Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
L/fog
53°
L/fog
Hi 77° | Lo 63°

Easthampton Community Arts+ will host monthly get-togethers for artists and business owners

  • Alexie  Levine, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton with Burns Maxey, ECA+ coordinator Monday morning.<br/>

    Alexie Levine, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton with Burns Maxey, ECA+ coordinator Monday morning.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Valerie Hood, from left, and Alexei Levine, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey

    Valerie Hood, from left, and Alexei Levine, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alexei Levine, from left, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey<br/><br/>

    Alexei Levine, from left, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS<br/>"The Smelters," 1934 by Earl Rowland, is on exhibit in the section called "American Industry."

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
    "The Smelters," 1934 by Earl Rowland, is on exhibit in the section called "American Industry." Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS<br/>"Adam and Eve," ca. 1912-15, by William Sommer, is in the "Early Modern" section of the exhibit.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
    "Adam and Eve," ca. 1912-15, by William Sommer, is in the "Early Modern" section of the exhibit. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alexie  Levine, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton with Burns Maxey, ECA+ coordinator Monday morning.<br/>
  • Valerie Hood, from left, and Alexei Levine, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey
  • Alexei Levine, from left, and Valerie Hood, co-owners of the Art Bar in Easthampton, where the monthly C.H.A.T. gatherings will be held, with ECA+ coordinator Burns Maxey<br/><br/>
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS<br/>"The Smelters," 1934 by Earl Rowland, is on exhibit in the section called "American Industry."
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE D'AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS<br/>"Adam and Eve," ca. 1912-15, by William Sommer, is in the "Early Modern" section of the exhibit.

Open art studios. Public art displays. Artwork on view in businesses all over town. The Easthampton art scene has been growing steadily for more than 10 years.

Now the city’s artists are hoping to build on what they have and get to know one another — and each other’s work — a little better.

Starting next Monday, Easthampton City Arts Plus (ECA+), the nonprofit coalition that sponsors collaborative events for artists and the business community, will host a free monthly get-together designed to build stronger ties among artists, welcome new artists to town and perhaps spur creative partnerships as well.

“I don’t like using buzzwords, but this is really about networking,” said Burns Maxey, ECA+’s coordinator and the sponsor of the new event, which goes by the name of C.H.A.T. — or “Come Hang Around and Talk.”

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and it’s come up in a lot of conversations I’ve had with people,” added Maxey, a mixed-media artist. “I would talk to other artists at exhibits or a new gallery opening and we’d say, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we could do something together, on a regular basis, that doesn’t just revolve around an event?’ ”

The C.H.A.T. sessions will take place on the last Monday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Art Bar Cafe in the old Memorial Building at 1 Northampton St., just off the downtown rotary. Owners Valerie Hood and Alexei Levine, who also run a massage school in the building, have already built connections to local artists.

The cafe, which can accommodate close to 100 people, will serve beer, wine and light fare like sandwiches and soup, as well as tea and coffee, at the C.H.A.T. sessions. The business is closed right now — it will reopen in the spring, following work to create an outdoor serving area — but Levine and Hood say they’re happy to host the Monday meetings.

“We said when we opened that we wanted to do what we could to serve the arts community,” Levine said. In fact, Maxey notes, the cafe has often been an unofficial gathering spot for people after the monthly Art Walk.

The C.H.A.T. sessions, Maxey adds, will be open not just to artists of all stripes — painters, writers, musicians, dancers — but to business owners who want to build stronger ties to artists. The owners of Popcorn Noir, for instance, say they’d be interested in stopping by.

“Artists need venues and businesses to support them, and we want to be able to do that,” said Kristen Davis, who owns the club/restaurant/movie house with her husband, Tom Doherty. “I think the whole community benefits from those kind of ties.”

Artists in Westhampton and Southampton are also under the ECA+ umbrella, and Maxey says anyone who wants to attend C.H.A.T., from any community, will be welcome.

“We see this as something like what the Chamber of Commerce does, where its members get together regularly to share ideas and kind of talk shop,” she said. “The artist community isn’t as businesslike as that, but this is a way we can also share ideas and get to know one another better.”

Lonely endeavor

Lynn Latimer, who has made decorative glass art in the Cottage Street Studios building for more than 25 years, says most artists, including herself, work alone for long periods. Only occasionally, she says, do they have the opportunity to meet other artists — beyond their own circle of friends — or see their work.

“There are a lot of artists who I really adore, and some newer ones I’d like to find out about,” Latimer said. Even before the decision to form C.H.A.T., she says, she and some other artists in Cottage Street Studios had talked about ways they might get together regularly to talk shop.

“It’s a big building, and we have a lot of new artists. And with everyone sort of involved with their own work and schedules, it’s hard to connect,” Latimer said. “If you’re trying to find out how to get a specific kind of material or how a particular process works, this would be a way to meet someone who could point you in the right direction.”

Janie Morrison, a painter and portrait artist, says it’s important for artists to learn about new techniques and different ideas to keep their own work fresh.

“This can be a lonely endeavor, working on your own, and it’s always good to get exposure to something different, to hear of something you hadn’t considered, to see what other people are doing,” she said.

Morrison, who lives in Northampton but has a studio in Easthampton, says she’s also looking forward to the social side of the C.H.A.T. sessions.

Latimer notes that C.H.A.T. could also be a good means for artists to share practical information about resources.

Maxey says there are smaller groups that meet regularly to share their work and seek feedback, like the Easthampton Arts Appreciation Guild, an 11-member group that currently has an exhibit at the Easthampton Chamber of Commerce gallery.

But with C.H.A.T., Maxey said, “We’re hoping to broaden those kinds of conversations and relationships — not just between artists, but with anyone in the community who would like to see the arts keep growing in the city.”

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.

For more information, visit www.easthamptoncityarts.com or call 527-8278.

a date night and tru beer

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.