2015 Members Exhibit: Reflections of Jurying Day

Hello!  My name is Virginia and I’m a college student who is interning here at ACA for a few weeks to learn about community arts and gallery work.  On my first day at ACA I watched Erin Becker, the Director of the Cambridge Art Association, jury the 2015 Members Exhibit.


When Erin first walked into the room, there was art everywhere you looked, leaning against the walls and covering all the tables and pedestals.  Just scanning the room you could see the wealth of talent and mass of hard work each artist put into each submission. After walking around the room slowly, Erin began to pull art– taking a few pieces here, a few there.  Occasionally she would ask if two pieces, works that had a similar style, were made by the same artist.  I think she did not want one voice or perspective to be over-represented.   Most of the time though she worked quietly, going with her gut on what felt right and what didn’t quite fit.  Several works she would pick up carry to the other side of the room only to be moved again a few minutes later.   Despite the constant changes, there was a method to her decisions.  As Erin continued to pull works, groups began to appear.  She placed pieces with similar color schemes and textures closer together to see how they talked to one another.  There was a mix of media represented in any given group: a photograph next to a pastel drawing, next to a sculpture and yet it made sense.

As Erin chose work and grouped them together, she sometimes thought aloud.  She would ask Pam about the configuration of the room, whether some works would be too crowded in a corner.  By the time she finished the hundred-plus works were reduced to fifty-two.  What was left was a great collection of work with no extraneous pieces, the jurying was complete.   Speaking as an artist who often gets caught-up in my own work, I found it really beneficial to witness the consolidation and placement decisions.  I got to see how a show incorporates one artist’s work and actually enhances it by juxtaposing it with the work of others. Overall, I am really happy with how the show turned out and look forward to seeing everyone’s reactions this Friday!

BEE the Change

970172_10151941566901324_7809360038521488933_nIn honor of Earth Week, ACA teamed up with Arlington’s Whole Foods to talk about the health of our earth, natural processes, like pollination and how we can help.  Together, we came up with the art installation, Bee the Change, which is on view at the Arlington Whole Foods on Mass Ave.



During our week long Vacation Arts Camp in April, our team of campers and staff made bees from recycled materials.  We used paper tubes, posters and old advertisements donated by Whole Foods.  We also reused their banners and painted signs to to display in the store.



IMG_2606All totaled, our campers made over 150 bees of all sizes and designs. Different age groups of kids contributed different aspects of the project, from cutting out the wings to drawing the faces.   The project was overseen and organized by our Counselors in Training, who helped install the artwork at Whole Foods.

The result is a beautiful swarm of friendly bees hanging over the café at the Mass Ave Whole Foods!  Be sure to check them out next time you are in the area!

DSCN0156   10260027_10151941566961324_6786380940976209961_n


“Outside In, Inside Out” exhibit features 3 Arlington Artists at the Old Schwamb Mill

Outside in Inside Out

From left to right: artwork by Anne Briggs, Lainie Dearden and Gwen Chasan.

The “Outside In, Inside Out” exhibit at the Old Schwamb Mill,  exhibits the recent work of three Arlington artists, Gwen Chasan, Anne Briggs, and Lainie Dearden.  Dearden is a potter and ceramic sculptor working in variations on Raku. Chasan and Briggs are painters working in watercolor and acrylics.  They each enjoyed successful business careers, and now focus on their art full time and with great joy.

Gwen serves on the Board of Directors of the Arlington Center for the Arts, and Anne is former member of the Board.  Both are active in ACA classes and exhibits, and we’re delighted to see their success with this wonderful show.  Gwen is teaching a one-day “Watercolor Innovations” Yupo Workshop at ACA in November.  See all the details, here.

The theme of the show, “Outside In, Inside Out”, is derived from the artists’  travels and explorations, and their effect on their inner lives and art. We take in what we experience in the world, bringing the outside in, and it changes what we express through our art, bringing the inside out in the form of artistic expression.

The show runs from Saturday, October 5 thru Saturday, November 16 at the Old Schwamb Mill 17 Mill Lane in Arlington. The mill is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 11AM-3PM. The show’s opening event is on Saturday October 5 from 2:30-4:30PM.

There will be a closing Open House reception on Saturday, November 16, from Noon-4:30, with live music from 2:00-3:30, and continuous mill tours from noon-2:00pm.

For more info, visit the Old Schwamb Mill online.

Celebrating the Life and Work of African American Folk Artist Winfred Rembert

All me posterOn the heels of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, The Arlington Center for the Arts and Arlington International Film Festival invites the public to attend a film, panel discussion and art show/sale with Winfred Rembert, a self-taught folk artist from Georgia whose carved and dyed leather artwork depicts the daily lives of African Americans in the pre-civil rights segregated south.

The event takes place on Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 in the Theater at the Arlington Center for the Arts, 41 Foster Street, Arlington, MA. Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors) are available online.

The Panel discussion will include the artist, Winfred Rembert, the film director, Vivian Ducat, and moderator John Voci, from WGBH.

Winfred Rembert

Left to right: John Voci, Winfred Rembert, Vivian Ducat

Film Synopsis: A feature documentary, the film chronicles the life of Winfred Rembert, a 66-year-old African American who grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia. Rembert spent most of his childhood working in the cotton and peanut fields. When he could attend school he loved drawing but not much else. Attendance at a civil rights demonstration got him thrown in jail without charges or a trial. An escape over a year later resulted in a prison sentence, but only after Rembert had survived an attempted lynching. While serving seven years on Georgia chain gangs, Rembert fell in love with both his future wife and with leather as an art medium. Life and eight children intervened after prison; it was not until 1995 that Rembert began to carve, tool and then dye pictures on leather in his studio in the front room of his home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Winfred Rembert, "Amazing Grace"

Winfred Rembert, “Amazing Grace”

About Winfred Rembert:  With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history. His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry they show as recently as the 1960s and 70s.

All-Me-IINow in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. In “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” the artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.

For more information or advance tickets, please visit our website.

This event is co-sponsored with the Arlington International Film Festival, presenting films and special events throughout the fall.  Weekend festival dates: October 23-27.

Arlington Animation Fest this Weekend

8/8/2013: WEATHER UPDATE: due to predicted rain, the Animation Festival is rescheduled for Saturday, August 10th, at 7:00pm at Robbins Farm Park.  The Wicked Pickers will be unable to join us, but members of the AHS Jazz Band will play!  Don’t miss it!!

Original Story:
Come to Robbins Farm Park on Friday, August 9th (rain date: August 10th) for an evening outdoor festival showcasing local animated work for all ages.

Animation Festival LogoArlington’s own eclectic bluegrass band the Wicked Pickers will be kicking off the evening at 7pm, with the films starting at 8:30pm when the sun has set. Bring a picnic and blanket, buy some food from our vendors, and enjoy the night!

The event is presented by Arlington Community Media Inc, Arlington Center for the Arts, The Friends of Robbins Farm Park, and Arlington International Film Festival.

Directions to Robbins Farm Park.

Images of Arlington 5th grade artists honored at the State House

Kids Images of Arlington at the State House (20)This summer, anyone visiting Senator Ken Donnelly’s office at the Massachusetts State House will be treated to an exhibit of 30+ works of art by Arlington 5th graders, part of the Arlington Center for the Arts’ annual “Kids Images of Arlington” exhibit, now in its 8th year.

Each year, all 400+ 5th graders in the Arlington public schools create artwork depicting something unique about the town.  The artwork is displayed in a massive exhibit that fills all three floors of the Arlington Center for the Arts building.

A small subset of the students’ artwork is selected to go on display at the State House in Senator Donnelly’s offices.

Last week, the Senator hosted the students in a special reception in their honor, and took the kids on a private tour of the State House.

Several of the 5th grade "Images of Arlington" artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Several of the 5th grade “Images of Arlington” artists posing with Senator Ken Donnelly in a special reception in their honor.

Donnelly loves the tradition – whenever he has visitors to his offices – other Senators and Representatives, or constituents from his district, he says he loves showing off the artwork, which depicts so many landmarks and special places in Arlington.

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate...!)

The kids had a special private tour of the State House, including this visit to the Senate chambers, where they learned a secret about what many Senators keep in their desk drawers.. (think chocolate…!)

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon.  We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

The President of Peru happened to be visiting the State House that afternoon. We saw his motorcade drive by from this beautiful vantage point overlooking the front lawn!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!

Thank you Senator Donnelly for honoring our young artists and for your support for the arts and culture in our communities!


See more of the “Kids Images of Arlington” artwork in our online slideshow…

Kids’ “Images of Arlington” exhibit on display at the Mass State House

Senator Ken Donnelly loves Arlington – he grew up here, raised his children here, and now represents the town in the Massachusetts Senate.

Senator Ken Donnelly with one of the “Images of Arlington” Artists

So when Senator Donnelly and his staffers heard about ACA’s annual Kids’ Images of Arlington exhibit featuring artwork by all the town’s 5th graders, they wanted to help get the artwork seen – and for the second year in a row, highlights of the exhibit are now on view in the Senator’s offices at the State House, and will remain on display through the end of the summer.

At the State House reception for the Images of Arlington artists and their families, hosted by Senator Ken Donnelly, with special guests Sean Garballey and Jay Kaufman.

At a special reception for the young artists last month, Donnelly thanked the students for sharing their artwork, saying the drawings and paintings of the town help show people all the special things about Arlington, and help him convey the spirit of the Arlington community.

Visiting the Senate Chambers on the State House tour with Senator Donnelly

Before the reception, Senator Donnelly took the students and their families on a private tour of the State House, where we also met up with Arlington Representatives Sean Garballey and Jay Kaufman.  We even had a quick greeting from Governor Deval Patrick, which was a special and unexpected treat! 

ACA bling for the Senator! ACA Communications Director Linda Shoemaker, and Executive Director John Budzyna with gifts from the Arlington Center for the Arts.

Want to see more?

More photos from the State House Tour & Reception

Photos of the Award-winning artwork and Gallery Opening in April 2012

Blog Story about the Exhibit

Skye Murie and Jordawn Moses Receive ACA’s Community Arts Leadership Award

The Arlington Center for the Arts was delighted to present its 3rd annual Community Arts Leadership Award to Arlington High School Seniors Jordawn Moses and Skye Murie at the AHS Scholarship and Award Night on June 7, 2012.

The ACA Award, underwritten by former ACA Board President John Cinkala, recognizes two graduating seniors each year for their community service through the arts.  Through their leadership and creativity, the 2012 award winners truly reflect the mission of the Arlington Center of the Arts, which is to transform lives and build community through the arts. 

Jordawn Moses and Skye Murie accept ACA’s Community Arts Leadership Award at the annual Arlington High School Awards Night, June 2012. Photo credit: Mark Wilke.

The “after” shot – the AHS girls’ restroom after Jordawn’s covered over all the graffiti and painted the walls with bright colors and uplifting quotations. Jordawn is happy to report that at the end of the school year, there was not a single case of graffiti in the transformed space.

Jordawn Moses has used her creativity and initiative to improve the lives of others.  Concerned with the effect of graffiti on self-esteem, Jordawn transformed a girls’ restroom at AHS from a place filled with demoralizing and hateful messages into a space where, as she put it, “one could feel respect, solace, and beauty.”

Jordawn worked with a local paint store to select peaceful colors, painted over all the graffiti, and replaced demeaning messages with uplifting words and quotations.  In addition, Jordawn has volunteered with elders in the art therapy department of an assisted living facility, and her own artwork has been selected for the Spy Pond Mural project, slated to be hung on the Arlington Boys and Girls Club.

Jordawn will be attending Mount Ida College in the Fall.

See the artwork created by Jordawn and three other teen artists for the Spy Pond Mural.

Skye Murie is an accomplished visual artist who has excelled in ceramics, watercolor, acrylics and oil painting, and has received recognition from the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards, and received the AHS Arts Award in her Freshman, Sophmore and Junior Years.

Skye Murie’s Jacob Marley puppet was an impressive and memorable part of AHS’s 2011 production of “A Christmas Carol”

This fall, Skye saved the day for the production of  “A Christmas Carol” at AHS, volunteering to create a 7-foot tall puppet of the Ghost of Jacob Marley, after a professional puppet designer fell through.   Skye’s puppet received amazing reviews! Skye has also participated in the Concord Family Trees Exhibit, where she designed and constructed ornaments for holiday trees inspired by children’s books.

Skye Murie will be attending Hampshire College in the fall.

See more images of Skye’s artwork on her Flickr page.

The Arlington Center for the Arts is delighted to be able to recognize these talented young artists who understand the importance of the arts as a tool to better their community and change the world.  Jordawn and Skye have truly transformed lives through the arts.

Everyone at ACA offers our congratulations and best wishes in all their future endeavors!

Arlington ALIVE!

The Arlington Center for the Arts was the scene of a lively public meeting last week, “Arlington ALIVE”: Creating a Cultural Destination” – a townwide meeting and panel discussion aimed at positioning Arlington as a great local destination for the Arts.

Stacie Smith of the Consensus Building institute (and an Arlington resident) served as moderator of “Arlington ALIVE”

The meeting was co-sponsored by the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Arlington Cultural Council, Arlington Public Art, the Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee, and Sustainable Arlington.

John Budzyna, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts introduced the sponsoring organizations.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine spoke about the Town’s commitment to Arlington’s cultural resources and said the Town is excited to be part of recent initiatives to expand public art in Arlington.

Adam Chapdelaine led the group through an interactive mapping exercise, identifying arts and culture spots throughout the town – galleries, theaters, art studios, arts-related businesses, public art sites, etc.

Meri Jenkins of the Massachusetts Cultural Council spoke about the power of the arts to shape a community’s identity.   A resident of neighboring Lexington, Meri said she often sneaks across the border to partake of Arlington’s many lively arts and culture opportunities.

Meri Jenkins, Program Manager, Cultural Districts, Massachusetts Cultural Council

Jan Whitted, owner of Art Beat the Creativity Store, and leader of the Capitol Square District, spoke about how East Arlington businesses have banded together to create the vibrant artsy Capitol Square District, which hosts monthly and seasonal community events.

Jan Whitted spoke about the many ways that business owners, town leaders and volunteers have helped to grow the Capitol Square District into a distinct cultural destination in East Arlington.

About 100 folks attended the event, which culminated in a series of breakout sessions focused on next steps Arlington can take to grow into an ever more vibrant arts and cultural destination.

Q&A before the breakout sessions.

Top priorities named at the end of the evening were:
1) Centralized communication, consistent branding reaching a wide range of audiences from within and beyond Arlington
2) A Big Arts event to promote.
3) A leadership committee to help implement priorities

Stay tuned for a full report coming soon. Meanwhile, please post your comments from the evening so we can continue the conversation and inform those who were unable to come.