Cultural District

Pottery class with Molly CantorPottery class with Molly CantorIn 2012, the Village of Shelburne Falls was designated as a Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and received the Creative Community Award.

This rural pairing of two villages – Shelburne and Buckland – on either side of the Deerfield River joined by an historic iron bridge is a delightful surprise. Honored as one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns in America,” the towns are recognized as a nationally desirable cultural destination.

Ariadne's Dream by Jane Wegscheider"Ariadne's Dream" by local artist Jane WegscheiderShelburne Falls gets it all right – preserving its historic, small town character while being open to the best of modern life. It is a village with a thriving cultural community nestled in the heart of farms and country roads. Enjoy world class opera in Memorial Hall’s Met Live series; visit eclectic art and crafts galleries and studios throughout the village; enjoy the ambience of Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, offering live music year-round. The Bridge of Flowers, once a busy trolley bridge, is now a world famous garden. Visit the trolley museum, the candlepin bowling alley, or the curious geological potholes. Linger in local eateries, enjoy fun family-friendly fairs and festivals throughout the year celebrate the arts, culture, and nature of Shelburne Falls and the surrounding hilltowns.

The Shelburne Falls Mosaic Mural Project

The Shelburne Falls Mosaic Mural Project was a community wide endeavor to celebrate the beauty of our rural area. Together we created 10 3’ x 3’ mosaic panels that represent our hilltowns of West County as well as 2 larger panels, ‘The Deerfield River’ and ‘American Indian Portrait’.

In June 2009, mosaic artist Cynthia Fisher had an idea stemming from her desire to create public art that could be enjoyed where she lived. In laying the groundwork for the project, she enlisted the support and involvement of school officials, teachers, community leaders, and building owners. The venture first gained the support of town selectpersons and business leaders. The educational aspects of the project were very important to Fisher. She did extensive research on the history of our local area and involved third grade students in the local school district that had a curriculum unit on their local area, and in doing so the task of deciding content for the 10 hilltown mosaics was theirs.

Here are the 10 hilltown mosaics:

AshfieldBuckland Charlemont Colrain Conway Hawley Heath Plainfield Rowe Shelburne

Cultural District Events

Charlemont Reggae Festival
Saturday, August 26th, 2017, 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Charlemont Fairgrounds Charlemont, MA.

Join us for New England's best reggae festival in the heart of Western Massachusetts on the Mohawk Trail. Our festival is held at an old fairgrounds with plenty of free parking, and a giant field to dance the day away. This is a family event and all ages are welcome. Bring a picnic or purchase food from one of our many vendors. You will feel like you're in the Caribbean when you stroll by all the arts & craft vendors while listening to the best reggae in New England as your live soundtrack.

"Every year I bring all my kids and husband to this festival. The kids dance like nobody is watching and so does everyone else. The food is fantastic and I can't leave without buying great oils, and some kind or trinkets or tee shirts for all my kids. If I can't find my husband, he is usually hovering around the amazing Caribbean food that is featured all day. We do bring some of our own stuff to snack on, but once you smell the food cooking, it's time to eat. Love this event." -Julie Miller, Manager
The Figure Speaks: Clayworks by Andrews, Consentino & Olds Goldie
Friday, September 1st, 2017, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

The Figure Speaks: Clayworks by Andrews, Consentino & Olds Goldie

The Figure Speaks blends the works of three sculptors, all working in clay: Marilyn Andrews of Plainfield, MA, Cynthia Consentino of Buckland, MA and Claudia Olds Goldie of Newton, MA. Each artist has deeply explored the impact the human figure makes in their art, all with powerful statements. Salmon Falls Gallery hosts the exhibit September 1 - October 29, with a reception to meet the artists on September 9, 4-6pm.

Marilyn Andrews has been working in clay since 1976. Among the works she shows at Salmon Falls Gallery are salt and pepper shakers. These pieces are two figurative sculptures that are made in relationship to each other. First, the figures relate through the simple function of being salt and pepper shakers, then we see that it’s the relationship between the figures that is so arresting. Marilyn’s focus for The Figure Speaks in her own words:

"The figure is us. In the most minimal marks we see the shape of our world – dark ground, light sky – and ourselves in it – circle of face, upright body.  “Standing” means us and the things we build.

When I strip away clothing and hair, with their signals about gender and class, I have a powerful basic symbol to work with. When I depict figures as I see them around me, I get the same symbolic power with the weight of culture added. When I create an imagined figure I have a symbol of the Self removed to a perspective that moment-to-moment living can’t access.

It’s the power of the symbol that fuels my play with it. Such a rich resource – the smallest gesture of the body or face is full of meaning for us. This is the material I use to make a new connection between myself (physically, emotionally and intellectually) and the physical and social world around me. This is my understanding of art-making and the capability it offers us for understanding our world and communicating with each other.”

Cynthia Consentino’s sculpture pushes boundaries in many directions. She exhibits nationally and internationally and has won many residencies including the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program. For this exhibit, Consentino will be showing works from her Face Vase series. These portrait vases explore the human condition. They depict different states of mind, moods, and emotions via a playful exploration of form and abstraction. In her own words:

“I have always been interested in what forms our perceptions and values regarding gender, social roles, and art. My work utilizes the figure along with references to familiar literary and visual symbols to delve into our collective experience and explore influences. We are constantly ingesting stories and images. Embedded within these are value systems and designations of what is normal and abnormal, good and bad.

I am interested in stripping things down and reassembling parts from different worlds. By taking what is familiar and making it unfamiliar, exaggerated, or inverted I am able to look more clearly and reconsider the messages that are part of both the original and altered states. I am better able to see incongruities and hidden messages.

My work started with exploring my own family’s ideas of gender and role, and expanded to look at common fairy tales and mythology. More recently I have focused on the knickknack and religious figurine and searched for and incorporated visual symbols and ideas that illustrate western values of not only gender, but art. At times our ideas and language regarding beauty, function, and worth directly parallel ideas we have of gender.”

Claudia Olds Goldie’s sculptures of women show the viewer something internal, powerful and emotionally exact. She currently works as an instructor for Harvard’s Ceramics program and is celebrating her 40th year teaching sculpture at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, MA. She exhibits in galleries nationally and her work appears in numerous publications. She describes her art as follows:

“My figurative ceramic work investigates the complex contradictions of body, mind, and perception. Focusing on the lives and bodies of women, I examine how living and aging changes the psyche and the physical body—in a sense, how the forces of nature inevitably alter our human design.  I do not work from models.

In 2010, I was inspired to draw with graphite pencil directly on the surface of my work after seeing Sol Lewitt’s exhibition of wall drawings at Mass MOCA.  The texture of the fired ceramic clay serves as a perfect foundation for this type of exploration, and I continue to discover new ways in which these pencil marks create a second skin to enhance the form, intent, and intricacy of each sculpture.”

The Figure Speaks is on exhibit September 1 – October 29, with the reception on Saturday, September 9, 4-6pm with music by Loren Feinstein improvising on sax and other instruments. For more information, or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

Photo captions (from left to right):

“Stairs to Street Level” by Marilyn Andrews, 25.5” x 14” x 8”, 2016, stoneware clay, slips, glaze

“Big Ol’ Gal” by Claudia Olds Goldie, 29" tall, 2016, Stoneware and graphite pencil drawing

“Curly” by Cynthia Consentino, 15.75″ x 9.25″ x 9.25″, 2013, stoneware, glaze

This event is free. Parking is available.
Artists in the Gallery: Ode to Paulus Berensohn
Sunday, October 8th, 2017, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Liz Canali of Heath, MA & Donna Gates of Shelburne Falls, MA
Ode to Paulus Berensohn​
"To Spring from the Hand:" a documentary on Paulus Berensohn followed by a pinch pot demonstration in both felt and clay

Donna and Liz work side-by-side one last time! Liz Canali has been part of the staff at Salmon Falls Gallery for the past 5 years and is moving to Florida after the reception for her exhibit Explorations in Felt on October 14. She will be greatly missed! Come join Liz for this remarkable film and then a pinch pot demonstration with curator and friend Donna Gates.

Both Liz and Donna have been influenced by the meditative exploration of pinching pots as presented by Paulus Berensohn. See the film and then watch Liz pinch a pot in felt while Donna pinches one in clay. The techniques are amazingly similar!

This event is free. Parking is available.
Liz Canali - Explorations in Felt: Texture and Color
Saturday, October 14th, 2017, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Felt artist Liz Canali has worn many artistic hats throughout her life: silversmith, graphic artist & web designer, teacher and now felting has caught her full attention. After viewing the documentary To Spring from the Hand: The Life and Work of Paulus Berensohn, she became inspired, thinking that she could pinch a pot in felt similar to the way Paulus was pinching pots in clay in the film. In her own words:

“Overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas when I began this series, I knew I had to just start!  I used the meditative and playful way Paulus Berenhson created pinch pots as inspiration for my “100 pinch pots” installation. As I made each pot, I saw the series begin to evolve. Each is similar but different, encouraging the viewer to take time with each felted pot, noticing the outside, encouraged to look inside as well.

“The series of vessels became an experiment in landscape and formation. The viewer is provoked to explore the artworks up close in detail, and to see them as a whole from a distance. The textures, shapes and colors combine to produce a tactile, organic result. I am creating a sense of dimension and texture. I see cracks in the side walk and in old building walls. I feel the crevices in rock formations. I am inspired by photography and pastel art and how color is used in these media. I’m fascinated with the versatility of felt and the rich history of its production and uses. I know I will continue to explore.”

Liz Canali discovered felting six years ago, first through needle felting and then through wet felting and hat making. Her explorations into illumination (making globes and shades for lamps) has played a big part in her evolution as a felt artist. She has experimented and researched felt making, finding new and different techniques and textural directions.

On Sunday, October 8 from 2-4pm, join Liz Canali and Donna Gates, Salmon Falls Gallery Director, in a presentation called Ode to Paulus Berensohn. Those attending will see the documentary film To Spring from the Hand: The Life and Work of Paulus Berensohn followed by a pinch pot demonstration in both felt and clay.  Donna will pinch a pot in clay while Liz pinches in felt in side-by-side demonstrations. The techniques are amazingly similar.

Liz has worked at Salmon Falls Gallery for the past five years as gallery staff, graphic designer, web designer and awesome display and exhibit help; all round wonderful employee. She and her husband Al will be moving to Florida a few days after her reception. She will be missed. Consider the reception a fabulous going away party for Liz & Al! Come help us celebrate Saturday, October 14, 4-6pm, artwork by Liz Canali, music by Al Canali and friends. The exhibit runs September 1 through October 29. For more information, or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

Photo caption:

“When Many Act as One: 100 felted pinch pots” by Liz Canali, 2017, felted wool

This event is free. Parking is available.
Moonlight Magic
Friday, November 24th, 2017, 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Village of Shelburne Falls

Moonlight Magic has become a traditional event across the region. It is the kick-off to the holiday season that includes Lighting of the Village, the Parade of Lights, Santa’s Workshop, carolers, and street performers.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Greenfield Savings BankGreenfield Cooperative Bank