SWK/Hilltowns

Council extends deadline for juried exhibition

BLANDFORD-The Blandford Cultural Council has extended its deadline to apply for its first Artisan Exhibition until Aug. 20, according to secretary Susan Racine.

“We already have six exhibitors for the juried exhibition and since the show is new we are still trying to draw people in,” said Racine, noting the purpose of the event is for area residents to enjoy the visual arts and to promote regional artisans.

The show and sale, open to the public with free admission, is slated at the Blandford Country Club on Aug. 28 from 12-7 p.m. and Aug. 29 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The country club is located on North Street. Refreshments will also be served.

Susan Racine’s watercolor painting titled “Bijou Theater,” 1940’s Holyoke. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A watercolor by Gretchen Shepard of Southwick. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“I have been wanting to do a show like this for several years,” said Racine, adding the arts council had conducted an open studio tour in years past but the feedback noted the studios were too far apart. “This event brings everything into one space and we are hoping people will look forward to meeting the artists and buying their work.”

The event is sponsored by the Blandford Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and applications are available by visiting the townofblandford.com and searching for the Arts Council. Current council members include Mary Kronholm, Byam Stevens, Ashley Neveau and Nicole Daviau.

The juried exhibition is open to fine arts and fine art crafts including sculpture, pottery and woodwork.

“Originals, limited editions, and open editions are allowed,” said Racine.

Artisans currently set to exhibit include Dennis Robert of Chicopee, Cynthia Carr of Blandford, Faith Weldon of Clifton Park, N.Y., who vacations during the summer in Otis, Jeri Hamel of Blandford, Gretchen Shepard of Southwick, and Racine.

“Dennis Robert makes wooden bowls, ornaments, bird houses and cutting boards,” said Racine, adding, “they are all beautiful pieces of art.”

Cutting boards by Dennis Robert. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Racine noted that Carr paints on glass.

Works by Cynthia Carr. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“Cindy does specialty work and creates beautiful wine glasses,” said Racine, adding, “Cindy also paints on canvas.”

Racine said Weldon specializes in several mediums including oils, watercolors and acrylics.

“Faith also uses a drag technique with some of her work and creates beautiful things,” she said.

Racine also noted that Hamel’s work is in oils and she creates landscapes and flowers, while Shepard’s work is with watercolors and features flowers. For Racine, her works are also with watercolors and she enjoys creating landscapes and flowers.

The price point for artwork will be $10 and up, according to Racine.

“We encourage everyone to visit the exhibition to meet the creative people in the region and view their interesting artwork,” she said.

“City of Dreams” acrylic by Faith Weldon. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Racine is hopeful that attendees at the Aug. 28 show will also consider attending the 26th annual Bel Canto Opera at 7:30 p.m. at the White Church of Blandford on North Street. Tickets are $35 per person.

An oil painting by Jeri Hamel. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“The cultural council supports the opera and we will have posters at the show to encourage people to also buy tickets and enjoy the performance,” said Racine.

In addition to the artisan exhibition, Racine noted the council is sponsoring the Jeff Gavioli & The Bad News Jazz & Blues Orchestra on Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the White Church. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased by visiting the White Church website.

The council is also offering a free pastel class from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 7 in the Council on Aging room at Town Hall, led by Greg Maichack.

“You do not have to be a town resident to enjoy this class,” said Racine, noting to sign up, call (413) 848-4279, ext. 500 to leave a message.

On a related note, Racine said there will be a vacancy on the arts council when the term served by Byam Stevens ends Aug. 31. 

Members of the council support cultural programming that benefits the citizens of the town and its neighboring hill town communities. Programming includes concerts, plays, art shows, library programs and classes in the community, as well as in-school and field trip cultural programming for the students at the Gateway Regional schools.

“We like to have someone who has knowledge of the arts since we disperse money that the state gives us every year,” said Racine.

For more information on becoming a member of the council, call (413) 848-4279, ext. 500 or send an email to [email protected]

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