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This exhibit, which will be on display during the Salem Arts Festival showcases the diversity of artistic and cultural expressions within our community! Help celebrate Art Days in Salem MA and kick- off the Memorial Day weekend with a reception for our newest exhibit, Connectivity/Diversity! Come celebrate the arts and see the best that Salem, MA and New England has to offer!

Reception: May 27, 6-8ppm
Exhibition Dates: May 21 - June 25 


Linda Mullen - Grace & Diggs

Until her father’s second marriage brought step sisters, Linda Mullen was an only child who spent every weekend, year-round, at the family cottage (just outside her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).  As such, she had to entertain herself and took up all sorts of arts and crafts at an early age. 

Linda’s formal art studies began as prerequisite classes for entry into San Diego’s Newschool of Architecture & Design.  She graduated in 2004 with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and, along with partner Ted Dingley, founded a business providing design, drafting, and artistic services for urban design charrettes and placemaking workshops.  During this time she taught design and sketching at her alma mater until moving to Massachusetts in 2009.

Following 15 years in architecture, Linda launched Grace & Diggs in 2016.  This departure from architecture was a way of exploring art that could be made from recycled materials, and also a way to participate in Salem’s love of costumes and dressing up.  

Grace & Diggs began as a shop on Salem’s Artist’ Row where Linda sold hats made out of paper bags and provided photo backdrops made out of recycled materials. She credits that experience for helping her set down roots in Salem, grow as an artist, and expand her work into the area of public art. She is involved in multiple committees and advisory groups including Salem Main Streets Steering Committee and Culture House Advisory Board.

Grace & Diggs has since moved to Mills 58 in Peabody, and continues to evolve in scope and practice.  Linda is currently leading the Salem Arts Festival Community Art Project, entitled, “Lifelines,” and is working diligently at getting her new studio space ready to open to the public and to host workshops.

Linda has loved Salem and it has been good to her.  Along with meeting great colleagues, friends, and neighbors, Linda met her husband, Rod, here.  They don’t have kids or pets but have managed to keep a houseplant alive for a year now.  You can usually find them out and about, making their rounds of favorite eating and watering holes around Salem.


Awards



"Connected" by Karen Gourley Lehman 

My initial interpretation is that this is a moment of dog-tired weariness that comes from caring for others day in, day out;  a theme prescient with all we've been through with Covid.  I wondered if this woman is carving out a moment of privacy by pretending to be on her phone?  Is she getting bad news?  News that brings relief?  The themes in this photo are deeply human and timeless. The composition of elements and play of light and dark values held me captive and I found myself glued to this image for a very long time.


"Connectivity: The Party Line" by Michael Cangemi 

If ever there was a painting that captured all the movement of a beach day, this is it!  Even the style of painting feels free and breezy, done with abandon.  And then, just when I thought this was purely humorous and light-hearted, I observe that the white squares are… what?  Thought bubbles?  This painting accomplishes humor but then also a slight... something else that I can't quite describe that unnerved me as much as losing my bikini top to a seagull.  Delightful.


"Sweetie" by CJ Karch 

These images invoke storytelling. In trying to write about them, I found I had to assign words, make decisions about what is going on.  

I love the swath of red and light on the "tutu" and "hat."  These photos, and the processes that must have happened in order to take them, remind me of that deep state of play that seems reserved for kids.  I want to name these creatures, know more about their habits, their journeys.  Not only are we given creatures to wonder about, we are also given a glimpse of the world they inhabit.  I found this all magical.

Honorable Mentions


"Forest Fanny" by Jonathan Pinto

 


"Sam's World" by Karen Gourley Lehman 


"Nature Beckons" by Jonathan Pinto

 

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