Robert Lynch’s career began with a lie. It was January 1975. He’d had his hand in the creation of the New England Artist Festival and Showcase, today called the New England Arts Biennial. The team of founders — including Lynch — marketed it as “New England’s largest gathering of artists, craftspeople, performers, poets and other creators.”
During her lecture at 10:45 a.m. Thursday in the Amphitheater, Barbara Smith Conrad did what she’s always done best: She sang. The small woman on stage approached her friend, pianist Patsy Sage, to decide which song to sing. The words that escaped her lips were much more booming than her voice had been before — even with the aid of the microphone.