Apr 282016

The beautiful Atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum was the perfect setting for a night of chatting, dining, praising and even a bit of networking this Wednesday in Salem, MA as the 94th Annual Celebrate Salem Awards event took place.

Salem Awards Party Night

Thirty-six nominees! Six award categories. Businesses. Organizations. Individuals. And winners were decided upon by a very special jury —- you and your peers in the community.

What say you?

  • Businesswoman of the Year – Joanne Scott, Boys and Girls Club
  • Businessman of the Year – Rob Liani, Coffee Time Bake Shop
  • New Business – Sea Level Oyster Bar
  • Excellence in Retail – The Cheese Shop of Salem
  • Community Service – Plummer Home
  • Long-Term Achievement – National Park Service/Salem Maritime Historical Site

Congratulations to the winners, the nominees, and to the Salem Chamber of Commerce for continuing this tradition of letting our community “speak” about good business practices and appreciated customer service procedures by voting for the best of the best.

Apr 212016

Nexus: the central and most important point or place. That would be The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem this Thursday night from 6-9pm as the monthly open late party known as PEM/PM invites you to “Immerse yourself in the world of extravagance and trade as we explore Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age.” That is the current major exhibition at PEM.

PEM PM "Nexus"So, what do you do at a PEM/PM event? What don’t you do!

  • Dance to the latest house mixes by Boston’s DJ Melee
  • Create your own Delftware-inspired tile coasters
  • Play games that explore trade, luxury and global domination with Beverly’s board game cafe The Castle
  • Trade business cards and networking tips with Boston’s Society of Grownups

But that’s not all. There will also be an incredible Balinese Gamelan performance by Gamelan Galak Tika. Plus you will have the special opportunity to sample fair-trade Dutch chocolates from Tony’s Chocolonely and tea-infused cocktails with Jolie Tea Company.

PEM/PM events are always inclusive of the Salem community. You are invited to be entertained, educated and excited by what the Museum has to offer. Members and Salem residents (with ID) free, nonmembers $10 at the door.

As always, if you need a preview visual menu of the delights from which to sample, go no further – and we mean that, go no further – than Creative Salem website. John Andrews catches the spirit of the event through words and pictures for your consumption. Enjoy!

The Peabody Essex Museum is located at 161 Essex St, Salem. For more info call (978) 745-9500.


Mar 162016

While the every 3rd Thursday of the month PEM/PM late night party is a festive & educational stroll through the Peabody Essex Museum, this week’s may well prove to be the most creative. The theme in fact is “creation.”

Artopia asks “what’s your creative story” and from 6-9pm on March 17th, the community as individuals, groups and organizations respond.

For example…

Observe or take part in the creation of a pinwheel. But not just any pinwheel. Participants will connect to distant cultures by taking time to draw out cultural patterns from across the world, directly onto a sailcloth. This will in turn be included in Move With Me, which is a collaborative public art project scheduled to be featured during June’s Salem Arts Festival.

artopia1Or consider decorating vintage-style postcards using collage elements, along with members of the Salem Arts Association. Let those creative juices flow as you build a story with words and pictures from vintage books, papers, glue and scissors. And best of all, you can share the creativity by email with a friend.

Looking for something a bit more “techie?” How about a session where you can create your own GIF! It will be presented courtesy of Figsburry Creative Group and Retonica.

Plus, you can’t talk about creativity in Salem without referencing the Salem Film Fest; enjoy a compilation of short documentary tangos around the town, from the perspective of local and visiting filmmakers featured in this year’s Salem Film Fest.

What about liquid creations? You will find creative samples from Far From the Tree Cider, Notch Brewing Co., Rumson’s Rumb and Deacon Giles Distillery in a Taste of Salem in the Atrium.

Listen to beats built by participants in a workshop led by Salem-based producer Qwill. Get a look at how they built their own drum racks, breaks and percussion samples. I

And much more. For a full line-up check out this info page at Creative Salem .

There will be a cash bar and small plates menu available from the Hawthorne Hotel. The Peabody Essex Museum is located at 161 Essex Street, Salem MA.

Create: to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

You will not only see creativity, you will get the chance to express it yourself!

Feb 172016

PEMPM Activate

Explore Native cultures through sight and sound at the next PEM/PM this Thursday, February 18, from 6 to 9 pm. You are especially invited to celebrate the Peabody Essex Museum exhibition Native Fashion Now through many vehicles of creative expression, from fashion to music, art making and more.

To that end, the global musical sensation A Tribe Called Red will headline the monthly PEM/PM after-hours party with its electronic powwow and Native-inspired mash-ups. Explore cutting-edge Native street style with PEM staff strolling the runway in the latest Native designs. And try your hand at Native art making by creating your own perler bead coaster or screen print with Native artist Jared Yazzie.

Native Fashion Show

From vibrant street clothing to exquisite haute couture, this exhibition celebrates the visual range, creative expression and political nuance of Native American fashion. Nearly 100 works spanning the last 60 years explore the vitality of Native fashion designers and artists from pioneering Native style-makers to today’s maverick designers making their mark in today’s world of fashion.

Also examined is how non-Native designers adopt and translate traditional Native American design motifs in their own work, including Isaac Mizrahi’s now iconic Totem Pole dress.

Featuring contemporary garments, accessories and footwear spanning a variety of genres and materials, these designers traverse cross-cultural boundaries between creative expressions and cultural borrowing. From one of Patricia Michaels’ (Taos Pueblo) recent ensembles from the reality television series Project Runway to Jamie Okuma’s (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock) dramatically beaded Christian Louboutin boots and innovative works made from mylar, vinyl and stainless steel, Native Fashion Now underscores Native concepts of dress and beauty, which are inextricably bound to identity and tradition in a rapidly changing world.

A Tribe Called Red

The Canadian band was named 2014 breakthrough artist of the year at the Canadian Juno awards. It has performed in clubs from Paris to Berlin and has become a cultural touchstone for Native communities with its drumbeats, chants and full-throated singing.


ATCR’s music has been described as “the soundtrack to a contemporary evolution of the pow wow: their Electric Pow Wow events in Ottawa showcase native talent and aboriginal culture, alongside an open, wild party. Within a couple of years they’ve become the face of an urban Native youth renaissance, championing their heritage and speaking out on aboriginal issues, while being on top of popular music, fashion and art.”

Events of the Evening

  • Art Making from 6-9 pm, Studio 1, Create Space
    Create your own coaster with perler beads and chevron patterns, inspired by The Soft Museum.
  • Native Fashion Then from 6-7:30 pm , Atrium
    Curious to know how Native fashion has evolved over the years? Staff from the Phillips Library share photographs and patterns from the PEM collection.
  • Highlights Tour at 6:45 and 7:15 pm, Native Fashion Now Exhibition, Level 3
    Get an in-depth look at some of the favorites in the show from Assistant Curator Shoshanna Resnikoff.
  • Native Streetwear Fashion Show from 7-7:30 pm, Atrium
    Check out and admire the latest designs in streetwear by Native artist Jared Yazzie.
  • Screen Printing Demo from 7-8 pm, Studio 2, Create Space
    Join Native Fashion Now artist Jared Yazzie to make your own print of his custom artwork.
  • Live Music from 7:45-9 pm, Atrium
    Immerse yourself in the electronic beats and mashups of Native music by Producer/DJ Crew
    A Tribe Called Red

Attend and you will see why PEM’s Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture Curator Karen Kramer says that we are, “smack dab in the middle of a Native fashion renaissance.”

Admission is free for PEM members & Salem residents, and $10 for nonmembers. There will be a cash bar, as well as a small plates menu from the Hawthorne Hotel. For more information call 978-745-9500.

Feb 062016

Alienation, and the desire to transcend it, are the driving forces behind “Intersections” the Peabody Essex Museum’s next Present Tense Initiative installation which showcases Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha. It opens February 6th.

In the past, growing up under the strict conventions of gender that inform Pakistani society, Agha felt excluded and cloistered at home, while her male peers enjoyed warmth and companionship inside Pakistan’s exclusively male mosques. Fast forward to current day, now living in America, Agha experiences new freedoms and, yet, a different kind of exclusion — that of being a Muslim.

“Intersections,” an immersive single room installation conjures a site where a thousand years ago Islamic and Christian traditions thrived in coexistence.

IntersectionA five-foot laser-cut steel cube at the center of the gallery casts patterned shadows that echo the filigree found at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, a historic structure that was cooperatively built in the 14th century by Muslim, Jewish and Christian artisans and represents the coexistence of the Western and Islamic worlds.

A single light bulb centered in the cube creates the interplay of light and shadow across all of the gallery’s surfaces, as well as the viewer. It has been said that Agha presents an immersive meditation on the nature of boundaries, categorization and alienation, while evoking the power of that which is mutual and common to us all.

“Intersections envelops us physically and symbolically in a realm where beauty transcends division and conflict, ” says PEM Curator of South Asian Art Sona Datta. “Agha’s work asks us to consider worldly binaries — the sacred and the profane, inclusion and exclusion, male and female — while providing a sublime environment that leaves us in a state of awe.”

Anila Quayyum Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1965. She received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, and an MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of North Texas in 2001. She has had solo exhibitions in the United States, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Agha is currently an associate professor of drawing at the Herron School of Art & Design at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Intersections” is on view at PEM from February 6 through July 10, 2016. For more info call 978 745-9500.

The Present Tense Initiative is PEM’s dynamic, interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary art and culture and celebrates the central role that creative expression plays in shaping our world today. The Present Tense Initiative engages leading creative agents and thinkers to cultivate innovative experiences fueled by the intersection of cultures, disciplines and technologies. By encouraging innovation and fostering new forms of creativity, PEM seeks to push the boundaries of what a museum experience can be.

Attend this exhibit and see for yourself.

(Photo courtesy of the artist)