Colrain the inspiration for weekend art show

  • Art on display at “Colrain on Canvas II,” held at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Art on display at “Colrain on Canvas II,” held at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Art on display at “Colrain on Canvas II,” held at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • The Shelburne-Buckland Community Center. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2021 4:08:06 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — The Colrain Historical Society brought locals on “a walk down memory lane” with region-themed art during its second installment of “Colrain on Canvas” on Saturday and Sunday.

Hosted at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, “Colrain on Canvas II” brought together 70 paintings by 47 different artists from Colrain and beyond. These works, which varied greatly in style, all shared the commonality of depicting Colrain in some form.

Debby Wheeler, head organizer and Historical Society director, said the art on display was a collection of “family heirlooms,” or works of art from private collections. Some of the paintings were presented with both the artist’s name and contact information available so that visitors could commission art when a particular piece spoke to them.

“That’s the magic of the show,” she said, “people loaning these paintings.”

Another part of the show’s magic, Wheeler said, was that the art hadn’t been curated — it was all-inclusive, intended to preserve the authenticity and voice of the Colrain community.

“We take basically everything people offer,” she said.

Much of the art on display highlighted the town’s natural features and humble countryside buildings.

Jim Murphy, a fine artist whose paintings were on display at the show, said this rural charm was what drew him to move to Colrain in 1973.

“I found growing up outside of Boston awfully confining,” Murphy, who grew up in Norwood, said of his upbringing prior to visiting Western Massachusetts. “Eventually, I said, ‘What am I going back to Boston for?’”

Murphy said he gained appreciation for the area as a runner who would frequently explore the outdoors. He said that even for those who don’t appreciate art, attending Colrain on Canvas could be a valuable experience, transporting them back to good memories from the area.

“It might not be the artistic merit (they value), but they knew the team of horses 15 years ago,” Murphy said as an example.

Wheeler said the turnout and reception had been “great,” with visitors often overcome with emotion and nostalgia as they took in the exhibit.

“They’re really just overwhelmed,” she said.

She added that the success of this year’s show bodes well for Colrain on Canvas to become a longtime annual tradition.

“We’re planning to do one next year,” Wheeler said. “We already have 30 paintings on our list.”

“I think there should be more of this,” Murphy said. “It’s kind of the glue that holds the community together.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.




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