photo by Elaine Boucher

“What the World Needs Now” performance by Phyllis Labanowski and a group of intrepid Art Garden volunteers, 2014. Photo by Elaine Boucher.

May 3, 2016 is The Art Garden’s 5-year 501c3 Anniversary!

WE made it!
WE painted, sculpted, sewed, drew and collaged it!
WE invented, designed, organized, coordinated, collaborated,
and fund-raised it!

WE = you + me + The Art Garden’s hard-working Board of Directors
+ hundreds of people supporting our work with so many GIFTS:
donations of supplies, money and time…
all of us coming together to make The Art Garden truly
a Community-Supported Art-making place!


As a happy coincidence,

May 3, 2016 is also Valley Gives Day here in western Massachusetts.

Our Valley Gives fund-raising this year is dedicated to supporting our
2016-2017 ARTeens program.


Your support will make a difference in the lives of rural creative teens!

Please help make another year of this amazing Teen Art program possible
by donating here on May 3rd:




A very special thank you goes to artist and non-profit attorney Peter Chadwick, who first suggested our becoming a non-profit in 2010. He all but held our hands as he shepherded us through the legal process with kindness, skill and lots of clarifying emails. We are so grateful, Peter!

One of over 30 Frida paintings by Ardath Garfield.

One of over 30 Frida Gladheart paintings by Ardath Garfield.

Please join us on Saturday, April 30th from 3pm – 5pm for the opening reception of an exhibition of watercolors by Ashfield artist, Ardath Garfield. Ardath’s whimsical and poignant paintings celebrate the life of her imaginary character, Frida Gladheart. Ardath will talk about her work at 4pm.


Please join us from noon to midnight at the Cowell Gym in Shelburne Falls!

Please join us from noon to midnight at the Cowell Gym in Shelburne Falls!

It’s a carnival of mark making!



We’ll have a gym FULL of FUN drawing activities including:


Request-A-Sketch Draw-Machine!

A giant floor mandala!

Costumed Figure Drawing!

Draw-your-own Raffle Tickets!

A community portrait wall!

A Drawing Game Show!

A wall of dreams!


Fun and unusual adaptive drawing devices made from re-purposed materials!

A life-sized 3D “coloring book”!

Mini workshops by local artists every hour!

And so much more!


We’ll have thousands of square feet of paper to draw on!


On the walls!

On the floor!

On tables!

Even on the tables

you can eat

your lunch or dinner on!

On drawing boards!

On brown paper bags!

On tiny slips of paper!

On sheets of salvaged newsprint!


EVERYWHERE you look, someone will be drawing their heart out!



The Draw-Around

is a



for our

after school

ARTeens program!




eArtIsFoodWe will have

great food

for you

to purchase,

and eat!







You can come for half an hour,


OR all 12 hours,


OR any amount of time YOU want to.



To see some pictures from last year’s Draw-Around, please click here.

And if you are wondering where the Cowell Gym is:


This event is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils:




Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Questions? Please call the Art Garden before Saturday: 413-625-2782

The Fabulous Hilltown Draw-Around
is organized by artist and Art Garden board member, Laura Iveson.

THANK YOU LAURA for all your amazing work!

THANK YOU also to all the volunteers
who are helping to make this event soooooo




Please join us on Saturday, January 30, from 4pm – 8pm

for the opening reception of a community exhibit about Winter!


Hedgehogs by Elisabeth Radysh

Hedgehogs by Elisabeth Radysh

There are over 60 works of art created by more than 30 artists, including many installations that are scattered around the Trolley Museum’s rail yard for our first Outdoor Winter Celebration.

Robin Huntley, Laura Iveson, Mark Ostroff and Jane Beatrice Wegscheider covered some nasty graffiti with this flock of ravens

Robin Huntley, Laura Iveson, Mark Ostroff and Jane Beatrice Wegscheider helped the Trolley Museum respond to graffiti with this flock of ravens

Birch Archway created by Samantha Crawford, Dan Mendoza, Laura Iveson and James & Eli Smith.

Lit Birch Archway created by Samantha Crawford, Dan Mendoza, Laura Iveson, James Smith and Eli Smith.

Join us both inside The Art Garden AND outside in the rail yard between 4pm – 8pm.

Performances will take place inside between 6pm – 7pm.

Click HERE for a short video about the exhibit, created by Philippe Simon for GCTV. Thank you Philippe!

Thank you to all the artists and volunteers for sharing your work and time!


Thank you Laura Iveson for your vision, collaboration
and dedication to community celebration!

This exhibit is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils:




Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!


During our last Community Exhibit, the 6 year-old grandson of one of our volunteers visited The Art Garden for the first time. He walked thoughtfully around the studio, asking questions as he looked at everything: the different supplies, images, objects, and variety of art works in the exhibit.

photo by Rick Miller

photo by Rick Miller

One of the pieces, titled “My Shoeless Soul”, caught his attention, and I asked him if he knew what a soul was.

“It’s what makes you YOU!” he replied, without a moment’s hesitation.


I wrote that down…
so that each day…
when I come into The Art Garden…
I am reminded:

what we do is



And strengthens us for the work of making this world a better place.

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

—from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963


Because winter can be a time for ‘going inward’, I encourage you to carve out time and space in this season for exploring who you are through your creativity.
If it leads you to The Art Garden, we’ll be delighted to see you!


Happy New Year!


For more about creativity:




Boxcar painted by Caleb Neelon. Photo by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider.

Boxcar painted by Caleb Neelon. Photo by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider.

Winter finally arrived at the rail yard adjacent to The Art Garden…
just in time for this invitation to participate in our next Community Exhibit about


Deadline to submit physical works to be displayed on The Art Garden’s studio walls is January 20, 2016. All works that relate to the theme of winter will be accepted: painting, poetry, photography, drawing, mixed media, etc.
No prior art experience is necessary. Some size restrictions may apply.
Please contact us in advance if your work is larger than 3′ in any direction.

Please note: Depending on the amount of work submitted,
we may be able to show more than one piece by each artist.
The exhibit runs until March 21, 2016.
We ask that artists commit to having their work stay in the show until that time.


An Opening Reception
Outdoor Winter Celebration
(in the rail yard)
will take place on January 30, 2016
from 4pm – 8pm!

Anyone interested in doing a temporary outdoor installation
and/or outdoor performance during the event
should contact The Art Garden BEFORE January 20th
to discuss your idea with us.


This exhibit is supported in part by the following Local Cultural Councils:




Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!


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.