Feb 162017
 

Valentine’s Day may be a once & done holiday elsewhere, but in Salem it can be a year round experience, and that is not just our opinion. The National Main Street organization annually selects the “Most Romantic Main Streets” from among its nationwide membership and for 2017, Salem Ma and Salem Main Streets made the Top Five!

Emily Wallrath Schmidt, Associate Manager of Communication of National Main Street Center explains “Communities submit a questionnaire about their Main Street’s ‘scene’ (architecture/landscape), dining/lodging options, and popular places for dates, along with 5 photos.”

“We always look for Main Streets that have interesting local businesses or special event to highlight! We loved Salem’s So Sweet Festival, as well as the LGBT and age-friendly initiatives—the photos submitted also captured a sense of romance downtown,” she adds.

Not to mention participating merchants offering sweet deals during the festival and of course the option to explore our cool ice sculptures makes for a great second Valentine date!

Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Manager comments, “I personally think Salem is such a romantic city, and I think a lot of our residents and regular visitors recognize that.”

Why else would so many people look forward to holding and attending weddings throughout the year here?

“From the historic beauty and stroll-ability of the city design, to the natural beauty of our surroundings, the endless community activities every day of the week, to dining options for every palate…it’s really the perfect setting for any love story,” concludes Kylie.

That’s the goal, Schmidt states, “Main Street organizations address all the critical factors that impact quality of life downtown, and align resources to make a difference– enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability of a community.”

So, February 14th or June 14th or even during October, we, at Salem Main Streets strive to make our city and especially downtown district an anytime destination for fun and romance.

And thanks for the award! We love it!

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Dec 192016
 

Dressed for the season with trees, wreaths, and ribbons, Salem is ready for the Holiday Season. In fact, over 20 downtown businesses have decorated their windows especially for the holidays as part of our traditional Holiday Window Contest. Judges nominated by Salem Main Streets recently did a little window shopping of their own to vote on the best windows.

“We had some truly fantastic windows this year, as always,” said Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director. “We gave the judges extra freedom to create new award categories based on what they saw this particular year.”

Some award categories highlight good retail design – use of product or use of light – while others highlighted types of participation or partnerships.

For example, the Contest Legacy award was given to businesses who have demonstrated high quality windows across consecutive years, while the Contest Newcomer recognized businesses with high quality displays who have not regularly participated in the contest.

And, the new Salem Spirit award recognized those who exemplified the true spirit of community in the design of their windows.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Overall: The Happy Sunflower

Best Use of Product: Curtsy
Honorable Mention –  Partridge in the Bear Tree

Best Use of Lighting: Emporium 32
Honorable Mention – Hair Express

Contest Legacy (demonstrating high quality year after year): ReFind Men’s
Honorable Mention – Pamplemousse

Contest Newcomer: Aroma Sanctum
Honorable Mention – Witch Pix

Salem Spirit: The Coven’s Cottage, nAGLY

If you haven’t looked at the windows yet, we recommend going this week, especially during Festive Fridays, when numerous businesses around the downtown have committed to staying open until 8 pm to aid in your holiday shopping. More information about Festive Fridays and participating businesses can be found at this location.

In addition, this year, you get a chance to win! Salem Main Streets is holding two social media competitions on Facebook and Instagram right now.  Post a picture of your favorite #salemholidaywindows, or take a #selfiewithashopkeeper on Festive Friday nights, and you could win a prize from a local business.

For more information about the Holiday Window Contest, contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director, at (978)744-0004 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org,  and follow Salem Main Streets on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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May 072016
 

Cleaning up outside your home and inside your home in Salem is on the calendar for Saturday May 7th!

The 5th annual Swap ‘N’ Drop will take place from 10am – 1pm on the Salem Common. Weather calls for partly cloudy skies. (If it rains, then only the drop off portion will be conducted). This is a great way to part with “stuff” you just couldn’t throw away. And, at the same time, find at no cost to you new “stuff” that you can use!

SWAP or simply DROP OFF:Salem Swap

  • Women’s, men’s, children’s clothing & accessories
  • Small household items in working condition
  • Reusable Bags (new this year) – Have too many cloth shopping bags? or not enough? Visit the Bag Swap area and bring home a bag to use all year ’round!
  • You can recycle plastic grocery bags
  • Textiles may be in any condition as long as clean and dry— and absolutely no computers or TVs.

Items not swapped will be picked up by Recycle That.

Everyone is welcome, whether you live in Salem or not.

For additional details, contact Julie Rose at jrose@salem.com or 978-619-5679.

But that’s not all.

Earlier in the morning and going on at the same time, Salem’s Beautification Committee will be holding its annual Clean Sweeps Day on Saturday. From 8:30am to 11:30am volunteers will be collecting trash and doing other work at Lafayette Park. Participants are asked to check in with team leaders at the start of the day.

Neighborhood clean-ups will be at:

  • Bridge Street (between Flint & North Streets)
  • Canal Street from Mill Hill to St. Paul Street (meet at Lafayette Park)
  • Collins Cove Beach & Bike Path (Webb Street)
  • Collins Middle School (Broad Street playground & Congress Street)
  • Dead Horse Beach (Memorial Drive)
  • Jackson Street (parking lot)
  • Lafayette Park and along Lafayette Street
  • Larkin Lane
  • Old Salem Jail (comer of Bridge & St. Peter Streets)
  • Patton Park (corner of School & Buffum Streets)
  • Salem Bike Path (between SSU campuses)
  • Swiniuch Park (Derby Street)
  • Winter Street traffic island

Groups and associations who helped to organize this year’s Clean Sweeps volunteers include:

Bridge Street Neck Neighborhood Association, Collins Middle School students, Federal Street Neighborhood Association, Historic Derby Street Neighborhood Association, Keep Salem Clean, Mack Park Neighborhood Association, Point Neighborhood Association, Salem Beautification Committee, Salem Common Neighborhood Association, Salem Sound Coastwatch, and Salem State University

All volunteers are invited to the Salem Common for a pizza party at noon. For more information, contact Ellen Talkowsky at 978-619-5676 or etalkowsky@salem.com

Be part of the team that keeps Salem clean!

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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)

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