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LEWISTON – The Lewiston Council on the Arts wants to bring a mix of cultural topics to the community.

That’s why it is launching a new Lewiston Discovery Series this year, beginning with “The Art of Connecting With Poetry” on Wednesday.

All programs will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held every other month in the Opera Hall, 732 Center St.

Wednesday’s program will feature Paul Hogan, vice president of the John R. Oishei Foundation and local poet and author. He will read from his new collection of poems titled “Inventories,” which was released in September. Copies of his signed book will be available for purchase.

“Paul is a rock star among the cultural organizations of Western New York, and we are absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to do this series,” said the Arts Council’s Eva Nicklas. “He is a very, very well-known poet.”

“The Art and Mystery of Chocolate” will be presented April 17 by pastry chef Susanne Schilling of Exclusively Schillings. She will talk about the history and types of chocolate. Participants will observe firsthand how to temper chocolate, make basic clusters and ganache, and will sample the finished products.

“The Art and Business of Raising Alpacas” will be featured June 19, with Helen and Timm Herman, owners of Sugartown Alpaca Farm in Ellicottville. They will discuss the history of Alpacas and share their experiences of raising and caring for these special animals. Participants will learn how alpaca yarn is made, and the Hermans will bring samples of wool and woven products that they produce to exhibit and sell.

“The Art of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” is on tap for Sept. 18 and should delight mystery lovers and, in particular, Sherlock Holmes fans. John Comstock, a member of the Irish Secret Society at Buffalo (The Sherlock Holmes Society of Buffalo) and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, will talk about the connection among Holmes; his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and the Niagara Frontier. Much of this information is not well known but will be fully explored here. Sherlock Holmes has been known worldwide since he first appeared in publication in 1887.

“I’m most looking forward to John Comstock’s presentation on the Irish Secret Society and Odd Fellows,” said the council’s Kathryn Serianni. “Not only does he have in-depth knowledge of a mysterious and interesting subject, but his passion for it shines through. And that’s what makes a great presentation.”

“The Art of Landscape Architecture” will end the series Nov. 20. Landscape architect John Morley will take participants on a journey through photographs meant to inspire the audience to improve their property with sculpture, water features, plant materials and open spaces. Morley’s designs may be seen throughout many parks on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, but he is also a longtime friend of the council and designed the Seneca “Bug” Park at the Lewiston Public Library and the Lewiston Peace Garden.

Refreshments will be offered at each event. Advance registration is not required, but seating may be limited. A suggested $5 donation will benefit the council and the Opera Hall Restoration Fund.

email: niagaranews@buffnews.com