Friends gathered on a recent sunny Oct. 14 at Hudson Gardens to welcome a sculptural tribute and remember the late Carmela Geselbracht, a former Littleton resident who was an artist, sculptor and active member of Main Street Players.
Geselbracht, who moved from Littleton to British Columbia prior to her death in 2014, was a close friend of Littleton actor/director Annawyn Shamas, who led MSP, formed to produce plays at Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton, when it opened to the community. The two met through the players group.
Shamas has seen the “Lotus” scultpure previously when it was part of an exhibit of local artists' works at the Gardens. The multicolored petals include purple, Geselbracht's favorite color.
Sculptor Charlotte Zink shared a bit about “Lotus” in a note to us: "With its bright bursts of color and uplifting form, `Lotus' is a larger than life, stylized steel flower constructed from upcycled farm parts. It colorfully blossoms and opens upwards to the sky, rain or shine.
“A popular artistic motif, Lotus flowers are regarded in many different cultures as a symbol of purity, enlightenment and rebirth. Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the lotus produces the most beautiful flower.
“Sculptures come to life in many ways: these heavy steel pieces and gear drive from a bulldozer came from an old salvage yard in East Texas and waited many years in the corner of our yard for their moment in the sun,” Zink wrote.
Geselbracht was remembered as a two-time director of the community-focused “Fiasco,” a popular, Littleton-focused musical spoof that was written and produced by area creatives for a number of years. She moved to Littleton in 1975 and “could make art all the time, solo and collaboratively,” friends recalled — in theatre, clay, sculpting ...
Her MSP involvement helped expand the local theatre company.
In fact, Littleton's Town Hall Arts Center was first developed for its new life as a stage for “Fiasco” after several years with the cast moving around the area, performing in country clubs and elsewhere.
Of course, other productions also needed that stage. In prior years, actors had staged some shows in the high schools as well, but scheduling rehearsals, etc., was always difficult.
The City of Littleton had recently built a new, large, modern city building and moved operations there. The older building still contained some city offices when former mayor and Littleton native Vaughn Gardinier started a committee to consider a new use — and ways to pay for it ... Many friends were involved in planning and fundraising over a number of years.
Carmela had a book in progress, friends recalled. “Oh, how my visions haunt me as I gaze back on the scene,” she wrote.
She was remembered in a sentimental group toast at a luncheon/reception at the Inn at Hudson Gardens as “Smart, talented, charismatic and beautiful.”
Her sister, Laura, commented that she could “smell Carmela's perfume” when she was writing remarks to share at this event.
Hudson Gardens, at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive in Littleton, is open to the public, with free admission, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stroll down to the pond to enjoy “Lotus.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, public events frequently are canceled or rescheduled. Check with organizers before you go.
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