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

Sarah Holbrook: Driving Home
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Shelburne Falls photographer Sarah Holbrook has been making photographs for most of her adult life. Whether she is standing in a small boat powering through icy arctic waters, or standing up through the moon roof of her car in the dark and snow (while her husband is driving, of course), Holbrook’s eye is open to the impressions her camera can make. In her words:

“Taking a photograph is part magical journey to the spot where the rock leans just West, the mountain breaks the clouds or the road curves into moonlight . . . part magical pause waiting for the light to turn, the receding wave to leave its signature . . . and part moment of recognition when the headlights catch snow and time stretches the landscape.

“I am grateful to have been able to hold a camera all these years. To try and catch the moments of sunlight in a glass of orange juice, moonlight on snow, icebergs before dawn.

“In 2010, leaving a friend’s house with the warm feelings of friendship and good food, driving home from Southern Vermont through the hills of Western Mass, I wondered if it was possible to capture that feeling and the beauty of the hills and winding country roads. I have spent the last eight years chasing these feelings which, when captured, created these homages to our back country roads.”

Holbrook studied Philosophy at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts and worked in photography, film and television in New York City in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. She worked solely with handmade cameras in the 1990’s and now works with both pinhole and digital cameras. As a local photographer she has spent most of her life photographing in New England. Currently she travels to Greenland, Iceland and other Polar Regions. She incorporates movement and low light in her work, with snow, ice, night and water as her inspirations. Most recently she traveled to Baja to witness whales in their birthing grounds. Lucky for us, Holbrook shares her travels through the beautiful and profound photographs she makes.

Holbrook’s exhibit can be viewed July 5 through September 1 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, July 21, 3-5pm. Saxophone by Loren Feinstein. For more information, go to SalmonFallsGallery.com or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

Parking is available on site.
 
Chris Hill: Nocturnal Landscapes
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Exhibit at Salmon Falls Gallery

Chris Hill, a soil scientist consultant in his work life, is also a self-taught painter inspired to bring his vision of farmlands brimful of both life and food to his viewers. Call it Permaculture, call it simply respecting the land and all of its inhabitants, Chris knows that taking care of the soil naturally, is the way to environmental health for this planet.

In the exhibit Nocturnal Landscapes, Hill, using acrylic paint, depicts farmland and fallow field as they should be: flush with life, no patch of soil left bare, a place where pollinators, predators and pests abound. Animals graze and peck, weeds and mushrooms are numerous. The primary crop thrives, does better than it would on its own, through the synergy of community. The best farms are integrated with the land, mimicking natural shapes and patterns. Inputs and outputs perfectly balanced.

Unfortunately, the majority of the farmland in our country is the opposite of what you will see pictured in this exhibit. Savage domination of once fertile ground is the norm. The land managers give back as little as possible and in a synthetic form. The result is sterile, bare earth— blowing away in the wind. The monotone hum of a swarm of pests, waiting to devour the next crop left unsprayed by pesticides. One plant species blankets hundreds of acres. A giant pollinator dead zone on the best of days. On the worst of days— ground zero for chemical warfare against Mother Nature. Those of us that live nearby close our windows and bring the cat in on those days.

This series points towards what could be; showing captured moments of moving, living, grown-sculptures. In Hill’s words:

“I have been inspired by some of the organic farms in the pioneer valley and a number of home gardens, places of true magic. I hope to capture some of the wonder and clarity I have found in these places and suggest that we all strive to cultivate spaces like this. Find yourself real food, grown on real soil, that is not only dense in nutrients, but whose very growth and existence supports myriad worlds of other organisms both great and small, and their continuity.”

Hill has invited the folks at World Repair Nursery to have a Native Fruit & Nut Tree Sale at Salmon Falls Gallery during the weekend of the exhibit’s reception, July 20 & 21. Come see Hill’s exhibit and take home plants that will support a healthy environment on your own land. The nursery emphasizes edible native plants from New England, offering a collection of species that are meant to grow in a healthy northeastern landscape, all producing something useful for people. Every species produces a food, nut, medicine, or other resource. For more information on World Repair Nursery, visit their FaceBook page: World Repair Nursery!

Hill’s exhibit can be viewed through September 1 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, July 21, 3-5pm. Saxophone by Loren Feinstein. World Repair Nursery offers a Native Fruit & Nut Tree sale at the gallery July 20 & 21. For more information, go to SalmonFallsGallery.com or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

Parking is available on site.
 
The Cummington Fair
Thursday, August 22nd, 2019, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Art Exhibit: Dawn Siebel: The Endangered
Friday, September 6th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Paintings in oil on canvas panel

Salmon Falls Gallery has been offering a series of works by Easthampton painter Dawn Siebel entitled Story Paintings for a few years now. These works are whimsical and profound, but not the most current art that Siebel is painting. Her passion has now been captured by the rapid extinction of multitudes of species here on earth. Most specifically for Siebel, the animals. In her own words:

“It’s possible no more than 15 mature bull elephants are alive today in all of Africa. In Kenya they’re called “tuskers.” Their tusks, which continue to grow as long as they live, nearly scrape the ground. When my grandmother was born, five million elephants roamed Africa. Less than one-tenth that number remains, and they are being decimated. The sixth great extinction is underway. This time it’s our fault.

“I paint portraits of endangered species because I want the viewer to recognize the equal Being looking back. I am an advocate for their value and survival. My intent is to bring to life another Being that is present, self-possessed and meeting the viewer eye-to-eye.

“In 2015, I began to meet all the animals I paint. To find them, I travel to zoos. Where possible, I spend days visiting and revisiting the same animals, sitting with them, watching, taking pictures, speaking with their keepers, speaking with them. Most of them regard me in return. Back in the studio, my sense of the animal is present as I work. These are distinct and specific beings, not generic representatives of their kind.

“The painterliness of the surface is of great interest to me. As a self-taught artist, my most important tools have always been experimentation and observation. I want to pull together the spiritual and the earthly in my work, to get to the essence of my subjects. I am not a photo-realist. My interests lie more in fur-ness than fur and I experiment continually to achieve the textural details of their hide or skin or fur or feather without specifically painting it, relying on translucent layers, textures, and cheap frayed brushes.

“Some of this complexity is rendered invisible in representation, making the paintings seem more photographic than they actually are. Surface texture and subtle variations of color can disappear before the camera. In reality, all my blacks are all built from colors that appear and melt away in changing light and movement. Details in the shadows can come and go.”

These works are all 11” x 14”, intimate portraits of beings that are living in zoos. One can’t help but see what we share with them in each painting. Siebel’s exhibit can be viewed through October 27 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, September 8, 3-5pm.  Guitar by Chris Eriquezzo. For more information, visit  Salmon Falls Gallery or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

 
Art Opening: Dawn Siebel: The Endangered
Sunday, September 8th, 2019, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Paintings in oil on canvas panel

Salmon Falls Gallery has been offering a series of works by Easthampton painter Dawn Siebel entitled Story Paintings for a few years now. These works are whimsical and profound, but not the most current art that Siebel is painting. Her passion has now been captured by the rapid extinction of multitudes of species here on earth. Most specifically for Siebel, the animals. In her own words:

“It’s possible no more than 15 mature bull elephants are alive today in all of Africa. In Kenya they’re called “tuskers.” Their tusks, which continue to grow as long as they live, nearly scrape the ground. When my grandmother was born, five million elephants roamed Africa. Less than one-tenth that number remains, and they are being decimated. The sixth great extinction is underway. This time it’s our fault.

“I paint portraits of endangered species because I want the viewer to recognize the equal Being looking back. I am an advocate for their value and survival. My intent is to bring to life another Being that is present, self-possessed and meeting the viewer eye-to-eye.

“In 2015, I began to meet all the animals I paint. To find them, I travel to zoos. Where possible, I spend days visiting and revisiting the same animals, sitting with them, watching, taking pictures, speaking with their keepers, speaking with them. Most of them regard me in return. Back in the studio, my sense of the animal is present as I work. These are distinct and specific beings, not generic representatives of their kind.

“The painterliness of the surface is of great interest to me. As a self-taught artist, my most important tools have always been experimentation and observation. I want to pull together the spiritual and the earthly in my work, to get to the essence of my subjects. I am not a photo-realist. My interests lie more in fur-ness than fur and I experiment continually to achieve the textural details of their hide or skin or fur or feather without specifically painting it, relying on translucent layers, textures, and cheap frayed brushes.

“Some of this complexity is rendered invisible in representation, making the paintings seem more photographic than they actually are. Surface texture and subtle variations of color can disappear before the camera. In reality, all my blacks are all built from colors that appear and melt away in changing light and movement. Details in the shadows can come and go.”

These works are all 11” x 14”, intimate portraits of beings that are living in zoos. One can’t help but see what we share with them in each painting. Siebel’s exhibit can be viewed through October 27 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, September 8, 3-5pm.  Guitar by Chris Eriquezzo. For more information, visit  Salmon Falls Gallery or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.