Cummington to unveil new public art installation in July

CUMMINGTON – Cummington Reflections, a new public art installation in the city, will soon have its official opening, which will also feature a counter dance.

Cummington Reflections is organized by the Cummington Cultural District Committee, with assistance from the Hilltown CDC. The 10 sculptures and multimedia pieces will be displayed along Main Street and are designed to make viewers think about the city and its heritage.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Hunt Chase, director of community programs at Hilltown CDC. “It’s going to be a very nice thing there.”

Some of the pieces include “Spring Bear” by Ana Busto, three ceramic bears on a stone and tree stump base which is paired with a steel form, “Splitting Fence Posts” by Michael Melle, which consists of life-size hay sticks and figurines, and Beckie Kravetz’s “Time to Reflect,” a human sundial, which visitors can use to tell the time with their own shadow.

The event will officially open on July 2 and run until October 31. The official launch party will take place from 5-7 p.m. on July 2 at Pettingill Memorial Field, where people will have the chance to meet the artists.

Busto said his sculpture was inspired by seeing a bear in his yard in Cummington and represented nature emerging from the pandemic, as well as the need to care for nature and fight climate change.

“If we don’t take care of nature, we certainly won’t survive,” she said.

Following the reception, there will be a counter dance at the park pavilion set up by Cummington’s Friday Night Café. Steve Howland will call the dance.

“An evening of fun happenings in the Hilltowns,” Chase said.

Kravetz’s human sundial in “Time to Reflect” also tells facts about local history. She said the participation in the exhibition was great and she helped organize it.

“It’s just exciting that this is happening in my small town,” Kravetz said.

“At the Fair, 2022” by Holly Lynton will feature photographs from the 2022 Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fair at the Cummington Fairgrounds, as well as photographs from more than 10 years ago at the fair.

“I felt like there was a slight difference in body language and presentation,” Lynton said of how people photographed in the two time periods.

Lynton said she is interested in how the passage of time affects rural communities and their traditions.

On June 24, an event at Berkshire Trail Elementary School from 5-6 p.m. will highlight the installation of young people as part of the think tank program, ‘New Hingham Large Bead Project’, which consists of ceramic beads on a large scale strung on a steel cable.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Leo Quiles, who supervised the project and teaches at New Hingham Regional Elementary School. “They’ve worked so hard this year.”

Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour Return

The Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour returns for the 16th year next month, inviting visitors to visit nine different studios in the Hilltowns.

The tour will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 23 and 24. Visiting any of the nine stops on the tour is free and participants will be able to purchase coins.

Each of the stops will feature the work and presence of the host potters and at least one guest potter per stop.

Hiroshi Nakayama, Maya Machin and Robbie Heidinger are among the nine members of Hilltown 6 who will welcome other potters.

“I’m super excited about this year’s tour,” said fellow Hilltown 6 member Christie Knox, whose studio in Cummington will be a tour stop.

Knox’s two guests for the tour this year will be Ben Eberle and Dallas Wooten. Wooten does etching on some of his pots and Eberle does soda pots. The two potters will give demonstrations as part of the tour. Knox said she experimented with different shapes and was excited to show them to the public.

In addition to the demonstrations, there will also be interactive activities for children and adults at certain stops.

At Knox’s store, that will mean allowing the public to emboss clay using some of its embossing plates, which create 3D designs from clay.

She said July is the perfect time to travel on the back roads of the Hilltowns. An event map and tour information is available at www.hilltown6.com.

Fundraiser for Ukraine raises over $10,000

A fundraiser to support those in need in Ukraine raised over $10,000.

The art auction was held on June 18 at the Haydenville Congregational Church. Tracy Magdalene, the fundraiser’s organizer, said that between the sale of artwork, t-shirts and donations, $10,737 was raised.

“It was a lot of work, with a lot of risk that really paid off,” Magdalene said. “People want to help.”

She described the efforts of other organizers and those who donated artwork as inspirational.

“There’s no way one person can do it alone,” she said. “Everyone showed up to do what they could.”

Magdalene will send the money to a friend in Ukraine, who runs a non-profit football association and worked for the United Nations. His friend uses his networks to help people leave the war-torn country, as well as those who choose to stay. Madeleine did not name her friend in Ukraine, citing security reasons.

Even before the last fundraiser, Magdalene sent around $27,000, including thousands of her own money.

Magdalene said she plans to organize a fundraising concert for medical aid to Ukrainians in the future. Those interested in learning more about her fundraising work can reach her at 413-320-9036.

Bera Dunau can be reached at [email protected]

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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