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  • By Carol Taylor-Kearney

Cerulean Arts Pop-Up at Arden Theater

What happens when you take Cerulean Arts and mix it with the Tongue and Groove Spontaneous Theater group? An improv performance called "ART" and an interactive Pop-Up exhibition at the Arden Theater!


= Arden Theatre Co.

Half of the performance dates and pop-up show have happened on April 26th and 27th-- I went to the April 27th rendition. And you can participate at the next scheduled event on May 3rd and 4th. Where? At the Bob and Selma Studio Theater of the Arden Theater's Family Arts Center at 62 N. 2nd Street. How? For tickets go to

More on the "How". The performance of the spontaneous ensemble begins at 8:00 pm, so arrive a little early, like 7:15 pm when the box office opens. The Bob and Selma Studio Theater is on the second floor of the Arden and available by either stairs or an elevator. In the Lounge area just off the elevator and stairs, two tables have an arrangement of small art pieces (no more than 10 inches in any direction) on easels. These are pieces looking for a title-- and you are asked to look and think and write possible titles down on a form in front of each piece along with your contact information. The artist of said work will, at the end of the Pop-Up, select their favorite title. The person who originated the tile will receive 10% off any item or class given by Cerulean Arts. And, of course, all the art shown is for sale with the prices ranging from $40 to $400-- with most in the $100 range. (For information go to

The Lounge was a comfortable and nicely lit space with round tables that held price lists and post cards for the artwork. There was also a table with wine and cheese plates off to the side, near the Box office table. Folks milled around and there were a few lively conversations about the art and possible titles. I had a nice conversation with a woman who was interested in Fran Gallun's monotype and another person asked me if I knew about Monica Kane's artwork based on her small sculpture. Two fashionable young women spent much time in front of Caroline Furr's black, cream, and red painting while a woman carrying flowers stopped at the flower-like paintings by Diane Pieri, Sandra Benheim, Stepahie Rogers, and Ruth Formica. Amanda Mosely's watercolor probably elicited the most title guesses, although I was surprised at how full all the pages became. Two of the most interesting people I talked to were an older woman, a former actress, who said she was not very creative. She was sitting trying to come up with a title to Susan D'Alessio's collage and Karen Rapp Bull's figurative work. Another was a woman from Spain who taught me to say "grapes with cheese is delicious". For my part, I convinced her that she should give titles in Spanish-- which she did!

The performance of the Tongue and groove Spontaneous Theater group was also stimulating. For the performance we were requested to "Imagine a work of visual art inspired by a significant or transformational moment in your life" and write it on one of the cards and place it in the basket at the front near the stage. The troupe read from these and used them as source material for their skits. some of the skits were multi-person but most occurred in pairings. I would not say that the actions were uproariously funny, but there were plenty of laughs. For the most part, though, this group of actors were focused on placing before you "real life" activities that encouraged connection-- of eliciting memories and emotions from the audience-- rather than embarrassment, empty goofiness, or lewdness.

That's not to say that there were not "adult" situations. Toward the end, a couple that had argued earlier are shown in bed after sex talking about the necessity of putting more time in their relationship and ending with a pledge of cooking together on Thursdays. (Unless "eggs for dinner" is good enough!) And, in another skit, an uncle comes out to his teenage niece who is visiting him in Philadelphia. After a day of site-seeing, she tells him how she has made an attempt on his behalf to fix his relationship with "Matt", his former partner, through a text. Following some back and forth, it is definitively decided that this is not "an uncle" but "The FUN-cle", and Philadelphia was great.

These were just two of the skits in this leisurely paced and very thoughtful and delightful night of culture which must be ended with the final section put on by all the members of the cast. The set-up is that each person is standing and contemplating a work of art. As a partner joins them to look they say something about this particular piece or about Art in general. The last statement between the two is the title of the art piece which is the phrase provided by the audience member.The constant rotation of the performers and the flow of ideas made this part not only entertaining, but remarkable.

I encourage you to have a night of culture with Tongue and Groove Spontaneous Theater and Cerulean Arts Pop-Up show. Check out Tongue and Groove's web site at for information, videos, tickets, or to donate. As said earlier, all of this is at the Arden Theater on May 3rd and may 4th. And check out Cerulean Arts for the artwork from the Pop-Up (, for future exhibitions like the Cerulean Collective and An Inherently Hopeful Gesture, an exhibition curated by Bill Scott.

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