Friday, September 11, 2009

New ‘Hillside Salon’ Arts Gatherings To Be Held at UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Home

Sept. 8, 2009
Contact: Loretta Yarlow413/545-1152

AMHERST, Mass. – In introducing a new monthly arts event, the Hillside Salon, to the area on Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, Sabine Holub, wife of University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Robert Holub, says she hopes to strengthen the local arts community and create a space where artists and friends of the arts can connect. The salon, organized in cooperation with the University Gallery, will be held at Hillside, the chancellor’s residence on the UMass campus, from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening’s format will follow a new concept called Pecha Kucha (“pe-chak-cha”), the Japanese phrase for “chit chat.” It allows each artist 20 seconds per slide to show 20 views of his or her work, a total of only about six and a half minutes per person. After all presentations are made, the salon is open to conversation and discussion. Pecha Kucha Nights are now observed in 230 cities worldwide, according to organizers.

The public is invited to attend the Hillside Salon in Amherst by making advance reservations. Following this month’s initial event, the Hillside Salon will be held on the third Tuesday of each month, featuring four or five artists each evening “to keep the selections fresh and varied,” Sabine Holub says.

Space is limited; for more information or to request a reservation, call 413/545-4336, or e-mail:

Five artists with local connections will be featured at the first Hillside Salon:

• Amy “BannerQueen” Johnquest of Northampton. Her creations play with painted images and the language used in signage. Current BannerQueen projects include the window of the Big E grocery store in Easthampton, cover art for the Massachusetts Review and the window the Fresh Pasta Co. in Northampton. Johnquest also directs the Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College.

• Silas Kopf of Easthampton, a custom furniture maker specializing in marquetry decoration, the traditional craft of piecing different woods together to form pictures or designs. His work is displayed at galleries in Santa Fe, Philadelphia and New York City.

• Chris Nelson, a site-specific installation artist based in western Massachusetts who has exhibited widely in the United States and Japan. His work uses the environment plus “the energy a space holds, including shape, size, structural materials, light, and location,” he says.

•Shona Macdonald, a painter born in Scotland now working in western Massachusetts, inspired by the “signs and myths inherent in maps.” She says the imagery in her work “resembles rough aerial topography. Up close, the small, clustered signs and symbols ‘come into focus’, revealing ‘place’ more literally. Snowflakes are likened to islands; mountains to shells.”

• Angela Zammarelli of Northampton is a 3-D artist who received her BFA from UMass Amherst in 2003. Her work plays with new settings for familiar domestic objects such as bags, dish scrubs and thread

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Alicia Hunsicker's art is undeniably beautiful. She is an expert at extracting the highly-detailed textures and fibers of the human body, bringing them from darkness, into the light, with a technical precision that rivals any modern-day master.
David Aquino, Brattleboro Reformer