A big audience for small works: Annual Small Works Exhibit and Sale returns for 10th year

The 10th annual Small Works Exhibit and Sale takes place from Feb. 4 through 26 at the Sawmill River Arts Collective gallery in Montague.

The 10th annual Small Works Exhibit and Sale takes place from Feb. 4 through 26 at the Sawmill River Arts Collective gallery in Montague. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Sawmill River Arts Gallery member Joan Levy labels artwork.

Sawmill River Arts Gallery member Joan Levy labels artwork. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center.

The Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague Center. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-02-2024 12:04 PM

The Sawmill River Arts Collective gallery, located at 440 Greenfield Rd. in the Bookmill Complex, will show local artists at its 10th annual Small Works Exhibit and Sale, taking place from Feb. 4 through 26.

“It is a community art show. Part of our mission is to encourage art in the community,” Joan Levy, member artist of the gallery, said. 

This is an open and non-juried show displaying original two- and three-dimensional pieces of visual art across all media and subject matter. Pieces are all 10x10 inches or under. The 91 pieces of art are made by around 45 different artists. Art ranges in price from $36 to $500. Artists range in age from 16 to over 70. The exhibit’s opening reception will take place on Feb. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Sawmill River Arts’ founder and Montague-based fine artist Louise Minks conceived of the first Small Works exhibit in 2014, hoping it would drum up excitement from the community during the quieter months of winter. Its first few iterations were intimate and experimental, scraping just enough entries together to fill the gallery’s walls. As the event became an annual fixture at Sawmill River Arts, participation increased, allowing the gallery to foster a community of artists by making changes that helped beginning artists to present their work professionally and encouraged experienced artists to join in on the excitement. 

Members of the gallery hanging the submissions explained what makes the show great is the variety between each work. Different styles, including Realism, Impressionism, Abstract and more are all represented on the two walls of the display.

Thanks to local enthusiasm, 2023’s Small Works exhibition saw its highest art sales yet and a record-breaking amount of submissions. The gallery is excited to keep that trend going this year. 

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New artist members of the gallery have joined after first showing their work in this annual show. 

As advice for new artists hoping to sell their work, artist member Sharon Loehr-Lapan said to first find a passion and then find an audience.

“It is my favorite part of the year,” Loehr-Lapan says.

Bella Carmela Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.