Cultural District

Pottery class with Molly CantorPottery class with Molly CantorIn 2012, the Village of Shelburne Falls was designated as a Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and received the Creative Community Award.

This rural pairing of two villages – Shelburne and Buckland – on either side of the Deerfield River joined by an historic iron bridge is a delightful surprise. Honored as one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns in America,” the towns are recognized as a nationally desirable cultural destination.

Ariadne's Dream by Jane Wegscheider"Ariadne's Dream" by local artist Jane WegscheiderShelburne Falls gets it all right – preserving its historic, small town character while being open to the best of modern life. It is a village with a thriving cultural community nestled in the heart of farms and country roads. Enjoy world class opera in Memorial Hall’s Met Live series; visit eclectic art and crafts galleries and studios throughout the village; enjoy the ambience of Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, offering live music year-round. The Bridge of Flowers, once a busy trolley bridge, is now a world famous garden. Visit the trolley museum, the candlepin bowling alley, or the curious geological potholes. Linger in local eateries, enjoy fun family-friendly fairs and festivals throughout the year celebrate the arts, culture, and nature of Shelburne Falls and the surrounding hilltowns.

The Shelburne Falls Mosaic Mural Project

The Shelburne Falls Mosaic Mural Project was a community wide endeavor to celebrate the beauty of our rural area. Together we created 10 3’ x 3’ mosaic panels that represent our hilltowns of West County as well as 2 larger panels, ‘The Deerfield River’ and ‘American Indian Portrait’.

In June 2009, mosaic artist Cynthia Fisher had an idea stemming from her desire to create public art that could be enjoyed where she lived. In laying the groundwork for the project, she enlisted the support and involvement of school officials, teachers, community leaders, and building owners. The venture first gained the support of town selectpersons and business leaders. The educational aspects of the project were very important to Fisher. She did extensive research on the history of our local area and involved third grade students in the local school district that had a curriculum unit on their local area, and in doing so the task of deciding content for the 10 hilltown mosaics was theirs.

Here are the 10 hilltown mosaics:

AshfieldBuckland Charlemont Colrain Conway Hawley Heath Plainfield Rowe Shelburne

Cultural District Events

Art Exhibit: Carson Converse: Modern Art Quilts
Friday, September 6th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Exhibit at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA

At first look, Charlemont artist Carson Converse’s quilts seem quite simple; basic geometric forms and colors. But on closer inspection you see intricate stitching with threads of contrasting colors, and that green fabric you thought was just green, has a multitude of colors within it. Sometimes a design is covered by plain muslin, making one strain to see the pattern, or possibly wait until the light is just right to bring it out. This is intentionally layered complicated art, totally worth the time it will take you to explore it. Salmon Falls Gallery is pleased to be showing some of Carson’s most recent works.

Both an artist and designer, Carson completed a master’s degree in interior design, after studying sculpture. She practiced Interior Design in New York City, a livelihood that combined two strong interests: architecture and the decorative arts. She continues to work in a range of disciplines, often blurring the line between craft, fine art and design. Fueled by curiosity and a passion for the creative process, Carson draws from diverse inspirations when developing her hand-crafted art, interiors, and products. From designing hotel interiors to creating award-winning modern art quilts, her work has a consistent focus on strength of form, materiality and attention to detail. Forward-thinking yet grounded in tradition, Carson’s work embodies a dynamic, modern sensibility. Carson has been quilting for 20 years. She began her professional quilting career with a successful line of children’s quilts, before moving towards a fine art approach to quilting. Her award winning work has been shown at venues around the world. In her own words:

“My work is a way for me to sort through seemingly paradoxical aspects of my personality. I’m drawn towards minimalism, but love intricate detail and have a natural tendency towards chaos. I strive to strip away noise until I find the essence of a piece. My goal is to create pieces that are simple, yet contain enough interest to invite the viewer to slow down and look closer. My hope is that the work unfolds as a viewer interacts with it. I am drawn to the rich history and tradition of making quilts. Working in this medium is my way of acknowledging and paying tribute to the work of women that have influenced me, and whose work has historically been undervalued.”

Carson’s exhibit can be viewed through October 27 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, September 8, 3-5pm.  Guitar by Chris Eriquezzo. For more information, visit the Salmon Falls Gallery website or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

 
Art Exhibit: Karen Iglehart: Entering Color Through Abstraction
Friday, September 6th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Exhibit: September 6 - October 27
Reception: September 8, 3-5pm

This series of oil paintings marks a departure for Leverett painter Karen Iglehart. An artist since the mid-1970s, Iglehart is both painter and photographer, with an eye for the simplicity in the images she finds around her. Her Cottage Street studio in Easthampton has been full of landscapes, all very close to abstraction, but still one knew they were looking at land, sky and/or water. This exhibit shows only paintings in which color and shape relate to each other, and to the space within which they are found, the canvas. In the artist’s words:

"Part of my impulse to paint comes from my connection to Buddhism and a desire to create and share a space that is not filled with commentary, story lines, or thoughts to fill one's mind. Actually, I am trying to create space that allows the mind to stop, or at least pause. I would like the viewer to feel an ‘out breath,’ a space to move into.

“A few years ago I renewed my interest in photography after a visit to Venice, Italy. I was taken with the possibilities of color, shapes, and movement in the water there. These photographs led me to more abstraction in my painting, and the painting related back to more abstraction in the photography. Both media speak to me, and I am enjoying the conversation between the two.
“I have worked with abstraction of landscape for quite a while and recently moved into total abstraction, using layers of color to create space. I have been working in layers in all my previous landscape paintings, but now the color and layer takes primary presence. In terms of my actual process, color is important in my work, and therefore I spend a lot of time mixing paints. To contrast the openness of color areas, I use pencil as a type of calligraphic mark, meant to cut through the space and express an energy that is very personal and immediate. A mark ‘without thought’.”

 
Art Exhibit: Dawn Siebel: The Endangered
Friday, September 6th, 2019, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

Paintings in oil on canvas panel

Salmon Falls Gallery has been offering a series of works by Easthampton painter Dawn Siebel entitled Story Paintings for a few years now. These works are whimsical and profound, but not the most current art that Siebel is painting. Her passion has now been captured by the rapid extinction of multitudes of species here on earth. Most specifically for Siebel, the animals. In her own words:

“It’s possible no more than 15 mature bull elephants are alive today in all of Africa. In Kenya they’re called “tuskers.” Their tusks, which continue to grow as long as they live, nearly scrape the ground. When my grandmother was born, five million elephants roamed Africa. Less than one-tenth that number remains, and they are being decimated. The sixth great extinction is underway. This time it’s our fault.

“I paint portraits of endangered species because I want the viewer to recognize the equal Being looking back. I am an advocate for their value and survival. My intent is to bring to life another Being that is present, self-possessed and meeting the viewer eye-to-eye.

“In 2015, I began to meet all the animals I paint. To find them, I travel to zoos. Where possible, I spend days visiting and revisiting the same animals, sitting with them, watching, taking pictures, speaking with their keepers, speaking with them. Most of them regard me in return. Back in the studio, my sense of the animal is present as I work. These are distinct and specific beings, not generic representatives of their kind.

“The painterliness of the surface is of great interest to me. As a self-taught artist, my most important tools have always been experimentation and observation. I want to pull together the spiritual and the earthly in my work, to get to the essence of my subjects. I am not a photo-realist. My interests lie more in fur-ness than fur and I experiment continually to achieve the textural details of their hide or skin or fur or feather without specifically painting it, relying on translucent layers, textures, and cheap frayed brushes.

“Some of this complexity is rendered invisible in representation, making the paintings seem more photographic than they actually are. Surface texture and subtle variations of color can disappear before the camera. In reality, all my blacks are all built from colors that appear and melt away in changing light and movement. Details in the shadows can come and go.”

These works are all 11” x 14”, intimate portraits of beings that are living in zoos. One can’t help but see what we share with them in each painting. Siebel’s exhibit can be viewed through October 27 at Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA, with a reception for the artist Sunday, September 8, 3-5pm.  Guitar by Chris Eriquezzo. For more information, visit  Salmon Falls Gallery or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.

 
The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Massenet's "Manon"
Saturday, October 26th, 2019, 12:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Experience The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD for the 2019-2020 Season. Tickets available online and at the door.

Please see the Metropolitan Opera at Memorial Hall for full information.

 
Pothole Pictures: "Laura"
Friday, November 1st, 2019, 7:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Featuring live music at 7:00 PM. Please see Pothole Pictures at Memorial Hall for more information.

 
The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Puccini's "Madama Butterfly"
Saturday, November 9th, 2019, 12:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Experience The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD for the 2019-2020 Season. Tickets available online and at the door.

Please see the Metropolitan Opera at Memorial Hall for full information.

 
Pothole Pictures: "The Lives of Others"
Friday, November 15th, 2019, 7:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Featuring live music at 7:00 PM. Please see Pothole Pictures at Memorial Hall for more information.

 
The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Philip Glass's "Ahknaten"
Saturday, November 23rd, 2019, 12:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Experience The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD for the 2019-2020 Season. Tickets available online and at the door.

Please see the Metropolitan Opera at Memorial Hall for full information.

 
Pothole Pictures: "Hairspray"
Friday, December 6th, 2019, 7:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Featuring live music at 7:00 PM. Please see Pothole Pictures at Memorial Hall for more information.

 
Pothole Pictures: "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
Friday, December 13th, 2019, 7:30 PM -
Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA

Featuring live music at 7:00 PM. Please see Pothole Pictures at Memorial Hall for more information.