Spotlight: Art exhibit honoring Denise Herzog; 4th Annual Hilltown Food Pantry Benefit

  • Denise Herzog

  • Heidi Nortonsmith, James Kitchen Gazette file photo

  • Painting by Heather McLean, part of the exhibit “Joy!” in Easthampton. Submitted image

Published: 1/10/2019 4:40:07 PM

An artistic remembrance

When Denise Herzog was tragically killed last month in Easthampton after a minivan hit her in a crosswalk, she took a lot of local history with her. Herzog, a potter and ceramist, was a co-founder of Cottage Street studios in Easthampton as well as the founder of an arts program at Riverside Industries, Inc., the agency that provides services and job opportunities for people with special needs.

Elizabeth Appelquist, co-owner of #Local Gallery in Easthampton, was one of the many people devastated by Herzog’s death. Appelquist, who opened the gallery last year with her husband, Lennie, had known Herzog and her husband, artist Michael Mactavish, for several years before that. “She fully embraced us into the art community and over the years I developed a deep love for her,” Applequist says.

So now her 40 Cottage Street gallery will pay tribute to Herzog with “Joy!” an exhibit of work by 33 fellow Cottage Street artists, as well as by Riverside clients Herzog worked with as the agency’s art director before retiring in 2015. The show, which opens Saturday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m., will feature pieces by the artists that speak to them in some way about Herzog, Appelquist says.

A tribute that Marcia Morrison, the chair of Easthampton’s Cultural Arts District Committee, made last month following Herzog’s death also factors into the new show. Morrison, Appelquist says, listed 21 words — such as “joyous,” “generous,” “determined” and “supportive” — that she felt Herzog embodied, and Riverside clients have created new artwork built around their choice of those words to hang on one wall of #LOCAL Gallery.

In addition, the galley will offer a musical tribute to Herzog Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. featuring singer-songwriter Grayson Ty, sponsored by Pete Crisafulli and Taylor Real Estate. The event will include poetry readings and memorials from Herzog’s friends and fellow artists, as well as special treats from Corsello Butcheria.


Will sing to raise food

Hunger is a year-round problem, and music is a year-round pleasure. So it makes perfect sense to the organizers of the Hilltown Food Pantry Benefit to have area musicians do their thing as part of an effort to spur food donations in the Valley.

On Sunday, Jan. 13, beginning at noon, the Chesterfield Council on Aging is hosting a benefit for the Hilltown Food Pantry —  a satellite office of the Northampton Survival Center — that will feature an “international banquet” and live music from a diverse group of performers, from cellist Stephan Katz to folk and blues guitarist James Kitchen to the Hampshire Regional High School Choir.

It’s the fourth straight year the Chesterfield COA has used its annual dinner as a food drive, combining forces with the Hilltown Food Pantry. Kitchen, a Chesterfield sculptor, has worked with Heidi Nortonsmith, director of the Northampton Survival Center, the last few years to make the event into a musical celebration to increase turnout.

The formula seems to be working, he said recently, because last year’s benefit, held at the Chesterfield Grange, was packed. So this year the event has been moved to New Hingham Elementary School, the Chesterfield-Goshen regional school at 30 Smith Rd. in Chesterfield.

Fittingly enough, the New Hingham Elementary School Choir will be one of the musical performers. Also part of the lineup are Rory Mason, Mike Metzger, Kimberly and Josh Wachtel and Nortonsmith herself, who made her public debut on banjo at last year’s benefit.

The event is free, but attendees are asked to bring a dish to share for the banquet — while “a donation to the Food Pantry at the door would be really nice,” organizers say. More information is available at the Chesterfield COA at (413) 296-4007.

— Steve Pfarrer




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