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An Art Surprise!

In case you’ve found this, and used to read my postings, and have come back for more – thank you and welcome back!

It’s been since pre-pandemic — doesn’t that relate to so much! — that I’ve traveled much.  We have gone a few places, and I’ll catch up with a few of those; however, for my welcome back, I want to tell you about a new place we discovered yesterday in New Salem MA!


An Art Surprise!

Yesterday, we took the opportunity to go on a local outing on a beautiful late winter day here in New England – blue skies and a chilly breeze, but gorgeous!

We had recently received in the mail a booklet listing the local Chamber of Commerce members for the valley we live in. There was an ad with a photo of a stunning work of art announcing their open season for 2024. With amazement after we looked up the address, we discover it’s a mere 35 minutes on local roads – perfect thing to do on said beautiful day.

I need to sent the stage and say that we have no less than six major colleges within that same driving distance, all with wonderful museums and galleries, as well as many local artisans. We had thought that this was worth a visit as we’ve been surprised before when going to a small gallery opening or Open Studio. Either surprised in terms of the quality of the art exhibited or we had formed an opinion of what the title of the exhibit meant and weren’t so certain it would interest us, and it did. So an adventure was in order.

Allow me to describe that the museum’s address revealed it to be on the common of one of our smaller rural towns, situated near a major reservoir, and known for maple syrup, home farmers and a few local vineyards and breweries. It is also, like many towns in our valley, home to folks who live in a large city a few hours a way and buy an old home to fix up and enjoy on weekends and summers or for a good winter sports location residence. We were pretty convinced on our way over, that it would be a delightful old home, lovingly restored, with a gallery on the first floor, and some studio space for the collector to give some classes.

Well, we weren’t totally accurate, nor were we wrong! The New Salem Museum and Academy of Fine Art is stunning from every way you think about it!


New Salem dates back to the 1700s, and the building is a piece of history: having once been a dormitory for students of the original Academy. The Museum owners have turned it into a gorgeous two stories filled with art galleries; and the third floor is a studio, a natural lit space for their future classes.

We had a very informative conversation with the current Director, Michael Klein, who is also an artist. As I understood it, the collection, and focus of the collection, is realiism with current living artists displayed. These current artists are heavily influenced by older, traditional, techniques in the field of portraiture.They have plans for current liviing artists to visit and give classes. As stated on their website, one of their visiions: “Draws inspiration from old masterworks while paying close attention to what is happening with the art of our time”

One of my favorites on exhibit, and it was hard to choose:

In addition, they have already had local school classes come on field trips, as well as stop in visitors. There is also a small, and nicely curated gift shop with a variety of lovely items.


The grounds have gardens set up, a lovely stone pond down the pretty large sweeping backyard. It had become too chilly for a walk, however, on a nice day, we thought a walk down the road would be nice.  On the way out, we noticed their local Historical Society was just a few buildings away. We stopped for excellent sandwiches at the New Salem Country Store.

In addition to changing exhibits, they also plan to have new exhibits on a regular

basis. For art experts, you’ll find magnificent portraiture by current living artists, as well as a surprise or two.

Have I enticed you enough? Ready for the surprise?

Spoiler Alert: As I rounded the corner of a second floor gallery, I came upon a John Singer Sargent! I wish you were all there to here me gasp! His work is my all time favorite – and this was a full length beauty. I won’t tell you the name of the piece or the person, so perhaps you, too, will give a little gasp on your way around the corner. Just don’t forget to look at the other pieces in the room.

There is an admission price: currently $16 per person, $12 for a senior. They are offering a membership. With the many lovely plans they have for the future in terms of classes, outdoor seating, gorgeous art pieces worth more than one visit, and the local beauty, I think this may warrant more than one visit and a membership just might be the way to support a small, and I think important new space to experience beautiful art.

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