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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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  • Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:40 PM | Deleted user
    Salem Access TV Art Exhibit
    November 1st - December 30th 2011
    Featured Artist Tommy Gagnon

    Stop by Salem Access Television during the next two months to see the exhibit. The SATV art show will feature a variety of artwork from Tommy Gagnon that will interest people of all ages and interests.  Mediums include;  acrylic paint, oil paint, pastel chalk and various tools. For more information about the exhibit, SATV, and the artist please visit the artist's website TJG-Designs for more details.

    We also created detailed print outs for visitors to read about the artwork and the inspirations behind the art or download a PDF version on Tommy's Website. Additionally look for the guest book to sign at the exhibit.

    You can also find Tommy Gagnon / TJG-Designs on facebook where you can ask the artist questions about the artwork or discuss any pieces from the exhibit.

    Stop by any time during the hours of operation and view the artwork!


    Monday: 10am-9pm
    Tuesday: 2pm-9pm
    Wednesday: 10am-7pm
    Thursday: 10am-9pm
    Friday: 10am-5pm
    Saturday: 10am-3pm

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2011 8:19 PM | Ellen Garvey

    A collection of 70 images of  Victorian Salem from the 1870s with a 3D viewer 
    and wire-o binding for easy viewing.

    Book signing at the Salem Athenaeum November 12 from 1-3 p.m.

    (Try out our 3D glasses or bring your own antique pair to the book signing)

    Limited Edition: signed and numbered by local historian Nelson Dionne

    Dionne, a retired Salem police officer is a lifelong collector of Salem memorabilia. In this book he shares with the viewer 70 rare stereo views of early Salem from his collection. Primarily popular from the 1860s to the 1880s very few stereo views have survived. The viewer will be enclosed with the purchase of the book, and gives you a 3D look at Victorian Salem. Dionne has collected these Salem Stereo views over the past twenty years and there are many more that could create a second volume in the series.


    To arrange a book signing or to sell copies of the book contact:


    35 Osborne Street, Salem MA 01970


    Website: HARDYHOUSE.US

  • Sunday, September 04, 2011 11:12 AM | Deleted user
    Featured Artist at Cinema Salem

      Stop by Cinema Salem during the month of September and see a collection of
      artwork created by the artist, Tommy Gagnon. He went to school for graphic
      design and studied art through multiple venues around Massachusetts. He
      uses multiple mediums including; acrylic, oil paint, pastel, and ink on
      various surfaces such as; paper, canvas, wood, recycled materials and cement
      structures. He is influenced and inspired by urban flair, ancient culture
      and architecture, nature, and geometric optical components. His focus is
      broad so to welcome a diverse audience. He strives to make art more
      accessible to the greater public and local businesses. He hopes to expand
      our view of what we see as art and bring multiple interests together. He is
      constantly seeking new mediums and inspiration and keeps an open mind to
      what may be brought to life through art. Through mixing styles; urban,
      industrial, print, pop, geometric, and abstract, he hopes to inspire and
      push his limits for new results in his work.

    Please come down and join us
      for the month of September at "Cinema Salem" located at One East India
      Square Salem, MA for Tommy's solo art show.

    Free entry
      Exhibit starts 9/1/2011
    For more information about the event and artist visit

  • Monday, August 15, 2011 8:08 PM | Anonymous
    Just Add Water
    A compliment to the Peabody Essex Museum’s Ripple Effect: The Art of H2O

    ARTISTS, Click here for the Call for Art!

    Submit your art to the SAA’s Signature Exhibit. Think: water; lack of water; the effects of water; water in all its states; how to hold water; how water doesn’t want to be held; moving through water; water, water everywhere! The PEM’s curator of Ripple Effect, Jane Winchell, will jury this special exhibit. The exhibit will be located on PEM property, the Carriage Barn of the Andrew-Safford House on Washington Square across from the Common and the Hawthorne Hotel in historic Salem, Massachusetts.

    The exhibit will run September 3-30. Take in is August 28 and 29, 4-8pm at the exhibit location. TWO pieces can be submitted.
  • Sunday, August 14, 2011 8:31 PM | Anonymous
    September Exhibit: FIVEbySEVEN
    At the SAA Gallery on Artists' Row
    This show is open to anyone (members and non-members) in the community who would like to participate. All work for this exhibit should be 5” x 7” in size. We will encourage community contribution by having art
    materials at the SAA building during these times: Thursdays during Farmer’s Market on September 15th and 29th; Saturdays September 10th and 24th from 4‐6 pm. Invite your friends and local celebrities to come down and make some art! We will hang it in the exhibition undefinedON THE SPOT!

    IN-PERSON DROPOFF ONLY on August 28 and 29.


  • Sunday, August 14, 2011 8:19 PM | Anonymous
    September Retail Items Needed
    At the SAA Gallery on Artists' Row
    We need Items for Sale by SAA members in September at the SAA Gallery Artist’s Row Retail Shop. Drop‐Off Items at the SAA Gallery in Artist’s Row on Sunday, August 28 from 4 ‐ 6 and Monday, August 29 from 6 ‐ 8. The SAA Gallery is located at Artist Row on 24 New Derby Street in Salem. Parking is available adjacent to the Gallery in Klop Alley.

  • Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:27 AM | Ellen Hardy


    Salem Arts Association to exhibit FivebySevenon ArtistsRow and Just Add Water” at The Carriage Barn of the Andrew-Safford House [a PEM building].

    SALEM, MA ----The Salem Arts Association (SAA) is pleased to announce two upcoming September exhibits. Explore the work of SAA artist members and non-members in two venues throughout the month.

    "FIVEbySEVEN will be a community participatory exhibition. SAA members will create pieces measuring 5"x7" to be hung in our gallery at 24 New Derby Street. Members of the community are invited to visit Artists' Row on Thursdays Sept. 15th & 29th from 4-6 pm or Saturdays Sept. 10th & 24th from 4-6 pm and create one for themselves. Their works will be added to our exhibition directly as they are created! Please pass this on to friends!

    "Just Add Water, the SAA complement show to the Peabody Essex Museum's exhibit Ripple Effect: The Art of H20, will be juried by Jane Winchell, The Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of the Art & Nature Center at the Peabody Essex Museum(PEM). Accepted works will be on view at the Carriage Barn of the Andrew-Safford House at Washington Square.


    Salem Arts Association Gallery, ArtistsRow at 24 New Derby StreetThursday, September 1 Friday, September 30, 2011

    Gallery hours: Thursday, 10:00 a.m.7:00 pm; FridaySunday, 12:006:00 p.m.

    ArtistsReception:Saturday, September 10, 4:007:00 pm 

    (free and open to the public)

    (Open exhibition, no jury, public invited to participate)

    "Just Add Water"

    The Carriage Barn of the Andrew Safford House at Washington Square, Salem, MA

    (on the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Brown Street, across from the Hawthorne Hotel)

    Saturday, September 3Friday, September 30, 2011

    Gallery hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
    6:00 p.m.

    Artists’ Reception: Saturday, September 3, 4:007:00 pm

    Music by Clay Ventre and the Bonds Girls 

    (free and open to the public)

    (Members $5.00 entry fee per piece, Non-Members $10.00 per piece)

    For more information: or to join the SAA, visit

    SAA Contact Info:

    Ellen Hardy, SAA President 508-783-6591

  • Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:19 PM | Ellen Garvey
    The Salem Arts Association August Show - "Photography 2011" is open in the gallery on Artists' Row.  Stop by and see the fantastic photos submitted by our members and other artists.

    There will be a Reception this Saturday 4-7 at the Gallery.  Come by to meet the artists, view the exhibit, and enjoy the refreshments and company!

  • Monday, August 01, 2011 3:57 PM | Ellen Hardy
    SAA member, Sheila Farren Billings, is having a solo art show at SATV,
    285 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970 from July 15 to August 31, 2011. The
    artist's reception will be held on Thursday, August 4 from 6:00 to
    8:00 p.m. The show will include watercolors, acrylics, oils, ink
    drawings and pastels from Sheila's "North Shore Scenes" series and her
    "Happily Ever After" children's illustrations series.
  • Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:07 AM | Anonymous
    August Exhibit: Photography 2011
    At the SAA Gallery on Artists' Row
    Calling all PHOTOGRAPHERS! This month's exhibit is dedicated to you. Bring us your best and most creative work for this month's exhibit. Feel free to be creative with your presentation and express your artistic vision through photography in all its' permutations.

    IN-PERSON DROPOFF ONLY on July 31, and August 1.


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