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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 Street. “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 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 this as an adventure. The more people you have, the more energy."

May 2023 - Vibrant Art Scene Blooms in Salem - Northshore Magazine

September 2021 - Destination Salem Podcast Featuring Salem Arts Association and Artoberfest - Northshore Radio 104.9

March 2021 - Salem Arts Association Welcomes New Director and Artist in Residence - Creative Northshore

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

July 2020 - Salem Arts Grand Opening Member Showcase Salem 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

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  • Sunday, June 03, 2012 2:49 PM | Deleted user
    Salem Arts Association photographer, Ziggy Hartfelder, will be holding a reception for the opening of her show at Alex and Co. Gallery at 12 Front St. in Salem, MA, from 5 to 7 p.m.

    The reception coincides with the opening day of the Salem Farmer's Market, making it a perfect day to visit Front Street.
  • Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:07 PM | Deleted user
    Salem Arts Association member, Sheila Farren Billings, has designed a Lady of Salem figurehead for the Salem Arts Festival. Her Lady has been sponsored by Cabot Money Management and will be installed outside their offices on the Essex Street Mall. The Ladies of Salem will be unveiled as part of the Salem Arts Festival.
  • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:00 PM | Deleted user
    Salem Main Streets, with support from the Salem Arts Association, will present the much anticipated Salem Arts Festival this weekend, June 1–3. The Salem Arts Festival is a celebration of all of the arts, including an entertaining array of painting, photography, sculpture, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theatre, and poetry.

    The Salem Arts Association is involved in many aspects of this community event. Ellen Hardy, SAA President, and BJ Larson, SAA Development Committee Chair, are members of the 2012 Salem Arts Festival Organizing Committee. Ellen Hardy is also serving as a juror for the event.

    The Salem Arts Festival will feature the work of many Salem Arts Association members. On view in Old Town Hall will be the work of SAA members Paula Beaulieu, Dan Brown, Janet Juel Cook, Patty deGrandpre, Tommy Gagnon, Karen Hallion,Sheila Theberge, and Henry Zbyszynski. Among the juried street fair artists will be SAA members Morgan C. Lechinsky, Jennifer "Jeff" Bowie, Elizabeth J.Cooper, and Ellen Garvey.

    To plan your Salem Arts Festival weekend, visit for the schedule and further details.

  • Friday, May 11, 2012 7:14 PM | Ellen Garvey

    Call for Art - SAA June Show


    To open the 2012 season the Salem Arts Association presents work in its gallery that will be voted on by the public
    May 26-June 30, 2012
    Salem Art Association Gallery on Artists' Row in Salem, MA
    24 New Derby St., Unit #4
    Download the call for art by clicking on one of these links: pdf, doc

    All artists are invited to submit 2 pieces for voting by the public. No theme, bring your best work.

    The show is open to all active members of Salem Art Association, and there is no entry fee.
    To become a member of Salem Arts Association and see other benefits of membership, please visit our website.
  • Thursday, May 10, 2012 2:23 PM | Deleted user
    Jan Condon is having a solo exhibit—"Colorful Inspirations"—at the Salem Access Television Gallery at 285 Derby Street in Salem, MA.

    It runs from May 4  through June 29.

    Admission is free and open to the public during business hours.

    Visit for hours and directions.
  • Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:26 PM | Deleted user
    The Salem Arts Association (SAA) is happy to announce that it will be exhibiting and selling artwork at Artists' Row in Salem, MA, for the 2012 season.

    SALEM, MA—For yet another year, visitors to Salem Artists' Row will be able to enjoy exceptional art and fine crafts presented by the Salem Arts Association (SAA). Located at 24 New Derby Street in Salem, MA, between Front Street and Derby Street, Artists' Row is made up of four buildings, open seasonally to artist vendors. The SAA retail shop and gallery at Artists' Row will be open from May 24 to October 31 2012.  The retail shop will be selling work by SAA members all season. Each month, the SAA Gallery will display works based on a different theme:

    People's Choice, June
    Abstract, July
    Starry Starry Night, August
    Seasons, September
    Salem–City by the Sea, October

    Salem Arts Association at Artists' Row, 2012

    • Artists' Row, 24 New Derby Street, Salem, MA
    • May 24 through October 31
    • Thursday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday 12:00 p.m.–6 p.m.
    • Exhibition receptions: Second Saturday of each month–6/13, 7/14, 8/11, 9/8, & 10/13

    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 close to 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.

    For more information or to join the SAA, visit or e-mail
    SAA contact: Ellen Hardy, SAA President, (508) 783-6591
    Julia C. Bookout
    Communications Chair
    Salem Arts Association
    P.O. Box 226
    Salem, MA  01970
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:59 PM | Ellen Hardy


    Local artists called to create and donate birdhouses for Northeast Animal Shelter

    SALEM, Mass. (April 2012) Salem’s collection of community minded stores, Roost, The Beehive and Scrub, locally owned by Kate Leavy and Jamie Metsch, are hosting their 2nd Annual Gimme Shelter Birdhouse Auction on June 3, 2012, with all proceeds benefiting the Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS).
    Local artists are invited to submit their original take on the classic birdhouse to be displayed and auctioned to the public at the event held at Roost’s 40 Front Street location. Ideally, the birdhouses should be functional as well as decorative, but no design restrictions apply except they need to fit through the door.
    Want to donate a birdhouse creation for this very worthy cause? Contact us with your intent to submit by May 1st, 2012 to be included in promotional materials. Completed birdhouses must be received no later than May 20th, 2012.
    For more information visit: GimmeShelter2012 or contact Gillian at Scrub at (978) 594-8391, or email
    The Northeast Animal Shelter provides safe shelter, food, and healthcare to rescue animals in the North Shore area.  The Northeast Animal Shelter is located in Salem, MA and is one of New England’s largest no-kill animal
    Roost and The Beehive are located in downtown Salem, MA at 38-40 Front St. Scrub is at 230 Essex St. All the stores offer locally made products and artwork, promoting sustainability and the freedom of expression.  Find us
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:03 PM | Ellen Hardy
    After 5 years in Lowell the Massachusetts Poetry Festival is back in Salem for its second year April 20-22, 2012

    Check it out!
    Register and post a profile!

  • Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:28 PM | Ellen Hardy

    The Salem Theatre Company is producing Jeffrey Hatcher’s A PICASSO for an April 26 – May 19 production run.  We are in need of a bout 40 canvasses of various sizes to dress the set.  Any art on the canvasses will not be seen by the audience as they will be stacked against a wall.


    We will need the canvasses sometime the week of April 16 and return them the week of May 20.


    If you have a few canvasses that we may borrow for the run, please let  Gary LaParl  know by e-mailing:  He’ll arrange pick-up or delivery.


    Thank you!

Salem Arts Association
159 Derby Street 
Salem, MA 01970  
Phone: 978-745-4850 

Weekends 12-6pm

Closed: Christmas, Thanksgiving
and New Years Day 
Parking: on street when available


© 2007 - 2024,  Salem Arts Association is a 501(c)(3 )non-profit organization

159 Derby Street, Salem MA 01970