Jun 022014
Ponyfish 3

Ponyfish with Priscilla Swain, SSU ’10

Many partners contribute each year to the final production that we call the Salem Arts Festival. At Salem Main Streets we appreciate each and every one of them.


Steve Jones, SSU ’14

Take for example, Salem State University. Granted SSU is not part of Salem’s Downtown district, but it is an important part of Salem. During the academic year, its creative and performing arts departments present more than 100 events on campus, all open to the public.  Karen Gahagan, Director of the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at SSU explains, “This year dozens of Salem State visual and performing artists are bringing that creativity downtown and will be participating in the festival. They include students, faculty, staff and alumni from a range of artistic disciplines.”

Among the Salem State participants in this year ‘s festival which takes place June 6-8:

Aurora Borealis 2

Aurora Borealis Dance Company

  • Aurora Borealis Dance Company is founded by Salem State dance student Katie Pustizzi. Katie is also a Presidential Arts Scholar at Salem State and was a 2014 Creativity Award winner, the highest honor Salem State bestows on a student in the arts;
  • Molly Pinto Madigan – Molly is a Salem State alum, class of 2013 and a 2013 SSU Creativity Award winner, in both creative writing and music. She might be providing some of her wonderful original music at the opening reception but have a chat with her about her newly published book, Black Apples: 18 New Fairytales;
  • YMCA Theatre Company – led by another Salem State Alum, Nicole Leotsakos ‘09, the Y’ s Performing Arts Director;
  • Only Human – is a musical about a small town, a movie star, humanity, death and pigs. Salem State connections include writer JD Scrimgeour (professor of English), director Peter Sampieri (professor of Theatre), musical director Karen Gahagan (Director of the Center for Creative and Performing Arts), plus a cast packed with Salem State theatre students;
  • Chalk: A Play – This is a 10 minute play written by SSU English professor Michael Jaros, and starring SSU theatre alum Maryanne Truax ‘13 and current BFA theatre major James Wechsler, a 2014 SSU Creativity Award winner;
  • The Upstart Crows – a new classical theatre company based in Salem. Many of the actors are students or recent alum of Salem State University or Gordon College, as well as alumni of local theater strongholds Cry Innocent and Rebel Shakespeare. They will be performing Love’s Labour’s Lost on Salem Common each night of the festival;
  • Ponyfish is an acoustic trio that features Salem State alum Priscilla Swain ‘10;
  • Machine 475 – This group is a Salem mainstay and includes Richard Lewis, SSU professor of Art & Design, and Salem State alumni Danielle Meara ’11 and Jim Forrest ‘01
  • The Old Town Hall art exhibition includes works by Scott Dalrymple and Andrea Jenkins, current Salem State students and alum Steve Jones ’14, yet another SSU Creativity Award winner.

We think that Karen Gahagan put it nicely, “The Salem Arts Festival is now well-established and people recognize it as ‘our arts festival’ if one is part of the Salem community no matter what the relationship. The SAF also did an excellent job getting the call for artists out there this year which raised awareness. I think that people at Salem State and elsewhere have started to take notice of this festival and that more and more artists from all over the region will look to participate as it moves forward.”

Mark your calendar, June 6-8 downtown Salem, MA, and go Vikings!

Only Human

Only Human: A Musical


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