Hilltown Digest: Cummington to unveil new public art installation in July 

  • Ana Busto’s “Spring Bear” is one of the art pieces that will be part of the Cummington Reflections exhibition. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2022 3:27:56 PM
Modified: 6/22/2022 3:27:36 PM

CUMMINGTON — Cummington Reflections, a new public art installation in town, will soon be having its official opening, which also will feature a contra dance.

Cummington Reflections is being put on by the Cummington Cultural District Committee, with assistance from Hilltown CDC. The 10 sculptures and multi-media pieces will be displayed along Main Street and are designed to make viewers reflect on the town and its heritage.

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

Some of the pieces include Ana Busto’s “Spring Bear,” three ceramic bears on a stone and tree stump base that is paired with a steel form, Michael Melle’s “Splitting Fence Posts,” which consists of life-sized stick and hay figures, 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 through Oct. 31. The official launch party will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 2 at Pettingill Memorial Field, where people will have the chance to meet with the artists. 

Busto said her sculpture was inspired by seeing a bear in her yard in Cummington and represents nature emerging from the pandemic, and also the need to take care of nature and address climate change.

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

After the reception, there will be a contra dance at the pavilion in the park put on by Cummington’s Friday Night Café. Steve Howland will be calling the dance.

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

Kravetz’s human sun dial in “Time to Reflect” also tells facts about local history. She said that participating in the exhibition has been great, and that she helped to put it together.

“It’s just exciting that this is being done in my little town,” Kravetz said.

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

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

Lynton said that she’s 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 p.m. to 6 p.m., will highlight the youth installation in the reflections program, “New Hingham Large Bead Project,” which consists of large scale ceramic beads 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 returns 

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

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

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

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

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

Knox’s two guests for the tour this year will be Ben Eberle and Dallas Wooten. Wooten does water etching on some of his pots and Eberle does soda-fired pots. Both potters will be doing demonstrations as part of the tour. Knox said she’s been experimenting with different forms, and she’s excited to show them to the public.

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

At Knox’s shop, this will mean allowing the public to emboss clay using some of her embossing plates, which create 3-D patterns out of clay.

She said July is the quintessential time to be traveling on the backroads of the Hilltowns. A map of the event and information on the tour can be found at www.hilltown6.com.

Fundraiser for Ukraine raises more than $10,000

A fundraiser to support people in need in Ukraine has raised more than $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 art work, T-shirts and donations, $10,737 was raised.

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

She described the effort put forward by fellow organizers and those who donated art as inspirational.

“There’s no way that one person can do it alone,” she said. “Everyone just came forward to do what they could.”

Magdalene will be sending the money to a friend in Ukraine, who heads a soccer nonprofit and used to work for the United Nations. Her friend has been using his networks to help people leave the war-torn country, as well as assist those choosing to stay behind. Magdalene did not name her friend in Ukraine, citing security reasons.

Even before the latest fundraiser, Magdalene sent over approximately $27,000, including thousands of her own money.

Magdalene said she is considering organizing 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 bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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