Jun 012018
 
Salem Arts Festival

Performance art. Gallery art. Public art. It all awaits you this weekend, June 1-3 as the family-friendly Salem Arts Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. And you are a most welcome guest!!!

“It’s hard to believe how far this festival has come in 10 years. So much conscious work and collaboration across organizations and disciplines has been done over the years to create a one-of-a-kind event, truly unique to Salem,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit that founded the Festival.

The Salem Arts Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 1st at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work in the juried gallery while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers Betsy Miller Dance Projects, High Meadow Howlers, Samba Viva, and headliners Los Sugar Kings.

Over the weekend, this free celebration of arts, culture, creativity and community will feature over 200 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artist vendors selling their creations, a juried art exhibition and a community-built public art installation.

Arts Festival Locations

The Salem Arts Festival takes place in the heart of Salem at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. Primary locations include Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row.  A Juried Art Show, sponsored by Peabody Essex Museum will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the festival, with an artist street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday

Live performances will take place (weather permitting) on Derby Square and Front Street.  The event is rain or shine; in the event of inclement weather, performances will be moved into Old Town Hall and Front Street Coffeehouse.

This year, Creative Collective, a locally based creative organization that connects creativity, community and commerce joins SMS as Salem Arts Festival organizer, founder and Chief Creative Officer John Andrews says “Partnering with Salem Main Streets made so much sense to the collective, and as we watch the growth of the creative economy and learn more every day how important support of the arts and culture are to healthy, safe and vibrant communities we are honored to be partnering with and fostering the 10th anniversary of the festival.”

One of the most anticipated events this year is Bee to Brick, our fifth collaborative public art project, this year led by Salem artists Kate Babcock and Jen Platt. Bee to Brick will install playful swarms of several hundred “bees” around the festival area, created entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and other reusable plastic pollution.

Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of bees in an effort to increase awareness of the critical role pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystem. After the project, the bees will be transformed to “bricks” that will be used be students from the Phoenix School for their “Bottle Brick Project.”

The Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the third annual “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row this year, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 10 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival. The murals will remain to bring vibrancy to Downtown Salem throughout the year.

The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. SAF is organized by Salem Main Streets, the Creative Collective, and a collaboration of Salem organizations, including the City of Salem, Salem State University, Salem Food Tours, the Phoenix School, Salem Public Space Project, the Salem YMCA, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Arts Association.

The Salem Arts Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Salem Cultural Council and an additional grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Support for the annual Fest Fundraiser was provided by Salem Five Bank and by the gracious support of its other creative partners, including Retonica Event Lighting, The Scarlet Letter Press, and Octocog Marketing and Design.

Visitors interested in attending the Salem Arts Festival can find easy access to the downtown by public transportation or parking at one of the many downtown lots in the City. For more information and for the full festival schedule, please visit www.salemartsfestival.com.

A special thanks to over 30 businesses that supported the 10th anniversary of the festival through financial support and other means, the list of supporters can be found on the festival website.

Winner of Best Arts Festival in the 2017 Best of the North Shore (BONS) awards, the Salem Arts Festival strives to showcase and support as many artists, creatives and performers as possible on an annual basis and throughout the year.

We hope to see you join the celebration this weekend in Salem Ma!

 

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May 102018
 

Volunteering is an art. It is a creative gift that you give to your community. And what better gift to give to the Salem community than to be a volunteer at the upcoming Salem Arts Festival,  June 1-3. It is a great combination!

This year is promising to be better than ever, with our TENTH ANNIVERSARY, record-breaking number of participants, all types/styles of art-making activities, a new collaboration with Creative Collective/Creative North Shore as co-organizers, and our fifth annual community art project, Bee to Brick. Come BEE a part of the best arts festival on the North Shore (possibly beyond? who’s to say.)!

With more activities than ever, we also need more volunteers than ever. We will probably be adding some additional shifts and needs as the festival gets closer, but for now, sign up early and often.

PLEASE SIGN UP HERE – http://signup.com/go/HpiioHC

Please note that we welcome and encourage volunteers of all ages for Salem Arts Festival. In fact… 10-year olds have been some of our best volunteers in the past! Never too early to instill in young people the value— their value— in community volunteering. This is also a great way for new residents to become part of our community, so spread the word to anyone you know who’s just moved to town.

Don’t forget to share the call for volunteers with your friends, family, neighbors, and that guy you sit next to on the train every day!

Save the Date – we will have an orientation for volunteers on Sunday, May 27 at 5 pm at Old Town Hall for any who can attend (yes, sorry, it’s Memorial Day weekend). We are also holding a benefit night for the Salem Arts Festival at Flatbread Pizza on Tuesday, May 29, so give your oven a rest that night and come grab a pie to support the festival!

Volunteerism improves health by strengthening the body, improving mood, and lessening stress in participants. And don’t forget, seeing art is also  a soothing experience.

Questions? Interested in additional ways to help? Let Kylie Sullivan, our overworked but ever-smiling leader know! Call 978-744-0004  x115.

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May 022018
 

Launched as a recognition event 10 years ago to “pay tribute to the poets and writers of the past while experiencing the creative energy of today’s literary artists,” the Massachusetts Poetry Festival has since become the nation’s largest such annual event. It showcases nearly 100 poetry readings & workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, visual arts, and open-air performances.

This weekend, May 4-6, Salem once again plays host to more than 150 poets who will engage with thousands of New Englanders. Will you be among them?

Check out the full Massachusetts Poetry Festival schedule: http://www.masspoetry.org/schedule-2018

Panel topics range from the state of poetry, poetry and gender, book publishing, and modernism in contemporary art, to the Common Threads Reading, where contemporary poets with Massachusetts ties discuss their literary connections.

Speaking of poets, the 2018 Headliners include: Sonia Sanchez · Kaveh Akbar · Duy Doan · Jeffrey Harrison · Dorianne Laux · Erika Meitner · Carl Phillips · Nicole Sealey · Sean Thomas Dougherty · Rhina P. Espaillat

Venues

One of the reasons the Massachusetts Poetry Festival takes place in Salem is that we have so many venues that lend themselves to help promote the words and spirit of poetry.

  • Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street
  • Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square
  • Old Town Hall (Festival Headquarters), 32 Derby Square
  • Museum Place Mall, 1 E India Square Mall
  • New Liberty Charter School, Rooms 1-4 (on second floor)
  • The Bridge at 211 (former First Universalist Society of Salem), 211 Bridge St
  • Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, 225 Derby St

Mass Poetry was founded in 2008, after Mass Humanities and the Mass Cultural Council backed an effort to investigate the “state of poetry” in Massachusetts. Mass Poetry’s founder, Michael Ansara, and former Congressman Chet Atkins felt that while the Commonwealth had as many talented poets as any state, there was little recognition or support for poets, and a huge disconnect between the larger public and the wealth of poetic talent.

The goals of Mass Poetry have been to support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, to build new audiences for poetry, and to make poetry more accessible for those who need it most—often those who have the least access to it.

Come to Salem this weekend, May 4-6, to see, hear & experience for yourself the power of words in the hands of literary craftsmen and craftswomen at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

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Mar 202018
 

The whole world is watching what we do in Salem this month!  Entering its 11th year, we are home to the Salem Film Fest (March 22-29), one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals, which presents a rich and diverse collection of the year’s best work from all over the world.

Just look at the offerings this year.

  • Between Land & Sea: Ireland’s stunning west coast is the setting for this intimate yet epic look at a Big Wave surf community. This is an engaging look at life at land’s end, placing viewers inside colossal waves while emotionally connecting them with the athletes who ride them and the bucolic Irish town whose fortunes are at the mercy of the mighty Atlantic.
  • Becoming Who I Was: In India’s mountainous Ladakh region, a young boy considered the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk and his elderly godfather embark on a grueling trek to return the monk-to-be to his rightful monastery in Tibet. With powerful imagery capturing the natural landscape, this is a stirring exploration of dedication, culture, tradition and identity that conveys the universal truths of unconditional love, family bonds and sacrifice. (photo from Salem Film Fest website)
  • Skid Row Marathon: Craig Mitchell, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge makes difficult decisions on a daily basis within the criminal justice system. He feels compelled to help change the lives of recovering addicts and convicts he has encountered in his courtroom. Through the long-distance runner’s club of the Midnight Mission on Skid Row, Judge Mitchell befriends and inspires, restoring self-worth and dignity as club members train to compete in international marathons.

When we first started blogging about “a” local city-wide film fest back in 2007, frankly it was an easy write. Some films. Some events. Now it is the world-renowned Salem Film Fest. A lot of films. Diverse. From all over the world. Expressing opinions you may agree with. Or you may not. And a lot of events. So many activities that it is easier to give the you the link to their multi-page website. Just spending time there, you can catch the breadth of this project that began as an idea to do something to highlight the Salem cultural scene.

Dinah Cardin wrote a very informative behind the scenes look at the Salem Film Fest for Northshore magazine last year, explaining that award-winning filmmaker and Salem native Joe Cultrera had just moved back from New York. He was approached with the idea of doing a film festival. In short time, along with CinemaSalem owner Paul Van Ness and Rinus Oosthoek, executive director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce., the beginning of the Salem Film Fest originated.

Cardin wrote that Cultrera crafted a philosophy that centered on creative and unique storytelling without compromise. “The first couple years it felt like we were teaching the local community about how vast, varied, entertaining, and provoking documentaries could be—how they didn’t have to be the boring and preachy stuff you might think they were,” says Cultrera. “I built the programming aesthetic with that in mind—looking for great stories, interesting characters, and strong filmmaking technique.”

Cultrera also devised a model that pays filmmakers to participate and motivates local businesses to become involved as sponsors, underwriting the film of their choice. You can read the article here to see how and why the “process works” to make the Salem Film Fest a success for the filmmakers, the business community and the film attendees.

Events in Addition to Films

The highlight “event” for many attendees is the opportunity to meet visiting filmmakers in intimate settings. Other events include discussions, parties, galas, meet-and-greets, family-friendly screenings, high school and college student film showcases. Although many of these may be free of charge, space may well be limited, so word to the wise— arrive early!

Actually, that is good advice for any of the showings or events. Individual admission tickets for all Salem Film Fest film presentations are priced at $13 for adults, and then $11 for seniors, students, active military and veterans. Tickets may be purchased online or at the Salem Film Fest box office, located adjacent to CinemaSalem in the Museum Place Mall hallway. For more info on individual tickets or Salem Film Fest VIP All Access Film Pass, please go to the Salem Film Fest website.

Come to Salem, see the world — as you may never have seen it before.

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Feb 182018
 

While there are a lot of Do-It-Yourself books, videos and TV shows today to help you build your house, back in 1668 when sea captain John Turner was having the Turner Mansion constructed in Salem Ma, there was a lot of trial and error. With limited material resources at hand and no power tools, building a house in Colonial Massachusetts required skill, ingenuity and a lot more. Luckily, Turner’s team would even make the hosts of PBS’ “This Old House” happy, as the structure still stands. Today it is known as The House of Seven Gables. And you are invited to tour it during February School Vacation Week, Feb. 17-25.

Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2007, The House of the Seven Gables is best known today as the setting of world-renowned American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel.

But, before that, it was to be a home and the question is what tools and designs worked best in 1668?  What failed? How did they learn from their mistakes?

Children and their families will find out. Tools, as you can well imagine, are part of the intrigue — some will look familiar 350 years later. Some won’t. Those attending will learn about the tools of the trade and which materials were used most often in Colonial Salem.

It gets even better. This is an interactive event. All in attendance will also get the chance to experiment with different construction techniques at each of The Gables’ workshop stations.

Plus, as an extra special treat for the kids (and perhaps adults) you’ll be able to fold and decorate your own paper house to take home!

Special interactive presentations— Why Do We Have Gables? — are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. when Museum staff explore the construction of historic buildings and which parts of these structures are strongest.

School vacation programming is included with admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Check 7gables.org for hours, and rates. The program is free for Salem residents with valid identification and Museum members.

The House of Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby St., Salem. For more information, call 978-744-0991 or check out the Museum website.

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