Cohasset’s historic town green 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 town common transforms into a hub of arts activity with booth upon booth of craft vendors, a pulsing sound stage and a huge marquee tent housing multiple art exhibitions,” Maye said.
The pastoral green of the town’s old-fashioned common comes alive as a regional “hub of arts 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 noon to 5 p.m. The event is open to all, for a suggested $5 donation.
This year’s festival is dedicated to one of the art center’s founding members, painter Dorothy Palmer of Hingham, who died last July, Maye said.
Beginning Friday afternoon, the festival’s main marquee tent exhibits a juried show awarding prizes in a range of media, and a members’ show exhibiting the work of the South Shore Art Center’s 120 members.
A separate “KidsTent” features art by students from grades K to 12. Sponsored by Granite City Electric, a “teen program of art stars” features 24 students from 16 school systems.
The juried art exhibition includes 85 pieces selected from 400 entries submitted mostly by Massachusetts and Rhode Island artists, Maye said. The Best in Show prize was awarded to “In Plain Sight,” by Stephen Sheffield of Cohasset.
The festival’s juried craft “village” gathers crafters inside a tent offering pieces such as jewelry and woodwork. Craft artist Kathleen Scranton of Vintage Book Purses “fabricates bags using the front cover of hardbound books,” Maye said.
An “art village” of individual booths encircles the common with displays of craft arts such as jewelry, home and garden products, hand-made clothing, ceramics, fine art, and photography. Maye said the festival’s steady stream of live music includes “big band, funk, and rock” performers. Live music features include the youth band from the South Shore Conservatory on Friday afternoon and popular local bands such as the Riverboat Stompers on Saturday afternoon.
Parking for the festival on the common will be available in Cohasset Village and at satellite sites at the South Shore Music Circus on Sohier Street on Friday and Sunday, and at Deer Hill School on Saturday. A trolley will shuttle visitors from satellite parking to the common.
For more information, go to ssac.org or call 781-383-2787.
The South Shore Art Center, located at 119 Ripley Road in Cohasset, also hosts an evening fund-raising gala on Thursday, June 16, from 7 to 10 p.m. called “Breathe Life.” The event links art and social justice through the “street art” work of Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs, a Museum of Fine Arts artist in residence. The artist is responsible for many of the city of Boston’s best-known murals, including a series called “Breathe Life” commissioned by the museum. Prints of his murals will be on display.
“Gibbs will talk about his creative journey as youth artist, mentor and co-founder for Artists For Humanity, his work as MFA’s Artist in Residence, and the genesis behind his Breathe Life murals,” Maye said. Gibbs juried a photography show at the center titled “Black Lives, White Fragility” last November.
Three art center gallery shows by art center members, including a show of work by center founder Dorothy Palmer, will be on display.
The evening gala is a fund-raiser for the center, and an auction will be held to raise money. General admission is $125 and includes all food and drinks. Register on the center’s website, ssac.org.
Robert Knox can be reached at [email protected].