, Newburyport, MA

September 12, 2013

A fall full of art

NAA kicks off season with exhibits, workshops and more

By Ann Reily
Features Editor

---- — With a cornucopia of exhibits, classes and community programs planned, the Newburyport Art Association has a lot on its plate this fall.

The season officially kicks off with the Fall Members Open Show, which starts tomorrow and runs through Sept. 28. The non-juried exhibit features all kinds of media, with most members contributing one to two pieces.

That show will be followed by two juried exhibits, with pieces selected by juror Lauren O’Neal, the director of the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy. The first show, from Oct. 4-26, will focus on digital art, drawing, oil, printmaking, sculpture and watercolor. Part two, from Nov. 1-23, will include acrylic, fine crafts, mixed media, pastel and photography.

Wrapping up the fall season is the Holiday Gift Show and Sale, which runs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 24.

Members will also have a number of solo and joint exhibits throughout the fall, including “Broad Perspective,” a photography show by Jay McCarthy that opened yesterday, and “Mix It Up,” which opens Wednesday and features work by artists Susan Kneeland and Anne Recchia.

McCarthy, who is the president of the NAA board of directors and a longtime member, says photography is something he’s been “dabbling in for quite some time.”

Living in Newburyport, surrounded by “so many beautiful photographic opportunities,” has inspired him.

“I try to capitalize on that as much as I can,” McCarthy said.

“We’re lucky to have such a vibrant and large art association in town,” said Ann Ormond, president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce. “There’s always something to do, always something to go to down there.”

This fall, the NAA is also working on bringing art outside the Water Street building that hosts its exhibits. A sculpture garden is planned in the space behind the building, next to the courtyard that was built last year.

“We’re in the design phase now,” McCarthy said. “The next step is how to construct it and how to pay for it.”

The garden, a collaboration between the NAA, the city and the Coast Guard, will be connected with the Harborwalk and be open to the public with annual public art installations.

“I hope it will really become a destination location in Newburyport,” said Elena Bachrach, executive director of the NAA.

Bachrach also hopes the sculpture garden will help extend the association’s education outreach, which includes classes and workshops for both members and the community, as well as programs in the local schools and with local nonprofit Opportunity Works.

Classes at the association are designed for everyone from budding artists and those who want to brush up their skills to people who just want to develop their appreciation for art or marketing skills, Bachrach said.

Artist and longtime member Karen Jones is teaching an eight-week pastels class that starts Oct. 9.

“It will be in a colorist style,” she said. “I work somewhat loose, and I try to encourage students to do that. I try to convey an emotion through color and shape.”

A new Newburyport resident who just moved here from Michigan, plein air painter Karen Blackwood will present a hands-on workshop, “Studio Painting: The Landscape in Oil,” on Sept. 21 and 22.

“The workshop will focus on a variety of things, mainly learning how to use reference material and photos,” Blackwood said. “Part of it is learning what a photo can and can’t tell us.”

Blackwood, who grew up in Nashua, N.H., and attended the University of New Hampshire, said she is happy to again be living near the ocean, one of her favorite things to paint.

“I’m in heaven with the views all around here,” she said. “I love to paint the water because it changes. There’s that thrill of trying to capture the essence of it.”

Jim Hines is one NAA member who has taken advantage of a number of classes, including tomorrow’s sold-out Fundamentals of Drawing class.

“You can always learn something,” said Hines, who primarily focuses on oil painting and drawing.

“I started as a beginning painter, and I found that the other students, as well as the instructor, were very nonjudgmental and encouraging and supportive, and the atmosphere of the art association has always been to foster beginners and juniors.”

In the interest of keeping art alive in the younger generation, the NAA has teamed up with Newburyport High and other local schools to offer workshops, scholarships and an annual Young and Budding Artists Show.

Bachrach has also teamed up with local poet Rhina Espaillat and the physics and creative writing departments at Newburyport High School for a unique program. Last fall, students visited an NAA exhibit to find a piece of art they were inspired by, apply a law of physics to it and write about it. Many of them then shared their work at the NAA’s annual meeting.

“It’s been an exciting project,” said Bachrach, who recalled an especially memorable reading by student Ryan Chen, who shared his poem in both Chinese and English.

NAA instructors and volunteers also teach weekly art classes as part of the OpArt program, a collaboration with Opportunity Works that encourages adults with developmental and physical disabilities to create art. The program’s artists exhibit in about five shows throughout the year, and their pieces are also for sale throughout the city, Bachrach said.

Other activities the NAA is gearing up for this fall include an art contest to design the cover of Strem Chemicals’ 50th anniversary catalog and the Art of Giving, a breakfast fundraiser on Oct. 9.

September at the Newburyport Art Association


“A Broad Perspective,” photographs by Jay McCarthy, through Sept. 16. Opening reception this Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Fall Members Open Show, Sept. 13-28. Opening reception this Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Mix It Up,” Susan Kneeland and Anne Recchia, Sept. 18-23.

“It’s All About the Food,” Diane Francis and Niki Orphanos, Sept. 25-30.

Workshops that still have space

Art Appreciation Workshop with Ellen Hart, Sept. 14, 21 and 28, 10 a.m. to noon. $95 for members, $115 for nonmembers.

“Studio Painting: The Landscape in Oil” with Karen Blackwood, Sept. 21 and 22, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. $225 for members, $250 for nonmembers.

Marketing for Artists with Jessica Burko, Sept. 28, 1 to 3 p.m. $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers.

Special event

“Back to the Past: A Daughter of the Nile,” this Sunday, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Muriel Angelil will read from her autobiography about growing up in Egypt.

For more information on the Newburyport Art Association, including gallery hours and upcoming events, call 978-465-8769 or visit