Visiting The Art Garden’s current community exhibit about empathy and perspectives is a deeply moving experience. Over 35 artists, writers, community members and performers contributed works of poetry, painting, mixed-media, collage, photography, drawing, printmaking; and for our opening: music, dance, poetry, and a performative sound and projected image piece.

MorgueTagDetail4blogPhyllis Labanowski’s piece, Unarmed Black People (under age 30) Killed by Police or ‘Found Dead’ while in Police Custody in 2015, spans the length of our main exhibit wall. About this work, Phyllis writes:

“I recently had a conversation with a young woman of African descent, working on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement. I was moved by the stories she carried…of the lives of Black people killed by police in our country.

Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner are names I am familiar with…the movement has made sure I do not forget. But I was struck by my own lack of knowing of the others: their lives and their stories. As a white woman of European descent and a home-owner in a predominantly white community, I came face-to-face once again with one of the privileges of my whiteness – the choice of not having to know/pay attention.

BUT…If my Black sisters and brothers are carrying these stories, so must I.

This piece and the shoes in the exhibition, are how I chose to learn the stories…”


In Someone Else?s Shoes?-2


In Someone Else?s Shoes?-2


ARTeen Morgan YoungTornInTwo4blog
used her own shoes
to create her piece:
Torn In Two.

Morgan writes:
“I wanted to show the teenage perspective from the perspective of a teenager.
As a teenager you are told to conform to what society wants and be this perfect person, that I can’t be and have nearly destroyed myself trying to be,
while the person you want to be  is unique to the world and free…
But you’re told that you’re wrong and you’re crazy, just for trying to be yourself.
You’re not wrong.
I’m not wrong.
I’m perfect at just being me.”


Detail from triptych by Hannah Hurricane

Hannah Hurricane’s etching triptych: The Angel’s 40-hour Work Week came from her “obsession of wanting to understand what being an angel was like…I became intrigued,” writes Hannah, ” with contributing to the evolution of the angelic image. I thought about shoes! What shoes would I wear if I were an angel: heels, leather boots, Converse? …I wrestled with the image of the guardian angel; how tiring that would be, willing to give constantly…I wondered too about fallen angels…What is their side of the story?…”


The exhibit In Someone Else’s Shoes grew out of a collaboration between Buckland resident Cheryl L. Dukes and The Art Garden’s director Jane Beatrice Wegscheider. As part of that collaboration, we created the image: Shoe Cairn: Way-finding Our Heartfelt World, which became the signature image for the exhibit invitation and a part of the exhibit in this digitally enlarged format.

The Art Garden and Cheryl L. Dukes invite you
to be a part of the conversation
by spending some time with the exhibit 
during Shelburne Falls’ Moonlight Magic event:
Friday, November 27, 4 – 9pm.
We will have hot cider and treats made by the Bread Fairy. 

You can also see the exhibit during our regular hours:
Mondays through Saturdays, 1 – 5pm.

We will have a closing reception on December 12. Details to be announced.


For directions, please see our map.



Poster by Diana Hardina. Skeleton by Laura Iveson.

Poster by Diana Hardina. Skeleton by Laura Iveson.

Come rattle your bones and dance the night away at the Cowell Gym
in Shelburne Falls on Friday, Oct 30th from 8pm-Midnight!

$10 admission for dancing and snacks in the eerily atmospheric Cowell Gym.
Beer and Wine available! Costume Contest! 

Co-hosted by The Art Garden and the Cowell Gym
with proceeds to benefit both organizations’ youth programming!

Check out The Art Garden’s Facebook for more details,
or call The Art Garden at 413-625-2782.

You are invited to participate in a community exhibit
about perspectives and empathy:


ShoeCairn4blogHow do our shoes tell our story?

What does it mean to walk
in someone else’s shoes?

Whose shoes do I choose to walk in?

How do we walk in shoeless lives?

Can we really view the world
from multiple perspectives?

Where is the intersection between

How does my compassion
deepen and broaden my humanity
and my response to other beings?

If these shoes are killing me,
how I do take them off?

Do our souls direct our soles?

We hope you will be inspired
to explore these questions
(and the many more that the title
and themes of this exhibit
may prompt in you.)

Make art!

Explore your ideas
in whatever form makes sense for you,
and share your work
by being a part of this exhibit!

Participation is free
and open to all ages and experience.

All work that relates to the theme[s]
will be included. Some size restrictions may apply. Please call if your work exceeds 3’ in any direction.


Community exhibits at The Art Garden are hung salon-style in our working studio, inspiring conversation and creative responses from visitors and art-makers of all ages. Each individual piece functions within the context of the whole exhibit (much like our lives within our communities.) Our hope is that each individual piece can shine at the same time that relationships between works are explored.

Performative work happens during our

OPENING RECEPTION on Saturday, November 7 (6-8pm)

Performances are at 7pm.
Please call or email by the submission deadline
if you would like to be part of the performance schedule:

This exhibit is supported by the following Local Cultural Councils:

Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont/Hawley, Colrain, Conway, Heath, Leyden,
Plainfield, and Shelburne.


Thank you! 

Thank you! 

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you Cheryl L. Dukes for inspiring this exhibit
and for your collaboration in making it happen!


The Art Garden will be at The Green River Festival again



for our third year of providing a 40’x40′ tent

FULL of free art-making activities



for all ages.


Last year, over a thousand people made art with us in two days:


painting, inventing, learning, and having fun together!


Many volunteers help make it possible with hundreds of hours preparing re-purposed materials (cardboard, fabric, bottle caps, telephone wire, canvas scraps, etc.)


The results are magical!




The creativity is inspiring!



Join us on Saturday, July 11thSunday, July 12th

from noon to 6pm each day.

For more details about the Green River Festival (tickets, directions, line-up, &&&): click here.


A community parade (with Bella’s Bartok) will start at our tent

at 5:15pm on Saturday. 


Please join us!


FunAtGRF4blogThank you











Julie Orfirer,

Janice Sorensen,

Kate Snyder,


Doris Schload.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!






Our 2015 Community Teen Art Exhibit opened on June 13th with teens, families, friends, neighbors and community members gathering together to celebrate an exciting exhibit of over 40 works by 22 teen artists (from five regional schools and homeschooling.)

The exhibit reveals some of what is on teen minds: a diversity of ideas and images in a wide range of media and style including vibrant abstract works, detailed representational drawings and paintings, playful engineering, mixed media collage and assemblage, & & &!

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Our Spring ARTeens did the invitation and poster drawings, helped organize and curate the exhibit, made artistic food and buttons for the reception, and hosted the intergenerational crowd that spilled out onto The Art Garden’s porches. The event culminated with teen performances and video, and a slideshow of the 2014-2015 ARTeens program.

The exhibit runs until July 9th, and can be viewed during The Art Garden’s open hours: Mondays through Saturdays 1pm – 5pm.

This exhibition is part of a series of Community Art Exhibits supported by the following Local Cultural Councils:


Thank you! 
Thank you! 
Thank you!




Art Garden board member Laura Iveson
(who co-directs all of The Art Garden’s festival and parade work)
organized and coordinated a HUGE-ly successful community art event
at the Cowell Gym in Shelburne Falls on April 11th, 2015.


Here is a beautiful reflection about the Fabulous Hilltown Draw-Around,
written by Laura’s partner, James Smith
(who was also a tireless volunteer and shameless promoter.)

From left to right: Mark, Kate, James, Jane, Laura, Robin…still smiling the next day!

From left to right: Mark, Kate, James, Jane, Laura, Robin…still smiling the next day!

“This new regional event is a seedling carried by Laura Iveson
from the New Orleans annual 24-hour Drawathon.

MandalaBeginnings4blogLaura’s vision is to nurture a uniquely Hilltown version
of the lively arts, magic, and most of all community
that planted New Orleans so indelibly in our hearts and imaginations
during our 20-year residence there.

photo credit: John Snyder

photo credit: John Snyder

Where better to grow a vision like that than The Art Garden,
which has already done so much to establish
a welcoming, supportive arts community
in this corner of the world?


Pencil crowns go to Draw-Around Divas: Phyllis Labanowski (ARTeens co-director), Laura Iveson (our fabulous Draw-Around Organizer and all-around troubleshooter) and Jane Beatrice Wegscheider (Art Garden director)

The Art Garden family embraced Laura’s idea fully
and provided infrastructure, guidance, big hearts,
and capable hands to help make it happen.


After much hard work we remained worried until the last minute
that no one would risk a Saturday to see just what the heck a Draw-Around is,


but several hundred doodlebugs from all over the Hilltowns
showed healthy curiosity and an admirable sense of whimsy
by stopping in to draw on the walls
and lay on the papered floor for hours with friends, family, and strangers,
talking, dreaming, and creating
4000 square feet of gorgeous art. 

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The Draw-Around was solidly attended from noon til midnight.
Participants donated generously
enough to fund a large portion of The Art Garden’s ARTeens program this season.
The proceeds allow for even stronger programming in the next session,
and help The Art Garden ensure
that no ARTeens participant is prevented from participating for lack of funds.




(present, former and possible future)










to F I N I S H !!!


I was deeply moved by the way the aptly named Draw-Around
drew people together, head-to-head,
to engage in a novel and powerful collaboration.

photo credit: John Snyder

photo credit: John Snyder

The sheer audacity of the venture
– covering 12 hours and 4000 square feet of paper with imagination and dialogue –
disrupts the many routines of day-to-day life
in a way that provokes
fresh shared perspectives, bonding, and true community.

What a glorious way to welcome in the spring.

DApan4blog DotArtFamily4blog

Eleven-year-old emerging artist, Katie Martin (mother and older child drawing on right) was inspired by  Colrain artist, Suzanne Conway's mother and baby drawing above it!

Eleven-year-old emerging artist, Katie Martin (mother and older child drawing on right) was inspired by Colrain artist, Suzanne Conway’s mother and baby drawing above it!

People have told me the event’s magic sustained them days later,
and that like me, they are already dreaming about next year’s
Second Annual Art Garden Fabulous Hilltown Draw-Around.”   — James Smith


Thank you to everyone who made this event so amazing!

JadensIllusion4blogThe list of
thank you‘s

is longer than this

optical illusion drawing

made by teen artist,

Jaden Skelly.

You may want to start at the bottom and scroll up to see how it looked.


Angie Arahood

David Arfa

Brook Batteau

Candace Bradbury-Carlin

Molly Cantor

Valerie Caro

Sonny Crawford

Susannah Crolius

Laura Davis

Kelly Flaherty

Brendan Flannelly-King

& Eamon

Joanna Goodman

Emily Gopen

Katie Hennessey

Cosima Hewes

Cara Hochhalter

John Hoffman

Robin Huntley

Liz Jacobsen-Carroll

David Jensen

Phyllis Labanowski

Jen Martin

Cheli Mennella

Rick Miller

Diana Noble

Mark Ostroff

Colleen Rauch

Crisabeth Shearer
& Lauren Veaudry
from Greenfield Savings Bank

James Smith

Kate Snyder

Kristen Strange

Alethea Tschetterwood

Frances Whistler

Karen Willard

Betty Z-A & Tucker


Aubuchon, BJ’s, Brass Buckle, Buckland Pizza, Casey’s Pizza, Cowell Gym, Franklin Community Coop, Fosters, Hager Brothers, Home Depot, Mo’s Fudge Factory, Mother’s, Real Pickles, Shelburne Coffee Roasters, Staples, Trinity Church & Turley Publications!

Thank you Angie Arahood for creating this amazing Request-A-Sketch!

Thank you Angie Arahood for creating this amazing Request-A-Sketch!

Children and adults put a sketch request in a slot

Children and adults put sketch requests in a slot under the doors…

And within SECONDS or minutes, the doors sprung open, and a sketch was delivered…in a cuckoo's beak!

Within seconds, doors sprung open, & a sketch was delivered…in a cuckoo’s beak!

THANK YOU ARTeens (present, former and possible future):
Dylan, Erin, Jeff, Jennieke, Isabelle, Micah, Mikayla, Rhiannon & Tori
for WELCOMING everyone, explaining our pay-what-you-can model,
and for sharing what the ARTeens program means to you!


THANK YOU ARTeens co-director
and graphic messenger extraordinaire
Phyllis Labanowski
for creating such a great entry into the event!


Thank you to our community for your generosity!

Thank you Emmy for starting us off with such a generous and inspiring donation!


We are a Community Supported Art-making place!

And we are so glad to support our community with events like this!


Thank you! Laura Iveson!!!
for your creativity and perseverence, your vision and hard work,
your collaboration and willingness to dive into daunting projects.
YOU are fabulous (especially in that dashing hospital blue smock!)