Hilltown Digest: Haydenville church art auction to benefit Ukrainians

  • The skeleton of the robot Ben Tobin plans to use in an upcoming photography project CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/7/2022 10:42:15 PM

HAYDENVILLE — An art auction to benefit Ukrainians affected by the war in that country is looking for artists to donate pieces.

“We’re defining art broadly,” said Tracy Magdalene, who is organizing the event.

Magdalene, a Haydenville resident, said the auction has already received photographs, acid-etched concrete wall hangings, a pencil drawing and a painting from the late Gregory Stone, and a work of art from the late Gerald Wise. She said that around 30 pieces have been donated so far.

The auction will take place at the Haydenville Congregational Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 18, and all donations will go to a relief effort Magdalene has been donating to in Ukraine.

“Buy a piece of art, help people stay alive,” Magdalene said.

Magdalene has been sending money to a friend in Ukraine who has been using it to assist people leaving the country and finding host families outside Ukraine. The money has also gone to help people choosing to stay in Ukraine as well.

For security purposes Tracy’s friend is not being named, but he has worked with the United Nations in the past and heads a soccer nonprofit.

So far nearly $21,000 has been raised by Magdalene, with thousands of dollars coming out of her own pocket. And more than 250 families have been helped across the border through the work of her friend and his network.

“One family brought to safety is huge right now,” Magdalene said.

Those interested in donating art for the auction, or in donating money directly can call Magdalene at 413-320-9036.

Budgeting program in Huntington

The Huntington Council On Aging will be holding an aging mastery program on budgeting on May 11.

The program will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. at Stanton Hall, and will be conducted by Laurie Mikalunas, AVP Branch Manager at Westfield Bank.

How to make a budget plan, online banking and the difference between a beneficiary and a joint account will all be discussed in the program, as will credit cards and how to how to avoid bank and ATM fees and late fees.

The class is free and open to the public, but participants must be registered for by May 10. Those wishing to register should call 413-512-5205.

Filmmaker seeks mid-century home

Local filmmaker Ben Tobin is planning a new narrative photography project that draws inspiration from classic science fiction classics like Lost In Space and The Twilight Zone. However, he’s still looking for a ranch-style house from the 1950s or 1960s for his project location.

“I wanted it to look very Rockwellian,” Tobin said. “But have that sci-fi vibe.”

The story, which will be told through a series of still photographs, will involve a boy finding a robot and end with the boy discovering that he is either a robot or an alien.

“I like raising questions with the story,” said Tobin, who expressed a love for art that leaves questions hanging.

Tobin said that he is drawn to both the Victorian era and the 1950s and 1960s because people in those eras looked buttoned up but were “crazy underneath.”

“I wanted to lean into that 60s aesthetic,” Tobin said, of his robot project. “I like tinkering with the 50s, 60s time period.”

Tobin has already cast the child for his photography project and a local model maker is constructing the robot. However, he has yet to find a ranch house from the 1950s or 1960s to shoot his photography.

Those interested in offering such a house for shooting can email Tobin at bztobin0968@gmail.com .

Tobin is continuing to work on his photography series in collaboration with costume designer Christina Beam that’s inspired by fairy tales. His thesis film, “A Home for Curiosities,” was also recently released on Vimeo.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.
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