Stolper’s skyscapes and architectural paintings have been exhibited nationally in juried, solo, and group shows.

“As the field evolved, I did too,” she said. “I got into licensing, greeting cards, paper goods, and rubber stamps. I started working on some children’s books, too.”

With her artist’s eye, Stolper sees possibilities when others might not. “I struggle with getting rid of paper goods and art supplies,” she admitted. “The Post-it notes were there, and the project kind of evolved.” more

By Wendy Greenberg

When Deanie Yasner was growing up she felt alone, left out, and out of place. Now a retired Princeton resident, Yasner’s childhood in a small town in Mississippi has inspired her middle grade novel, the story of a young girl who challenges the rules of segregation in the summer of 1953.

The book is Essie Rose’s Revelation Summer, published by Golden Alley Press in Emmaus, Pa.  As Yasner puts it in her note to readers: “I was an Old Soul child growing up in the deep South in the 1950s, a member of the only Jewish family in a town where there were so many things I did not understand; for instance, the Jim Crow laws that keep people separated by their skin tone.”

She hopes the book will help youths to discover “the power of courage, that they too, can make a difference,” she said, “One can overcome many obstacles in life with courage, perseverance, and love.”

The story is narrated by 10-year-old Essie Rose Ginsberg, “writer, loner and all-time worrier,” according to the book jacket. She “is hoping for a carefree summer,” but when the family’s beloved housekeeper is suddenly called away, Essie Rose must figure out how to navigate on her own.

The character of Essie Rose is comforted by the book Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White’s tale which is also about loss and friendship. Yasner’s fictionalized story is “based on memories that I have from growing up,” she said. “My childhood, as how I experienced it. I always felt set apart, there was very little to confirm my identity.”

On a page at the beginning of the book she quotes e.e. cummings: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  more

By Wendy Greenberg

A fuel tax paid at the gas pump has subsidized the national transportation system. But what happens as less fuel is being sold, and subsequently, there is less money to fund road repairs and maintain the transportation infrastructure?

Vehicles are going farther on less fuel, points out The Eastern Transportation Coalition (TETC), a partnership of 17 states and Washington, D.C., including New Jersey. The coalition is asking for input on an alternative approach called a Mileage-Based User Fee, which is based on drivers paying for the mileage they drive instead of the fuel they buy. Princeton area residents can join a pilot program and offer input. There is no fee to participate, and there are privacy protection measures to safeguard location data.

Jim Purcell, assistant municipal engineer, says he has been a mileage-based user fee advocate for 15 years. “Cars are more efficient,” he said. He plans on signing up for the pilot program. “I don’t see a downside” to enrolling in the pilot plan, he said. In fact, he added, he proposed such a mileage-based fee to the state legislature some years ago.

Drivers can enroll by going to the website NewJerseyMBUFpilot.com and enrolling through a private company, Azuga Insight, which will ask your vehicle identification number and odometer reading.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

Like Shakespeare, Austen invented us. Because we are Austen’s children, we behold and confront our own anguish and our own fantasies in her novels.

–Harold Bloom (1930-2019)

Pointing out how “the strong selves” of Jane Austen’s heroines attest to her “reserves of power,” Bloom imagines that “had she not died so soon, she would have been capable of creating a Shakespearean diversity of persons, despite her narrowly limited social range of representation.”

Austen (1775-1817) died in Winchester 205 years ago Monday, July 18. Two years later, in August 1819, John Keats (1795-1821) arrived in that “exceeding pleasant town,” where he took daily walks, admired “the beauty of the season,” took advantage of the library, and composed “To Autumn,” his “perfect poem,” according to Harold Bloom, and the “most perfect shorter poem in the English language.” In the introduction to Bloom’s updated Modern Critical Views edition of Keats (Chelsea House, 2007), he finds the poem’s “definitive vision” all the more “remarkable for the faint presence of the shadows of the poet’s hell that the poem tries to exclude.”  more

Madison Russel and Favian Harris

Langhorne Players in Newtown, Pa., presents Lauren Gunderson’s comedic drama I and You from July 22 through August 6. Performances are at the Spring Garden Mill at Tyler State Park, 1440 Newtown-Richboro Road in Newtown.

“This was one of the rare plays where as soon as our entire board read it, we knew we had to stage it,” said producer Jack Bathke. “The themes of connection and how art brings us together were a perfect fit for our first season back after two summers in lockdown.”

I and You is about a single, fateful afternoon in the lives of two teenagers: sardonic and chronically ill Caroline, and overachieving athlete Anthony. Over just a few hours, Caroline and Anthony open up in surprising ways, realizing they are more similar than they’d initially thought.

I and You stars Madison Russell as Caroline and Favian Harris as Anthony. Performances run July 22-24, 28-31, and August 3-6. A talk-back with the cast and crew will follow the Wednesday, August 3 performance. Tickets are $22 at langhorneplayers.org. Use code BOGO online for buy-one-get-one tickets to the August 5 show.

EVENING MUSIC:  From left, Dave Homan (Uncle Ho 2.0), Justin Nawn and Bronwyn Bird, and Sophie Coran will entertain at the space behind Panera Bread at three events presented by West Windsor Arts this summer.

West Windsor Arts presents three concerts at the Nassau Park Pavilion, U.S. Route 1 in West Windsor, on July 30, August 13, and August 27. Each show will feature a musical performance by local and regional talent, as well as art activities for all ages. All shows and activities are free, and take place from 5-7:30 p.m. 

The series includes Latin jazz, blues, samba, R&B, funk, bluegrass, folk, and classical. The first concert is Saturday, July 30, featuring bandleader/saxophonist Uncle Ho 2.0 with cellist Dan Kassel. The rain date is July 31. Kassel, who is organizing the event in collaboration with West Windsor Arts, will be opening the first and third shows with his cello loops.  

Next on August 13 are husband-and-wife duo Justin and Bronwyn, performing Swedish, Appalachian, old-time and bluegrass music. Bird specializes in playing a bowed, 16-string Scandinavian instrument called the nyckelharpa. Her husband accompanies her on a 6- or 12-string guitar. 

“The August 13 concert will be more family-oriented and geared toward children,” said Aylin Green, executive director of West Windsor Arts. “We will have more art projects and a flow performer who will get everyone moving with hoops and ribbon wands.” 

The final event is Saturday, August 25, when Kassel returns to perform with singer/songwriter Sophie Coran. The rain date is August 28. The genre in which Coran feels at home is her signature “Noir & B” style, a blend of R&B, jazz, and classical composition.

Nassau Park Pavilion is located behind Panera Bread on Route. 1. Visit westwindsorarts.org for more information.

“LEAD WITH KINDNESS”: The Arts Council of Princeton and EDENS have completed their collaborative work on a third mural at the Princeton Shopping Center. The new public art piece is located on McCaffrey’s courtyard wall. (Photo by Laura Dominick/EDENS)

The Arts Council of Princeton and EDENS have completed a collaboration on a new mural located on the courtyard-facing wall at the Princeton Shopping Center, 301 North Harrison Street.

Lead with Kindness, the third in a series of murals painted by the Arts Council in Princeton Shopping Center’s public art initiative, speaks to the notion of kindness and compassion as a mindset-first message to the community. The original design was created by Laura Dominick, lead design and media manager at EDENS, which owns and operates Princeton Shopping Center. Dominick said she sees this message as a part of a movement. “Art catalyzes and enriches communities,” said Dominick. “Our final mural with the Arts Council is a vivid reminder to live each day with more empathy and thoughtfulness.”

In the spring of 2021, the Arts Council of Princeton and Princeton Shopping Center announced a new partnership that would produce a series of three murals designed for exterior spaces at Princeton Shopping Center. Each mural would highlight a positive message to the Princeton community, celebrating public art’s ability to uplift and delight. more

“OLD MASTERS”: This work by Rose B. Simpson is featured in “Witness / Rose B. Simpson,” on  view July 23 through September 11 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery on Nassau Street. An opening celebration is on Saturday, July 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.

A selection of sculptural figures by mixed-media artist Rose B. Simpson invites visitors to reflect on the fundamental aspects of being human. “Witness / Rose B. Simpson” will be on view July 23 through September 11 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery on Nassau Street.

An opening celebration will be held on Saturday, July 23 at the gallery from 1 to 4 p.m.

“Simpson’s materially and texturally rich sculptures invite us into dialogue, seeking an empathetic response that can pull us out of ourselves,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “They look back at us, demanding introspection and acknowledgment of our actions.”

Simpson’s work interrogates the human condition as an accumulation of lived experiences, distilling specific aspects of such moments in her own life into each sculpture. Through her work, Simpson seeks the tools to heal the damages she has experienced as a human being — issues such as objectification, stereotyping and, the disempowering detachment of our creative selves through modern technology.

Simpson holds a master of fine arts in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. She is based in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. more

This work by Padma Aleti is featured in “Summer Nights,” on view through August 20 at the Gallery at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Lincroft. Aleti will participate in an artist talk on Wednesday, August 10 from 1-4 p.m., along with artists Ann Marie Fitzsimmons and Marie Maber.

This painting by Joelle Hofbauer is featured in “By the Light of Day — a Plein Air Exhibition,” on view through August 27 at the West Windsor Arts Center, 952 Alexander Road, West Windsor. For more information, visit westwindsorarts.org.

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS: “With a commitment to positivity, 4 Elements prides itself on treating the body and mind to strengthen the whole person,” explains Silvia Fedorcikova, founder and owner of 4 Elements Wellness Center. She is shown with her children Rebecca and Martin, who have been willing and able helpers at the family wellness/spa.

By Jean Stratton

“I want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I love seeing clients getting better and healthier. I love working with people and helping them. This is my biggest reward.”

Silvia Fedorcikova, founder and owner of 4 Elements Wellness Center, is passionate about her work. “I love holistic and natural therapy,” she explains, “and I have done research about innovative treatments.”

Four elements — earth, air, fire, and water — form the underlying concept of the wellness center/spa, and as she points out, “I wanted to expand our wellness center into the concept of these four elements. Our treatments help boost energy, appearance, and mood. Every treatment we offer represents one of the elements, and they help you feel and look good.” more

HOMPE DAY: Former Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Olivia Hompe ’17 celebrates after scoring the winning goal to give England an 8-7 victory over Australia in triple overtime of the bronze medal game at the Women’s World Championship earlier this month. Hompe, who ripped a free position shot on the winning tally, scored 29 points on 21 goals and eight assists in the tournament. It was the second bronze for Hompe at the Worlds as she helped England take third in the 2017 tourney. (Photo by England Lacrosse, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Olivia Hompe will take some time to finalize her future, but she may have played her last lacrosse game.

If so, the 2017 Princeton University graduate did so memorably. Star attacker Hompe ripped a free position shot to give England an 8-7 win over Australia in triple overtime of the bronze medal game at the Women’s World Championship on July 10.

“It would be a great way to go out even having fallen short of silver,” said Hompe, a native of New Canaan, Conn., who holds a British passport because her mother is a citizen of England.

“I’m really proud of the team and how we rallied in that game and persevered throughout the whole tournament and through a mix of adversity. I think we really rose to the occasion on the final day. It would be a pretty great last shot in my career.”

Hompe finished with four goals and an assist in England’s third-place game. Hompe was among the championship’s leading scorers with 29 points on 21 goals and eight assists in eight games. She, Aurora Cordingley and goalie Brittany Read were the lone members of England to be named to the All-World Team. Hompe also played for England when it won bronze in 2017, but this year’s version was a much improved group that gave Canada an 11-9 challenge in the championship semifinals. It was a sign of the team’s growth in five years. more

POWER SURGE: Luke Franzoni follows through on a swing this spring for the Xavier University baseball team. Former Princeton Day School standout Franzoni enjoyed a huge season for Xavier, batting .385 with school single-season record in homers (29) and RBIs (78). He was named the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year and earned American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-America Third Team honors as the Musketeers went 33-27 and advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament. (Photo provided courtesy of Xavier Athletics)

By Bill Alden

When the pandemic halted the sports world in March 2020, Luke Franzoni headed home from the Xavier University baseball team and went to work.

Along with his older brother Paul, a star catcher for NJIT, and younger brother Ian, a Brown University running back, they turned their garage in Robbinsville into a weight room.

“We wanted to take it upon ourselves to just get stronger,” said Franzoni. “A bunch of our friends just donated any gym equipment that we had into our garage and everyone would come every day. It was a lot of lifting and lot of eating. Kudos to my parents for feeding all of us. They were probably only used to feeding Ian, who was the only one home at that point. For the summer they had me and Paul and the other guys, it was like feeding an entire village.”

That work paid off as Franzoni packed on 20-25 pounds of muscle, going from 185 pounds to around 205, and enjoyed a superb 2021 junior season, batting .279 with nine homers and 28 RBIs as Xavier went 28-26 and lost to UConn in the BIG EAST tournament final.

“It was great to get a full season, we made a good run,” said Franzoni. “We were pretty young at that point. That year was a really good step in the right direction because a lot of guys matured.”

Coming into the 2022 season, Franzoni followed a similar formula last fall along with his teammates.

“Our coaches were really big in the fall, trying to get our entire team really strong,” said Franzoni. “We lifted like five days a week in the fall, they did a really good job. It was after we lost to UConn in the BIG EAST tournament our junior year where our coach said it was clear that they were a more physical team. They were bigger than us and that could contribute to why we lost. So that was a main focus.” more

SHO TIME: Shoshi Henderson heads upfield in game this spring in her freshman season for the Pomona-Pitzer College women’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton High star Henderson came up big for the Sagehens in her debut campaign, tallying 132 points on 42 goals and 90 assists to help Pomona-Pitzer go 18-1 and advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament. In the process, Henderson broke the Sagehens’ single-season record for points and assists and broke the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season. (Photo provided by Pomona-Pitzer College Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Shoshi Henderson wasn’t sure how much she would contribute in her freshman season this spring with the Pomona-Pitzer College women’s lacrosse team.

“My goal was to be on the field, I wanted some playing time,” said Henderson, a former Princeton High standout. “I wanted to fit in, I wanted to make a difference.”

Henderson didn’t waste any time making a difference, tallying two goals in the first 2:11 of the season opener against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on February 23, ending up with three goals and seven assists on the day as the Sagehens prevailed 15-7.

“I was, this is my first college game, that is kind of crazy,” said 5’7 attacker Henderson. “I am pretty nervous about this, I am starting. All I want to do is just help in any way I can. I had two fast break goals right off the bat which is so fun. I had a hat trick in the first quarter. I was in shock. That game opened my eyes, like wow this could be a really good season, not only for me personally but for the team. We crushed CMS, which is unheard of.”

It turned out to be a great season for both Henderson and the Sagehens as she tallied 132 points on 42 goals and 90 assists, helping the team go 18-1 and advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament. In the process, Henderson broke the Sagehens’ single-season record for points and assists and broke the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season.

While Pomona-Pitzer kept rolling after the opener, it wasn’t always a smooth ride.

“We definitely had some ups and downs, we had a couple of injuries,” said Henderson. “I was the only attacker who never missed a game with injury so we had a lot of different players filling in spots all over the field. We had so much depth that it never really mattered too, too much. We definitely gained confidence.”

For Henderson, a key confidence builder came when she tallied four goals and four assists in a 19-4 win at Colorado College in early March.  more