WALNUT CREEK

'Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln' Jan. 17

Master storyteller, author and Lincoln historian Arnold Kunst will present a special program, "The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln," Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m., at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway.

Kunst, known for his presentations "Introducing Abraham Lincoln to the 21st Century" and his book "Lincoln 365," will present Abraham Lincoln as a man very comfortable in his own skin, and one who managed a touch of humor to his wisdom -- and a touch of wisdom to his humor, even in the darkest days of the Civil War.

This program is a compliment to the national traveling exhibit "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," now on display at the Walnut Creek Library through Feb. 8.

The Arnold Kunst event is free, but registration is recommended. To reserve a seat, go to www.WCLibrary.org.

'Broadway Revealed' reveals itself at the Bedford

"Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain" is scheduled to run through Feb. 17 at the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

It reflects the breadth, ambition, and showmanship of New York's iconic theater district to the gallery with a behind-the-scenes look at world-class theater production via artist Stephen Joseph's photographs of some of Broadway's most critically acclaimed productions.

The performance images are bolstered by photos of theatrical props, costumes, and other artifacts.

The exhibit is designed to showcase the complex support network of design, lighting, directing, and staging that come together to create the magic world of the theater.

The artists of "Captured" have been committed to exploring the unfamiliar and unknown creatures and environments that share our world. That exhibit demonstrates the complex dialogue between the arts, scientific exploration and organic, found materials is being expressed in a contemporary context.

The gallery, in the Lesher Center for the Arts, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on dates of evening performances at the Lesher.

'Shellies' performing arts award dinner Jan. 12

The 34th annual Shellie Awards dinner, where outstanding achievement in the performing arts in Central Contra Costa and the Diablo Valley will be recognized, will be held Jan. 12 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in downtown Walnut Creek.

Patterned after the Tony Awards on Broadway, the work of 11 regional theater companies and their individual actors, writers, musicians and support personnel will be featured. Nominees are selected by each participating organization, and winners are chosen by members of the Shellie Committee who attend every local production. The time period for consideration is Sept. 1, 2011 through Aug. 31, 2012.

Tickets for the Jan. 12 event are $30. For more information, go to http://www.lesherartscenter.org

Civic Arts Education fundraiser goes to 'Havana'

A five-piece Cuban band, catering by Havana Restaurant and Wilma Lott Catering, and Cuban Mojitos will highlight "Midnight in Havana," this year's fundraiser for the Friends of Civic Arts Education Foundation to be held starting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Shadelands Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.

Money raised from this event provides scholarships for both children and adults to attend Civic Arts programs as well as needed equipment and supplies. Last year, "Viva Arts!" raised nearly $30,000, and Friends President Michael Weiner hopes to increase the total this year.

"This is our first sit-down dinner, and we have a professional auctioneer, Damon Casatico, to direct both the live and cocktail auctions," Weiner said in a news release. "There will be complimentary wine and beer and, of course, the featured cocktail Cuban Mojitos."

Los Boleros, a professional Cuban band, as well as students from CAE's Youth Theatre Company and instrumental ensembles will provide entertainment.

For more information, call 925-939-2787 or go to www.friendsartsed.org.

Central Contra Costa

'Homage' nudes exhibit through Jan. 26

With "Homage to the Nude in Art," at the art Cottage in downtown Concord from Jan. 2-26, several Contra Costa County artists (including representatives from Walnut Creek and Lafayette) aim to show that capturing the essence of the human form is akin to artistically recording the beauty of nature.

The exhibition will feature drawings and paintings -- from realistic to abstract -- representing the beauty of the human form. Mediums include pencil and pastel, watercolor, oils and acrylics.

The aRt Cottage is at 2238 Mt. Diablo St., Concord. Gallery hours 9-5 weekdays; 1-5, weekends. Jan. 5. Call 925-381-9584, or go to aRtCottage.com.