Aquinnah: Outstanding commitment

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Congratulations to Mary Beth Grady and Allison Burger of Chilmark Chocolates. They have been awarded the Martha’s Vineyard Medal by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum for their outstanding commitment to the community. It couldn’t have happened to two sweeter, more generous women. Berta Welch celebrated her birthday last week at a dinner party thrown by her sister, Adrianna. Berta reported that “it wasn’t a big one,” so she was content to keep the celebration low-key.

The Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, August 3, from 10 am to noon at the Old Town Hall in Aquinnah. Several town officials will be in attendance to answer questions. If you have wondered who the AGHCA are and what they do, this is an excellent time to find out. You can also visit their website at aghca.org for an overview of their mission and the town organizations they support.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center will host its annual fundraiser and silent auction this Wednesday, August 7, at 5 pm. The ACC is joining forces with the Yard to present a culturally inspired performance by Danza Orgánica, a Boston-based contemporary dance theater founded by awardwinning Afro-Taíno choreographer Marsha Parrilla. Danza Orgánica focuses on creating art from perspectives that are not always found in mainstream work. For this piece, they have worked closely with the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe, specifically with the elders. Along with what is sure to be a riveting performance, there will be wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a raw bar. Tickets are $100 per person, and reservations are required, call 508-645-7900 or email aquinnahcc@gmail.com.  Next Friday, August 9, at 4 pm the ACC will host “Braiding Sweetgrass” author Robin Wall Kimmerer for a book talk and signing. This event is in collaboration with Island Grown Initiative. Dr. Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. “Braiding Sweetgrass” will be available for purchase, and refreshments will be served.

Roberta Kirn will be the speaker tonight, August 1, at the library’s Speaker Series held at the Old Town Hall at 5 pm. Next week filmmaker Liz Witham will speak. The library is sponsoring a free drop-in yoga class called “Midweek Slowdown” every Wednesday in August from 4 to 5 pm in the old Town Hall. Please bring a mat if you have one. It’s a slow and gentle class, taught by Jeremy Bresnahan. Story Time at the library is happening on Thursday at 3:30 pm and Saturday at 10:30 am. Music on the Deck happens every Tuesday at 5 pm, and this Tuesday, August 6, at 4 pm, there will be henna tattooing available. They also have museum passes available for the new M.V. Museum.

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival is coming up this weekend, and it promises to have some pretty interesting events from the lighthearted to the highbrow. The festival kicks off on Friday, August 2, with Chelsea Handler discussing her new memoir, “Life Will Be the Death of Me,” with “Late Night” host Seth Meyer at the Performing Arts Center, at the M.V. Regional High School.  Tickets are still available, but going quickly. Go to mvbookfestival.com/opening for details. All other book festival events will be at the Chilmark Community Center. Of special note to people of Aquinnah: Tatiana Schlossberg, former New York Times science writer and journalist who covers climate change and the environment. She will be interviewed by Alexandra Styron about her first book, “Inconspicuous Consumption.” Pulitzer prizewinning author Richard Russo will be speaking on both Saturday and Sunday. Russo’s new novel, “Chances Are,” is set on Martha’s Vineyard, and includes several Aquinnah locations. Other authors present at the festival include Dani Shapiro, Ruth Reichl, and Valerie Jarrett. Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz will discuss his father’s book, “Spying on the South.” Tony Horwitz died in May.

The All-Island Art Show will hold its annual art show on Monday, August 5, at the MVCMA Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. The show provides a great outing for both Islanders and visitors to see and purchase some wonderful works of art at a reasonable price. Artist registration is on the morning of the show beginning at 8:30 am, the show runs from 10 am to 3 pm. Rain date is August 6, for more information go to allislandartshow.wordpress.com or the MVCMA office.