Art in the Orchard to return this summer: Pandemic won’t prevent latest version of popular outdoor installation

  • Artist Lindsey Molyneux of Huntington, left, positions her huge sculpture “Lillie’s Unicorn” at Art In the Orchard in 2017, with an assist from Leverett sculptor Gary Orlinsky, center, and orchard owner Russell Braen, far right. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Easthampton artist Matt Evald Johnson, right, gets an assist from Park Hill Orchard owner Russell Braen, on tractor, as he installs his piece “Wheel Wall” at Art in the Orchard 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 2/26/2021 10:05:02 AM

EASTHAMPTON — The pandemic won’t stop the return of what’s become a popular tradition in town: Art in the Orchard.

The biennial outdoor art installation, begun in 2011, will open Aug. 1 at its regular location, Park Hill Orchard, and is scheduled to run through Nov. 28. As in past years, some 30 new artworks will be displayed, adding to some permanent art on the property.

Jean-Pierre Pasche, one of the principal founders of the exhibit, says he and other organizers feel confident that with COVID-19 vaccinations continuing apace in the state and nationwide, and the use of basic safety protocols on site, the outdoor exhibit can be successfully staged.

“We don’t know exactly what the conditions (of the pandemic) will be when we open, but the situation seems to be improving,” Pasche said. “We will make whatever adjustments we have to make to ensure this is a safe event.”

Pasche said there may be restrictions placed on parking in the main entrance to the exhibit and by the main farm stand at Park Hill Orchard, which serves as a central meeting point for the installation. Signs will be put up reminding people of the need for social distancing, he noted. As in past Art in the Orchard exhibits, the sculptures and art installations will be spaced widely apart, giving visitors plenty of room to spread out.

“The show takes place on about 20 acres,” Pasche noted. “There’s no need for people to be close together.”

Artists have until April 1 to submit an application to be part of the show. Those applications are available at artintheorchard.org/apply.

Pasche said it’s hard to know if organizers of Art in the Orchard might receive more submissions this year then for past exhibits. There could be some pent-up demand from artists who have been restricted by the pandemic “but also some people might have been in hibernation for the past year,” he said with a chuckle.

But if past exhibits are any judge, he expects planners will probably receive about 100 proposals from local and regional artists and from some further afield.

“I think everyone will enjoy being able to be outside and to have a chance to see some new artwork, and hopefully we’ll be able to do it under improved conditions,” he said.

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




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