Art: While the United States has had a sometimes uncomfortable relationship with European art and its forms, it has never lacked for a vital folk art scene. That art came into particular prominence during the country’s adolescence in the 19th century, and it’s that art that’s on display starting Saturday at the Society of the Four Arts and running through March 26. On exhibit will be more than 60 artworks from the rural South, New England and the Midwest created between 1800 and 1920. That includes portrait painters such as Ammi Phillips and the Quaker minister and painter Edward Hicks, whose The Peaceable Kingdom is one of the most-recognized of all American works, and which is represented here in one of its 62 incarnations. Many of these pieces evoke the natural beauty of rural America, and when they are married to patriotic emotions, they put us in touch with a young and proud country glorying in its native self-expression. It’s only $5 to see A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America, and somehow in our current political turmoil that makes it even more than one of the best deals in town. Call 655-7226 or visit fourarts.org for more information.
Film: The Iranian entry in the foreign-language film Oscar race this year is The Salesman, the latest work from director-writer Asghar Farhadi, who won an Academy Award five years ago for A Separation, a look at divorce, Iranian-style. The Salesman also puts a domestic relationship under the microscope, when a schoolteacher and his wife begin growing apart after she was attacked in their new apartment. The film’s title refers to an amateur production of Arthur Miller’s masterwork, Death of a Salesman, in which they play the leading roles, which significantly parallels their own lives. Farhadi has a good eye for the details of everyday Iranian life, which has parallels and distinct differences to the way we live in America. The Salesman seems destined to lose the Oscar to Germany’s Toni Erdmann, which is also playing at Boca Raton’s Living Room Theatres, but both are worth a look.
Theater: Palm Beach Dramaworks likes to produce Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, but when it comes to the works of Donald Margulies, give the West Palm Beach company credit for skipping over Dinner With Friends and selecting instead the better play of his, Collected Stories. This two-hander pits an established author of short stories against her ambitious student writer, who worms her way into older woman’s life, gains her trust, then steals a personal recollection she hears and uses it as the basis for her own novel. Call it a literary All About Eve. Anne-Marie Cusson is stunning as the mentor, particularly in the memory monologue and the final scene of recriminations. Keira Keeley has the trickier assignment as the protégé, going through a personality transition from naïve, awkward writing rookie to sophisticated published acclaimed author. Continuing through March 5. Call 561-514-4042 for tickets.
Music: It’s been quite a couple weeks for lovers of the violin, but if all that playing during the Oliveira Competition hasn’t sated your appetite, you can hear another authentic rising star of the fiddle on Sunday night at the Kravis Center. The Australian violinist Ray Chen, still in his 20s but making his mark on the world at large, solos with the Bamberg Symphony of Germany in the venerable Mendelssohn Concerto. Legendary conductor Christoph Eschenbach is at the helm for a concert that also includes the Don Giovanni overture of Mozart and the Fifth Symphony of Mahler. Call 832-7469 or visit www.kravis.org.