Bringing back Art

  • Photography by Judy Cummings at the Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center next to the Book Mill. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kerry Stone is a member artist at the Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center next to the Book Mill. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Paintings by Sharon Loehr-Lapan at the Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center next to the Book Mill.

  • The Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center next to the Book Mill. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2020 2:02:57 PM

The Sawmill River Arts Gallery has reopened, though it now has rules on social distancing and masks that are typical of public places.

The gallery also has some new additions, including special offers in its store, and a new artist who became a member since the gallery closed in March.

“We’ve actually been extremely busy over the last two months, getting ready to reopen,” said member artist Chris Pellerin, who makes fiber arts.

The Sawmill River Arts Gallery is a collaborative of 15 member artists and 20 more consigning artists whose work is displayed in the gallery. The artists work in different techniques, including painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, woodworking and fiber arts.

Exhibits normally rotate about every three months, Pellerin said. The current show is a regular members’ show, in which each member has space in the gallery where they display their own work.

The newest member is Hannah Staiger, a jewelry designer who lives in Amherst. Staiger makes metal jewelry under the brand name La Boa Brava. Her work can be seen in the gallery’s current show.

The gallery also sells art and gifts. Since reopening in mid-June, the gallery store has been offering special selections of discounted work.

There is also a new do-it-yourself bag that comes with instructions on how to make a certain craft, for $25 each.

Since reopening, the gallery has reduced its hours somewhat, and added new rules: wear a mask, keep 6 feet apart, traffic inside is one-way.

People are visiting the gallery, Pellerin said, but it is still unseasonably quiet.

“It’s been far less busy,” she said. “The people who are here seem to enjoy being here. But we don’t have the crowds that we would have on a typical summer weekend.”

While the gallery was closed between March and June, the members boosted the gallery’s presence on social media, like its Facebook page, as a way of remaining publicly active. That will probably continue, Pellerin said.

“We’re continuously ramping it up,” she said. “We don’t really know what’s coming week to week from the government and from the virus, to be quite honest. We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

■The Sawmill River Arts Gallery is at 440 Greenfield Road, Montague, next to the Book Mill. It is now open on Thursdays and Fridays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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