Annual South Shore Art Center Festival returns to Cohasset Common

The historic town green of Cohasset has been the site of the South Shore Art Center’s annual arts festival for more than 60 years, typically attracting more than 14,000 guests in pre-pandemic years. “For three days each June, the city commune transforms into a hub of artistic activity with stalls of craft vendors, a pulsating soundstage and a huge marquee housing several art exhibits,” Maye said.

The pastoral greenery of the city’s former commune is coming to life as a regional “hub of artistic activity”, she said. Attractions include craft vendor booths and food offerings from popular area restaurants. Festival hours are Friday, June 17 from 1 to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is open to everyone, with a suggested donation of $5.

This year’s festival is dedicated to one of the arts centre’s founding members, painter Dorothy Palmer of Hingham, who died last July, Maye said.

Beginning Friday afternoon, the festival’s main marquee features a juried show awarding prizes in various media and a member show showcasing the work of the South Shore Art Center’s 120 members.

A separate “KidsTent” features artwork made by K-12 students. Sponsored by Granite City Electric, a “Teen Art Star Program” features 24 students from 16 school systems.

The juried art exhibit includes 85 pieces selected from 400 entries submitted primarily by artists from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Maye said. The Best in Show prize was awarded to “In Plain Sight”, by Stephen Sheffield of Cohasset.

The festival’s juried craft “village” brings together artisans inside a tent offering pieces such as jewelry and woodwork. Craft artist Kathleen Scranton of Vintage Book Purses “makes bags using the cover of hardcover books,” Maye said.

An “art village” of individual stalls encircles the common with displays of crafts such as jewelry, home and garden products, handmade clothing, ceramics, fine arts and photography. Maye said the festival’s constant stream of live music includes artists from “big band, funk and rock”. Live music features include the South Shore Conservatory Youth Band on Friday afternoons and popular local bands such as the Riverboat Stompers on Saturday afternoons.

On-town festival parking will be available in the village of Cohasset and at the South Shore Music Circus satellite sites on Sohier Street on Friday and Sunday, and at Deer Hill School on Saturday. A trolley will transport visitors from the satellite car park to the common.

For more information, visit ssac.org or call 781-383-2787.

The Center d’art de la Rive-Sud, located at 119, chemin Ripley in Cohasset, is also organizing a benefit gala on Thursday, June 16 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. entitled “Breathe Life”. The event connects art and social justice through the street art work of Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs, artist in residence at the Museum of Fine Arts. The artist is responsible for many of Boston’s best-known murals, including a series called “Breathe Life” commissioned by the museum. Prints of his murals will be exhibited.

“Gibbs will talk about his creative journey as a youth artist, mentor and co-founder of Artists For Humanity, his work as an MFA Artist-in-Residence, and the genesis of his Breathe Life murals,” said Maye said. Gibbs served on the jury for a photography exhibition at the center called “Black Lives, White Fragility” last November.

Three art center gallery exhibitions by art center members, including an exhibition of the work of center founder Dorothy Palmer, will be featured.

The evening gala is a fundraiser for the center, and an auction will be held to raise funds. General admission is $125 and includes all food and beverages. Register on the center’s website, ssac.org.

Robert Knox can be reached at [email protected].

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