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Dear Art Garden community and friends (near and far),

We are sending you much love in this strange and challenging time.
We wish you strength, creativity and health and want you to know that even though our physical studio space is closed until we are advised that it is safe to reopen, we are woven together with you as a community and care deeply about your well-being.

For some thoughtful suggestions to support your and your family’s well-being, please click on the link below for a beautifully written article by Deb Habib
of Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center in Orange, MA:

https://seedsofsolidarity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/parenting-in-a-pandemic.pdf

 

Drawing outside is just one of the things Deb suggests. (This is 6-year-old Emma drawing during our Farm & Art program last year.)
Looking closely and trying to capture what we see can help focus the mind in a way that can be very calming. Given all the uncertainty of these times, it doesn’t really matter if what you draw looks anything like what you are seeing.
The practice of looking closely is valuable in itself.

Two nights ago I noticed that someone had left this large heart stamped into the snow in my yard:

It was such a sweet surprise, reminding me that I am loved and that there are so many creative ways that we can support one another. Thank you!

If you have ideas for how The Art Garden can support our community in this time, please let us know by emailing me at csartgarden@gmail.com.

with affection,
Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

 

 

The Art Garden invites you to participate in:

Participation in community exhibits at The Art Garden is free and open to all ages and experience. In part, this means you don’t have to think of yourself as an artist to participate.

All work that reflects on the theme of relationships and/or the title “Woven Together” will be included: Mixed media, painting, drawing, collage, small sculpture, assemblage, photography, prose, poetry, &&&.
We accept one piece per person (more if space allows.)
Size restrictions apply. Please call 413-625-2782 if your work is large.

Ball point pen drawing by former ARTeen Hannah Bernotas

For this exhibit, we invite you to consider submitting a “work in process” or an interactive piece. If your work is interactive, please call ahead to discuss your idea: 413-625-2782.

Questions to possibly inspire you:

What are some of the relationships that make up the fabric of your life?

What are some of the connections you experience in nature, your home, your community, the world?

What are some of the things that connect us rather than divide us?

“The Heart Spirals” by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

Deadline for submissions: January 30, 2020

Please bring work to The Art Garden
on Saturday 1/25, Tuesday 1/28 or Thursday 1/30 between 1pm – 5pm.

The exhibit opens as part of our winter HooPla

on Saturday, FEBRUARY 8th, 6pm – 8pm

 

You can view the exhibit through March: Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 1-5pm

This exhibit is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils: Buckland, Colrain, Conway, Charlemont/Hawley, Heath, Rowe & Shelburne!

And the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts!

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

There are 43 works by 34 artists in our community exhibit about Journeys. Work includes poetry, prose, mixed media, painting, drawing, assemblage, collage, sculpture, and photography. There were 7 performances at the opening reception on December 7th.

“Transmission” by Samantha Wood

“On the Way – Together”

Community exhibits at The Art Garden are intergenerational like this collaborative drawing made by Lela (5) and her grandmother Elisabeth Radysh (72).

“Manifesting a Childhood Dream” by Emily Gopen

Some of the pieces reflect on specific journeys undertaken by their creators, as in the mixed media piece above.

“Practical Wanderlust”

Other works reflect on life journeys as in the piece above by Valerie Velvet.

During the holiday week, you can view the exhibit on Friday and Saturday, December 27 & 28 between 1pm – 5pm.

Please note that now that we have snow, your journey to the Art Garden’s parking needs to be via Elm St! Please see our map.

This exhibit is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils:  Ashfield, Buckland, Colrain, Charlemont/Hawley, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Plainfield, Rowe & Shelburne! And the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts!

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

 

Photo by Justin Lively

You are invited to participate in a community exhibit about

Participation is free and open to all ages and artistic experience. We accept one piece per person, more if space is available. Paintings, photos, drawings, collages, poems, performances, & & &. Size restrictions apply.
Call 413-625-2782 for details if your work is large, or if you would like to perform at the opening, or if you have any questions about participating.

Drop off artwork Friday or Saturday, Nov. 22 or 23 between 1pm – 5pm.

 

Painting by Cosima Hewes

The painting above by local artist, Cosima Hewes was part of her Search for Home series. For me, it reflects the physical, emotional and spiritual nature journeys can have.

The photo by Justin Lively above, with its black door standing mysteriously in the landscape, invites me to reflect on journey-related questions: Is the door open or closed? Where does it lead? and Do I go around or through it?

The Art Garden invites you to make something (visual, written or performative) that reflects on the theme of journeys…or maybe you already have a piece that reflects on this theme? We hope you will consider sharing your art and ideas with our community through this exhibit.

Photos from a series of walks, by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

This exhibit is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils:  Ashfield, Buckland, Colrain, Charlemont/Hawley, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Plainfield, Rowe & Shelburne! And the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts!

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

The following reflection was written by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider
for the 90th Anniversary of the Bridge of Flowers, October 5, 2019.

Imagination is a bridge!
Today we are celebrating something that connects us –
to each other and to ourselves –
to this physical place that many of us call home.

Home is also something imagined –
something we co-create in community.

Imagination is the soil of community –
because community, like a garden, has so much variety –
so many unknowables, so many differences.

We come together in community through our creativity –
through imagining what is possible.

Creativity cultivates that part of ourselves that is responsive.
Creativity is an essential part of being human.

The Bridge of Flowers cultivates our responsiveness –
to colors, patterns, light, shadow, textures, shapes, sounds, smells –
to the unexpected, exquisite, and delightful –
to birth, death, decay, and re-birth –
to nature which is core to who we are
and which we are so often estranged from.
To the river that runs through and in us –
a constant mystery.

This bridge of flowers draws us into the creative process.
Walking on it, in it and through it is an experience
which involves a coming together of our senses, bodies, hearts and minds –
a journey of moments that pull at us to be fully present.

What an amazing thing to be part of the creative community
that TENDS to the nurturing of imaginations!

What an amazing thing to be here with you in this collective journey of moments to celebrate all the work of that tending.

To tend and care for our need for experiences that feed our souls,
awaken our imaginations, and connect us to the beautiful
is good work –
sometimes hard, sometimes tedious, and most often lighter when done together.

Working together is an act of creativity.
Working together is community.

Playing together is a celebration of that community work.

And celebration is the bridge back to what inspires our imaginations.

And imagination is a bridge that connects us to ourselves and to each other.

 

Thanks to a ValleyCreates Planning Grant from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, The Art Garden has been developing a new initiative, a Collaborative Community Art Response Team (CcART)!

Laura Iveson and Jane Beatrice Wegscheider from The Art Garden have been collaborating with Greenfield artist and organizer Samantha Wood, artist-activist and facilitator Phyllis Labanowski, and Phoebe Walker (Director of Community Services at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments) to design the framework for CcART, which we hope to launch in 2020.

In many ways, CcART is a continuation and expansion of the work The Art Garden has been committed to since its founding ten years ago. We believe that community art-making processes and projects can support individuals and our communities. We also believe that art made in response to community issues can bring about change. Using creative, community art strategies we hope that our Collaborative Community Art Response Team will engage community members, artists and service-providing agencies to help address some of Franklin County’s community needs.

We invite you to share your thoughts with us at one of two upcoming, facilitated listening sessions listed above. Light fare will be provided, so please RSVP!

Thank you!