Arts in the Park, six feet apart

Jul 12, 2020

MARION — Neither coronavirus, nor inclement weather, could put a stop to the Marion Art Center’s Arts in the Park open-air market on July 12. 

Over 20 vendors set up shop in Bicentennial Park to sell homemade goods like jewelry, soap, and handbags, and artists from the center’s new exhibit “Vessels” were on-site for a meet-and-greet.

“It feels fantastic” to have Arts in the Park this year, said Executive Director Jodi Stevens. 

She said the center wasn’t sure if the event could be pulled off, or if people would feel comfortable coming to the event.

To help, the 21 tents at the open-air market were spaced out enough to allow for social distancing, and all guests and vendors had to wear masks. 

Though smaller in size than past years, the event was well-attended.

One of the vendors was Lynn Hahn, Marion resident and owner of Earthsea Glass. The lampwork glass artist said she was “so thrilled that they were able to pull it off.”

For Hahn, Arts in the Park is the only event she has scheduled from now until Thanksgiving. All the spring and summer events she planned to attend were canceled. 

“People are appreciative that we’re here,” said Cindy Walsh, owner of Red Rover Clothing out of Framingham.

She has been selling her women’s outerwear online and waiting for events to be scheduled. In March, she started making masks and has made 1,500 of them since. 

“I look forward to this event every year,” said Barbara Materna, owner of BABS Fine Handmade Bags. She loves to see the familiar faces every time she comes to Marion for the event. 

She had along with her Julia Hall, a Mattapoisett resident and future Bridgewater State College senior who made wine holders and tea towels with designs of a map of the Tri-Town on them. 

Beyond the vendors, artists from the art center’s new exhibition “Vessels” were at the event. 

The exhibit was supposed to open in April, but was pushed back to July for coronavirus concerns. With its opening, the art center had an outdoor meet and greet with the artists in lieu of an opening reception.

Potter Hollis Engley is a part of the exhibition and gave a pottery demonstration. He has been making pottery for over 30 years and teaches at the Falmouth Art Center in the wintertime. 

Since the start of the virus, Engley actually made more pieces for the show like the different arched pottery works on display. He and his partner Kim Sheerin own The Pottery Barn in Pocasset. When the virus shutdown, the studio had to close its doors for lessons, so he was able to work on new pieces there.

Engley said that having the reception outside is good because “people who get to see the work can actually see the work” without being crammed amongst other people at the opening reception.

Michael Pietragalla of Fairhaven is a wood furniture maker who created different wooden boxes for the exhibit. His inspiration for the pieces were always evolving and he thought it was “poetic” to make the boxes as the ideas for them appeared. 

Craig Coggeshall has selected works of pottery still life paintings on display in the show. Usually a landscape painter, the Wareham-based artist painted the pottery works in the wintertime when he couldn’t be outside. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity,” said his wife Katherine.