Upcoming exhibit by Northampton Arts Council, a history discussion in Hadley

  • The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum offers a discussion on Emily Dickinson’s friendship with Susan Phelps, a member of the family that lived in the historic homestead for two centuries. Gazette file photo

  • The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2021 5:28:20 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Amid renewed concerns about COVID-19, local art and history are soldiering on.

The Northampton Arts Council is preparing to stage another Visual Arts and Poetry Biennial, an exhibit of juried art that takes place every other year in October at Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library. The exhibit, which showcases a wide range of art and poetry, is open to artists and poets from all four counties in western Massachusetts.

The deadline for submitting a poem or an image of an artwork for this year’s show is Sunday, Aug. 1. Artists and writers are asked to submit work that was created between Jan. 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Two- and three-dimensional art in any style, as well as video and performance art, will be considered for the visual arts component.

Submissions of large, three-dimensional, weather-tolerant art for the outdoor exhibition space on the Forbes Library lawn can also be made; artists may submit up to three pieces.

Poets may submit up to three poems, including previously published work written during the acceptance period for the exhibit. Selected poems will be displayed in a chapbook in Hosmer Gallery during October, and the Arts Council will also launch a virtual gallery of accepted artwork and poetry.

A three-member panel of area artists and art professionals will judge the art applications, and three area writers and publishers will review poetry submissions.

Go to westmassbiennial.artcall.org to register for the Biennial exhibit; one can also visit northamptonartscouncil.org and click on the link for the Biennial exhibit for more information.


The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley, meanwhile, will host an online presentation Aug. 5 called “A Wind that Rose: Susan Phelps and Emily Dickinson.” The discussion explores the life of Susan Davis Phelps (1827-1865), a friend of Dickinson’s who allegedly “died of a broken heart” following a failed romance. But her story is a more nuanced one, museum officials say, that is “framed by the lively social scene at Amherst College and a rural 19th-century family’s struggle with loss and mental illness.”

The Aug. 5 program, which takes place at 5 p.m., will be led by Anna Plummer, a 2020 Amherst College graduate who previously interned at the Porter-Phelps Museum and currently serves as a tour guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum. More information on the research Plummer did on Susan Phelps and her friendship with Emily Dickinson can be found at pphmuseum.org/susanphelps.

“A Wind that Rose” is part of “Bridging the Past and Present,” a free series of talks about local history at the Hadley museum. To attend the online event, go to pphmuseum.org/bridging, where you can also find links to past and future talks in the series.

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