Tag Archives: Massachussetts

Articulture (Artworks Westfield, Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: May 4, 2019

Location: The Episcopal Church of Atonement, 36 Court St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Summary: Artists from Westfield and the surrounding area showing off and selling their art.  The Westfield Fair conducts various events throughout the year to bring attention to various artists and their causes throughout western MA

Website: Westfield Artworks

For the past 3 years, the Westfield ArtWorks organization has been showing off some of the work of the talented artists from the area.  The event in May was no different.  The Episcopal Church of Atonement was bustling with the work of a diverse group of artists.  The first art display I noticed caught my attention because of the cause it supports.

Steve Jones, a veteran, uses his experience and his knowledge from his studies as an art therapist to help other veterans express themselves and provide a positive outlet through the Warrior’s Art Room organization.  Sometimes veterans have a hard time expressing how they feel and often don’t have people in their lives who can related to them on such a personal level.  The Warrior’s Art Room works to give them an opportunity to relate to other veterans.  Steve is standing next to his wife in the first photo.  One of the volunteers at his organization is painting in the second photo (from left to right)

 

You can find out more about Steve and his organization here.

One of the more unique authors I met at the fair was Westfield, MA, author Rhonda Boulette

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Rhonda writes children stories that children in Haiti can read.  Her book “Wolfgang Lost His Whistle” as a gift to the children of Haiti who do not have access to books.  The book is bilingual and she donated 50% of the book sales to the children of Haiti.

Jeff Bellefleur displayed his bear chainsaw carvings (he’s the one on the right).

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There was also a space in the basement of the church for artists to show off and sell their work.  As I was looking over the art from all of the artists, I found this talented artist who was painting from a photo on her phone.

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There was also entertainment at the event.  The Berkshire Mountain Boys provided a bluegrass feel to the event.

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This shoot was not too hard to photograph.  I used AV (Aperture value, or aperture priority) except when I was photographing the band because of their movement (I used a setting of 500 or 1/500th of a second for my shutter speed which was enough to avoid any blur).  I also noticed I had my ISO up a bit (around 400 or 500 in some photos).  I have an awful habit of forgetting to reset it back to 100 after I increase it.  So that is some food for thought.  Every time you take a new photo, always check your settings as the lighting and the movement of your subject can warrant a change in all of your settings.  I’ve actually been using manual almost exclusively because it makes me more disciplines about always checking all of my settings.  Oh and the photos tend to look better too!


SculptureNow (Lenox, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 4, 2017

Location: The Mount, 2 Plunkett St, Lenox, MA

Dates and Hours of Exhibit: June, 2017 – October, 31, 2017, The Mount is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm through October 31st, except on early closing days (please see below). The Mount is open from 10:30 am – 3:00 pm most weekends in November through February. Please call 413-551-5100 to confirm hours.

Cost: $18 for adults, $17 for seniors (65 and older), $13 for students, children and teens (18 and under) get in free, $10 for military personnel (cost includes a tour of the Edith Wharton house and if you return within 10 days you can get in free again with your receipt)

Parking: There is ample parking available at The Mount.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  The trail is dirt bit wide and even for the most part.

Dog Friendly: No, except for service dogs possibly

Highlights: art on a easy trail, scenic views

Website: SculptureNow

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As if the Mount wasn’t beautiful enough, there are 30 amazing sculptures to compliment its beauty.

There are 30 sculptures along the trail.  But, when I went to visit in early June, not all of the sculptures were up.  I did the best I could to photograph as many as I could find.  But, I didn’t have a map or any other guide at the time to find them.  So, it was something like a “scavenger hunt” when I did visit the sculptures.  It looks like I found 22 of the 30 sculptures.  The art has a modern feel to it.  All thirty sculptures should be up now for your viewing pleasures.

The numbers next to the descriptions correspond to the descriptions in the map of the trail where the sculptures are located.  The link to the trail map is attached above in the website link.

1. The first sculpture is called Stall by Nancy Winship Milliken.  Nancy describes her sculpture as the following:

“This site-specific memorial honors the activities and architecture of a New England past. The horsehair gestures towards the building at The Mount which was at one time Wharton’s stable.”

2. The second sculpture is called Day’s End by James Kitchen.  James says his sculpture this way:

“Does our fast-paced, distraction filled world allow time to think, read and reflect, enjoy art in all its forms? Exhausted, we let media affirm our feelings rather than inform us.”

3. The third sculpture is by Harold Grinspoon.  According to Grinspoon, his art is:

“Giving new meaning to objects that have aged out of their original purpose, I invoke nostalgia for the familiar and an appreciation of new forms of beauty.”

4. 3. “Fallen Sky” by Coral Penelope Lambert is the next sculpture.  Coral explains her art this way:

“My work explores forces of nature and seeks to address the darker issues related to Earth’s resources such as mining and contamination where traces of the process remain.”

5. Stack C by Lydia Musco is a combination of nature and architecture:

“Architecture and elements of nature, such the work of gravity, influence this work. The form is built in one additive action, line by line, like layers of stories within memories.”

6. James N Burnes’ sculpture Nine Piece Ring is the next sculpture.  Burnes described his art this way:

“I create forms from nature that express our intimate relationship with Mother Earth. I am drawn to the tension between the natural and organic, man and nature, time and decay.”

7. Biomorphic by Michael Thomas is the next sculpture.  According to Michael, Biomorphic is:

“An undulating, sensual, and playful organic form, often encountered on the periphery of the natural world, realized here in steel. Biomorphic is the fluid movement of mass, coupled together with the visceral experience of color and texture.”

8. Distant by Philip Marshall is, according to Marshall:

“The nude model at a figure drawing held his pose for hours, eyes fixed on a distant point, maintaining his mental distance under prolonged scrutiny; he and the chair becoming one.”

9. Off The Rails by Lucy Hodgson:

“Our country: how we got here and is there a way forward? This is a comment on the decline of infrastructure—among many other things.”

10. Sheep by Madeleine Lord is:

“A pile of galvanized scrap metal sheering implied the subject: Steel Wool. I work the skeletal to the surface and the surface to the skeletal. Pulse arrives after I finish.”

11. Joseph Carpineto’s Walkabout

“This sculpture is inspired by a memory of the coarse undershirts my mother made for me from flour sacks. The rough feel of the rope is reminiscent of those undershirts.”

12. Bench I by Peter Barrett:

“Please, have a seat! I’ve wanted to incorporate some stone into my work since visiting a friend’s marble quarry, and here you have my first attempt.”

13. Anabasis by Chris Plaisted:

“I like to work with steel for its strength and powerful emotion. The subject is the human spirit. I was inspired by the sea and the concept of an upward journey.”

14. Yellow Peril by Setsuko Winchester:

“In 2015 & 2016, these 120 handpinched tea bowls traveled to ten U.S. concentration camps where 120,000 persons (mostly U.S. citizens) were imprisoned during WWII. Their crime was to be Japanese.”

15. Reflective Change by Martina Angela Muller:

“The undulating lines of music and the sculptural force of the wind informed these shapes. Both are continuous game changers that generate inner and outer movement leading to reflective change.

16. Avoidance Attractor by Matt Crane:

“Avoidance Attractor in its first iteration explores structure and materiality with a shift in scale and orientation. An empty piece of signage that invites projection, while remaining stoic and silent.”

17.  Netting For Water by Ann Jon:

“My work is an adventure, exploring new forms and media, hoping the viewer’s eye, mind, and heart will experience the sculpture visually, creating their own narrative or message.”

18. Fenestral by William Carlson:

“This sculpture is intended to pull the audience into the small portals of light as the sun rises and sets. The piece acts like a clock while controlling the viewer’s perception of the landscape.”

19. Blue Pulse by Murray Dewart:

“I want my sculptures to convey both the momentum of ritual pilgrimage and the stasis of meditative mandalas. They gesture in their various ways as resolute guardian forms, protective and consoling.”

20. Gnomon 1 by Christopher Curtis:

“Much of my work seeks context for humankind’s place in the natural world. Gnomon 1, made with stone, stainless steel, and gold leaf, is a good example of this investigation.”

21. Waterstone by Dove Bradshaw:

“Waterstone is a time-sculpture: For a slow action of water boring a hole, limestone was used; for fast boring, salt boulders and granulated salt mounds. Outdoors in winter, vodka replaced water.”

22. Poet’s Cry by Colleen O’Donnell:

“Weepings of unsound. A poet’s cry of light. Reflecting back into herself.”

23. Bittern by Robin Tost:

“The Bittern is a marsh bird who, when alarmed, stretches up its neck so that the striations on its breast give it perfect camouflage in the reeds.”

24. Twelve Cuboid Stack, I by David Teeple:

“My work centers on water as a subject, a material, and an idea. In this sculpture, I am interested in how the reflections and refractions create a new perceptual experience.”

25. Yellow Dakota + River by Stuart Farmery:

“Through abstract forms I reference a passage of time combining art historical sources, such as stone circles and constructivist concepts, with my awareness of current political, environmental, and communal issues

26. Hedge by Gary Orlinsky:

“Inspired by the two rows of linden trees that link the Mount’s gardens, Hedge creates a provocative dialogue between the organic movement of the saplings and the geometry of the boxes

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27. Gilavar by William Brayton:

“This abstract sculpture developed in response to a range of sources, including indigenous wind patterns, Polynesian stick charts, wooden boat building methods, storm tracking data, and chance-based fabrication systems.”

28. Gene by Eric Stein:

“Representing cause and effect, the cast concrete units of molecular design are stacked, colliding randomly. They present an undetermined beginning and illustrate the natural selection of options of creativity, form, and life

29. Tree With Spheres Jacque Metheny

“My sculpture juxtaposes geodesic spheres with the yet more complex structure of a tree. Geometric systems are the foundation of all material form. In nature we understand this as beauty.”

30. Caterpillar Bridge II by Roe Osborn:

“My sculpture combines construction materials in contextual mathematical formulas. This piece joins sections of drainage pipe in a dimensional sequence that captures and defines space in an engaging, yet playful manner.


Greenfield Arctic Blast Winterfest (Greenfield, MA)

Dates Of Event: February 3-5, 2017 (the first weekend in February each year) photos taken February 5

Location(s): All over the town of Greenfield, most events held at Beacon Field, 61 Beacon St, Greenfield, MA)

Cost: Free (there are small fees for some activites such as $5 to skate at the public outdoor ice rink)

Hours: 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Parking: limited parking can be found at the parking lot for Beacon Field.  Street parking is also available

Highlights: carnivsl hockey, sleigh rides, sled making contest, k9 keg pull, ice sculptures, family friendly activities (see web site below for more info)

Web Site: Greenfield Artic Blast Winterfest

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It’s that timee of the year again.  You know that time in between the “fun” part of winter and the coming spring.  The holidays have passed, the seemingly never-ending chill is still fast upon us, snow has stopped looking “pretty” and everyone is just eager to be able to go outside without layering so much that they look like the Michelin man.  So, to bring a little cheer to the frustrated masses, many cities and towns have organized “winterfests” or “winter carnivals” to get everyone out of their ruts and bring some cheer to the frozen masses.

Winterfests are not some new fangled celebrations.  In fact, this was Greenfield’s 95th winterfest.  I guess people got the doldrums back then, too.

The three day event (the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in February) is a family friendly extravaganza.  Besides what I photographed dueing my visit Sunday, there are a bonfire, fireworks and a “family fun fest” event for kids to play and do a variety of events with other children and their parents.

The first thing I noticed, and I was looking for specifically, was the winter carnival hockey game between the Greenfield Sheriff’s Department and the Franklin County Firefighters.  The shortened rink and lack of goalies (they used boxes with holes in them to try to score goals), allowed for more action and more scoring chances.

There wasn’t much checking and not one fight (perhaps a first in a game between firefighters and police).  But, it was still entertaining.  I didn’t get a final score.  But, the Sheriff’s department (in the green jerseys) had a comfortable lead when I left to check out more of the winterfest.

In between breaks, some kids came out and practiced.  Future players for sure.

Most of the events during my visit took place at Beacon Field.  In some of the photos, you may notice the Poet’s Seat Tower which I posted about in May of last year.

The first thing I noticed was the sleigh rides being provided.

Some children took advantage of the hill at the park to do some sledding.

 

Some of the children brought their home made sleds to the park for a contest.  The sleds were judged but they didn’t take them on the hill perhaps due to the lack of a good snow covering.

The big event for most of us, though, was the K9 Keg Pull.  Dogs from a variety of breeds, sozes, shapes and physical prowess participated.  The size of the (empty) kegs and cans the dogs pulled were commensurate to their size.  There was a small registration fee ($25 I think) and all of the proceeds went to a animal shelter.

There were over 60 participants and they all did great.  The parents or guardians would usually run with their dog ot urge them on from the finish line.  Sometimees it seemed like the parents were having more fun with it than the dogs!

Bodie and Clarence (left to right) were twoo of the bigger competitors.

Not all of the dogs there were participating in the keg pulls

Sadie is a 2 year old Lab mix.

Duncan is a 14 week old mini-poodle.

There were also ice sculptures scattered around the town.  Of course, most of them had been damaged or destroyed by revelers.  I was able to photograph a couple of them.

Below are 2 videos from the keg pull

 

 


Lego Wall (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 5, 2017

Location: Next to Dunkin’ Donuts, 330 Congress St, Boston, MA

Hours: Accessible everyday, 24 hours a day

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: Art display of Lego tiles in a brick wall

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You never know what you’ll see while you walk along our city streets.  Statues, dog, lego walls.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A Lego Wall!  But, this is not the first work of art to appear on a brick wall on Congress St.

Well, the display doesn’t look like a Lego display but more like a wooden cut out. The “Lego Wall” name is actually a holdover from an earlier display on Congress St.

After noticing a hole in a section of the wall on Congress St, a artist took notice and decided to do something about it.  Nate Swain, a former landscape architect, stealthily filled in the gap in the wall at 342 Congress St one Sunday night with a rather unusual material, Legos.

Weeks, months passed by while people stared, pointed, giggled and maybe weven shook their heads a few times at the work of art by an anonymous artist.  Until recently.

Nate Swain finally publicly came forward as the artist who created the first Lego Wall.  Imagine the joy he got as he walked past the display as other passersby scratched their heads or had a chuckle.  There’s nothing like being in on an inside joke.

Unfortunately, the parking lot which stood next to the Lego Wall has been closed to make way for “affordable luxury housing.”  Oxymoron aside, it also meant the Lego Wall had to go.

For some time, the brick walls of Congress St laid bare without a Lego Wall or any other work of art to admire or photograph for that magtter.  However, in December of 2016 a different artist decided to put her own work of art on display on Congress St.

Boston artist and writer Daisy Razor (not her real name), decided to put her own brand of art on the walls of Congress St (next to the Dunkin’ Donuts at 330 Congress St to be exact).

The art is still there as of post.  But, with our weather elements and other “forces of nature” (the original Lego Wall had been vandalized at least on one occasion) it’s unclear how long it will stay there. 

Fun fact: this trend of fixing up walls with Legos is not limited to the United States. German artist Jan Vormann has also used Legos to dress up some architecture he has come across in his travels.

Who would ever think there would be so much history and background to Lego art?


New England International Auto Show (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Event: January 12 – 16, 2017 (photos taken January 12)

Location: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St, Boston, MA

Cost: Adult (13 and older): $15, child (6-12): $6, children under 6 get in free

Hours:

Thursday, January 12, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday, January 13, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, January 14, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday, January 15, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Monday, January 16, 10:00 am- 6:00 pm

*Box Office closes 1 hour prior to the end of the Show each day.

Parking: There is ample parking at the Exhibition Center ($17 to self-park, $30 for valet parking) .

*you can also take the red line on the MBTA.  The Convention Center is about a mile walk from South Station, or you can take the Silver Line to the World Trade Center stop.  The Convention Center is a short walk from the World Trade Center stop*

Handicapped Accessible: According to the website for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the building is handicapped accessible and there is “ample” handicapped parking.  There is also a golf cart that transports visitors from the entrance to the escalators.

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Web Site: New England International Auto Show

As a prelude to my post, I would like to acknowledge this as my 200th post.  I wanted to thank everyone who has viewed, shared, liked and/or commented on my blog.  I genuinely appreciate your support.  Here’s to many more posts!

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Are you in the market for a new car?  Do you have an extra couple hundred thousand to throw around?  Then, I’ve got the place for you.

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is hosting the New England International Auto Showthis weekend.  But, if you haven’t hit your number yet there is still sure to be a car for you.

There are cars of all makes and models for the taking.  All the major car companies showcased their vehicles.

While there were many mid priced vehicles, there was a special section for exotic and special vehicles, thankfully.  I tend to find most “mid priced” vehicles to look all the same (it’s the reason why I walk up to at least 2 other vehicles before I find mine in a parking lot but I digress).  The vehicles below do have this issue.

This Porsche 911 Targa 4S can be yours for the rock bottom price of $151.

And that wasn’t even the most expensive car on the show room.  Some of these Ashton Martins were priced at over $300,000.  They’re still waiting for my check to clear.

Of course, I had to stop by and check out the Mustangs!

There were a few other classic cars at the show as well.

Randy is a bomb sniffing dog.  This 2 year old Labrador did a great job keeping everyone safe.

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Happy Thanksgiving (Robinson Park, Agawam, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 24, 2016

Location Robinson State Park, 428 North St, Feeding Hills Rd (Agawam), MA

Parking: about 10 parking spots are avaiilable in the back entrance on Feeding Hills Rd.  There is additional parking in the main entrance and by the beach area.

Cost: Free this time of the year when the park is unstaffed, $8 MA vehicle, $10 non-MA vehicles during “season”

Size: 1,025 acres

Handicap Accessible: Yes, but some parts of the main trail, which is paved, have sharp inclines.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: pretty views, wildlife, biking/hiking trails

Thanksgiving in Western Massachusetts.  What could be more emblematic of New England?  As it turned out, I’m not the only onr who feels this way.

As I approached the back entrance to Robinson State Park, every parking spot was taken (some spaces were parked 2 cars deep).  I did find a spot just in front of the main entrance )the gates were closed on this holiday, however).  Who knew a park would be so busy on a holiday?  At least that is how I used too think.  Now, it makes complete sense.

In the past, I never understood why people would spend Thanksgiving Day, or part of their Thanksgiving, at a park or some other outdoor attraction.  People should be home with their family, watching football or the parade and stuffing their faces, the younger me would say to myself.  But, now I get it.  What better place to spend the early mornings of Thanksgiving?   What better way and what better place to be thankful, especially at one of my favorite paarks.  In fact, I like it there so much I have posted about Robinson Park in the past.  But, I took a few different trails that I had never hiked on before this time.  At 1,025 acres, Robinson State is so big it could take days to thoroughly walk or even bike all of the trails.  So, I figured I would work up an appetite for my Thanksgiving dinner with a jaunt there.

The trees were barren and leaves carpeted the ground.  Only a few months ago these brooks were teeming with frogs and other amphibians.

I always love to see that one plant that has survived the elements.

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Theere is also a lot of eviddence of what the park used to be like.  A beam stands in the Westfield River, a reminder of the railroad bridge that once ran through the area.

This looks like a damn or some other waterflow management system that is now dry save for a brook that dribbles on by below.

I came across this falcon during my hike.  I was surprised at how close I got before the bird flew away.

I also came across lots of squirrels.  This one was resting ona tree limb enjoying a snack

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Robinson Park is a dog friendly paark.  I saw and heard lots of cute dogs during my time there.  All of the dogs I photographed happened to be rescues.  It was very refreshing to see so many rescued dogs there.

Annie, a mixed breed rescue, struck a pose for me.

Jessie, on the left, is a 3 year old Lab mix.  Shadow, on the right, is a 13 year old Lab mix as well.  They are both rescues.

Daisy, a yellow Lab rescue from Tennessee, had fun playing with her stick.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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Tall Bob The Bubble Man (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 22, 2016

Location: Essex St, Salem, MA (alternatively Salem Commons, North Washington Square, Salem, MA)

Hours: usually late morning, early afternoon (I saw him at around 1 o’clock) *His last show is Monday, Halloween*

Parking: There are several parking garages on New Liberty St and Congress St and off street parking (go early to ensure you get a spot if you want to see  Bubble Man before Halloween)

Cost: Free, tips are apprreciated

Dog Friendly: Yes, dogs like bubbles too!

Handicap Accessible: Yes, the streets in Salem are handicap accessible

Web Site: Tall Bob The Bubble Man

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Not everything in Salem this time of year is scary or gory.  It is both unexpected and refreshing to see such a fun and heartwarming spectacle.

It’s great seeing such family friendly, good clean fun (literally), especially when there are ghosts, goblins and an assortment of other macabre characters doing their best to scare the visitors of Salem.  Scares are not for everyone.  But, everyone loves the bubbles, old and young alike, because as Bob says, “there ain’t love like bubble love.”

Tall Bob was first inspired by watching someone at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California, about two years ago.  The man he saw had made a bubble “as big as a bus”, according to Bobby.  Since watching that, he was hooked.  He poured over books and researched the art of bubble making.  He even made his own bubble wand.

Tall Bob The Bubble Man (aka Bobby Carr) uses a very different type of bubble wand.  His wand consists of two wood sticks connected by 4 ropes with one rope intersecting the other 4 ropes and a ball at the bottom of the ropes.  This allows him to create some huge bubbles.

And Tall Bob The Bubble Man does not shortchange his audience.  He is often out performing 8 or more hours, weather permitting, with the occasional break.

The Bubble Man did have to change his venue from the pedestrian walkway on Essex St to Salem Commons because people had complained the soap and water had made the walkway slippery.  But, when I went to visit there he was at his original venue.  He has also performed at Artist Row on Derby Square off Essex St and Lappin Park at the end of Essex Street.

The best part is watching the children react to the bubbles and try to touch and burst them.

But, hurry, Halloween of 2016 will be Tall Bob’s last show.  Ever.  He is moving to California this winter and hanging up his bubble sticks for good.  I  will be there for his monumental last show.  See you there!

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