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Northshore Magazine

Arts On The Move

Salem Arts Association Has a New Home.

by Dinah Cardin (April 2020)

When describing his playful multimedia art pieces, artist Paul Nathan says, “There’s a certain...happiness." A dynamic collage features a parade more suited for New Orleans passing in front of the Salem Custom House. “They are light and joyous, but not simple,” says Nathan. This could be a good description for Salem itself at times.

A story full of serendipity has been unfolding on Derby Street in Salem. It started when Nathan retired from his work as a lawyer a couple years ago and turned his law office (an 18th-century yellow clapboard building near the water) into the Paul Nathan Gallery and Museum, where he could sell his original artworks and greeting cards stamped with his work. But he wasn’t seeing enough foot traffic. Then one day, when Salem Arts Association president Jim Bostick wandered in. a friendly conversation sparked a historic moment for the arts in Salem. Fast-forward to April of this year and the SAA has a new 2,600-square-foot home across the street from the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and near landmarks like the House of the Seven Gables and Mercy Tavern.

In contrast with the Rockport Art Association, which began in 1921, Salem’s is the youngest on the North Shore, formed in 2007 by a group on Artists’ Row. The Salem Film Fest and Salem Jazz and Soul Festival were starting up at the same time. The SAA now has a membership of more than 300, representing artists living all over the North Shore.

The organization has been housed in several locations, the most recent being a former Universalist church on Bridge St reet. “Our openings were incredibly well attended. It was a really good feeling. But after the opening, nothing” says the organization’s vice president and exhibition curator. Heather Stewart, who lives in Lynn and focuses on Realist paintings.

Stewart is thrilled to have a more permanent home with 11 galleries, space for classes and workshops, and maybe even an artist-in- residence program.

“I consider this a story of growth,” says Bostick, who works as a photographer and designer. One common goal is to bring back the community “clubhouse" feel that existed on Artists’ Row, when musicians would just turn up on a Friday, says Bostick, the new location includes a patio filled with potential on Kosciusko Street. Sunlit galleries are named after a few of the 50 wharves where goods were offloaded from Salem ships traveling all over the world, A first-floor gallery is named in memory of active Salem artist Ellen Hardy, considered the driving force behind the association. Bostick credits Hardy with saying “The word arts has an s for a reason." Keeping this in mind, the association is looking into expanding their offerings, even turning their basement into a black box theatre. “Ellen is smiling down on us.” says Bostick of his friend, who died in 2017. “None of this would have happened without her.”

The SAA has gained traction with a busy calendar of events, like their annual show inspired by a chosen exhibition at PEM. In Oc­tober, there is a fitting Dark Arts exhibit And in the spring is the playful Salon des Refuses, a tradition that started last year, featuring works turned down by the Salem Arts Festival. Now, when an artist’s work is rejected, the city hands them a flyer for the Salem Arts show, says Bos­tick, adding that this opportunity is a tradition going back to the French Academy.

On April 3, the public can attend the first member showcase in the new location. “I feel really strongly about letting people show their work," says Stewart, who has acted as juror, curator, and critic for exhibitions at prominent galleries in the region.

Bostick is coming to the end of his three- year term as president and is happy to hand off the SAA stronger than he found it. Some of that is due to hard work and some to the magic of Salem. In the meantime, the building also houses a small gallery just for Paul Nathan's work. “I think it s a win-win all around," says Nathan. "I see tills as an adventure. The more people you have, the more energy."

September 2020 - Salem Arts Announces Two New Exhibits - Northshore Magazine

July 2020 - Salem Arts Grand Opening Member ShowcaseSalem Access Television (SATV)

May 2020 - Salem Arts Association Launches Virtual ExhibitNorthshore Magazine

May 2020 - Gallery, Never Opened Due to COVID, Launches Online - Salem News

April 2020 - Arts On The Move - Salem Arts Association Has a New Home - Northshore Magazine (download PDF)

February 2020 - Salem Arts Association Moves to Derby Street Neighborhood - Salem Gazette

November 2019 - Autumn Member Showcase - Salem Access Television (SATV)

October 2019 - Dark Arts Exhibit - Salem Access TV (SATV)

September 2019 - Picturing America and Dark Arts Exhibitions - Salem Access Television (SATV)

August 6 2019: Dan Breslin Solo Show - Salem Gazette

June 2019 - Salon Des Refuses Salem Access Television (SATV)

May 2019 - Roots Exhibit at Salem Old Town HallSalem Access Television (SATV)

April 2019 - Member Showcase Exhibition at Salem Old Town HallSalem Access Television (SATV)

March 2019 -  Young at Art, Ellen Hardy, Paula Beaulieu, and Scholarship Fundraiser ExhibitSalem Access Television (SATV)

December 2018 - Fall Member Showcase 2018 - Salem Access Television (SATV)

October, 2018 - Two Exhibits: Untold Stories and Dark Arts 10-5-18 - Salem Access Television (SATV)

August, 2018 - Land & Sea, Raymond Gilbert Solo Exhibit - Salem Access Television (SATV)

July, 2018 - Go Away Exhibit - Salem Access Television (SATV)

March 2018 - Inspiring The Arts - Salem Magazine (Download PDF)

January, 2018 - Salem Cultural Council 2018 Grant Recipients - Salem Cultural Council

December 28, 2017 - Reflecting on 2017 Events in SalemSalem Gazette

November 2017 - Salem Arts Association Member Showcase - Salem Access Television (SATV)

July 17, 2017 - Salem Arts Association: ReVision Opening Reception - Salem Access Television (SATV)

May 5, 2017 - ReVISION Exhibit Opening and Awards - Salem Gazette Video

March 9, 2017 - Salem Arts cuts ribbon on new digs - Wicked Local Salem

March 5, 2017 - Grand Opening Festivities on Salem Access Television - Salem Access Television (SATV)

February 22, 2017 - Salem Arts Announces New Move - Salem Gazette 

February 18, 2017 - "The Bridge at 211" Welcomes Salem Arts Association - Creative Salem

Have news! Members, email your news to: Publicity@SalemArts.org with the subject line "NEWS BLOG POST" if you want your event, show, or news posted in our "News" section. Additionally all posts also go to our Twitter page.

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  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:53 PM | Deleted user

    On November 8, noon to 4 p.m., and November 9, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Brush Strokes is having a take in for an open show. You may submit up to two items at $10 a piece, no bigger then 24" x 30".


  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:36 PM | Deleted user

    Sheila Billings will have a solo exhibit of a selection of  her work, “New England Scenes” in the Stetson Art Gallery of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead throughout the month of November. Her opening reception will be held on Sunday, November 11 from Noon to 2 p.m. at the church, located at 28 Mugford St., Marblehead, and refreshments will be served. There will also be an informal “meet-the-artist” availability in the gallery on Sunday, Nov. 4 from noon to 2 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public, and she would love it if you can come!

    From the artist:

    “New England Scenes” is a collection of work inspired by the beauty of New England. Some paintings were created on location in a realistic style using acrylic and watercolor paints. Others are done back in my home studio and are more stylized and created in a variety of mediums. For more information about my work, visit www.SheilaBillings.com.

    The Stetson Gallery was founded in 1995 to showcase artist members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead and the wider artistic community. Stetson Gallery is open during Church events, when Church staff are in the building, and by appointment. If Gallery lights are on and the door to the Gallery is unlocked, visitors may enjoy the exhibit. In addition, the Church Administrator and the curators can make themselves available to show an exhibit. Please call the Administrator at 781-639-1215, email the curators atstetson@uumarblehead.org, or call curators Anthony Silva (508-641-0767) or Jo Ann Silva(617-285-6265) to arrange an appointment. 

  • Saturday, October 13, 2012 8:46 AM | Deleted user
    City By The Sea
    A show sponsored by the Salem Arts Association
    (Only Members may enter artwork)

    Please join us for the exhibit "City By the Sea" a members only show (anyone may view the exhibit but to enter your work you must be a member) Exhibit sponsored by the Salem arts Association. If you would like to become a member please visit our "JOIN" link on the left side navigation bar. You can select from different levels of membership as well as add artwork to your member profile on our website.

    Work Sought for the show "City By the Sea" All artists are invited to submit up to 2 pieces. It should be wired to hang, no sawtooth, and professionally presented for the exhibit. Size limits are "If it fits through  the door". We look forward to seeing the artwork from the members and hope to see you there. For more information on the "call to art" please visit the download PDF link at the bottom of the page.

    Salem Arts Association

    October Exhibit "City By the Sea"

    Exhibit Dates: October 4 - October 31st , 2012    

    Opening Reception: October 13, 4–6 p.m.

     Exhibit Details Download Here .PDF

    Join the Salem Arts Association and our group of friendly encouraging open minded artists. If you love art like we do select a link below you wish to join by

    Join Salem Arts As Artist

    Join Salem Arts As Associate or Donation member
  • Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:59 PM | Deleted user

    Applications are now available for the Assets For Artists grant program, which caters to low-to-moderate income artists who are interested in accumulating working capital to invest in their creative businesses (we've had artists invest in painting supplies, expand their kiln size, redesign their websites, and other major improvements.) In addition to grants, we offer mandatory arts-specific  business and financial training so that they can grow their businesses more effectively. Artists can receive up to $2,000 dollars in matching grants.
    For more information: http://assetsforartists.org/2012/09/12/mass-artists-apply-now-our-fall-2012-application-is-available/

    The deadline for Massachusetts-based artists is October 12, 2012.

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:10 AM | Deleted user

    Serenitee Restaurant Group Commissions Three Sculptural Light Fixtures for Next Restaurant

    Calling all North Shore “found art” sculptors. Serenitee Restaurant Group is commissioning a large scale, sculptural light fixture over the bar at its next restaurant in Salem. The new restaurant is on the site of the former Greenland Café on Washington St. in Salem. 

    This sculptural art piece will serve as a principal focal point much the way the sculptural octopus functions over the sushi area at Latitude 43 in Gloucester. In addition, unlike the octopus sculpture, it will serve a critical functional and marketing role in the bar area. The primary functions of the piece include the following:

    • Creates stem glass and wine or liquor storage accessible to bartenders
    • General lighting (LED) and visual interest which creates richness and sparkle but no glare
    • Incorporates found objects related to the bar trade and liquor manufacture, past and present
    • Captures the visual variety and richness of the craft of mixology
    • Creates a memorable impression both from within the restaurant as well as from the street
    • Contributes to the brand and overall aesthetic experience in the restaurant

    The approximate size of the piece will be roughly 4 to 5 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. It will be hung approximately 6’-6” above the floor.

    Depending upon cost, two related chandeliers may also be commissioned for the front windows.

    Please contact the owner Mark McDonough immediately to discuss the design if you are interested in submitting a proposal. Collaboration between artists with complimentary talents is encouraged but not essential. Proposals are due by Sept 28 and the winner will be announced Oct 1. The restaurant opens the first week in November. All artists will be given each other’s contact information.  


    Mark McDonough



    Serenitee Restaurant
    185 Main St.
    Gloucester, MA 01930    

  • Sunday, September 16, 2012 2:53 PM | Deleted user

    There's a lot happening in the arts community in and around Salem.

    Ellen Hardy, Interim Executive Director and Henry Zbyszynski, President. Photo by John Hurley

    SALEM, MA—There’s a lot happening in the arts community in and around Salem. While the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) pushes past the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with extraordinary fundraising and a new vision for our region, the local art group Salem Arts Association (SAA) is growing and expanding. Ellen Hardy, President of SAA for two-and-half years has stepped into the new position of Interim Executive Director and Henry Zbyszynski has been voted in as their new President. The SAA continues to draw members from Salem and the surrounding region.

    Each year the city awards space on Artists’ Row, selecting from those who submit proposals. This year, unlike past one-year contracts, the SAA was awarded a three-year contract for its space on Artists’ Row. The SAA brings five exhibits each season and a rotating array of local art work in the retail area of its Artists’ Row space. In addition to art, the SAA provides educational workshops and hosts music on the Row.

    For the last six years, the SAA has looked to the world class neighboring PEM to be inspired—to ask its members to look, to study, and to create something in response to one of the PEM exhibitions. This year, some 60 artists’ works were judged by Paula Richter—Curator for Exhibitions and Research at the PEM—for Off the Top of Your Head.

    The space on Artists’ Row is a wonderful boost to the local arts community and SAA; but the show area at the Row is never big enough to display the work that is entered for the SAA’s PEM inspired show. In years past, SAA has rented various locations around the city for this show. However, for the last two years the PEM has graciously donated use of the carriage barn of the Andrew-Safford House for the Salem Arts Association show during the month of September.

    Each year the work improves—and this year is by far one of the best. This year’s PEM show HATS: An Anthology of Stephen Jones has inspired SAA’s regional artists show Off the Top of your Head. During recent private and public receptions, over 200 guests were treated to a display of outstanding art work.

    Please stop by the carriage barn, across from the Hawthorne Hotel, Thursdays through Sundays for the month of September and see some truly terrific inspirations by regional artists! Visit the PEM’s HATS show and then come over to the lovely courtyard and gallery; you will be amazed by the breadth, the talent, and the ingenuity!

  • Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:54 PM | Ellen Hardy
  • Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:40 AM | Deleted user
    September Gallery Exhibit
    A Group show sponsored by the Salem Arts Association

    Please join us for the month of September in our Salem Arts gallery for the "Seasons" art exhibit. The Salem Arts Association "Seasons" art exhibit is a public exhibit all are welcome to come and view the artwork, artists are able to submit up to 2 pieces that have to do with the "Seasons" of the year.

    Each month we have a new art exhibit in our gallery and each month we have a new theme for that exhibit, located on the "Row" as we like to call it, Artists Row to be exact, across from Front St. & on the other side Walgreens in down town Salem, All are welcome to view each exhibit for free. Non-Members are also welcome to submit works of art as well however a small fee is required per submission. Our gallery is is in the same location as the retail store where one can purchase various types of artwork from many of our members. Our August art show called "Seasons" is about the seasons of the year, we hope to inspired not only the members who create submissions for the exhibit but also patrons who love to "eye-ball" art to come in and enjoy the works created for the show!

    For more information about the exhibit "Seasons" please visit our "Call to Art" page where you can download a detail .PDF of the exhibit as well as the submission form for the event. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!

    Thank you,
    And we hope to see you there!

    August 30–September 30, 2012 
    Exhibition reception: Saturday, September 15, 4–6 p.m.
    Exhibit Location: Artists' Row, 24 New Derby St., Unit #4.

    Artists - please see "Calls for Art" for submission details
  • Monday, August 20, 2012 6:49 PM | Deleted user

    August 4 through September 2, 2012

    Artist’s Reception: Sunday August 5 from 2 to 4pm

    Marblehead, MA – Fran Gardino will be exhibiting his large format photography at the Marblehead Arts Association, 8 Hooper Street, Marblehead from August 4- Sept 2 in the Ballroom Gallery.  

    The exhibit "At the Ocean’s Edge” includes seaside photos from his recent visit to Sicily, honoring the year 2012, 100th anniversary of his grandfather’s emigration to Boston. All of Fran’s grandparents were born in Sicily, and those on his father’s side were fisherman.  His ancestors were told that the ocean was “full of gold”, cod that is. The Old Italian expression “America was made for me” indicated the abundance of “new world” resources available to the arriving masses of immigrants.  Fran’s new Italian American expression “Sicily was made for me” refers to the abundance of photographic subjects that he has recently discovered in Sicily, some of which will be shown in this show including a 10 foot long panorama photo on canvas of the yellow rock laden Sciacca Italy coast, and a 7 foot long print of the Capri Harbor sunset.

    Following Fran’s 2010 MAA photo show “Down by the Riverside” in the ballroom of the Hooper mansion, this show represents an expansion of his horizon in several ways. First, there are coastal images from many locations including Boston’s north and south shore, Canadian Maritimes, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, Grand Isle Louisiana, Malibu California, as well as the Sicilian cities of Sciacca, Taormina and Siracusa.  Secondly, the prints on Moab Unryu rice paper of naturally formed calligraphic markings found on the beach in Brewster MA.  Quoting his friend and calligraphy artist Michiko Imai, “These photos are beautiful and new, unlike any other”.

    Finally, there are several large and small photos printed on Hahnemuhle Bamboo paper. This paper was specially chosen to present the striking tone and detail of his “Cactus Plant over Taormina Bay”.

    The exhibit runs from August 4 through September 2, 2012 with an opening reception on Sunday, August 5, 2-4pm.

    On August 31 Fran invites all to visit the southern end of Revere Beach at sunset for the “Low Sun Moon Celebration” on the occurrence of a simultaneous Low Tide, Sunset and Moonrise, which was inspired by, and the location of Fran’s 10 foot photo image “Revere Beach Sunset” that happens to be currently showing until August 5th in the Off the Wall” exhibit juried by MFA’s Cody Hartley at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham MA.

    Fran Gardino

    In addition to having 2 large-scale photo installations at Logan airport, several long panorama photos in the offices of the Charles River Conservancy in Harvard Square, the Mystic River Watershed in Arlington MA and 12 photos in the Wellness Center in Dedham MA, Fran has participated in local solo and group shows with a constantly evolving series of photographic work. His landscape photos reflect the combination of photographic and painterly influences accumulated while earning a BFA in Painting from Mass College of Art.

    All of his panorama photos are shot in multiple shot sequences and stitched together using Photoshop Merge. The images reflect the process of him panning and tilting his camera to capture the scene, much like a cinematographer would capture a movie scene.  Like watching a wide screen movie or TV, his panorama photos are a series of curiosities assembled into one image.

    He has managed to generate an appeal to a variety of age groups, tree huggers and ocean and river lovers and city dwellers alike, through his careful photographic observations, sense of humor, high-octane artistic energy and total devotion to art.  He has shown his work in numerous shows including the Danforth Museum in Framingham, the Print Triennial in Krakow Poland, the Brighton/Allston Historical Museum, Allston/Brighton Open Studios, NewTV and the Vermont Artisans and Gallery 2 in Brattleboro VT.  Jurors from the Boston MFA and DeCordova Museums have accepted his work.

    Fran has self-published two blurb.com photo books named “Paint the Sky Fiery” of the Boston Pops fireworks and “Touch the Sky” of cloud photos taken from the cabin of commercial flights. In the spring of 2012 twenty of Fran’s “Touch the Sky” photos on canvas were exhibited in the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art of the Midland Center for the Arts in Midland MI.  He has hundreds of photos posted on “Google Maps” and “Sewers of the World Unite” websites.

    Fran Gardino


    ”At the Ocean’s Edge”

    Artist’s Statement

    One year ago, a friend of mine told me of an Ansel Adams photo show at PEM (Peabody Essex Museum) in Salem, MA. We promptly arrived on the first Sunday in June of 2011, only to find that the show was planned for June of 2012.  We had to wait an entire year!

    During the intervening winter, after reading the Ansel Adams autobiography, the dream of my own photo show on a similar subject matter began.  For years, I had already photographed the ocean's edge, primarily in Boston and the surrounding areas.  Coincidentally, I had also planned a trip this past May to Sicily, home of my grandparents on the 100th anniversary of their emigration to the USA.  My father’s ancestors were fishermen and chose Boston due to the fact that the ocean here is “full of gold” --- cod fish, that is.

    My show “At the Ocean’s Edge” at the Marblehead Art Association includes 30+ of my photos of the old and new homelands as well as western USA coastal locations.  The similarities and differences are striking. The photos show the majesty, strength and power of the oceans, of plush coastal seaweed, shellfish and the life sustaining natural wealth of our local oceans and the hardened Sicilian coast.

    As a photo artist, I try to capture the beauty, boldness and elemental spirit of each location.  In the process, it becomes clear to me why my ancestors came to, and stayed in, the USA.  As America was made for them to fish, the ocean’s edges were made for me to photograph.

    FG - June 2012


    On August 31 I invite all to visit the southern end of Revere Beach at sunset for the “Low Sun Moon Celebration” on the occurrence of a simultaneous Low Tide, Sunset and Moonrise, which was inspired by, and the location of my 10 foot photo image “Revere Beach Sunset” currently showing until August 5th in the "Off the Wall” exhibit juried by MFA’s Cody Hartley at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham MA.

  • Saturday, August 18, 2012 4:55 PM | Deleted user

    SALEM, MA--The Salem Arts Association (SAA) announces Seasons, its September Exhibit at Artists' Row, on view from August 30 through September 30, 2012. A public reception for Seasons will be held on Saturday, September 15, at the SAA space on Artists' Row at 24 New Derby Street.

    • Exhibition Dates: August 30–September 30, 2012
    • Opening Reception: September 15, 4–6 p.m.
    • Artists' Row Hours: Thursday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12–6 p.m.
    • Location: Artists' Row, Building #4, 24 New Derby St, Salem, MA (across from the Lobster Shanty)

    About the Salem Arts Association:
    The Salem Arts Association, Inc. is an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit arts organization. In our mission statement, the stress is on the arts, plural. Artists working in all media and all disciplines are welcome, as are arts lovers, enthusiasts, and patrons. Since incorporating as a non-profit corporation on August 31 2007, Salem Arts Association (SAA) has produced over 40 exhibits, events, and workshops, all free of charge to Salem’s residents and visitors. To date, SAA programming has reached close to 20,000 people. This has been made possible in part through collaborations with numerous local businesses and organizations, including the Art Corner, the City of Salem, Salem Main Streets, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, and Salem State University.

    Julia C. Bookout
    Communications Chair
    Salem Arts Association
    P.O. Box 226
    Salem, MA 01970



© 2007 - 2020,  Salem Arts Association is a 501(c)(3 )non-profit organization

159 Derby Street, Salem MA 01970