Aug 022017
 

While most communities have a festival honoring their past, Salem actually has two running concurrently. Our Salem Heritage Days Festival runs from Aug. 1-13, celebrating our past and present, while within it, you can also attend the Salem Maritime Festival, Aug. 4-6!

Salem Maritime Festival

A Re-enactor at Salem Maritime FestivalIf you wished to learn some of what passed for life in the days when Salem was a heavily trafficked trading seaport, the Salem Maritime Festival is the place to be. Knot tying, sign making, and boat building demonstrations await you

Hosted by Salem Maritime National Historic Site in cooperation with the Essex National Heritage Commission and Eastern National, the 29th annual Festival also features live music, historical reenactors, demonstrations, interactive programs, arts, crafts, and more!

Plus, there will be lotteries to earn a coveted spot on deck of either the Schooner Fame, the Schooner Ardelle or the motorized Catamaran Endeavour as they take passengers on a delightful tour of the Salem Harbor.

For the full list of scheduled events for the Salem Maritime Festival click on this link.

Heritage Days Festival

There is so much to do and see during the Salem Heritage Days Festival, organizers very smartly planned this event over several days. There are in fact so many things happening (including the a fore-mentioned Maritime Festival) that we are printing the entire scheduled calendar of events.

From ice cream to pizza tasting events, from clowns to firemen, from a street fair to a concert, from a car meet to a truck tour, you will be entertained, educated and excited about the option to do so many things at various locations within walking distance in the Downtown District.

August 4
Salem Maritime Festival Kick-Off Concert

August 5
Salem Maritime Festival
Salem Willows Clown Day
Wild Fish Open Water Swim Festival
Salem Willows Firemen’s Muster
6th Annual Bridgin’ G.A.P.S. Festival

August 6
5th Annual Bridge & Back 10K Road Race
Salem Maritime Festival
Tour-A-Truck
6th Annual Bridgin’ G.A.P.S. Festival
Salsa Sundays at Peabody St. Park

August 7
Salem Pizza Tasting
Salem Community Concert Band & Community Jazz Band
The Paul Madore Chorale Summersing

August 8
Shelter to Showpiece House Tour
Story Time at the Witch House
Ice Scream Bowl

August 11
Kids Night at Salem Common

August 12
Essex Street Fair
Ice Cream Social with Woman’s Friend Society
Berklee Summer Series Concert

August 13
Essex Street Fair
16th Annual Phillips House Car Meet
S.C.E.N.E.’S Sunset Hang
Salsa Sundays at Peabody Street Park

Bring a family member. Bring a friend. Bring yourself. A great day of fun and food (did we forget to mention there will be food everywhere?) await you.

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Jul 192017
 

 

Whether you have artistic talent or not, you’re invited to take part in a very interesting project-based workshop that will be conducted for 6 weeks on Salem’s Artists’ Row during the Thursday Farmers’ Market from 3 to 7 pm.

Mayor Kim Driscoll and the Public Art Commission have launched the Artist in Residence: Pilot Program at Artists’ Row with Claudia Paraschiv, (architect and owner of Studioful – Architecture, Community Art, and Neighborhood Design, and founder of the Salem Public Space Project).

Paraschiv explains, “The purpose of The Public Art Salon is to create beautiful, participatory, resident-led projects on an ongoing basis to inspire local communities. Practically, we make friends and create projects in public space that connect local people and places. People come together to design and build community-driven projects, cultivate local talent, and build productive relationships.”

For example, on a previous such project in Dorchester, she worked with the community to build a 50-foot bench over the course of 15 weeks. It is equipped with sounds activated when you sit, sections with indentations for flowers, and even a chess-board ready for play while waiting for the bus. That was the driving need for the bench as the existing bus shelter and bench at that time were tucked away, out of the bus driver’s sight, causing for many a missed passenger.

Why Do It During The Farmers’ Market?

The Artists’ Row tenants chose to hold it during the Farmers’ Market to draw the market crowds onto the Row. Paraschiv is hosting the Salon between Boston Woodturning and Ceramics by Sibel. Salons are held outdoors for maximum visibility and accessibility. Additionally, Farmers’ Markets are a great place to incubate new types of civic practice as well as new business ventures.

Paraschiv added “I hope participants will enjoy expressing themselves through their creations, and feel a sense of pride and ownership at having contributed to a collective public art piece. I also hope participants will learn new skills from crafts to what plants are best for pollinators, and how policy and legislation affects pollinators. Finally, I hope people will feel a sense of joy, wonder, and community.”

The Public Art Salon is a free, drop-in friendly event open to all age and skill levels. Kids are absolutely invited, however, it is very much an activity for all ages since residents help build tables, as well as craft artistic surfaces, and more.

Salem Farmers’ Markets are in session Thursdays now through October, from 3-7 pm in Derby Square.

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Jul 082017
 

More than 10 traditional, quaint, and eclectic gardens are on display today until 4pm as part of the self-guided Garden Stroll hosted by the Salem Garden Club. These can be found within the private gardens of the McIntire Historic District. Also included in the tour is a stroll through the beautiful Ropes Mansion Garden.

Currently it is sunny, slightly breezy 80 degrees in Salem, perfect weather to walk amongst the flowers and as a side perk, get up close to the historical architecture to be found in the McIntire District, which encompasses an area with more than 300 historic structures. It is named after architect Samuel McIntire and includes living examples of his work including “magnificent sea captains’ houses as well as humble workers’ cottages.”

Most of these homes are privately owned and not open to the public, so don’t step on the grass and don’t look into the windows!

The tour is a fund raiser which will benefit many Salem civic projects which include:
the planting and maintenance of the Washington Street traffic island;
• the plantings of the City Hall window boxes;
• the plantings at the Blue Star Memorial on Hawthorne Boulevard;
• providing monthly flower arrangement at the Salem Public Library;
• an annual scholarship awarded to a deserving Salem High School senior.

Complimentary refreshments of lemonade and cookies will be served to strollers along the route. Local musicians and artists will be featured in several gardens. These private gardens are not handicapped accessible. Pets and carriages are not permitted.

Tickets are $20 and available at First Church, 316 Essex Street, Salem, MA. For additional info including tickets, parking and specific details visit: SalemGardenClub.com.

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Jun 132017
 

Bridget Bishop and a few of her friends stop by the Salem Farmers’ Market

Is Bridget Bishop still relevant, over 300 years since her infamous witch trial? We would say so, considering that the interactive play, Cry Innocent, chronicling that trial is now celebrating its 25th anniversary of entertaining, educating, and engaging tourists & residents alike in Salem. To mark the event, an activity-filled weekend is planned for June 16-18 (what would an event be in Salem if it wasn’t a weekend festival?).

Kristina Wacome Stevick, President and Artistic Director, History Alive, Inc. which has produced the play since its inception, explains, “There are a lot of activities lined up to celebrate the anniversary, from stagecraft workshops and readings of new work, to a community vintage dance, to a night of Moth-style storytelling, to a big, fancy party. We wanted to celebrate the talents and current work of generations of performers, have a way to say thank you to the City of Salem and to Salem business and non-profits, to reminisce and help people know what we envision for the future.”

That “big, fancy party” she refers to involves a meal, specialty cocktails, awards, comedy, vision-casting, and live music & dancing at Ames Memorial Hall, Saturday, June 17th. Doors open at 6:30pm for cocktails and “mingling.” Dinner (by Chive Sustainable Catering) and entertainment at 7pm. Hosted by Erik Rodenhiser, the gla will feature stand-up by Will Martin, a docu-short by In The Car, storytelling awards presented by Mark Stevick, dance calling by Alex Edwards, and more.

For ticket information and the full schedule go to http://cryinnocentsalem.com/silverjubilee.

But, what has kept the play vibrant for 25 years? Let’s start with the introduction:

“The year is 1692. Bridget Bishop has been accused of witchcraft and YOU are on the Puritan jury. Hear the historical testimonies, cross-examine the witnesses and decide the verdict. Is Bridget Bishop capable of witchcraft? Play your part in history…”

And with those few words, the performers in the History Alive! troupe stepped out onto the streets of Salem to bring to life not only the trial but a living immersion into the mind set of people from the time period. Why did they say what they did? How could they think that way? Witches? Demons?

Wacome Stevick says, “I think History Alive’s–in particular Cry Innocent’s— longevity can, in part, be attributed to the variety involved. Because the audience takes on a role, every show is different. The actors also play multiple characters. This keeps a show that performs around 1,000 shows a year fresh for everybody. Also, we have wonderful people that are truly dedicated to learning as much and sharing as much as they can. They keep the show interesting for each other and themselves because they have a hunger to include new information.”

Speaking of information, we asked Kristina to share one of the most unusual elements of the play they have seen over the past 25 years.

“Meeting descendants of the accusers and the accused, who come to the show, hear the words their ancestors spoke and get to interact as a Puritan jury with the actors speaking those words and ideas is probably one of the most moving experiences of doing Cry Innocent,” she responded.

“Often descendants expect to be ashamed to admit that their ancestors brought testimony against Bridget Bishop– testimony that ultimately led to her execution. However, one of the main exercises of the show is to try to get into the heads of both the accused and the accusers in the time and the culture that THEY were living in. When that is done with the kind of open mindedness and humility that one should exercise when visiting any unfamiliar culture, descendants often walk away feeling more understanding and forgiving of their ancestors.

This doesn’t mean that executing accused witches wasn’t a horrible mistake, but that we come to the decision to send Bridget Bishop to trial (or not) with more empathy to all involved. Hopefully that understanding can lend some perspective to whatever our current concerns are. We’re always better entering a situation not assuming that we know everything about it and the people involved.”

Duration of Cry Innocent is 45 minutes. The outdoor arrest scene begins approximately 15 minutes prior. During the show, the audience may step into roles of Puritan jurors. Kids and adults alike question the accusers, examine property, read advice to the court and vote on the outcome.

For more information on Cry Innocent performances this season, check out the website.

(History Alive! after 23 years under Gordon College’s organizational umbrella became its own entity, History Alive, Inc., on August 1, 2014)

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May 292017
 

Art is good. Art is what you have at an arts fest. But the 9th annual Salem Arts Festival (to be held June 2-4th) is art and much, much more. This popular free family-friendly event will feature over 100 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artisan vendors selling their creations, and a community-built public art installation.

One of the most anticipated events this year is “Tidal Shift,” a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv of Salem Public Space Project, featuring an installation of plastic bag jellyfish over Front Street. During the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of jellyfish as part of an initiative to help educate the community about the negative impacts of plastic bag usage and the City of Salem’s upcoming plastic bag reduction. A brief celebration and presentation of the “Tidal Shift” project will be included in the Friday night reception at 6:35 p.m.

This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the second “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row, 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.

In addition, the Festival marks the return of vendors to Artists’ Row, with both new and returning tenants for the 2017 season.

Festival Specifics

The Salem Arts Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 2nd at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers Lindsay Straw, Dingonek Street Band, and headliners Grupo Fantasia.

The Festival takes place at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Salem. Primary locations include Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row.  A Juried Art Show will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the Festival, with an artisan street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday.  Live performances will take place on Derby Square, Artists’ Row, and Front Street.

The Salem Arts Festival is rain or shine event; in case of inclement weather, performances will be moved into Old Town Hall.  Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the Festival, as well as the Festival website (www.salemartsfestival.com).

“There’s been a tremendous amount of collaboration between so many local groups and individuals to continue to improve and expand the Festival every year.  I can’t wait to share the phenomenal energy and talent that will be on display this year,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit organization coordinating the Festival.

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. The Festival is run in collaboration with Salem Main Streets by a team of dedicated volunteers, including media partner Creative Salem and representatives from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem YMCA, Salem State University, The Phoenix School, Salem Food Tours, Salem Arts Association, and many more.

Speaking of dedicated volunteers, we are still looking for volunteers for the Salem Arts Festival!  If you would like to join our merry band during this year’s Festival, or if you’ve signed up for one slot but might be available for more, please sign up online at http://signup.com/go/lccZdGg. Even if you’re away the weekend of the Festival, we have some volunteer needs on the days leading up to the event!

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