Beginning a new year almost always fills me with a sense of possibility.

At The Art Garden, we get to witness and experience how the creative process embraces possibilities:
new ideas, new images, new ways of working, new relationships,
individual discoveries,
shared inspiration,
community emerging … growing … thriving.




Newness emerges from what has already been. We bring who we are and what we already understand ‘to the table’. We bring ourselves: broken, mended, imperfect, beautiful, uncertain, bold, inquisitive, nervous, awake, skilled, and receptive …sharing much in common and unique.

Making art can be a place
where all that we bring to the table is accepted,
played with,
and transformed.

At The Art Garden, our tables hold the residue of past projects: exuberant and thoughtful doodles, experiments, visual thinking and the hand’s releasings, layers of anonymous dialogue, another form of community expression.


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We hope The Art Garden will be a part of your life in 2014, and that you will be a part of our ever-expanding community.

Here are some possible programs you may be interested in:

For children and families:
On-going after school programs
Free family community service art-making   Next event on January 17!
NEW February Vacation Clay and Art Program    

For Adults:
Art For A Change   Next event on January 15!
Figure Drawing
NEW Adult Open Studio evening hours on Thursdays 6-9pm starting January 23rd.

Drop-in open studio art-making, Mondays through Saturdays 1pm-5pm  


We wish you a very happy and creative NEW YEAR!


Valley Gives Day


Thanks to the organizers of Valley Gives Day
and all our generous donors,
The Art Garden raised $2500 on 12.12.13!!!!



Come to the BIZARRE BAZAAR at The Art Garden during Shelburne Falls’ Moonlight Magic night, Friday, November 29th from 4pm – 10pm.  Nine local artists will be selling their creations (small hand-made books, ornaments, ceramics, wearable art, mixed-media artworks, cards, prints, photographs, altars, candles, and more!)

NEW this year: Teens from our ARTeens program will be decorating and selling Crazy Cupcake Creations as a fund-raiser for art supplies.

Shelburne Falls will be lit with hundreds of luminaries and the trolley will be running between the Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom and The Art Garden (with heated seats!)

You can also walk or drive to us. Please see our map for directions.

Where The Heart Is

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“The activity of creating is all. It is only by being this activity, that we grasp it.”
—M. P. Follett, 1918

At The Art Garden, JaydensOwl4blog

we try to trust the creative process:

the magic and mystery

of moving from ‘nothing’ to something,

the generation of ideas,

the playing and wrestling with materials,

the integration of thought and action,

the development of techniques,



all of that glorious work/play focus,

and then,





when the something created


each someone’s

personally satisfying


At The Art Garden,

we believe that there is a well of creativity

in each of us,IsabelRick4blog

no matter how old or young,

no matter how little or how

much skill we’ve acquired.

                                                        Our mission is to nurture

the myriad creative explorations

that happen in our studio space.

IsabellesMermaid4blogMy privilege

as artist-director

and facilitator,

is to be swimming in the well,

to be the bucket

or rope

that helps someone access

their own resources,

and often, to watch and witness

as children and adults

quench their own thirsts.


At The Art Garden, we think that accessing this well of creativity is essential

for a sustainable life. Exploring, nurturing and developing our creativity

will help us as we face many of life’s challenges.


Summertime at The Art Garden offers up the magic and mystery of creativity in such a concentration, that I am generally exhausted at the end of August. Hence, it is yet again the cusp of Autumn when I am reflecting on our summer experiences.


We began the summerAmandasBagDesign4blog

with a grant-funded free teen workshop.

Teenagers worked

with a variety of materials

and techniques

of their own choosing:




mixed media,


& & &.

We offered 2 weeks of summer programs free-of-charge (thanks to Local Cultural Council grants and donations from Art Garden friends and local businesses.) One of those programs, Art About Town, occurred during the hottest week of the summer.

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Co-facilitator, Paget Walker and I guided and accompanied local children (ages 9-14) as we explored some of the cultural richness of Shelburne Falls.

We visited six artist’s spaces and worked on projects with three of those artists. We spent time walking around and looking at some of the public art around town.

We concluded the week by installing site-sensitive artworks (that the kids created in The Art Garden’s studio) in public places around the village.

Thank you Paget for your enthusiasm, insight and innovative work
as a collaborator, co-teacher and artist!

Click here for a full description of the program and list of local artists we visited.


Our collaborative Clay, Yoga & Art and Clay & Art week-long programs
were wild and wonder-full as always!


After spending their mornings working in clay at Molly Cantor Pottery

and doing movement and meditation at Shelburne Falls Yoga,

kids walked (or ran!) to The Art Garden,

ate their lunches (often quickly)

and then dove into their self-initiated, self-directed projects:


turning a chaos of materials into imaginative worlds,

designing and sewing their own stuffed creatures,


building elaborate sculptural constructions,


mixing traditional art media

with [the often unusual] donated ‘non-traditional’ materials.









At one point,

an enthusiastic 6-year old, Stella exclaimed,

“Art is practically everything!”

to which 8-year old, Desdemona responded,

“Art is the key to life!”


MaddyCollage4blogFour teen-age artist interns helped with our summer programs

TaylorsButterflies4blogby sharing

their creativity

as facilitators

and artists.

Thank you




and Taylor!


The Art Garden also went on the road this summer,
spending two very hot, intensely creative days at the Green River Music Festival doing the Arts Activities tent and the community parade.

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In keeping with our philosophy of nurturing self-directed and uncensored creative expression, we provided a variety of inspirational ideas, a plethora of quality materials, and an organized, communal workspace that accommodated 30-40 people of all ages working side by side.


Friends of The Art Garden helped prepare for the event: cutting over 200 cardboard bird-shapes to be embellished by festival-goers for the parade, and making large and small, sometimes moveable, cardboard cut-outs and banners that reflected our theme, What does music look like?

Thank you Laura, Robin, Sam, Laura, Alethea, Kate, Karen, Isabelle, Sonny, James, Hannah, Janice, Della, Bob, Julie and everyone who showed up for our pre-festival puppet-making work bee. Thank you Karen Hettlinger, Kate Snyder, and Julie Orfirer for the great photos!

Laura, Jane and Laura

Laura Iveson’s hours and hours of artistic collaboration, and Laura Davis’ personal and practical support carried me through the whole amazing and challenging process! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

ArtGardenRunnersm4blogThis summer




one of

The Bridge of Flowers Race

partner charities.

Through runner-raised


other related donations,

and the Race profit-share,

The Art Garden was able to

raise $1000.


For a full description

of that event,


click here.

After such a full summer,
working (and playing) with others,


I spent a few weeks in relative solitude,

wrestling with my own creative process
in my living-room-turned-studio,

exploring images and techniques
with paint and collage;

experiencing how things fall apart
and come together
in my way of working,

trying to attend to the ‘accidents’:

when a turn-of-the-head leads to a discovery,

vintage poppy fabric
to grow out of a grieving figure
…a poignant image, painful and hopeful.

Life is also the key to art!


 Please join us at The Art Garden as we move into this next seed-making season.
Dip into your own well of creativity in the company of others.
Get inspired by all that is possible!
And thank you for helping to make it happen!

Art For A Change


Art for a Change is a free program (Thank you Xeric Foundation!)
for artists who want their creativity engaged in service to their local and global community, for activists who want their work to be even more creative, and for community members who want to be a part of it all.

Participants are asked to bring projects they care about
(although bringing one is not a requirement.)
No idea is too small or too large to work on.

Find out what other activists and artists have done. Work on a project in the company of others who also care about local and global issues.

We will begin this 7-month series on Wednesday, October 16th from 6-9 pm with:

“The Range of Possibilities”

Art for a Change meets again on November 13, December 11, and  once a month into 2014.

End-of-Summer Break


In an attempt to regain my balance after a very full summer, The Art Garden will be closed for two weeks.

We will re-open for the Shelburne Falls ArtWalk on September 14th, 5-8pm.
More details will be posted soon.

After-school programming and drop-in hours will begin the week of September 16th.