“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,
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,
when the something created
At The Art Garden,
we believe that there is a well of creativity
in each of us,
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.
is to be swimming in the well,
to be the bucket
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 summer
with a grant-funded free teen workshop.
with a variety of materials
of their own choosing:
& & &.
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.
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!”
Four teen-age artist interns helped with our summer programs
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.
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 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!
The Bridge of Flowers Race
other related donations,
and the Race profit-share,
The Art Garden was able to
For a full description
of that event,
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!