Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.
‘Open Spaces’ art exhibit at First Unitarian Church plans closing reception
The art show “Open Spaces” will end with a public art reception from 2 to 6 p.m., Sunday, March 11. The show can also be viewed in the meantime in the Merritt Gallery/Wallace Robbins Chapel, First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St. on Sunday and by scheduled appointment during regular business hours by calling 508-757-2708.
“Open Spaces” is a show of art that opens visual spaces to the outside and invites viewers to hold an inner space in which to read into the work. Four artists share artwork based on this spirit of dialogue and exchange. Through a diversity of expression and genres, we hope to inspire an atmosphere of inclusion and openness to the possibility of a visual, emotional and conceptual connection.
In her photography, Tasha Halpert captures openings in everyday situations, which give pause and encourage reflection. Her “harmonious combinations of shapes, interesting lighting effects” and “a long history of capturing a poetic moment” leave the viewer with a feeling of pleasant surprise to have shared such a moment, the release said. Much of her long history in art is with her companion, Stephen Halpert, whose collages have been arranged complementary to Tasha’s photos.
His art (“Early Works”) tends to spring forth from the frame to grab the viewer’s attention and pull them back into it. In his meticulous arrangement of images, one discovers quotes of art movements and iconic paintings, cut up and put into new contexts. He sees his work as following in the tradition of an anthology, quoting from cubism and abstraction, making social commentary and sometimes satire. His unique images challenge traditional perspective, to be sure, and they are even enhanced when seen with one eye.
A classical approach to open space and a virtual celebration of her natural environment is in the serene painting and prints by Karen Sanford. Her preferred technique of drawing and painting on site and from life lends directness to her work and conveys an openness to her world that is enhanced by her technique. She also effectively translates her drawing and painting in printmaking techniques. Stated with a simplicity that is also deeply reflective, she describes her work as representing “a time when I lived in Worcester and found inspiration in the open spaces of Cook’s Pond.”
Like open-ended bookends to the show, the assembled structures by Charlotte Eckler combine hand-printed fabrics with prints on paper. On a formal level, these are walk-in structures that each contains “open spaces” for the viewer to enter and even to leave a message behind. On an aesthetic level, they recall movements in art (such as arte povera) that made socially inclusive statements and broke out of the traditional spaces reserved for art.
The Halperts and Eckler, the show’s curator, will also read from their books at the reception. The booklet “Open Spaces: An Intro” was written especially for the show and details some of the influences and experiences associated with work in the show and advocates, despite the obvious challenges, finding and offering open spaces.
Anna Maria adds Education and Psychology majors to HEART Initiative
Anna Maria College announced that it will be offering Education and Psychology to the list of value-based, service-focused majors associated with the Higher Education and Active Responsiveness through Transfer (HEART) Initiative.
The program was created by a partnership between Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Maria to provide a cost effective pathway for students interested in associate and bachelor’s degrees in public service-driven careers.
“We are excited to expand the academic majors associated with the HEART Initiative to continue to offer more students the opportunity to earn their associate and bachelor’s degree in a service-driven field,” Anna Maria President Mary Lou Retelle said. “This initiative allows more students the opportunity to obtain a more affordable degree in public service and the ability to make a difference in the communities they serve.”
The Psychology program has the dual goal of preparing students for graduate programs and work in the human services field, and helps students develop the understanding of the central place of religion and values in life, as well as a solid sense of self, a caring for others, and ability to think analytically, communicate clearly and live a productive life.
The curriculum includes introductions to the basic concepts utilized in psychology, the evolution of the field, theories of normal and abnormal psychological development, experimental psychology and an internship in a community setting. This option allows students to have a head start on the Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology after the completion of the baccalaureate degree.
The teacher preparation programs at Anna Maria are interwoven with strong liberal arts learning experiences. The college collaborates with a number of area schools and educators to provide field-based experiences for students. Field experiences provide opportunities for students to learn from teachers in classroom settings and to apply what they have learned in coursework to the development and education of students in preschool through high school. Students in the teacher preparation programs are required to complete a liberal arts or sciences major to qualify for licensure. The teacher preparation program allows students to have a head start on the Master of Education after the completion of the baccalaureate degree.
EPA honors Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District chief
Joseph Nowak of Ware, the chief operator of the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District in Millbury, was honored by Environmental Protection Agency with a “2016 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Excellence Award.”
The EPA Regional Wastewater Awards Program recognizes personnel in the wastewater field who have provided invaluable public service managing and operating wastewater treatment facilities throughout New England. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection was instrumental in Nowak’s nomination.
“The professionals operating wastewater treatment plants play a very important role in keeping our communities and environment healthy by protecting water quality. We are proud to acknowledge Mr. Nowak’s outstanding contributions to help protect public health and water quality for so many years and to give him the credit he deserves,” said Deborah Szaro, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office.
The EPA Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for its commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance.
Hardwick unveils electric vehicle sharing station, hybrid vehicle
The town of Hardwick celebrated the installation of its first electric vehicle charging station and plug-in hybrid vehicle. Hardwick residents, state agencies and legislative representatives turned out in force for a ribbon cutting ceremony recently.
Located at the Hardwick Municipal Building, the station is free to the public.
Funding for the charging station and vehicle were made possible through the Green Communities Grant Program. An incentive was also provided from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) Workplace Charging Program. The vehicle and charger acquisitions represent an ongoing effort by Hardwick to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Dominique DuTremble of the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), “It’s fabulous to see Hardwick – one of our most rural communities – embrace this technology. It speaks to a broad change in the perception of electric vehicles, growing trust in the technology, its reliability, importance.”