Sunday, November 22, 2015

ArtSpace Mourns the Loss of Artist Doris Carlson

I met Doris Carlson sometime in the early two-thousands, when I joined ArtSpace Maynard. What struck me about meeting her was how kind she seemed. Somehow she managed to convey compassion, a sense of humor, patience, and understanding, all with her gentle voice. I'm sure it's something that all who knew her loved about her. On Friday, November thirteenth, at age eighty-eight, she died in hospice from complications of cancer.

There are many artists that I admire at ArtSpace, but Doris was always on a special pedestal that my mind holds for people that I want to be like when I grow up. I remember her telling me about the decision she made to, when she was in her fifties and after her kids were grown, go to art school! I hadn't even had the courage to apply to art school as a young woman! With that little story she flipped a switch in my brain.

Now, one might think that a woman who had spent most of her days as what was then referred to as a "homemaker" that decided to go to art school might stick to some conservative approach to art; maybe painting some flowers and leave it at that. This was not the case with Doris. She once gave me and my (then four-year-old) daughter a tour of her home, the art she collected, and her own art. Each piece that she showed me opened a door to new possibilities. We stood before a highly textured and gilded piece that was lovingly framed and in a hallway. "Do you know what that is?" she asked. When I said that I didn't, she smiled and declared wryly, "Cocoa Puffs cereal! I have another one upstairs that I did that is Shredded Wheat!" And we laughed.

Doris was more than just a late-blooming artist with a playful personality, she was also legally blind. Macular degeneration had begun to rob her of her sight many years ago, but let me assure you that she never let this be the defining trait that people would remember her by. It was certainly a part of the last several years of her life, but mostly only because she couldn't drive herself places. And if she saw your shadowy figure in the hall, she'd have to ask you to tell her who you were.

When I would give friends tours of the ArtSpace building, along the way we'd come to some of Doris' work—bold patterns of stripes, glazed in metallic paints, angular and bulbous intertwining abstract formations. I'd tell my touring friends that she was legally blind, and they'd invariably express their sympathy. But by my judgment, Doris didn't feel sorry for herself. She hardly complained about her struggles, even when she found out she had cancer. Mostly she'd talk about the nuisance of symptoms, as if she were holding the thing in her hand and showing it to you so you could both nod and agree about it being a real pill. That's just how she was.

As do most artists, I often have doubts about my art. But when I had chances to talk to Doris, her spirit always left me feeling grounded and secure, like nothing was really impossible and things weren't such a big deal. Her story never got old, and she often seemed surprised by how much I loved hearing it. She didn't see herself as a maverick, and I'm not sure she ever grasped how much of a heroine she was to me.

She was loved by her ArtSpace colleagues and will be missed. You can still find her work on display in the hallway outside the studio space that she shared, the studio with the purple door. I hope you'll consider coming to see it at the next ArtSpace Open House.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Miracle of Miracles—the Plywood Has Been Removed!

If I hadn't kept my wits about me, I might have skidded off the road due to a miracle that I was witness to today. Maybe you saw it, too. As I approached the intersection of Powdermill and Waltham Streets, I saw a most wondrous sight. There were workers... replacing the windows... of the old Murphy and Snyder building!

Somebody pinch me.

Whether it was the letter writing campaigns, complaints to Town Hall, a trend toward improvements of commercial buildings all over town,  or Maynard's Guerilla Plywood Painter (GPP), the message got through to Mr. VanValey, the owner of that parcel of land.

And so...

Here ye, here ye!
From this day forward let us declare November nineteenth to be an informal holiday in Maynard! In this season of giving thanks, this one might be close to the top of the list.

Now, what do we call this holiday? "Bye-Bye Ply Day"?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Latest Show "Visual Narratives" at ArtSpace Maynard's Gallery

“Visual Narratives by Studio 7” Exhibit at the ArtSpace Gallery

Featuring the works of: Sara Arshad, Ruth d’Autremont, Caroline Lindeke, Nancy Mimno, Jane Paulson, Ann Schauffler, Pamela Wickham

Curated by Sally Santosuosso

Since pre historic times, artists of every culture, period and genre have crafted visual stories to describe their history, beliefs, values and important events.  Such stories spring from within our collective intellectual and imaginative experience. Stories are essential to convey and honor the nuanced spectrum of human life. The ArtSpace Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibit of 7 artists from Studio 7, representing an eclectic variety of collage, assemblage, painting, drawing, ceramics and fiber art as they share their vision of “Visual Narratives.”

The exhibit runs through November 27th.  Gallery hours are Wednesdays-Saturdays,11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Come join the art scene in Maynard!

The ArtSpace Gallery located at 63 Summer Street in Maynard and is free to the public and is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please call (978) 897-9828 or go to and like us on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

So What's the Deal With the Brewery?

As I've been moving about town, I've heard a lot of people wondering what's happening with Battle Road Brewing Company, the brewery that's expected to take up a good portion of building five of Mill & Main. I figured I'd ask. I reached out to them on Facebook, told them that Maynard was anxious for them to open, and here's what they told me.

"Our brewing equipment has been ordered and is in transit as we speak. Demo has begun on the brewery/restaurant area and the second floor offices are complete. I don't want to give you an expected opening date because these things can (and often do) change quickly, however we are hopeful for early 2016. Cheers!"

I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything will line up for them and that things will go smoothly. We patiently await their arrival.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

"To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Fine Arts Theatre, Maynard

Fans of Film at Fine Arts Theatre, Maynard is pleased to present the first of its installation of films at the newly renovated Fine Arts Theatre Place in Maynard:

Join them December 8th and 9th for “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, To Kill a Mockingbird earned an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and won three Academy Awards (including Best Actor for Gregory Peck). It was nominated for eight others, including Best Picture, and marked the film debut of Robert Duvall.

(Willow Bookstore will be in the lobby selling the two Harper Lee novels.)
Tickets are just $7.00. Check the Facebook page or the theater website. 
And stay tuned for more great films to come!

Films selected by the Fans of Film will be shown on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of each month, so mark your calendars.

Fans of Film at Fine Arts Theatre, Maynard—celebrating the art of film-making by promoting independent, art, documentary, foreign and classic films.

Fine Arts Theatre Place, 19 Summer Street, Maynard, MA
Tele: 978-897-8100

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Don't Forget—Bazaar Russe is This Week, Friday and Saturday

I don't have much time to post, so I'm just going to remind and send a link for the Bazaar Russe—happening this Friday and Saturday. Get some fabulous Russian food.

Here's a link to my blog post from the spring that gives more descriptive information.