The Public Art Salon: Bees!

Color the honey bee and support the bill!

Join us for The Public Art Salon on Thursday 27 and support Bee Positive Legislation! We’ll have postcards available to color, personalize, and mail in support of MA State bills that limit neonicotinoids!

We will be joined by Beverly Bees for a Hive Demonstration at (around) 4:30 to learn about bees, and bee-positive legislation and actions!

We will also be:

  • Building the Community Table
  • Making Mosaics
  • Painting
  • Face Art
  • Designing the Reading Nook
  • Making Friends!

Learn more about the effects of neonicotinoids and the proposed bills below:

If you can’t join us this Thursday – contact your rep to support House Bill H.2113 / Senate Bill SD.2236 and find out more:

The Public Art Salon: A Community Table on Artists’ Row

Circle collage illustrating a variety of mosaic possibilities – plants, bark, stones, ceramic, shells, colors. Each participant can craft their own circle, and integrate it into the larger collective artwork.

What is Artists’ Row?

Artists’ Row is a pedestrian way in the heart of Salem defined by several small shed buildings where artists practice their craft and sell their handiwork. The Row has been a creative space for artists and ‘creative entrepreneurs’ to incubate their work and establish an audience. Creative and spontaneous, the Row is an underrated place in Salem. Come see the artists working daily on their craft – and support this local work!

Artist Row before the new color transformation

The summer of 2017 brings lots of changes to the Row. In the spring, students from Lesley University College of Art and Design, led by local graphic designer Rick Rawlins, designed a comprehensive aesthetic vision for the Row: inspired by the nautical history, and complementing the color of the green metal roofs, the buildings would serve as a background to frame the artists’ work and don a soothing gray. The color also helps frame the spaces between the buildings – the nooks – that could become intimate spaces for reading, crafting, or simply sitting. Finally, “Artists’ Row” would then be stenciled onto the buildings in bright colors to orient visitors. We’re in the middle of this transformation: the large picture windows showcasing the work, for instance at Boston Woodturning and ZBY Gallery – help bring the inside artistry outside.

Inter-generational, drop-in friendly workshops for all skill levels where participants contribute artwork for a large community piece.

What is the Artist in Residence Program on Artists’ Row?

The Public Art Commission and the Mayor’s Office has also launched a new Artist in Residence program on the Row.

The Artist in Residence Pilot Program seeks to bring the Salem community into the creative process through participatory project-based activities for all ages at Artists’ Row. Of particular interest are placemaking programs that help residents and visitors re-imagine public spaces as places to play, engage, and create. Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share.

I am grateful to be part of the pilot program and hopefully help establish an ongoing Artist Residency on the Row.

The Public Art Salon creates a safe environment for self-and-collective expression while making friends and talking about community.

What is the Public Art Salon?

The Public Art Salon program I developed as Artist in Residence in Four Corners, Dorchester in 2015-16 is a good fit for Artists’ Row. The Public Art Salon is a place-and-project-based weekly workshop in which the local community helps to create a community driven projects. This is a wonderful excuse to make friends, incubate local talent, and make art together. I am excited to develop the Public Art Salon on Aritsts’ Row!

Preparatory work for the community table using pallets and sap buckets.

What is the Community Table for People and Pollinators?

The Row is a linear plaza that is too often used for walking through, rather than for staying. Establishing Artists’ Row as a destination was the main desire that arose during several meetings with the Artist Row tenants this past spring. These meetings began my research into what would be the ideal project to work on as the Row’s first Artist in Residence.

Nature collages from Salem Woods.

Materials from Artists’ Row Creative Entrepreneurs: ZBY Gallery, Boston Woodturning, Grace&Diggs, Hervor Soaps, Ceramics by Sibel, Salem Food Tours, and The Lobster Shanty

Together, we developed the idea of a Community Table:

  • To engage people to stay, we will build a Community Table
  • To engage participants in the work and world of the creative artists on the Row, we are using materials from their shops to help create the table-top surfaces.
  • To connect to nature, like the Artists’ Row artists, we will also use natural materials to decorate the table tops
  • To expand the notion of community, we will invite pollinators to the table with native plants for pollinators.
  • To reach as many people as possible, we’ll host the Salon during the Salem Farmers’ Market!
  • To help incubate young talent, we’re getting help from emerging artists and professionals:
    • Artist in Residence, Claudia Paraschiv
    • Ecological landscape design with local
      Annie Scott,
    • Art-making with Lexiee Batakis
    • Face Art with Alison Troy @AlisonTroy
    • Reading Nook design with David Rabkin

We have had a flurry of activity during our first two Salons! Please join us at our next four! This week we will have a demonstration hive from Beverly Bees who is also at the Salem Farmers’ Market.

Week One – Meet & Mosaic!

Participants make mosaics from natural and artistic materials at the first Salon.

Salon co-hosts (left to right) Michael saws table legs, Lexiee cuts out space for the bee buckets, Alison creates Face Art


Week Two – Native Perennials with Thrive Design!

Participants help ecological designer Annie Scott plant perennial native plants for pollinators.

Lots of painting – driftwood for a vertical element, David (Wentworth Architecture Student) creates seating for the Reading Nook, and participants mix paint.

The Community Table for People and Pollinators is coming along!

Alison Troy Face Art inspired by our Garden Day!

In the News!

Salem Main Streets 

Salem Gazette  

TidalShift: Plastic in our Oceans…?

The thought of a school of jellyfish flying above your head as you walk down the street may seem strange, surreal… simply not right.

If we suspend what we already know about trash in oceans, we would think it equally bizarre for a bunch of disparate plastic items from grocery bags to bendy straws to surf on waves and populate our waters.

But we know that “275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean.” So perhaps a school of flying jellyfish among the summer foliage isn’t so odd…?

For this year’s Salem Arts Festival, we are creating hundreds of jellyfish from used plastic bags because….

…. sea turtles and other marine life regularly mistake plastic bags for their food, including jellyfish!

… Salem has adopted plastic bag reduction legislation that will take effect on January 1, 2018 and we want to spread the word about its significance! Perhaps the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts can join in the clean-up effort!

Salem Public Space Project has partnered with Salem Sound Coast Watch and From the Bow Seat to use art to communicate the need for this shift from convenience to caring. Since last November we have been creating jellyfish across Salem in schools, museums, cafes, and our studio at 10 Derby Square.

<iframe src=”; width=”640″ height=”1138″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>

In the ocean, jellyfish are fascinating creatures animated through their hypnotic movement, as observed at the New England Aquarium. On May 31 we will install a canopy of jellyfish over Front Street. How will these plastic-bag jellyfish move in the breeze? What will they communicate? A Tidal Shift?

Join one of our workshops to make USED plastic-bag jellyfish and let’s brainstorm how we can help spread the reduction of plastic use so that plastic in our oceans won’t grow! 

Make YOUR Pinwheel!

Pinwheel Making Workshops every Tuesday in April 6-8pm at 10 Derby Square! Join us! (space is limited)mwm_invitation to participate_Page_1

You are Invited to Participate!
We’re excited to introduce Move With Me, this year’s participatory community art installation for the Salem Arts Festival.

We invite participants to connect to Salem’s continued legacy of sailing by creating pinwheels from sailcloth donated by Doyle Sailmakers, a local institution since 1982! We use the wasted bits and left over pieces to create pinwheels playfully reminiscent of power-generating turbines.

Participants connect to distant cultures by taking time to draw out cultural patterns from across the world, directly onto the sailcloth with permanent markers to withstand the rain.

mwm_invitation to participate_Page_2
Choose a country you’d like to represent, dig up a cultural pattern, textile or motif and draw it on a sailcloth square! (Contact us for pinwheel kits.) The pinwheels lightly touch Front Street and are made of mostly recycled materials.

The multiple pinwheels above Front Street, like a movable quilt of cultural patterns, will embody the communal movement and connection of cultures across waters and land from the past to now, moving in confluence when the wind is just right.

In the months leading to the festival on June 3-5, Claudia and others will lead workshops to color and make these pinwheels. Join her at 10 Derby Square every Tuesday in April from 6-8pm!

Deadline to receive your sailcloth square(s): April 30th
Deadline to contribute your colored square(s): May 31st


Move With Me is led by Claudia Paraschiv, local architect, public artist, and founder of Salem Public Space Project. In 2014 she led the participatory project HulaArt over Artists Row. Last year, local fiber artist Kate Babcock led Front Yard Street Art. Leslie Lavesque and the Phoenix School students have been instrumental in the development of these community art projects. A big thank you to Kylie Sullivan of Main Streets for enabling it all and John Andrews of Creative Salem for documenting it all!

Move With Me

Front St View yellow

Through Salem Public Space Project, I led the first community art project at the Salem Arts Festival in 2014, Hula Art, a canopy of hula-hoops over Artists’ Row. The project was a collection of individual art expressions, aggregated together to create a unified installation greater than the sum of its parts. This value of the personal gathered to create a communal work was continued last year with Front Yard Street Art, led by Kate Babcock – fiber artist, and also this year with Move With Me, a pinwheel installation.

We soaked up our locale to guide this year’s project.

courtesy of google images

courtesy of google images

From 1776 to 1812, residents of Salem traded with numerous countries around the world so that they “were also among the handful of people at the time who had direct personal knowledge of the world’s incredibly diverse peoples, art and cultures.” (Dan Monroe, PEM, quoted in the Smithsonian) Wind powered those 18th century sails that connected Salem to the world. That same wind moves through Salem today, 240 years later, in a world more connected than ever.

Currently, a turbine proposal on Winter Island demonstrates how we continue to harness the power of wind to power our way of life. Thinking back on our rich maritime history, and mindful of our shared world as a dialogue between cultures and natural forces, we developed Move With Me.

Doyle Factory

Doyle Sails Factory and Sailcloth to be recycled…. as Pinwheels!

Move With Me invites participants to connect to our continued legacy of sailing by creating pinwheels from sailcloth donated by Doyle Sailmakers, a local institution since 1982! We use the wasted bits and left over pieces to create pinwheels playfully reminiscent of power-generating turbines. Participants connect to distant cultures by taking time to draw out cultural patterns from across the world, directly onto the sailcloth.

The multiple pinwheels above Front Street, like a movable quilt of cultural patterns, will embody the communal movement and connection of cultures across waters and land from the past to now, moving in confluence when the wind is just right.

George, who works at Doyle, even came by my studio later that day to help troubleshoot and figure out the ideal size of the pinwheels!

George Dietz, who works at Doyle, even came by my studio later that day to help troubleshoot and figure out the ideal size of the pinwheels!

I began the process with an encouraging trip to Doyle Sailmakers. Janet Doyle connected with our concept and graciously accepted to be part of our project. We only wanted unusable sailcloth since temporary art can otherwise be so wasteful of our resources.

Move With Me Public Art project photos by Creative Salem_0154

Leslie and Claudia discuss using a template to cut a square from the sailcloth. (photo Creative Salem)

ccp at phoenix

photos Creative Salem

We then began this process in earnerst, as in other years, with the creative students at the Phonenix School! (Thank you, Leslie Lavesque!) Together we worked out pattern sizes and visibility if pinwheels are installed 15 feet above street level, which way to fold the pinwheel arms, and whether to hang them like “propellers” or “ceiling fans” – all this is certainly still in the works!

Move With Me Public Art project photos by Creative Salem_0189

Photo Creative Salem


We scaled up our efforts when the entire 9th grade class of Salem Academy Charter School joined the effort at Old Town Hall! We discussed how we connect to other cultures by beginning with the familiar maritime trade.

Students choose country and cultural pattern

Students choose country and cultural pattern

In the East India Marine Hall at the Peabody Essex Museum, over 25 countries are represented in the two cabinets of “curiosities” collected over two centuries ago. We used these nations as a jumping off point of choosing different cultures to represent. Interestingly, many of the places represented, due to travel by sail, are island nations, which happen to be the most vulnerable in our changing climate.

PEM East India Marine Hall Cabinets

PEM East India Marine Hall Cabinets with objects from maritime trade places

Salem Maritime Trade Places represented in the PEM Cabinets, and as cultural patterns for Move With Me

Salem Maritime Trade Places represented in the PEM Cabinets, and as cultural patterns for Move With Me

CS_Salem Academy Pinwheel Composite 03

Art and conversation at the workshop and an example of the Phoenix School pinwheels strung up in Old Town Hall. (photos Creative Salem)

Next time we meet, students will bring patterns from countries that hold personal meaning to them. I am excited to represent the whimsical patterns of Romania, my country of birth.


Alexandra Peterson (of Konceptual) and Claudia Paraschiv (Salem Public Space Project and Studioful) aid in the cultural-pattern drawing (photos Creative Salem)


It was wonderful to speak with students about their choices of cultural patterns, the various types of sailcloth, the need for the pinwheels to withstand potential bad weather, and the joy of making art!


Two vastly different interpretations of a traditional Chinese flower pattern

You too can join! contact us: salempublicspaceproject{at} or come participate in the workshop at Artopia PEM/PM, Thursday March 17! 

A how-to manual and more news on our progress coming soon!

A big thank you to John Andrews for the great photos for Creative Salem!

HulaArt at the Salem Arts Festival


HulaArt Install FB imageHulaArt is a collection of individual, unique art expressions aggregated together to create a unified installation greater than the sum of its parts, yet simultaneously modified by those discrete contributions. This collaborative art installation helped to increase the participation in art making at this year’s Salem Arts Festival (SAF). During the last four months, over 120 students, artists, and locals created unique art pieces that have been integrated into the HulaArt Canopy for this weekend’s festivities.

HulaArt plan three parts multicolorThe project design began in earnest in January after the SAF committee approved a rendering of what a hula hoop canopy over Artists’ Row might look like. The design needed to evolve at two different scales: at the macro level, over four hundred hula hoops had to span the irregular buildings of Artist Row.

HulaArt How To

At the micro level, we worked to promote the re-use of recycled materials to create diverse art expressions. Through early March workshops at the Phoenix School, kids freely interpreted and greatly improved the possibilities for how HulaArt could work. together we evolved two distinct approaches: “Objects on a String” and “Fabric Stretch.”

Workshop Photos

The public launch of the project at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Artopia night began a series of HulaArt workshops throughout Salem during the spring, in addition to groups and individuals that took on HulaArt unaided.

<iframesrc=”//″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreenmozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>

HULA ART public art installation for Salem Arts Festival on Artists Row – Salem MA from Social Palates on Vimeo.

After a sunny, ten hour installation, over four hundred hula hoops, a fifth of which were transformed into HulaArt, form a colorful canopy above Salem’s Artist Row. The installation was performance art when we watched people negotiate the pedestrian street paved with the hoops, acrobatic circus when two cherry pickers, several ladders, and people on the ground too lifted each of the five sections of the canopy into place, and a chance to speak to numerous people about what it was: public art, collaboration, and the upcoming Salem Arts Festival this weekend.HulaArt LOGO

How to HulaArt!

HulaArt Artist Row View 02

HulaArt canopy over Artists’ Row? Indeed!

Be a HulaArtist at the Salem Art Festival 2014, June 6-8. Info here and photos courtesy of Social Palates of the Phoenix School students workshopping these hoops of art to help us understand the best way to transform recycled and found objects into HulaArt!

HulaArt How To