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

Bob Compton: Drawings in Steel
Friday, December 1st, 2017, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Salmon Falls Gallery

BOB COMPTON: Drawings in Steel
​​​Exhibit: December 1 - January 31
Reception: December 2, 4-6pm
Music: Loren Feinstein

Any of you who have come to the gallery on a regular basis know Bob Compton's steel dragonflies gently swaying over their rock bases. They show just a bit of the breadth of Bob's abilities in forging steel. There always seems to be a commission in his work life for functional steel installations in homes and businesses. Now we get to see the pure fine art of his vision: steel as drawings.

Bob on "Drawings in Steel":

All of the pieces in this exhibit are made solely of steel, hammered to create the detail, and colored with patinas. From the first time I hammered hot iron, I have been enthralled with the transformation of steel from a cold dead material into one which can express softness and take on an organic quality. Throughout my career I have worked to express this quality and to develop a design vocabulary based on steel’s plasticity, a forged aesthetic. This aesthetic stems from hand working the material, allowing the steel to show me what it likes to do, rather than overpowering it with technology.

Most of my career has revolved around creating custom architectural ironwork. For years I was intimidated by the thought of creating “Capital A Artwork,” but as I got into creating work of my own design for shows, I found myself drawn more and more toward work that was simply about the steel as expressed through the forging process. In my first steps of this process, I made vessels largely inspired by looking at hand blown glasswork. Around the same time I began playing with patinas and also started thinking of my work as drawing with three dimensional line. Once I had tried a few wall pieces it was a short step from drawing with three dimensional steel lines to drawings of steel.

This event is free. Parking is available.