Summer 2021 Greetings

What’s Inside:

  • Summer Greetings!
  • Watercolor Workshop
  • A Walk With Richard
  • John Stritch – Where Did all the Sculpture Go?
  • Save the Date: COVID Community Memorial
  • News From Artist Robert Markey

Summer Greetings! 

We welcome you!! Although Three Sisters Sanctuary is opened 365 days a year, it does seem like summer is our season. There’s a lushness to the landscape with the bending flower stalks laden with full blossoms, the dense greens of every shade beckoning to renew the spirit and birdsong filling the air. You can almost watch the ornamental grasses grow as they swish in the breeze forming a backdrop to the sculpture and stonework. With the school year now finished, there is no better place to continue the learning and creative inspiration than Three Sisters Sanctuary-Where Art and Nature Merge! Free admission for children 12 and under makes it the perfect place for affordable family fun! The time to visit is us now!  We hope to see you soon!

Watercolor Workshop with Denise Griffin on July 10, 2021 

We invite you on a creative journey- an exploration of Watercolor Painting amidst the inspiring beauty of Three Sisters Sanctuary.  Surrounded by art and nature, sculpture gardens and birdsong, local artist Denise Griffin will encourage you to meet your Inner Artist and greet your Creative Spirit. 

A few simple techniques will be introduced with the time to practice and gain confidence in each one. You will then choose one of 3-5 pre-drawn themes, inspired by the imagery throughout the Sanctuary. Gently guided to complete your piece in an encouraging atmosphere, you will leave with your own art and a memory of your visit. Environmental artist Richard M Richardson, Creator and Caretaker of Three Sisters Sanctuary, offers each of us a place to heal and embrace life in this tranquil, yet vibrant oasis in the Land of Goshen, Massachusetts.

From the Artist, Denise Griffin: “I have loved painting with watercolors for as long as I can remember.  With a fine arts education and years of illustration experience, art is woven into and through my daily life.  I am passionate about yoga and credit my daily practice for keeping my body and mind in a peaceful place, allowing for my creativity to flow.  It is from this source of calm that I find inspiration to paint. My subjects often reflect my love of nature and observation of the world around me.  Through my paintings, it is my desire to create a sense of peace through the use of soft details, colorful patterns and playful and stylized imagery. I hope my paintings bring happiness and calm to your life.”

Workshop Details:

Date: Saturday, July 10, 2021

Time: 10 am – Noon

Cost: $50 per person which includes entrance to the Sanctuary, materials, and art instruction. Registration and pre-payment are required to ensure a spot of 12 participants maximum. Please contact Denise Griffin by email [email protected] or call 413-885-8481 to register.

Outdoor seating provided at tables within the Sanctuary Meadow. Feel free to bring water or a beverage to enjoy while you attend this playful workshop. Covid precautions will be in place with adequate spacing and hand sanitizer. Masks will not be required for those fully vaccinated. 

For more information about Denise Griffin and to view her beautiful artwork, please visit www.dgriffinpaints.com 

A Walk with Richard 

This summer, one of the things I am most excited about is that after almost 30 years there will be a map of Three Sisters Sanctuary. Over the past several months, I have worked closely with Rin Leung, our graphics/computer whiz and also a very fine artist, to create a map which includes the most prominent features of the property. 

Rin’s whimsical line drawings truly evoke a sense of the magical exploration that takes place with each visitor to the Sanctuary. I am so excited to soon be able to post the map near the entrance to orient visitors to all the different galleries and gardens. And, in the near future, the map will be on our new brochures and we also plan to have it available for sale as a poster. 

Another new development at the Sanctuary:  I am working on an area that I began to create almost three years ago when I planted evergreens to define the space. As time passed, I have revisited this area often, making slight adjustments and improvements. I began to imagine its purpose in the Sanctuary and visualize its form. This year, I have deemed it a park that I am building. 

It is such a wonderful space and I am so proud of it as it comes together. I have planted flowering trees and ornamental grasses with more plants and flowers to be installed in the future. Next, more of John Stritch’s artwork will be displayed- please read the article in this newsletter by Andy Bell, an authority on the fascinating artist, Dr. Stritch. I also envision a stage for live entertainment, but that is another project unto itself. 

This new space has been really intriguing for me because it requires a great deal of materials. I have to chuckle when things like this happen and realize how lucky I am that over the years I had enough foresight to grow ornamental grasses in great volume. The same is true of all the plants and the stones I’m using to construct and landscape the area- they are already here on the property. It’s so rewarding for me to be continually creating these new sections of the Sanctuary, to be able to give structure to my ideas and bring my visions to reality.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come as I’ve only just begun this project, yet I do believe that I might actually have it done in the near future. Notice how I did not put a date on that one, Haha!  In the meantime, my friends, come and visit Three Sisters Sanctuary!  If I’m here, I’ll be happy to give you a tour of the new area and if I’m not, please go and visit it and then share your feedback. It’s important to me.  ~ Richard M Richardson

John Stritch- Where Did All the Sculpture Go?  by Andy Bell

When I set out to find my hero’s sculpture in 2018, I could only locate a couple of works. A sculptor myself, at some point I really needed another look at the work of Dr. John Stritch, the surgeon who became an artist and spent fifty years working at his craft in the Berkshires. After a long and fruitful career creating steel sculpture, paintings and printmaking, John passed in 2014. Beyond feeling the loss of such a great talent, I lamented that I could no longer just call or visit an artist I so admired and possibly see him in action or view his studio.  

On a mission, I canvassed Berkshire County and turned up a few works. There is the monumental “Stonehenge I” at the corner of West Street and Edwin Street in Pittsfield, as well as two steel sculptures in The Berkshire Museum collection. The Williams College Museum of Art collection boasts three of his works, two small sculptures and a print. You can find a white steel sculpture on Main Street in Stockbridge, just a block or two from the Red Lion Inn. Initially, that was all I could find. I was stumped. How could a career of half a century boil down to just a few sculptures on display? 

I was lucky enough to meet John’s wife, Jeanne, through my research and forged a friendship with the Stritch family. The next few years of my life would be spent in a whirlwind of research and discovery as I interviewed John’s friends and family. Many of these discoveries will be detailed in his authorized biography, which I have just finished writing. It’s being edited now, and I hope it is picked up by a publishing company in the next year or so. One discovery, however, was so exciting that I could not wait to share it. 

Before John passed, he was able to make a connection with Richard M Richardson, the creator and caretaker of Three Sisters Sanctuary, a sculpture garden encompassing eight acres chock full of annuals, perennials and creative expression. No ordinary sculpture park, the Sanctuary is in effect an evolving earthwork- a carefully curated outdoor installation created from rocks, grasses, plants, and trees- all meticulously constructed and maintained by Richardson and his team. It turns out that John sent over 30 pieces of his sculpture to be permanently displayed in the gardens of Three Sisters Sanctuary. 

Dr. Stritch’s artworks were some of the first sculpture added to the Sanctuary. They were seminal in transforming the Sanctuary into an outdoor sculpture gallery in addition to its amazing, healing landscapes of immense stones and spectacular gardens. The gardens are serene and peaceful and the landscape and artwork are powerful. However, for me personally, the real draw is the way John’s work continues to thrive in this fantastical environment, long after the artist’s passing. 

Although John is no longer with us, his work continues to inspire and influence the artists of today. One can see a bit of John Stritch in the work of other renown Western Massachusetts sculptors, including James Kitchen who has many large pieces on display at the Sanctuary. Also in the outdoor gallery, you can enjoy the figurative work of artist Robert Markey and the assembled creatures of metal created by the phenomenal artist and welder John Bander. Each artist has a distinctly different style that coexists in harmony with the landscape. 

As a big fan of his work, I am honored to say that this year I will be planning a new display of John Stritch’s work at Three Sisters Sanctuary. The collection will run the gamut from early career sculptures to some of his later works and will host large and small sculptures complete with bases and pedestals from the John Stritch studio.

If you’re a fan of the artwork of Dr. John Stritch, or enjoy steel sculpture and abstract expressionism, this season is not to be missed at Three Sisters Sanctuary. The Sanctuary makes a great day trip, is a fun way to experience the interplay between art and nature and is entertaining for all ages. For more information about John, please visit www.johnstritch.com 

Save the Date! Special Event! Community Memorial and Remembrance at Three Sisters Sanctuary for Those Marked By COVID, September 12, 2021  by Jennifer Ritz Sullivan

My name is Jennifer Ritz Sullivan. I live in Goshen, MA.  After losing my 66-year-old mother, Earla Dawn Dimitriadis, to the devastating disease that is COVID-19, I began volunteering with Marked By COVID. Marked By COVID is a national, grassroots-powered nonprofit organization that promotes accountability, recognition, justice, and a pandemic-free future by elevating truth and science. We are 100% volunteer-run and lead by people who the pandemic has most impacted. We are activists who share our personal stories and organize actions to heal and drive change. 

 In Massachusetts alone, COVID-19 has taken almost 18,000 lives in just over a year. Most of our loved ones died alone, with us only having brief communication with them, if any, by phone in their dying days. We could not hold memorial services for our loved ones or be with our families to grieve. We have had no peace while the world continues to debate over vaccines, masks, and the origins of the disease, overshadowing our losses over time. While many have been quick to celebrate the return to normal, we are still here fighting for justice and remembrance for our loved ones. There is no normal to return to for those of us marked by COVID.

We have not yet begun to grieve this enormous loss collectively as a nation. As we continue to fight for a federally recognized COVID–19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day to honor the over 600,000 deaths from COVID-19, we must continue to hold space for those mourning these significant losses. Our loved ones are not numbers; they are individual human beings that left lasting impacts on their communities, friends, and families. They deserve remembrance.

We are grateful to have been gifted the space at Three Sisters Sanctuary to come together as a community to connect and grieve on Sunday, September 12, 2021. This stunningly beautiful property was intentionally created by Richard M Richardson as a place to heal the wounds of love and loss. It will hold our grief and help with healing our spirits. Local radio host Monte Belmonte, from 93.9 the River, will be hosting the event.  

Participants will be encouraged to bring photos of their loved ones to hold or place throughout the Sanctuary. The names of our loved ones that we have lost will be read as background music plays. In addition, participants who have lost loved ones to the pandemic are asked to bring a small trinket or memento that remind them of their loved ones to place throughout the living walls of the Dragon’s Den, the Shrine of the Sanctuary. Like its living walls, our loved ones’ memories never die. After reading the names and a brief ceremony, people are encouraged to walk the serene grounds and connect with their community members.  

We hope that this event will bring together our community and promote remembrance for all those lost to COVID-19. If you would like to assist with the memorial, add your loved one’s name to the memorial event, or find out more about Marked By COVID’s work, I can be reached at [email protected] .

News from Artist Robert Markey by Bob Markey 

My main project this past year was the portraits I did to give to the families of people who died of COVID. The idea came from the Arthhouse/NYC gallery that I was connected with and they invited artists to do portraits of health care workers that died of COVID.  I did two portraits for them and then put out a local invite to do more here. It was in some ways hard, but it felt like I was doing something to help people in this difficult time. And it was so good to be able to meet the people who are local when I gave them the portrait. 

Here is a link to a Hampshire Gazette article regarding the portraits: 

https://www.gazettenet.com/Pandemic-portraits-39622226

Here is the link to the show that “Connecting Point” did on this work:  

https://connectingpoint.nepm.org/robert-markey-paints-portraits-of-those-lost-to-covid-19/

I will be doing an art show at the Kushmens Gallery, 28 Center St. in Chicopee in July.  It will be a solo show and will be a retrospective of my work from many years. The opening is on July 2, from 4:00 to 10:00 and it would be wonderful to see you there.

I have a piece in Easthampton at the window display at 40 Cottage Street, June 2 – 29. for the “Wear Orange” project. In Amherst for the window project I have three paintings in the side windows at Power House Nutrition at 103 N Pleasant St.

 In terms of sculpture, I will have a sculpture “Pegasus”, at the Norman Rockwell Museum, July 10 through October 31, with an opening on Saturday, July 10th. The “American Minotaur” will be at the Worcester Art in the Park, opening August 15th. And the “Tree of Life” at Sculpturefest in Vermont, opening on June 27th.

I illustrated and published a children’s book for a friend, “Jesse’s Duck Story” (true story) and am working on illustrating another larger love story that a friend wrote. While I wasn’t able to do any mosaic projects with kids last winter, I am hoping to go somewhere this winter; Brazil doesn’t look safe but maybe Sri Lanka will be good. And I just started playing music again with my musician friends, so hopefully there will be some gigs coming up soon. Have a good and healthy summer! 

(Robert Markey has many pieces on display at Three Sisters Sanctuary. We are pleased to reprint portions of his recent email to friends and admirers! To view more of his work please visit www.robertmarkey.com )

Magical, One-of-a-Kind Summer Getaway at our Airbnb

There is nothing quite like experiencing Three Sisters Sanctuary in the early morning or at dusk when you seemingly have the entire property to yourself or with your loved ones. Marvel at the star-filled sky! Relish reflection, inspiration and pure joy as you wander the grounds and renew your senses! The Hilltown area brims with summer fun with hiking and exploring rivers, waterfalls and lakes, cool historical and art museums and country farmers markets. Eclectic, art-filled, Craftsman-style accommodations for up to 4 adults in two bedrooms await you. Please visit https://threesisterssanctuary.com/stay-with-us/ or Airbnb.com to learn more.

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Summer 2021 Greetings

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What’s Inside: Summer Greetings!Watercolor WorkshopA Walk With RichardJohn Stritch – Where Did all the Sculpture Go?Save the Date: COVID Community…