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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, July 31, 2014 3:28 PM | Deleted user

    The Salem Arts Association's wanted to try something new by awarding Best of Show, Outstanding work and Honorable Mention for the "From The Earth" Exhibit. We wanted to share with you the winners from the show as well as all of the beautiful artwork that was selected for the exhibit.

    Claudia Kaufman a resident of Marblehead, MA, Kaufman is a member of the Copley Society of Art, North Shore, Rockport, and Marblehead Arts Associations and has been a frequent exhibitor and award winner in Greater Boston area exhibits. Kaufman also an Oil Painter instructor awarded "Best in Show" to Melissa Chouinard for her wonderful work (shown below). You can also see photos from the "Outstanding work" & "Honorable Mentions" winners below. We wanted to congratulate all of the winner of the exhibit as well as all of the artists for their wonderful work displayed in the exhibit. 

    From The Earth Exhibit Winners

    Best In Show Winner

    Outstanding Work & Honorable Mentions Winners



    For more information on the exhibit please visit "From The Earth"


  • Friday, July 18, 2014 6:00 PM | Deleted user

    Location - Artists Row- Salem, Ma

    When- Today! 6pm-9pm

    Event Page-

    Bring something fun to work on. What do you have in progress and need to finish? What have you lost steam for and need to get back to. Get inspiration and ideas. Meet other artists.
    Free for members of the Salem Arts Association, all others please consider a small donation to help support the space. This is an OPEN group, so you can invite your friends!
    We hope to see you there!
  • Friday, July 11, 2014 8:58 AM | Deleted user
    Through The Lens-Call To Art!

    August 1st to 31st 2014

    Reception Date: Aug. 9th

    The Salem Arts Association presents it's annual photography show! 

    Exhibit Location: Artist Row Building #2, 24 New Derby St. Salem, Ma

    To find out more about the exhibit please visit our call to art page for details or download the call in .PDF format.

    Anyone who's art is accepted in the show will need to "sit" in the gallery for two hours, you can sign up for a "Sitting" by visiting our Retail Sign Up page.

  • Thursday, July 03, 2014 10:20 AM | Deleted user

    A Call for Art!  The theme for SAA’s July exhibit is “From the Earth”.  What does that mean to you?  Do you think of planting and gardening, or fossils, rocks and volcanoes?  Supporting locally grown crops?  Do you think of Astrology?  How the Earth was formed?  Do you think of Earth tones?  Or being grounded?  Salt of the earth?  Life on Earth?  Nature?  Earthlings?  Your work can reflect any aspect of or about the earth, in anything from a literal translation to “what on Earth”?  Be adventurous and share your work with the community! 
    The theme for July's exhibit is "From the Earth" please join us at the reception for a truly amazing show! Entry to the exhibit is free, If you wish to purchase artwork from the exhibit we only ask that you keep the piece there until the end of the exhibit.

    What do you think of when you think of our theme "From the earth" do you think of planting & Gardeningold Fossils, volcano's and rocks? Maybe you think of being grounded, salt of the Earth, or life on Earth. The work will reflect what the artists vision was from the theme and can take many forms so be prepared to see a truly organic wonderful exhibit during July.

    Please spread the word, share, and bring in your friends and family to the exhibit. We hope to see you there!


    The theme for SAA’s July exhibit is “From the Earth”.  What does that mean to you?  Do you think of planting and gardening, or fossils, rocks and volcanoes?  Supporting locally grown crops?  Do you think of Astrology?  How the Earth was formed?  Do you think of Earth tones?  Or being grounded?  Salt of the earth?  Life on Earth?  Nature?  Earthlings?  Your work can reflect any aspect of or about the earth, in anything from a literal translation to “what on Earth”?  Be adventurous and share your work with the community! 

  • Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:10 AM | Deleted user

    The Salem Arts Associations first seasonal exhibit FIRE & SPICE is almost over, if you haven't already stop by and see the juried exhibit before it ends!

  • Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:31 AM | Deleted user

    Join us during the season at these events

    We are so very happy to release the 2014 Salem Arts Association event /exhibit list. Mark the dates in your calendar and prepare to see amazing artwork this season!
  • Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:27 AM | Deleted user
    Join Us for the Equinox Party!

    Saturday, March 22, from 7-11 p.m.
    WARD II Social Club
    1 East Collins St

    No cover
    Donations to the New England Lupus Foundation,
     Salem Arts Association and music by BRITTANICA

    Artisan wares for sale
    (if you'd like to sell contact :,
    70% for the artist and 30% donated)

    Subscribe to the event and meet the people that are going, ask questions about the event or just stop by to say hello!

  • Friday, February 14, 2014 9:11 AM | Deleted user

    The Salem Arts Association Magazine • 2012 IN REVIEW • Vol. 5

    S’ART publishes annually.
    February 2013 for 2012 Year in Review

    In this issue...

    Off The Top of Your Head, the 6th PEM
    Inspirational Show at the Andrew-Safford
    Carriage Barn // People’s Choice //
    Starry Starry Night // Photography //
    The Salem Arts Association Magazine • 2012 IN RE VIE W • Vol. 5 Sponsors // Music on Artists’ Row......

    Download your copy here!

    _S'ART_Year In Review .PDF

  • Monday, January 13, 2014 6:40 PM | Deleted user

    The Beauty of Form:
    Celebrating Architecture and the Opening of Ames Hall

    February6-8, 2014  Artists Reception
    February 8th,   1-4 pm,  R.S.V.P. required


    The beauty of Form, celebrating architecture and the opening of Ames Hall.

    The YMCA is looking for artwork to be put on display throughout all their private opening receptions. Work is available for sale and 100% of the sale goes to the artists who get accepted for the exhibit.

    Those People who wish to purchase art from the exhibit will contact the artists directly after the opening weekend. Please put you preferred method of contact on the take-in form. It should include your email and your telephone number. 

    For more information about this event please visit the Calls To art Page where you can read more about the call or download the call to art! 

  • Thursday, January 02, 2014 6:39 PM | Deleted user
    Join us for the 4th Annual Artists & Authors Winter Exhibition at the Hawthorne Hotel

    Limited space is available to participate in our 4th Annual Artists & Authors Winter Exhibition.

    Exhibit Date: February 19, 2014 from 5 to 9 p.m.

    Artists must arrive by 4 p.m. and be set up completely before the 5 p.m. opening. Breakdown will occur directly after the event at 9 p.m. Tables will be provided by the Hawthorne Hotel.  

    Exhibit Location: The Hawthorne Hotel Ballroom, Salem, MA

    for more information about the event please visit "calls to art" page.




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

159 Derby Street, Salem MA 01970