Friday, August 26, 2016

New Exhibit Opens this September at Wistariahurst

During September and October, Wistariahurst will be a hosting a new exhibit-Holyoke Renaissance: Rising from the Ashes. Three area artists will showcase architecture as art when they present their work in a joint exhibition celebrating the renaissance of the City of Holyoke. The exhibit by artists Debra Dunphy, Nancy Howard, and Kristine Villeneuve-Topor, will feature various views of the old industrial city of Holyoke and its architectural designs.

Holyoke is currently undergoing a transformation that is renewing much of the downtown after suffering from urban blight for decades. Works on display will include local landmarks and streetscapes from around the city and will be presented to shine a light on the beautiful art and architecture in the city.

The exhibit will run from September 10, 2016 through October 29, 2016. Gallery viewing hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00AM – 2:00PM and Saturdays from 12:00PM – 4:00 PM. An opening reception is planned for Sunday, September 18 from 2:00PM – 4:00PM and will be free and open to the public. Admission to the Galley is available for a $3 suggested donation. For more information or to view a schedule of other upcoming events, please visit our website at

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Signs for Holyoke's Parks and Fields

The City of Holyoke surprised many residents this spring when several bold and stately signs began to appear at many neighborhood parks and ball fields!

Thanks to the Community Development Block Grant funds that were allocated by Mayor Alex B. Morse in 2012, many of the City’s parks & fields now have beautiful signage! These classic yet contemporary signs were purchased and designed by Metro Sign & Awning!

Avery Field, Bonin Field, Crosier, Wyatt Harper, Laurel Street Park, Pina, Pulaski Rohan, Springdale and Carols Vega Parks are now proudly sporting new signage!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Valley Talent Showcase- 2015-2016 “Super Playoffs”

Mark Sherry’s Valley Talent Showcase

Culmination event for the2015-16 season of the monthly Valley Talent Showcases  7 Previous Winners of the Monthly Valley Talent Showcases compete for The Grand Prize: A Headline Gig at the BIG E on Sat. Sept 24, $500 cash, and 20 hrs at Northfire Studios to Record Their Own CD. The Valley Talent Showcase is a monthly event produced by Mark Sherry that’s held on the first Friday of most every month.  At each of the regular Showcases five Bands and/or solo acts are carefully selected from a wide variety of musical genres to compete for several hundred dollars of gift certificates and cash prizes from various  local sponsoring businesses.

Who’s Appearing--The Grand Prize Playoff Contestants: Malado, Sona, Esperanto, Mamma’s Marmalade, The Basement Cats, From the Woods, and Humble Digs
Opening The Show:  Khalif Neville w/special guest Charles Neville

Guest Judges: Massachusetts State Rep Aaron Vega, Senator Stan Rosenberg, Mayor Will Reichelt, Mayor Alex Morse, Charles Neville (musician), Roger Salloom (musician), Elissa Brill Pashkin (Chair of Music Dept at HCC), Vic Rosario (musician), Dean Cycon (Dean’s Beans),  Jay Metcalf (Northfire Studios), John Juliano, Anne-Alise Pietruska  and Big E Staff

Admission: $10 ($5 for children 16 & under)

Event Sponsors: Gateway City Arts, Eastern States Exposition -The BIG E, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce , Salon 413, The Dam CafĂ©, Turn it Up, Brew Practitioners, 93.9 The River, Holyoke Liquor Mart,  Valley Quarterly, Capri Pizza, Deans Beans, Provisions- Northampton, Northfire Recording Studio

Contact Info:  Mark Sherry, Producer (413) 374-7671

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
At Gateway City Arts Grand Opening of "The Hub"
The Valley's new state of the art concert venue

Saturday, September 10 at 8:00pm

Tickets: $25 Adv / $30 Door

World-famous New Orleans brass/funk band known for it’s genre-bending romps and high-octane performances.

Location: Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: 413-650-2670 / /

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards City of Holyoke Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers Grant

On Tuesday, August 8, 2016 the National Endowment for the Humanities announced that the City of Holyoke, along with 20 other entities across the country, has been awarded a Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers grant, which funds one-week workshops for K-12 educators that address themes and topics in American history, government, literature, art history, and other humanities fields related to historic landmarks. Wistariahurst, on behalf of the City of Holyoke, has been awarded $123,768 to implement two, week-long intensive history summer teaching institutes to be held in August, 2017. The institutes, titled Women Making Change: Activism and Progressivism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century will be presented twice in August, 2017 with the first week being designed and reserved specifically for local teachers and the second presenting the history of Holyoke to teachers from across the country.
“Over the past year we have been re-investing in our institutional roots as an educational center serving the City of Holyoke and especially our local school system,” says Kate Preissler, Director at Wistariahurst. “This grant will allow us to take that work to a new level as we develop training materials that not only showcase Holyoke history’s significance on a national scale, but will bring archival techniques and resources into classrooms enabling teachers to more easily make history come alive for students.”
The content of the institutes will focus on the work of Holyoke women in the late 19th and early 20th century who were working to make change at all levels of society – from the Skinner sisters, Belle and Katharine who founded the Skinner Coffee House to Anna Sullivan, who led the movement to unionize the workers of Holyoke’s textile mills. The teaching institutes are designed to use the physical landscape of the City of Holyoke to guide teachers through historical content that many teachers may not have had the opportunity to previously learn. In addition to studying at Wistariahurst, participants will have the chance to explore many corners of the City as they work with materials at the Holyoke History Room, attend lectures and discussions with scholars, take a history tour of the City, visit an operational mill, and participate in hands-on teaching workshops. The week-long institute for commuting teachers will include activities and materials designed to integrate local history content directly into their classrooms, while teachers from farther afield will be given training and resources to research similar local stories in their home communities.
“This is a great opportunity for both Wistariahurst and Holyoke’s educators,” Mayor Alex Morse says, “Not only is teaching local history important but so is teaching about the impact women have had throughout our community. I’m proud that we’ll be able to support continued learning for our local teachers while also showcasing the significance of our city’s history at a national level.”
Both sessions of the institute will be free for participants and include a stipend. Applications will be available later this year. Interested teachers should contact Wistariahurst at 413-322-5660 or to add their names to the institute contact list.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Kick-off Meeting for the Center City Pedestrian Plaza

The public is invited to attend a kick-off meeting for the Center City Pedestrian Plaza on Thursday, August 18 at 6PM in the Heritage State Park Visitors Center.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss plans to create a civic plaza on a vacant lot adjacent to the Proulx Parking garage on Dwight Street. Milone and MacBroom, an architecture and engineering firm, will facilitate the meeting to generate community feedback on a conceptual design for the site based on the unique perspective of the community.
This project will be led by the Office of Planning and Economic Development and the Department of Public Works.
“Community feedback is a vital part of this planning process,” Mayor Morse said. “This project complements the ongoing redevelopment efforts happening at Lyman Terrace and will create an attractive and inviting public space that increases connectivity and encourages pedestrian travel in the downtown.”
Members from the Office of Planning & Economic Development will be in attendance, as well as officials from the Holyoke Housing Authority.  The meeting will be held in Spanish and translated into English.