Editorial: Franklin County’s local talents something to be proud of  year-round

  • Doll and figure artist Belinda Lyons Zucker works on the head of a clay doll at New Story Studios during the Art Happening event Saturday in celebration of ArtWeek in downtown Millers Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Artist Christine Texeira works on a piece at New Story Studios during the Art Happening event Saturday in celebration of ArtWeek in downtown Millers Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Eric Grab stands by a wall of his paintings on display at his studio during the Art Happening event Saturday in celebration of ArtWeek in downtown Millers Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Published: 5/3/2019 7:00:56 AM

Furniture maker Timothy Coleman said it all when he described why his Shelburne workshop, set between New York City and Boston, is in an artisan hub of its own.

“This is a great place to be located,” Coleman said. “It’s as good as any place as far as a place to be situated, because it’s inexpensive to produce something. ... It’s easy access to a lot of those markets.”

Plenty of other artists have found their hub in Franklin County, too. This week, it’s time to appreciate the local art we have in our own backyards through ArtWeek, an annual statewide creative arts festival.

ArtWeek, which runs from Friday, April 26 through Sunday, May 5, includes events in seven Franklin County towns, such as a tie-dye workshop in Wendell on Saturday and a Musica Franklin Fun Fest on Sunday. Let’s not forget that art comes in a variety of forms.

This celebration of all things creative also serves to bring some of Franklin County’s most prominent artistic groups together in compelling collaborations. For example, Silverthorne Theater Company and the Deerfield Valley Art Association joined forces to offer “PhotoTales: Inspiring Images,” whereby historic photos were used as inspiration to write mini-dialogues and storylines.

ArtWeek also inspired some lesser-known groups to organize new events, such as the Millers Falls Art Happening on April 27.

But, similarly to how there are community book exchange boxes that aren’t part of the official Little Free Library network, there were also artistic events that weren’t formally part of ArtWeek. The 15th annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail brought customers out of the woodwork to visit nine studios between Florence and Northfield, and to check out the diverse skill sets that our local potters possess.

We often forget how talented our friends and neighbors are, because they’re frequently creating their artwork quietly — in a cozy studio at home, en plein air in our county’s rural reaches or in a shared workspace. They create for pure enjoyment, rather than for recognition.

ArtWeek is a time to celebrate those talents that are all around us, drawing attention to both those lesser-known creators and the ones whose creations are on sale at our local country stores and craft fairs. They create a rich patchwork here in Franklin County, where there’s a story around every corner.

We might be roughly 185 miles from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but we have displays that are just as special because, in our case, the artist could be your nextdoor neighbor, your child’s schoolteacher or the person who delivers your mail.

With the week-long celebration coming to a close, let’s continue our appreciation of our local talents that make Franklin County such a special place to live. Our artists decorate our homes, clothe and accessorize our bodies, and, most importantly, inspire contemplative thoughts, feelings and, sometimes, creation of our own.




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