HOLYOKE – Beginning January 31, the “I Am More: Massachusetts” art exhibit at the Holyoke Mall will feature 20 people from across the Commonwealth who have struggled with mental illness, addiction, disabilities and other issues – but whose portraits are designed to remind us that we are not defined by our problems.
The 20 pastel and colored pencil portraits, which feature the subjects in their favorite places, are accompanied by personal essays in which each describes how they face their challenges.
“I Am More: Massachusetts” was put together by the Gloucester artist Amy Kerr, who was inspired to create the exhibit by her own experience of severe depression.
The exhibit, which includes portraits of people from Amherst and Leverett and will be on display in Holyoke until March 12, has been held in a number of locations across the state since 2019 and will wrap up in Massachusetts. State House when the building reopened.
NORTHAMPTON — How do you define the concept of “home”? The Forbes Library is looking for creatives from Western Massachusetts to submit recent work on this theme for a virtual exhibit opening March 1 and running through April 30.
“We envision a range of creative work,” the library says in a statement, “including (but not limited to) how we live and who we live with, what makes us feel at home…houses versus houses, housing insecurity, immigration, emigration, community, neighborhood,” etc.
“We are interested in seeing, reading, hearing how you experience the intimacy that home can offer, the strangeness it can induce, the alienation it can elicit when seeking shelter in the world. “
Submitted works may include visual art, writing, video, music and dance (in video format). Applicants must live in one of the four western Massachusetts counties and the work must have been created since January 1, 2020.
Submissions are due by February 11 and are limited to three per person. Written submissions have a 500 word limit and videos are limited to four minutes.
Registration forms can be found at forbeslibrary.org by scrolling down the left side of the homepage and clicking on the exhibit link.
AMHERST – The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which previously announced a Jan. 1-15 closure for building maintenance and staff leave, will now be closed until Feb. 2 due to the recent spike in cases of COVID-19.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to anyone who purchased tickets in advance for the next two weeks,” the museum said in a statement. “Reservation holders will be contacted directly and given a refund.”
Online orders at the museum bookstore will be filled and can be picked up curbside.
For the reopening of the museum on February 3, visitors are asked to Reserve tickets in advance, as walk-ins are not guaranteed. Questions about this or any other museum-related subject can be sent to [email protected]
NORTHAMPTON — An exhibition of abstract art by children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems, “Gravity + Other Thoughts,” has opened at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton to benefit the Western Massachusetts Food Bank. All proceeds from the artist’s show, which runs until February 28, will be donated to the food bank.
In a statement, Willems notes that “2021 has been an odd year, numerically and culturally. As they have been doing for a few years, going abstract has been a consolation. Color, shape and form may change, but their fundamentals are eternally reassuring.
“Showing that Gravity works to a friend,” Willems added, “I was told, ‘You try to keep a lot of balls in the air. Aren’t we all?
AMHERST – ‘Theater of the Streets,’ which celebrates the work of iconic documentary photographer Jill Freedman (1939-2019), will run from January 24 through March 11 at the Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The exhibition’s subtitle – “Social Landscapes Through the Lens of Jill Freedman” – evokes the photographer’s work on the margins of society, where she felt a deep affinity with the marginalized and oppressed, who were often the subjects of his work.
A photo titled “South Bronx Dining,” for example, shows a young barefoot child eating a sandwich while sitting on top of a wrecked car; piles of trash and a dilapidated wall of corrugated iron frame the background of the image.
This student-curated exhibit is a collaboration between graduate students from UMass’ Public History Program, the Department of History, and the Department of African American Studies at WEB Du Bois.
NORTHAMPTON — An exhibition of paper cut-outs and collages by Northampton residents Greta Kessler, Scott McDaniel and Alex Kessler opens Feb. 2 at Forbes Library’s Hosmer Gallery.
Kessler worked in a variety of fields including printmaking, fiber arts, basketry, jewelry making, and origami and also taught crafts throughout New England. She describes paper cut-outs as “age-old folk art” and is inspired by historical paper cuts from Eastern Europe.
McDaniel, who has been designing and restoring architectural stained glass for more than 45 years, has been a member of Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence since 2010. He says his collages are made from leftover paper from monotype prints he has made.
Kessler, meanwhile, learned paper cutting alongside his mother and later studied art at the Cooper Union before developing a career as a printmaker, photo editor and event planner. He draws inspiration for his paper cut-outs from folk tales.
The Hosmer exhibition runs until February 28.
Photo exhibition at the APE Gallery
NORTHAMPTON – On February 5, Northampton’s APE Gallery will open “In the Blink of Our Lifetimes – The Ecology of Dusk”, an exhibition by photographer and writer Pamela Petro of Northampton, who says he created this series of impressionistic photos through movement and light, not computer manipulation.
“While filming the dusk series, I learned that dusk is not a one-sided event but a process, like a slow, rolling wave,” Petro writes. “Each day there are three stages of twilight. … The last moments of each phase are called “twilight”. The marine tones of these images, taken at nautical twilight, suggest that the blue of the sky lands as easily as the sea.”
— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer