Russell Watts and his band perform to the crowd.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
For the fifth time, The Gardens at Elm Bank filled its grounds with artists, performers and food trucks, and opened its doors to the public for the annual Arts on the Green event. With 26 unique artists selling their work on the grounds (Elm Bank takes no cut of their revenue), the Massachusetts Horticultural Society was able to show off the entirety of its acreage, while keeping people entertained at every step.
Among the more interesting aspects the day were the ongoing tours from Garden Curator David Fiske. Fiske noted that so many of the people he gave tours to lived nearby, but for whatever reason had never been inside of the grounds.“I see a lot of new faces," explained Fiske. "I’d say well over half of the people have never been here, and it’s amazing when you talk to them - they’re like neighbors. They’ve been driving by for years. it’s so nice to be able to see people come out on a beautiful night like tonight.”
Fiske noted that “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” was filmed on the grounds, inside of a building that is unfortunately in desperate need of renovation.
There was also live music being played by Russell Watts and his band, What’s Goin' On, as well as a variety of food and ice cream trucks serving the public. The band played mostly Motown hits from the sixties and seventies - which was good, as so many songs were instantly recognizable.
Still, it was the art that was the main attraction (other than the Gardens themselves). Penni Jenkins noted that the sheer variety of media on display was amazing. “This year, we have 26 artists who represent various media," she explained. "We have photographers. We have a lady who does felt art. We have a woman who does molded cement dishes and trays that use leaves like rhubarb to make really pretty little bird bath dishes. We have painters in both oil and watercolor, and one of the ladies arranges flowers on a flatbed scanner and then scans them into photographs.”
Elaine Lawrence explained that, other than the weather, the big difference between this year and years past is just how big the event has become. “It’s just become more and more popular every year," said Lawrence. "This is the place to be, you know - lots of people look forward to it, so it’s busier. A lot of the artists are returning, but we have a lot of new ones too. I would say it’s become a tradition. The Gardens are gorgeous, the weather is gorgeous, which is different from last year - the weather being gorgeous, not the gardens.”
Still, she noted that as great as the event has become, “We’d love for people to come down when we’re not having a community event.”
Whether the experience on the day will translate into more visitors at Elm Bank is anyone's guess. There’s no doubt, however, that people enjoyed themselves at Arts on the Green.
And there’s no doubt that even more people will show up next year.