The spring session of our ARTeens afterschool program is up and running. It’s popular! We are now offering it twice a week, with 21 teens coming from three public high schools (Mohawk, Frontier, Four Rivers) and home school networks.

The slideshow below takes you INSIDE ARTeens! See and read some of the reasons why teens LOVE this program:

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ARTeens is a pay-what-you-can program so that no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. 85% of our families require financial assistance to attend.

Do you want to help support ARTeens OR do you know others who might?

The Art Garden is participating in Valley Gives Day on Tuesday, May 2nd.
This 24-hour day of giving supports the good work of hundreds of local non-profits.

All donations made on our Valley Gives page will support ARTeens*.
Every gift matters!
And each individual donor and each individual gift makes us eligible for prizes given out throughout the day.

Please pass this on to family, friends, and neighbors.

This link will take you to our Valley Gives page:

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!


*ARTeens is a pay-what-you-can, afterschool program serving rural Franklin County teens. Teens come from three public schools (Mohawk, Frontier, Four Rivers) and home school networks. Teens come hungry for the freedom to express themselves and direct their own art-making in our community studio. Many of our teens have been marginalized or bullied for being different. Core to ARTeens is the co-creation of an inclusive community that fosters safety, acceptance, and responsibility using democratic processes to ensure everyone’s participation. ARTeens are encouraged to develop their understanding of themselves as engaged and compassionate artists, contributing to our communities with their artistic skills and creativity.

ARTeens has become a signature program of The Art Garden, embodying key components of our mission to nurture diverse creative processes, support the exchange of ideas, explore and build relationships in a non-judgmental and intergenerational art studio and engage people of all ages and abilities in community art projects that serve the common good. Our pay-what-you-can model reflects The Art Garden’s commitment to broad community access to quality arts programming. Artist co-facilitators, Phyllis Labanowski and Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, develop curriculum that incorporates exploration of new materials and creative engagement with contemporary issues; helping emerging teen artists understand the powerful impact their art-making can have in our communities and in the world.



This event is free and open to the public. Please see our map for directions.

Questions? call 413-625-2782 or email csartgarden@gmail.com

Stop in to The Art Garden before April 1st to see
our Small Things Matter Community Exhibit!
There are 144 pieces by 66 artists in this delightful show.

There are prints, collages, paintings, paper cuts, assemblages, drawings, fiber works, photographs, tiny sculptures, tiny poems and more.
All of the pieces are under 5″ (all dimensions.)
Artists range in age from 6 years old to (well, I didn’t ask.)

This exhibit is supported in part by the following local cultural councils: Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont/Hawley, Colrain, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Plainfield, Rowe & Shelburne! Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!

Please note: During the month of March, The Art Garden will be open during these hours: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 1 – 5 pm, and Mondays 3 – 5 pm. It is also a good idea to call first if you are coming from afar: 413-625-2782.


Saturday, April 8th is our 3rd annual

Fabulous Hilltown Draw-Around

from noon – midnight

at the Cowell Gym in Shelburne Falls!

For updates see The Art Garden’s Facebook page!


Saturday, February 11 (almost all day long) in Shelburne Falls, MA
2 to 5pm: International Women’s Film Festival on the theme of LOVE!
5 to 7pm: HATCH 2 reveals the 6 recipients of public art grants.
7:30 to 8:30pm: The premier of the Shad Ladder Radio Hour


HATCH (Hilltown Art & Thriving Community Happenings) is a collaboration
between the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, The Art Garden
and Phyllis Labanowski (with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.)

This is our second round of awards and we are excited to have you meet and hear from the artists about their upcoming public art projects!

Please join us (and them!) for a casual time of good food, good conversation, and good company! Artist presentations from 5:30 – 6:30.

$5 supports the program and gets you some yummy soup & snacks.
Cash bar. (Bring a snack or dessert to share and you’ll get a free drink.)




We’ll have temporary art installations throughout the rail yard (made with found, repurposed and natural materials, paper and light.) We’ll also have hot cocoa
and a fire. Dress warmly so you can enjoy walking around!

The opening reception of our community exhibit: Small Things Matter will take place inside The Art Garden. (See the next post for details about the exhibit
and how you can still participate.)

Check out our map for directions. Close parking access is via Elm Street.
Depot Street is unplowed. If you park at Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom,
you can hike in.
For handicap access, please use Elm Street and drive around
to the left of (behind) our building. We hope to see you!

Small Things Matter

Photograph by Laura Iveson. Graphic design by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider.

Photograph by Laura Iveson. Graphic design by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider.

The Art Garden invites you to participate

in the Community Exhibit:


Here’s how it works:

Reflect on the theme! winterwindow4blog

What are some

of the small things

in your life


make a difference

in the quality

of that life?

The pragmatic in me thinks:

paper clips,

twist ties,



tape, staples and scissors

(all indispensable small things

to a group of self-directed

elementary-aged artists.)


What are some of the small things you care about?


My list includes my friend Elisabeth’s beautiful, almost 70 year-old hands with their stubby thumbs, the fan of laugh lines that emanate from Bob’s eyes and the sound of John’s “How are you, Dearie?” on the phone.


















Do you recycle?


your elderly neighbor’s


volunteer at a







Skylar, Jen and Delia with mittens they made (from re-purposed sweaters) to give to families in transition.

Skylar, Jen and Delia with mittens they made to give to families in transition.


Are you contributing

[something small]

to the larger battles

against poverty,


habitat loss,




species extinction,




or hatred?


The small things we do add up.

Which is partially why we are doing this exhibit NOW.


We invite you to make “small” art that reflects your ideas, feelings, and/or interpretation of the theme: “Small Things Matter”.

Write a small


Create a tiny book

from a short story.

Make a small


collage, sculpture,

drawing, print,



& & &

All work (even written pieces)

must have dimensions (height, width, depth)

under 5″

(that includes borders and frames!)


Because of this size restriction, you can also mail your submission[s] to us at:

The Art Garden
4 Union Street
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Please include a SASE for return of your work and an Artist Information Form
(see below to download) to be included in the exhibit folder.

Deadline for submissions is January 25, 2017
(if you would like your work to be part of our Winter HooPla event and the official opening on January 28.)

Participation is free and open to all ages and experience. Work will be accepted throughout February and added to the exhibit after the opening, until there is no space left on the walls. Show closes April 1.


Email Jane Wegscheider at csartgarden@gmail.com or call 413-625-2782.


Downloadable form to complete for each submission:


mccbirdsinging4blogThis exhibit is supported in part by
the following local cultural councils:










& Shelburne!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Handmade paper with poem by Sappho, Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

Handmade paper by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider. Poem by Sappho.




Seven years ago, I condensed all of my hopes and visions for The Art Garden into the following Mission Statement:

The Art Garden seeks to create a nurturing, non-judgmental and inspirational environment where people of all ages and experience can engage in the creative process and the exploration and exchange of ideas through individual and collaborative art-making.  Relationships between materials, images, ideas, self, and community are cultivated with questioning, poetic vision and social/ecological consciousness.

I am so delighted that this statement IS TRUE about our work AND that it can be seen in the tiny Art Garden Alphabet book that is part of our 2016 annual appeal mailing!


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Every end-of-the-year we send out a visually embellished envelope, collaboratively written letter and small visual ‘gift’ that reflects on what we have accomplished in the past year, and who we are. Our hope is that the ‘who we are’  is conveyed not only in the words and images, but also in the physical form and sensual experience of a mostly hand-made gesture.

Thank you Laura, John, Elisabeth, Cheryl, Ardath, Kristen, Sam, Kate, Cosima and Reed for helping cut and glue art-stamps and fold, score and hand-bind over 500 tiny alphabet books!


Thanks also to Honey Bunny for her patient supervising!


Thank you Art Garden board members Kate Bailey, Candace Bradbury-Carlin, John Hoffman, Laura Iveson and James Smith for your collaboration and commitment to The Art Garden and our good work.

Thank you also to all of our [over 200 and growing!] individual supporters!
We would not be here without you.


If you would like to receive our 2016 mailing please email your name and address to csartgarden@gmail.com.
If you would like to support The Art Garden’s work, you can make a secure contribution using our donate button on this website.
You can also send a check (made out to The Art Garden) to our mailing address:
The Art Garden, 4 Union St, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.


Good work = Light in the world!

Do good work!

Be the light our world needs in 2017!