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Irvington Theater ‘Arts Incubator Series’ Presents Visual Artist and Educator Selene Smerling

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November 5, 2020


Irvington Theater’s highly-acclaimed Arts Incubator Series returns this month with artists presenting original works-in-progress on Thursdays, November 5, 12, and 19. Serving as a companion to #IrvingtonAnywhere, the theater’s all-virtual season of ticketed events, the Arts Incubator series premieres new episodes on the theater’s YouTube channel and is available to stream anytime on demand for free (visit: or

On November 5th, the series debuts “Images Unfolding: Exploring the World Through the Eyes of a Lifelong Painter” with Irvington-based visual artist and educator Selene Smerling who introduces viewers to some of her past influences, ideas in motion, and current projects in and out of the studio.

“Milke Weed 4” Oil on Wood Panel by Selene Smerling

Rhode Island native Smerling ( received traditional painting instruction at Boston University and then studied at The School of Visual Arts at Syracuse University, with additional classes in anatomy and printmaking. She also studied in London, where she exhibited her work. Smerling’s paintings have been commissioned by architects and designers throughout New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and her work has been featured in the Guild Source Book of Residential art. In 2015, she completed her graduate work in Art Therapy. Having a specific and keen interest in the relationship of color to emotion, she titled her thesis topic ‘Dialogues In Color.’ 

Selene Smerling

“Some of my earlier work has involved beginning with an object, such as an antique pocket watch or a Windsor chair, and going on a voyage into color and form,” Smerling explains. “The object reemerges as a result of the process, rather than being the full focus. The simplest of subject matter offers up complex possibilities.”

The Irvington Theater Arts Incubator Series invites viewers into the creative process by welcoming feedback and questions which can be submitted directly to each artist via email. 

Playwright Samuel Harps

On November 12th, award-winning playwright and filmmaker Samuel Harps presents a new teleplay based on an old project that he has dusted off and revised: During an environmental disaster in the near future, “Racing the Sun” examines what people believe are the most important things in life when their existence is threatened.

This past summer, Harps presented two episodes of his evolving teleplay “Black and Blue” for the Arts Incubator Series, which received extensive praise from viewers and journalists in its poignant and thought-provoking depiction of an African-American New York police officer wrestling with the complexities of work and family during the age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests.

Harps is the Artistic Director of Shades Repertory Theater in Garnerville, New York (  He interned at New York’s New Drama­tists, studying with noted playwrights August Wilson, John Patrick Shanley, and Charles Oyamo Gordon, and was later accepted into the prestigious Negro Ensemble Company playwright’s program. His first major production, Don’t Ex­plain was staged at New York’s famed Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe; the explosive drama about the death of trumpeter Lee Morgan went on to receive seven AUDELCO Awards, including Best Play and Playwright. He also received The Arts Council of Rockland County Executive Award for Literary Artist.

“Racing the Sun”

Harps’ productions have been staged at New York City venues including the Paul Robeson Theater, National Black Theater, Billie Holiday Theater, American Theater for Actors, Duality Playhouse, and at Rutgers University, Riverspace Arts in Nyack, Irvington Theater, and venues in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

(Visit Irvington Theater’s YouTube Channel to view Black and Blue, Episode 1 and Episode 2.)

On November 19, playwrights Joy Ciarcia-Levy and Cyndi Scott will present a virtual reading of their new play, “The Review,” which follows the story of an emerging painter on the eve of his first solo gallery show and the jaded art critic who reluctantly attends. Ciarcia-Levy and Scott are creative collaborators and longtime friends who met in the production department at ABC News. Jennie Berkson, Olivia Dei Cicchi, Keith Gilroy, Steve Mandel, Maxime Prissert, and Martin Ripchick comprise the cast of this first presentation of the in-development piece.

Irvington Theater is home to a diverse range of innovate programming that entertains, enlightens, and inspires, establishing itself over its 118-year history as the “cultural heart of the Rivertowns.” The theater continues its tradition with unprecedented reach though its all-virtual fall season, ‘Irvington Anywhere,’ made possible thanks to the generous support of Eric Bernstein of Compass, Dobbs Ferry.

Like all of Irvington Theater’s virtual programming, the Arts Incubator Series is designed to share creativity and connectivity while audiences are not able to be together.

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