Extraordinary art by ordinary people

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Posted: 09/20/2021 19:42:35 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Common Wealth Murals is launching a two-month art exhibit that will showcase local artists and their work across Pioneer Valley at an event this Wednesday.

ValleyBike first contacted Common Wealth Murals because they “wanted to do something to celebrate the arts in western Massachusetts,” according to Britt Ruhe, director of Common Wealth Murals.

Starting Wednesday, the “Valley Arts Expo” will showcase photographs of 20 local artists and their work at dozens of ValleyBike booths in towns and villages including Northampton, Easthampton, Springfield, Holyoke and Amherst.

The organizations will host an event Wednesday featuring representatives from ValleyBike and Common Wealth Murals, as well as three artists whose work will appear on newsstands in downtown Northampton: Timna Tarr, a quilter; Jackie Lucchesi, corset maker; and Tuyet Linh Lafleur, painter. The event will take place at ValleyBike station at 99 Main Street in Northampton at 3 p.m.

After many people turned to art during pandemic lockdowns, Ruhe said she was inspired by “so many different types of art” made by ordinary people in local communities. Artistic talents showcased by this project include painting, graphic design, quilting, costume design, and soldering.

She said she hopes the exhibit inspires more people to follow their own creative urges.

Isabella Dellolio, a portrait photographer who has worked with Ruhe in the past, photographed each artist with a piece they created to be displayed on 2 by 4 foot posters inside ValleyBike kiosks.

The exhibit is slated to run until Thanksgiving, with ValleyBike dedicating its advertising space to art “out of the goodness of the heart,” Ruhe said.

The Mill District in Amherst and E Ink of South Hadley are the exhibition sponsors, and representatives will appear at Wednesday’s event.

In a statement, E Ink said it “proudly sponsors the Valley Artists Expo to support artistic expression through local artists who share their unique historical, cultural and social values ​​and experiences.”

“When we heard about their Valley Artists Project, along with our friends at Common Wealth Murals, it aligned perfectly with our own efforts to bring increased visibility to local artists at the General Store and Hannah’s Local Art Gallery,” The Mill District said in a statement.

Ruhe said she appreciated the sponsors, as well as ValleyBike, for making this possible. These organizations “stand out for their commitment to the arts,” she said.

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