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LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID | Commemorating Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID | Commemorating Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary


Earth Day 2020

Commemorating Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

Today, on Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, while hunkered down in our pods, we are viewing a live stream of powerful images illustrating issues related to the environment and COVID-19. These images are delivered 24/7 via the internet, video, on our phones and the most powerful ones are imprinted permanently in our minds as we try to wrap our heads around this moment. We appreciate, more than ever, the importance of creative work done by artists, photographers, writers, musicians, filmmakers and performers as they fill our days in isolation with beauty and eloquence, and provide truly necessary, brilliant cultural entertainment. While we cannot physically “see” art in person, we are enjoying creative activity of our own and the opportunity to explore culture delivered virtually. It is amazing to watch this lifeline emerge with lectures, classes, and exhibitions – all of it illustrated, scripted and conceived of by creative artists – our “canaries in the mines.”

On Earth Day in 2020, we revisit our 2018 exhibition Canary Syndrome, featuring recent works by international artists from US, AU and UK. Inspired by the saying “canary in the coal mine”, we hypothesized that artists, much like caged canaries once used by coal miners to warn of dangerous gases, are hypersensitive to the adverse conditions and forces that jeopardize human existence. At the time, the exhibition and the works in it focused on climate change and environmentalism. Now, two years later, as a result of COVID-19, we are seeing the shut down of travel delivering clean air to polluted cities and allowing animal migration to resume to their ancestral habitats.

This week in FC News & Stories, we look back at Canary Syndrome and feature works by artists who are considering the environment and man’s impact on the planet we all call home.

Be Safe – Be Well – Stay in Touch

Leslie Ferrin, director Ferrin Contemporary

Life in the Time of Covid
Read MORE here.

Above: Mara Superior, Only One Planet Earth, 16″d, featured in “Nature/Nurture”, Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA


“The very act of creating provides artists with an outlet for the anxiety caused by relentless exposure to contemporary conflicts. They are compelled to address environmental and societal issues through their practice and are sounding the alarm in the form of beautiful and compelling pieces of art.”

View online exhibition HERE.

The urgency has never been greater, and the stakes have never been higher – we are now in an environmental emergency and a climate breakdown.  We have two crises: One is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The other is a slowly building disaster for our climate.

  • On Earth Day 2020, we say enough is enough.
  • We say we believe in science. We say that everyone can make a difference.
  • We say that the protection of our planet and the wellbeing of the people who live upon it are the top priorities.
  • On Earth Day 2020, we say that we’re committing to vote, we’re registering to vote and we’re showing up to vote.

FERRIN CONTEMPORARY presents contemporary ceramic art for exhibition and sale at 1315 MASS MoCA Way in North Adams, MA; at ProjectArt at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA and at galleries and museums around the world.

COVID-19 | Closed until MASS MoCA reopens regular hours.
GALLERY HOURS: Wednesday – Saturday 11 – 5:00
+ by appointment
+ by chance

PROJECT ART supports and promotes local and international ceramic art and artists through artist residencies, internships, workshops, studio rentals, events and exhibitions at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA.

forward to a friend | inquire about a work

Posted by AxelJ in Blog, NOTES FROM DIRECTOR


Stories from the World of MASS MoCA

Here in our beloved Berkshires … the museums are closed, performances are canceled and our friends in hospitality don’t know when they can safely welcome visitors again. The people who live and work here are furloughed, their jobs in limbo and exhibitions closed. With performances canceled and galleries closed, MASS MoCA announced 120 layoffs on April 11. Remaining staff salaries had to be cut and plans for reopening remains unknown. Many who work in the creative economy are artists who blend their studio practice with part-time work in the museums, or as educators, freelancers, or jobs in hospitality. While we await the government relief programs for individuals, cultural institutions and small businesses, we hear stories from those who work in the creative economy about coping, adjusting and trying to make ends meet.

We are devoting this newsletter to them, the people we work within the World of MASS MoCA and hope you can offer a little support during these challenging times.

Every little bit helps.


FERRIN CONTEMPORARY is located in Building 13 on the MASS MoCA campus. The gallery is closed until the museum reopens. Our featured artist Evan Hauser is on view at The Porches Inn also closed.

Take a virtual tour of NATURE/NURTURE at Ferrin Contemporary
Evan Hauser at The Porches Inn and our touring exhibitions throughout the country.

Life in the Time of Covid
read the series in director notes

Be Safe – Be Well – Stay in Touch

Leslie Ferrin, director Ferrin Contemporary

Posted by AxelJ in Blog, NOTES FROM DIRECTOR
LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID | Notes from Director, Leslie Ferrin

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID | Notes from Director, Leslie Ferrin

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID | Leslie Ferrin, director



We are thinking of you, our artists, colleagues and friends.

Wherever you are, and hopefully safe, we are all experiencing the new reality of living in a profoundly changed world. We’ve been hearing of so many challenges in day to day life, fear of exposure, loss of employment, constant worrying for loved ones and managing varying degrees of long term isolation.

Last week, our third in quarantine, our particular struggle was complicated by a surge in internet demand within our small, rural community that is still without broadband service and suffers from chronic, spotty cell service. Due to social isolation, we must now use the internet for everything we do, to work, to make purchases, to stay connected with distant family, and to provide access to online school for our youngest resident, Roosi Isupov. We live in rural America where we can take daily walks and never see another soul. We feel fortunate to be where we are and continue what we do given the limitations of remote work. Our inconveniences pale when we connect with those in urban hot spots who are living densely, surrounded by incessant 24/7 wailing sirens and alone. Together we will get through this with you and our artists who are resilient, determined, creative. We will remain connected to one another through our shared support of art, culture and empathy for one another.

Now that we are past the initial shock of closures, exhibition postponements and cancellations, we are doing what we can to keep our team and artists working. With any luck, SBA payroll relief will ease the way and allow us to maintain and expand communications with regular news and stories about contemporary ceramic art. Using all the available online skills and tools in our toolbox, we are committed to staying connected with you and sharing stories about our artists, their exhibitions, our museum colleagues, our gallery partners and our community in the Berkshires. Through our mutual interest in ceramics, we find ourselves interconnected, in the studio, in our homes, and in making and seeing beauty in little things; and empathy abounds.

Artists by nature, work in isolation and have the skills to meet the challenges of social distancing. We are hearing amazing stories from our artists who are using their skills to sew, fix, repair, plant and shape the world around them. Through Instagram, we see their works in progress as they prepare for future shows.

Collectors are using this time to take on long term, large scale organizing, digital documentation, considering gifts to museums, reading and learning about the artists whose works they own and finding room for a future purchase of long admired work of art. Our team of specialists are experts in working remotely and happy to help navigate the digital challenges.

Curators are finding new ways to share their knowledge digitally, through guided tours of closed exhibitions, inclusive online live classes like the ones Garth Johnson from the Everson Museum of Art and is doing where you get to go behind the scenes with colleagues and snoop around the shelves with Jeffrey Spahn as he explained Asian influence on the work of American Studio Potters and a focus on Karen Karnes.

The slow down at Ferrin Contemporary and ProjectArt gives us time to pace the work we do. We are in the middle of the long procrastinated project of organizing the library and archives gathered over our 40 years of exhibitions. Starting with bookshelves, we ended up renovating the studio for future workshops and resident artists. We are planting a huge garden and finding ways to maintain friendships with those who live both near and far. All of us are cherishing what we have and what we can give to those in need.

This week’s news and stories continue our focus on the twelve women artists in NATURE/NURTURE with Crystal Morey. We congratulate her and Shane for their first baby girl, Isla born in January and know that it has given her a new perspective on the role of nurturing and a welcome distraction from the outside world.

NATURE/NURTURE | Group Show of 12 Women Artists
LESLIE FERRIN | Director Notes | Nature of Nurturing
CRISTINA CORDOVA | Nature/Nurture | PBS Craft in America – Identity
LAUREN MABRY | Nature/Nurture | Cylinders & Flow Blocks
ANINA MAJOR | Nature/Nurture | No Vacancy in Paradise
CRYSTAL MOREY | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions
ANINA MAJOR | Nature/Nurture | No Vacancy In Paradise
MARA SUPERIOR | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions


Be Safe – Be Well – Stay in Touch

Leslie Ferrin, director Ferrin Contemporary

Posted by AxelJ in Blog, News, NOTES FROM DIRECTOR
MUSEUM NEWS | Mara Superior

MUSEUM NEWS | Mara Superior

MUSEUM NEWS | Mara Superior

Mara Superior is an American visual artist who works in porcelain. A native New Yorker, Superior made good use of her proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visiting constantly. From an early age, her life has been spent in the pursuit of art, beauty, history, and travel.

Her work demonstrates a thorough grasp of historical precedents with an added twist of her enchanting reinterpretations. She is known for her detailed narrative sculptures and wall reliefs with subject matter ranging from the personal to the political and environmental.

Superior has received a National Endowment for the Visual Arts fellowship and numerous individual artists grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, most recently in 2017. She is included in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, and her work can be found nationally and internationally in many public and private collections.

In 2018, through the generous support of the Kohler Foundation, gifts of art by Mara Superior were made to fifteen museums throughout the USA. Since 1970, the foundation has donated thousands of pieces of art to more than 300 museums and non-profits across the country, in addition to preserving in situ art environments. Kohler Foundation’s mission is to support the arts and education, with a focus on art preservation.

Cool Clay: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Ceramics
Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento, CA | July 21, 2019 – July 20, 2020

Tending the Fires: Recent Acquisitions in Clay
Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA | September 7, 2019 – April 5, 2020

Art for Dartmouth: Celebrating the 250th
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth in Hanover, VT | August 31, 2019 – January 12, 2020

On View at the Peabody Essex
Peabody Essex Museum of Art in Salem, MA | Currently on View, New Wing Opened in September 2019

A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects
Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY | November 16, 2019 – March 22, 2020

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Blog, News, On View
Giselle Hicks Featured in LVBX Magazine

Giselle Hicks Featured in LVBX Magazine

Meet ceramics artist, Giselle Hicks. Her works are subtle and yet strongly moving in their simplicity and depth of beauty. Giselle shares with us why she chose ceramics as a medium, and from where she draws her artistic influence and inspiration. 

Tell us about your background; what drew you to this work? I’ve been working primarily in clay for about 18 years. I received my BFA in Ceramics from Syracuse University and my MFA in Ceramics from NYSCC at Alfred University. There were a few reasons I chose ceramics as my medium. I was fascinated with the rich history. There is a ceramics traditions pretty much anywhere you go in the world, so ceramics was a way for me to learn about different cultural histories and traditions. The medium is pliable and incredibly versatile – I figured I would never get bored using this medium given there is so much to learn – technically and conceptually. I liked that potters tend to be communal. They like to eat together, talk about food, sit around the table, share studio space, equipment and recipes. And lastly, I remember my undergrad professor and his wife always had their doors open to students for meals and to share their collection. This was the first time I saw what it was like to live in a house full of handmade objects. Everything in their house had a story. Their home was very alive, very rich. I wanted to be a part of a life like that. The choice to work in clay was a holistic one – I liked the material, the people around it, the history and the lifestyle it promised….

Giselle Hicks Portrait LVBX Magazine

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, News

Galleries closed due to COVID-19, but Art must go on!, Beautiful Bizarre, March 17, 2020


Galleries closed due to COVID-19, but Art must go on!

Beautiful Bizarre,

March 17, 2020
“Sensibly many galleries around the world have decided to close their doors, cancel opening receptions and operate online or by appointment only, due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In an effort to assist our community in this time of uncertainty and hardship, we are putting together the below list of exhibitions from around the world, whose opening receptions will not go ahead because of the virus shutdowns. In order to promote that these exhibitions ARE STILL HAPPENING…”

Crystal Morey, “Three Graces” 2019, hand-sculpted porcelain, 19 x 10 x 8″.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, News
Leslie Ferrin profiled in The Rural Intelligence, March 18, 2020

Leslie Ferrin profiled in The Rural Intelligence, March 18, 2020

The Rural We: Leslie Ferrin

Rural Intelligence

March 18, 2020

“…I was born in Los Angeles, then moved, and grew up in and around New York. After attending Hampshire College, I remained in Northampton and started a business there.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, Blog, News

Giselle Hicks Featured in American Craft Council Magazine

Published on Monday, November 25, 2019. This article appears in the December/January 2020 issue of American Craft Magazine.

Sarah Archer

What if you have an idea for an artwork inspired by Wedgwood ceramics, but you want to make it with paper pulp? Or if you know how to sculpt in clay, but want to make a fishbowl in glass? What if you dream of crafting pillows in porcelain? Artist residencies often attract medium-specific makers who want to spend time doing exactly what they do best, perhaps teaching workshops or giving demonstrations. But what about artists who want to explore something they’re not an expert in? Where the smorgasbord of formal, multidisciplinary art education ends, specialized residency programs begin, offering artists a chance to learn new disciplines and expand their skill sets….

Giselle Hicks residency at the Kohler Arts Center. Kohler Co., courtesy of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Blog
NATURE/NURTURE: Female ceramists reflect on experiences that shaped them, The Berkshire Eagle, March 13, 2020

NATURE/NURTURE: Female ceramists reflect on experiences that shaped them, The Berkshire Eagle, March 13, 2020

The Berkshire Eagle

by Jennifer Huberdeau

March 13, 2020

“In the late 1970s, group shows, featuring women ceramists were few and far between.

“In 1979, there were no solo shows for women. The numbers today are better, but still bad,” said Leslie Ferrin, gallerist and owner of Ferrin Contemporary.

Back then, Ferrin had just opened Pinch Pottery, a working studio, shop and gallery in Northampton with fellow ceramic artists, Mara Superior and Barbara Walch. Women ceramicists, she said, struggled for recognition, not only because they were female artists, but also because their chosen medium wasn’t as accepted [as fine art] as it is today….”



Posted by Kim in Artist News, News