Extraordinary art by everyday people

  • ValleyBike Share’s Florence Center station is located in front of Cooper’s Corner at Chestnut and Main Streets. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Monday, September 27, 2021

NORTHAMPTON — Common Wealth Murals is kicked off a two-month-long art exhibit this week that will showcase local artists and their work across Pioneer Valley.

ValleyBike initially reached out to Common Wealth Murals because it “wanted to do something to celebrate the arts in western Massachusetts,” according to Britt Ruhe, the director of Common Wealth Murals.

Starting Wednesday, the “Valley Arts Expo” will display photographs of 20 local artists and their work on dozens of ValleyBike kiosks across towns and cities including Northampton, Easthampton, Springfield, Holyoke and Amherst.

After many people turned to artistry during pandemic lockdowns, Ruhe said she was inspired by “so many different kinds of art” made by everyday people in local communities. The artistic talents showcased by this project include painting, graphic design, quilting, costume design and welding.

She said she hopes the exhibit will inspire more people to follow their own creative urges.

Isabella Dellolio, a portrait photographer who has worked with Ruhe in the past, photographed each artist with a piece they created to be displayed on 2-by-4-foot posters inside the ValleyBike kiosks.

The exhibit is expected to be displayed through Thanksgiving, with ValleyBike dedicating its advertising space to art “out of the goodness of their hearts,” Ruhe said.

The Mill District in Amherst and E Ink of South Hadley are the exhibit’s sponsors.