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Holiday Showcase & Heart of History Exhibitions

Two Exhibits - November 14 through December 20, 2020

Holiday Showcase Exhibit

Salem Arts Association is excited to close our 2020 exhibition schedule with a showcase of our member artwork. It's a great opportunity to consider the gift of art for your friends, family, or to treat yourself to something beautiful. Our current Salem Arts members are exhibiting their best work showing the community what we have to offer in all of our diverse styles and artistic disciplines.  


Heart of History

The House of Seven Gables Through Artists Eyes

"The aspect of the venerable mansion has always affected me like a human countenance... It was itself like a great human heart, with a life of its own, and full of rich and sombre reminisces. The deep projection of the section story gave the house a meditative look, that you could not pass it without the idea that it had secret to keep."
- Nath
aniel Hawthorne

Salem Arts Association members show art in a variety of styles and media based on the historic buildings and gardens of the House of the Seven Gables. 

Jurors & Awards

Holiday Showcase Guest Juror: Julie Barry

Arts and Culture for the City of Salem

Julie Barry is an Arts Administrator with over 20 years of experience in the field, a demonstrated track record of success, and a passion for cultivating creative communities through thoughtful, engaging, and civically informed arts programming.  Throughout her career, she has held a wide variety of roles, touching all aspects of arts administration from fundraising and partnership cultivation, to exhibition curation, event production, project planning and implementation, and everything in between.  For over a decade, Julie worked as the Director of Community Arts for the City of Cambridge’s Arts Council, managing a suite of 8 core community arts programs along with a rotating cast of collaborative projects.  Over the years she has come to see herself as a public servant and is honored to now be serving the Salem community through her role as Senior Planner of Arts and Culture for the City of Salem.  

When she is not working Julie spends most of her time with her family at their new home in Lynn, MA or exploring the world with her 3yr old daughter, her new favorite pastime!  Julie also enjoys going to concerts, theatrical performances, and underground art shows (and misses them deeply!) as well as with hiking, camping, and just being outdoors - oh and of course video games and Netflix!!  

Juror Notes:

I was delighted and thrilled to receive the invitation to jury this members Holiday Showcase. It is so special that anyone from any walk of life or at any stage of their creative expression can join the Salem Arts Association and have unique opportunities such as this to show off the works they are most proud of.  The absence of a specific theme allows this show to feature so many wonderful styles, mediums and modalities of art, making it a joy to explore, but the selection of awards a bit of a fun challenge. As I roamed the galleries, I found myself gravitating to works that either struck a chord inside me with the gravity of their content or just simply brought a smile to my face and filled me with delight.

Best of Show: 

“Spring House” by Patricia Scialo

This piece is stunningly elegant.  The rough-hewed paper, delicate lighting, and choice of black and white coloring give the work texture and depth.  As viewers, if feels a bit as though we have stumbled upon a scene not meant for our eyes. The central figure, unaware or unmoved by our presence, seemingly poised on the edge of a precipice or abyss conveys a palpable since of longing and loss, isolation and despair.  I find the work subtle yet extremely powerful.


Second Prize:

Famous Stories of when you Sank My Battleship” & “Pg. 103” by James Vaughey

Yes, this prize is awarded to two works by the same artist.  These works are incredibly clever, creative and just plain fun!  I couldn’t pick just one!  At first look you can see the creativity right away, but the more you look the more there is to see!  I was fascinated and thrilled when I discover the sunken ships lying beneath the surface of “Famous Stories of when you sank my battleship” and the text wrapping the sides and top of the book titled “The Stupidest Angel” that give a bit more insight into the Artist’s mind and intentions at the time of creation.  

I can’t say for certain, but does the singular orange figure cowering behind the big trucks and building with armed guards, perhaps remind you of someone…??  I can only hope the zombies do eat him, though they might find the brains within to be lacking.


Third Prize: 

“Sweet Tidings” by Sheila Farren Billings

This work is chock-full of joyful attention to detail.   Again, with this piece we see another case of ‘the more you look the more you see’!  I stood in front of the work for more than 10 minutes exploring the scene, with its tiny delicate brush strokes, and I am still not sure I found all the hidden gems there in: a parade of animals, loosed form the pet store by a mischievous elf, on a holiday romp through the snow; other little elves peeking out here and there; the family dancing around a tree…  All of this brough so much joy and delight to see and discover – and I think it is safe to say that we could all use a bit of holiday cheer!


Honorable Mentions:

“Proximity” by Daniel Breslin

This piece was a very close runner up for 3rd place.  The disconcerted look in the eyes of the masked man, the ominous figure that seems to be made of viscera lurking in the foreground, a barrier between the viewer and the subject.  You can feel his discomfort as though his eyes are calling to you for help, but he knows there is none to be had….  I could feel this one in my chest!

“Green Genie”  by Peter Grimshaw

Wonderfully framed, great light, painterly qualities.


“Green Spirit” by Dewa G Raka-Goncalves

Great color and strong conveyance of emotion.   


“Untitled” by Norm Gauthier 

So much fun!  The delicate pen strokes and fine detail work are phenomenal. While the glass prints it nice, I would have really loved to see the original!

Heart of History Guest Juror: 

Catherine Deborah Costa

Events Manager, The House of the Seven Gables

Art has been a lifelong love for me and I appreciate  color, design, antiques, architecture .The Gables constantly feeds this love that I have for art and my need to be giving back to the community The House of the Seven Gables is a place like no other in Salem. This National Historic Landmark District helps anchor the City with our contributions to The underserved immigrant community , educational programming and community service along with preserving of Salem’s rich history.

Best of Show:

"Harborside House" by Dewa G Raka-Goncalves 

This is my favorite and I consider best in show.  I feel the turbulence in the brushstrokes and the vivid colors.  I also see the Gables as an anchor and shows stability in chaos.

Second Prize:

"Untitled" by Heather Meri Stewart

The Gables is a place of changing light and I feel the summer afternoon with the creeping shadows.

Third Place:

Nathaniel Hawthorne" by James Bostick 

This photograph reminds me of a Dutch painting with the subject illuminated and everything darkened around it.  The play with the light is lovely.

Honorable Mentions:

"The House of the Seven Gables" by Paul Nathan

"Maule & Marvin in the Hotel of the Seven Gables" by James Vaughey 

"Untitled" by Heather Meri Stewart 




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