Summer will soon emerge with its familiar hydrangeas, lilies and roses and the fun of play and vacations. But summer has already come to Nunnally’s Framing and Art Gallery, at 1014 Noble St. in downtown Anniston, as viewers will see as they look at paintings by Jacksonville artist Marsha Nelson.

Nelson is the featured artist in the gallery’s current exhibit. She is a representational painter. This exhibit, with more than 60 pieces, includes landscapes from near and far, buildings, people and florals. In this writer’s opinion, her oils and watercolors involve subjects with which viewers can easily connect.

A reception for Nelson is planned for May 21 from 1-3 p.m. at the gallery. Everyone is invited.

The painting “Two Brothers” takes our minds and senses to the beach, where two young boys play in the sand. “Best Friends” depicts two children and a dog as they begin a hike across a grassy field. The flavor of summer is strong in the still life “Peaches ’N Cream.” Another summer reflection is “Sunlit Oaks,” a look back to Nelson’s life in California in the Bay Area.

Nelson was originally a self-taught artist. However, during the last 13 years she has pursued her artistic interest with new dedication by taking 11 art courses at Jacksonville State University. She has also studied with master oil painter John Lonergan in Birmingham.

Her home studio, with its large windows and two skylights, is where Nelson spends almost all of her time, in addition to reading art books and learning from other artists at museums and galleries.

“It has been gratifying to receive recognition for several of my works juried into the Watercolor Society of Alabama exhibit,” she said. Heritage Hall in Talladega is currently hosting the society’s 76th national annual exhibition, which continues through Friday. Nelson has a piece juried into this show, one of 80 selected from 330 that were submitted.

Nelson has gained exposure by being in numerous exhibits, but the finish line is not in sight. “There is so much more to learn. I continue to work for artistic growth and am excited about this creative journey. Where it will take me … well, that remains to be seen.”

Nunnally’s hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Benefit for JSU’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’

Madison Baldwin has three reasons for meeting the challenge of her part in Jacksonville State University’s “Phantom of the Opera,” to be presented June 9-18 at the Oxford Performing Arts Center. She loves Broadway music, “Phantom” is her favorite musical and Christine is her favorite role.

“In fact, it’s my dream role,” the JSU senior added. “Christine is the target of the Phantom’s affection as he creates a new star in the young, innocent soprano. But she begins a journey of   making her own choices as she matures. This is what I especially like about the story.”

Baldwin and other actors in the opera (composer Andrew Lloyd Webber would prefer to define it as an opera) will be on hand for a fundraising dinner on Thursday. They will sing duets from “Phantom” and mingle with patrons. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Classic on Noble in Anniston. Tickets are $30 per person for the dinner, or $50 if you want to sit with an actor.

The evening will also include an auction. Available items include a bicycle-guided tour and picnic, club-level seats at the JSU-Liberty University game on Sept. 23, a private plane flight over northeast Alabama, a private concert with dinner by Wendy Freeland and Andy Nevala (music instructors at JSU), a piece of art picturing a Steinway piano signed by three international pianists, and trips to New York, the Canadian Rockies and Napa Valley in California.

“Phantom” director Nathan Wight takes pride in his cast and crew. “This is an ambitious and expensive production, and we would appreciate the community’s support. The acting is strong, with the cast members so suited to their parts. The chorus is phenomenal.”        

Reservations and donations can be made by visiting www.OPACphantom.com.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.