Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art in the Orchard: Kid Friendly Art Experiences

"Big Bully Boys Rabbits" high fired terra cotta by Susan Halls

Being raised by a mother who is an artist and art educator, my sister and I had many opportunities to take in the art scene while growing up.  We were always included whether it be an art opening at my mother’s gallery, an outing to a museum, or sitting in our lawn chairs listening to live music at the bandstand in my hometown.  I think being included and exposed to the arts shaped my appreciation for them as an adult.  I want my kids to have the same awareness and hope they will appreciate the creativity of the community around them. 
"Zag" forged and fabricated steel
by Matt Evald Johnson
I’m always keeping an eye out for opportunities that are suitable for me to bring along my little ones.  When my Aunt told me about an orchard in western Massachusetts that had a sculpture trail I knew it was a great chance to take the boys on a road trip to visit my family and take in the local art scene.  Sixteen local and regional artists have their work on exhibit throughout the grounds at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, MA from Mid August through October.  The owners of the farm have been working to revitalize the land, planting and harvesting over 70 varieties of fruit using sustainable growing practices.  This exhibit is the first of what will become a biennial public art event where visitors can enjoy the beauty of both art and nature.  The works include a range of art media including metal, stone, glass, ceramics, and audio and a variety of genre from representational pieces to more abstract.  Everyone could find one piece that they liked best.  A few pieces were large free standing sculptures that towered over us.  A couple pieces were displayed in the fruit trees themselves.   One was at the center of a labyrinth made from raspberry bushes.

"Prarie Chicken" wrought iron
by Marty Klein
The setting was ideal for my guys who were able to run around, pausing to look at a sculpture when something caught their attention and then stomping in a mud puddle or feeding free range chickens that roamed the property.   We spent the afternoon bouncing from one sculpture to the next watching my boys chase each other around the open space in front of the scenic backdrop of Mount Tom where my father grew up hiking and playing when he was a kid.  We headed out for supper at the Clam Box, our lungs full of fresh air and our minds buzzing with thoughts about the artwork we’d seen.  We were satisfied with the experience the boys had that day and inspired to find more once we’d gone home.

No comments:

Post a Comment