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SUMMER 2017 NEWSLETTER

Celebrating 50 Years at the LCA
Layout 1When the bunting goes up on the front of Leverett Crafts and Arts on July 4 it will mark the beginning of our ongoing commemoration of our founding in 1967, when Joe Barnes and friends saw the potential in an aging eyesore in the heart of Leverett and transformed it into the vibrant institution we are celebrating this year. Our multiple gallery spaces will display works inspired by the building’s history, representing the richly varied talents of our residents and students, past and present. Workshops, shows, talks, music and parties will make LCA a great place to visit this summer and fall. Everyone is invited!  Save September 17 for our LCA 50th GALA a chance to share wine and memories with the pioneers who made their vision of a community arts center real, the artists and craftspeople who have enriched us all with their creativity, and the friends and neighbors who have supported us through the years.

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FALL 2016 NEWSLETTER

 

Layout 1Looking Back to Move Forward: Updates & Improvements at the LCA
The extensive study of the LCA building’s history and current condition, officially known as the “Historic Structure Conditions Assessment and Preservation Plan”, has been completed. The structure has been examined from basement to chimney, its odd corners and eclectic windows catalogued and evaluated. As a result we have a blueprint for what needs to be done, and how to preserve LCA’s material past without limiting its ability to serve multiple functions as a community center for arts and crafts. We are grateful to the Leverett Community Preservation Commission, the Leverett Select Board, the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Leverett Historical Commission for their support of this major project, and we are especially grateful to Mitch Mulholland and Walt Burnham, whose energy and enthusiasm were vital to its success. Mitch has been writing a history of the building, from box factory to arts center, and will oversee putting the “Plan” on our website.

On September 28, at 7:00, in the Barnes Gallery, the architects, engineers and historians who did the study will share their experience and knowledge as part of a forum on the building’s past. Please join us for refreshments and an informative discussion of what it means to do historic preservation.

camerawebWe now have a preservation plan and a historic preservation restriction on the building, which means that improvements will have to be approved by the Leverett Historical Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The requirements are not onerous and having the study gives us crucial guidelines for repairs and makes us eligible for major grants in the future. We are anticipating some badly needed capital improvements, including a new roof and siding, and for that we will need significant funding. Right now we are installing more new windows in the drafty north studios, thanks to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and the hardwood flooring has been extended from the Barnes gallery into the adjacent Hall gallery, spaces which are always filled with art worth a visit.

Our constant upgrades do not mean, however, that we will lose what building manager Walt Burnham calls ”the bows and swoops and swirls that are part of what we love about old buildings.” The Yankee ingenuity in the face of limited resources and cooperative ethos that transformed what had been an abandoned factory and then, in the 1940’s, home for some 20,000 chickens, into a thriving center for arts & crafts are embedded in its uniquely configured studios, the windows recycled from UMass, the weathered beams and corridors.

Layout 1Call for Volunteers
The current lively schedule of activities and improved appearance of the building owe a lot to our wonderful and talented volunteers, who have sold pizzas at the Holiday Store, weeded and replanted the front garden, painted the gallery walls and so much more. Let us know if you are interested in helping out (e.g. gallery sitting for a couple of hours). Check out our website, find a class in pottery making or botanical printing, or enjoy the popular Danse Café. If you are planning a party or event or looking for classroom space, LCA offers attractive and affordable options. Call Walt at 413-548-9070.

Upcoming 50th Anniversary
Next year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Leverett Crafts & Arts with a series of events which will commemorate the many people who have made it a unique and valued part of the Pioneer Valley. Its dual presence on the National Register of Historic Places, as a 1903 Box Factory, and as a1960’s Craft and Art Center, is a recognition of its ongoing importance to Leverett. Please help LCA continue its mission to provide a home for the arts by giving generously.

 

FALL 2015 NEWSLETTER

Looking Ahead at the LCA
Leverett Crafts and Arts, like other nonprofits in difficult economic times, spends a lot of time and energy seeking the funding which will allow it to fulfill its mission. Art nowadays seems to require not just paint or clay and skilled hands but also the ability to fill out many many pages of forms in excruciating detail. Fortunately for the LCA, board member Mitch Mulholland has been extremely generous with his time and grant-writing expertise, and we are delighted to be able to say that this past year has been our most successful yet in terms of winning grants.

Recent Funding
LisaWwebThe Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has again generously supported us, granting us $5,000 to be spent on replacing old, deteriorating windows. As we reported in our last newsletter LCA was awarded $8,200 from the Leverett Community Preservation Act Fund to match an additional $10,000 from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects fund (administered by the Massachusetts Historical Commission). LCA contributed $6,800 to total $25,000 for a Conditions Assessment of the building. This sum will enable us to hire a team of experts (architect, historic preservation consultant, structural engineer and mechanical engineer) to analyze our building and advise us about what needs to be done, and how to do in keeping with its historic character. The resulting report will become LCA’s Master Plan, giving us guidelines for any work done on our 118 year old structure and will add an advantage in future grant applications.

What To Do for Creative Fun in Leverett???
The LCA provides multiple answers to that question… check us out on barnesgallery.org (for current listings of gallery events/calendar) or leverettcrafts.org (for general information) or Facebook to see what LCA has to offer. And look for the OPEN FLAG as you drive by.

This month admire Lori Lynn Hoffer’s richly colored paintings in “Treescapes and Travels.” In November the annual Residents’ Show will demonstrate the range and variety of works produced in our studios. In December we will hold our yearly Holiday Store where you can buy wonderful gifts and visit with the artists and craftspeople who made them. You can also take a great class at LCA.

BluGanuWebLearn pottery with Joy Friedman, or botanical printmaking with Leonore Alaniz, or take a workshop on the creative process with Dale Schwartz. Like music? The Danse Cafe opens this month for regular sunday events. We also have an ongoing concert series, with recent performances by John Coster, the Masala Jazz Band and Blue Ganu. And don’t forget, you can use our space to have fun of your own. We have a classroom available for courses, and the gallery makes a great venue for shows, concerts and social events.

Call Executive Director Walt Burnham at 548-9070 or email him at leverettartscrafts@gmail.com for more information.

Connections and Support
We need a better email list, so we can let you know about events at LCA that might interest you. Larger audiences make us happy and ensure the continued presence of a lively local arts and crafts center – which we are convinced will nourish your soul and enhance life in Leverett. Just send your address to leverettartscrafts@gmail.com. Let us know what you have experienced and enjoyed at LCA, and what you would like to see us do in the future. We also need your continued financial support. Your dollars enable us to continue and even expand our contributions to the cultural life of this community, and keep our historic building sound for a very long time. Thank you for being a partner in local art!

 

SPRING 2015 NEWSLETTER

Our Past and Our Future
We are delighted to announce that LCA has received a substantial grant from Leverett CPA funding. The grant, which will draw on the expertise of architects, historical preservationists and structural engineers, will help to fund a systematic survey of the building’s history and current condition.

We already know that the building requires extensive work to maintain its structural integrity, but having an authoritative study in place will make possible a master plan for repairs and renovations, and will also make us eligible for future grants.

EmployeesWebIn approving the grant the CPC and Town Meeting acknowledged the importance of LCA to the town’s history and current vitality. In the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries there were a number of small industrial operations in Leverett: grain mills, woolen mills, furniture factories, tanneries, saw mills, and of course box factories.

At its most productive, during World War I, the Beaman & Marvell Box Shop (current LCA building) employed some 50 people. But now all of the town’s small industries are long gone. The North Leverett saw mill and the LCA are left standing as physical reminders of that era. And only the LCA is an active, occupied, community resource.

Too often when people think of preserving New England history they think of elegant center-hall colonials and imported china, but its industrial past, far more important to the lives of most ordinary people, is equally worth honoring. The LCA offers a unique opportunity to preserve the past while envisioning a future. We may not be making wooden boxes but the building still houses people who use their skills to make things of value to our community.

And So Our Appeal…

ShowWebOur efforts rely on your continued support – please come to our events, sustain our artists, make use of our building, and donate to our fund drives. If you are interested in renting space for your own event, please call Walt Burnham at 413-548-9070, or email leverettartscrafts@gmail.com. In the interests of efficiency we are including a donation form with this newsletter rather than sending a separate letter.

We hope you will give generously so that LCA can continue to be both a lively venue for the arts and a crucial part of the Leverett Center Historic District. Please let us know what we can do to improve our communications with you. Would you rather receive the newsletter electronically? Would you like to be on our email list so we can keep you informed about exhibits, classes, concerts, etc? Let us know the best way to keep you informed by contacting us at leverettartscrafts@gmail.com.

Building Programs at the LCA
SteveShowWeb
Thanks to an energetic and committed group of resident artists and craftspersons the building is livelier and more inviting than ever these days. You can find a list of upcoming events and exhibits at barnesgallery.org or more general information on our website leverettcrafts.org.

You can also just drop in whenever you see the OPEN flag. The Barnes Gallery is nearly always filled with work demonstrating the creative talents of local artists. We have had our first concert of the year, and the calendar is filling up with lectures, poetry readings, dances, weddings and varied art exhibits.

 

FALL 2014 NEWSLETTER

GOOD NEWS FOR THE LCA BUILDING! LCA is delighted to have received a grant of $6,000 from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. The money will enable us to replace old single pane windows on the sides of the building. Studio holders can look forward to a more comfortable winter thanks to the improvements. We have made substantial progress in renovating our historic structure, making it more attractive and energy efficient. Much still remains to be done, however. With the crucial assistance of Mitch Mulholland we have been working hard applying for further grants, but we continue to rely on our generous donors to help us achieve our goals. Investing in the building now means more of our future income can go towards the programs which make LCA an asset to the community, instead of for utilities.

NATURE, ART & THE LCA Leverett itself – its woods, old barns, decorative cows, ponds and fields – is not just a lovely setting for LCA but also a continuing source of inspiration. In November and December the Friends of Leverett Pond will sponsor a show at the Leverett Library, featuring many artists from the LCA as well as other members of the community. Simultaneously, in November the Barnes Gallery at LCA will exhibit resident works devoted to images of Leverett and beyond. The two shows, close in location and theme, will provide visitors with a rich sense of place. LeonoreClassThe Amherst Garden Club recently held a workshop with resident artist Lenore Alaniz on botanical printmaking, transmuting their plants into new forms. On Columbus Day weekend there will be another collaboration between woods and studio when the Leverett Trails Committee sponsors a walk in which participants will gather materials which will then be turned into botanical prints the next day, again instructed by Lenore Alaniz. This past spring’s joint event between LCA and the Leverett Trails Committee, a day of collage making using finds from the Leverett woods, was a great success and we look forward to further projects, combining the pleasures of exploring Leverett’s varied landscapes on trails the town makes available to all, with the pleasures of creative expression.

A LITTLE TOO MUCH NATURE BeeManWEBLCA has prided itself on its openness to many ways of transforming the material world into something new, but even we have our limits. When building manager Walt Burnham discovered bees had built a rather large hive inside the walls of an upstairs studio it was agreed the industrious but non-rent paying crafters had to go. A New York gallery might have done something exhibit-worthy with this discovery, but we are committed to conventional insulation and solid walls. Fortunately expert apiarist Russ Billingsley was willing to remove the bees. The colony was saved but we won’t be selling LCA honey. We would welcome other cooperative projects which would take advantage of LCA’s space and the expertise of our residents. Contact events manager Bill Rathbun (413-687-3271) to discuss your ideas.