This weekend, Nick and I had the exciting experience of attending the Creative Salem 3×5 pop up gallery reception. Artwork on display and for sale was 3×5 in size, but artists chose all different media. This made for a bevy of truly unique pieces – drawings, paintings, collages, photography, graphic design and more.
Nick and I arrived towards the beginning of the reception and it filled up fast, which was a wonderful thing! The gallery was held at the Salem Theatre on Lafayette Street. There was a DJ, cash bar and tasty treats from Jodi Bee Bakes all adding to the energy of the event. I slowly perused the wall of 3×5 art, red wine in hand, admiring all the intricacy of each piece while trying to imagine what the artist was thinking as they created it.
The 3x5s could be purchased for $15 each, and I was having trouble deciding! I asked Nick to point out his favorite, and he showed me one I hadn’t looked at yet but then fell in love with, an acrylic on canvas of three different colored birds sitting on a branch, budding with flowers. I am a textural person, and aside of the brightly colored painting, I enjoyed the way the canvas and chosen medium felt. I snatched it up and bought it because I knew it would be gone soon if I didn’t. Can you spot it in the photo above?
3×5 artwork was not the only kind featured at the event. There was a traditional gallery as well, with much larger works created by artists from all around New England. The art ranged in theme, but I was most drawn to scenes from different cities, such as Boston, New York, Gloucester and Salem. There were some detailed and gorgeous paintings of animals that stood out to me as well, and so much more.
During the event there were tables set up around the space where attendees could create their own 3×5 art for a chance to win a great prize pack, so before leaving Nick and I made a couple. I’m a writer and sadly am not blessed with the ability to make visually appealing art by hand, but at least I had fun! The 3×5 gallery was a huge success, so much so that a second one to be held at a larger location in the fall is already being discussed!
When I arrived home with my purchased 3×5 artwork, I looked at the name of the artist on the back again. Each piece was a mystery as to who created it until you purchased it. My 3×5, titled “Three Birds”, was painted by Nancy Newton Putnam.
As I am a curious person by nature, I decided to try and find her on Facebook to say thanks for her beautiful artwork, and get her thoughts behind it. Luckily, she was sweet enough to quickly respond to me! Nancy stated that the inspiration for “Three Birds” came from a calendar her hairdresser had given to her and originally had four birds, but only three would fit on her 3×5 canvas.
When asked about how her passion for painting began, Nancy said that “My art career got started in March of 2014 at a Wicked Art Bar painting event. I had never ever painted freehand before…since that day I have painted well over 100 paintings on my own, and at least 50 Wicked Art Bar supported events!” Nancy had only exhibited and sold her art at one show at her hairdresser’s, but when a friend mentioned that she should create artwork for the 3×5 gallery, “I jumped at the chance,” she said.
Besides “Three Birds”, she told me she had made a 3×5 painting of a lighthouse which also sold, and that another woman had been asking about the bird painting, but I must have purchased it before she went back for it. Nancy also sent me photos of some of her other paintings, and they are lovely as well. I’m sure she will provide more paintings for the next 3×5 show, and I look forward to seeing them!
Salem is such an incredible city with an energetic creative scene and many supporters, which is a big part of what draws me (and I’m sure others) to it so much. Empowering, promoting and bringing together this vibrant scene is Creative Salem, which put on the event and which the funds benefited:
Creative Salem celebrates the city of Salem as a hub of creativity, and is dedicated to promoting collaboration, facilitating quality artistic events, and providing contemporary tools for local creative professionals to find and connect with new audiences while encouraging them to apply their skills to help solve challenges facing the community. — creativesalem.com/about
The 3×5 gallery also supported the mission of the organization I interned for in college, Salem Main Streets. This is a non-profit dedicated to building and maintaining a thriving downtown through supporting and promoting new and current local businesses as well as holding popular events throughout the year such as the Salem Farmers’ Market and Salem Arts Festival, which are both coming up in June.
Creativity abounds everywhere you look in Salem and all throughout the year, so come on down to this historic city and be a part of it all!