On the sunny Saturday of August 31 and the following Sunday, Keene’s Ashuelot River Park welcomed the artwork from dozens of artists. This being the 61st annual Art in the Park, the judges began their viewing at 10 a.m and there was plenty to see. The annual raffle aloud for guests to take a chance at possibly winning the Artwork of their choice.There was also artwork from the students at Keene High School. Proceeds from the raffle went to an Art Scholarship Fund benefiting the students from Keene and Monadnock Regional High School for those with a passion for art.
Beginning with photo-artist Barry W Simmons, a photographer with pieces of New England nature such as birds, wilderness and lighthouses. Delivering from Merrimack, NH, Simmons described Art in the Park as “a great way to see different kinds of artwork and meet the artists who created them.” For 5 years, Simmons has been delivering wonderful designs by taking photographs of mountains, for example, and adjusting them to appear as watercolor images. It’s a task for only the keenest of eyes.
Another contributor, Stephanie Tickner displayed watercolors focusing on the little things that make life special. Tickner has been presenting her work in the park since 2004 and describes it as a great opportunity to learn from other artists and get her work out there to the public. Her process starts from gathering images she admires and using them as a reference for her paintings. And she is a Keene State 1989 grad who is now located in Marlow, NH. With plenty of diverse tents to explore, guest’s ears were met with the pleasant sounds from The Monadnock Woodwind Quintet.
With a story between every line, Carmen Verdi gifted us with sights of detailed penciled out pictures. His work was met with a magnifying glass for his detail gave guests something extra to stare at for a while. Verdi’s work was also met with an extraordinary story that is highly recommended to check out. You don’t have to look far to find some of New England’s finest artists when organizations host something as fascinating as Art in the Park. Artist JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove, a Vermonter with a passion for the old fashioned described her multidimensional artworks as reverse method of layering. To start her pieces she must completely plan out what it is she will paint with acrylics. With images of birds and other New England native animals portrayed on glass over canvas, she gives a multidimensional look to her work that makes the viewer take another glance. See, the program is not only a wonderful opportunity for art lovers to gather and purchase their decor but it is also a place to educate yourself on the artistry in your own towns. Many of these artists could have come from Keene State’s student’s home towns and it’s a matter of checking out their tents in order to find that out. In hopes that Sunday is also another bright and beautiful day, artists will attend once again to express their creativity and have a chance to explain their visions.
Anna Sheppard can be contacted at