Culture in Central MA: Clinton’s “Windows into Heaven”
Friday, December 27, 2013
|A photo from the exhibit of Festival Row Icons, which is on display at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA.|
Spanning six centuries, from the 15th to the 21st, the collection is one of the largest outside of Russia and the largest in North America. Lankton began his extensive collection of the beautifully hand painted art at a flea market in 1989. An icon is a painting of a sacred person or event that bears religious meaning. Icons are often called “windows into heaven” because they are said to give the viewer a glimpse of the eternal realm.
Few customs and traditions have endured for longer than a millennium, but the use of icons in Russia is one of them. One of the great traditions of Eastern Christianity, icons are considerably less well known here. Rich in symbolism, they are still used extensively in Orthodox churches and monasteries, and many Russian homes have icons hanging on the wall in a prayer corner. Over 200 icons are lovingly displayed at one time.
The 16,000 square foot Museum of Russian Icons houses galleries, a research library, performance facilities, terrace and a green roof. A sweeping metal and glass stairway connects three floors. A small cafe in the basement serves up Russian teas and chocolate and a gift shop offers a varied stock of Russian items for every budget.
The museum is a wonderfully adult winter getaway and offers a number of special exhibitions and events. Current exhibits include:
- Secret Symbolism: Decoding Color in Russian Icons will be on display from January 4 through March 1, 2014. The exhibit helps visitors to understand the connotation of the palette of colors typically used in icon “writing” and cultivates a deeper understanding of the legends the painting portrays.
- The Tsar’s Cabinet: Two hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs highlights 200 years of decorative arts and will be on view from March 29 to May 25.
- Festival Row Icons is a display of a recent acquisition of 12 Festival Row Icons.The Festival Row is from an iconostasis (wall of icons separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church) and is the only one of its kind in the United States. The 12 Festival icons are believed to be from the Pskov region, a city south-southwest of St. Petersburg. According to Artist-in-residence Alexander Gassel, the icons are most likely from outside the main city and appear to be 16th century.
A concert will be held on February 1st at 3 pm titled “Favorite Music of the Romanov Dynasty” on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Russian Empire Family. The concert features clarinetist Georges Devdariani and soprano Maria Lyudko.
Museum of Russian Icons is closed Sunday and Monday and open 11-3 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11-7 on Thursday and 9-3 on Saturday. Admission is only $7 for adults and $5 for seniors (59 and over). Docent tours are available during museum hours.
The museum is located at 203 Union Street in Clinton, MA. For more information, call 978.598.5000 or log on to their website.
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55 Salisbury Street, Worcester
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25 Sagamore Road, Worcester
The Worcester Center for Crafts’ Krikorian Gallery, in conjunction with Worcester State University, is committed to "sustaining craft as a vital part our community" through education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. They are currently holding its Holiday Festival of Crafts 2013 this weekend.
25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg
The Fitchburg Art Museum is one of the cultural treasures of North Central Massachusetts. Though not quite as famous as its cousin to the south, the Worcester Art Museum, the Fitchburg museum still houses an impressive permanent collection of art spanning 5,000 years. Check out their current exhibition: Still Life Lives! - A celebration of the vitality of the still life tradition and its themes of beauty, bounty, darkness, fragility, and fleeting moments, which runs through January 14.
38 Harlow Street, Worcester
The Sprinkler Factory is a unique gem in Downtown Worcester and a true center for all the arts. Once a manufacturing plant, the Sprinkler Factory now provides space for individual artists to form their own studios and contains areas for music, dance, and other fun activities. The massive atrium on the second floor in the middle of the complex is available for local artists to show their work. The public is welcome to browse the artists' studios and galleries. An upcoming exhibition entitled Indoor Games , runs from December 7 through January 25, captures the spirit of creativity during the winter months.
960 Main Street, Fitchburg
Since its opening in 2008 by founders by Ann and Peter Capodagli, the Boulder Art Gallery has been committed to showing original and vintage paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures from the region's most talented artists. A true variety of work from both new and established artists is on display in a multitude of mediums and styles; check out oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. Many pieces are also available for purchase.
660 Main Street; 657 Main Street, Worcester
The Aurora Gallery and the “GArtH” Gallery of Art at the Hadley are run by the organization ArtsWorcester, and both show the work of local artists, many of whom are members of the group. For a list of current and upcoming exhibits, click here and here.
44 Portland Street, Worcester
Since its founding in 2006, the Davis Art Gallery has made it its mission to promote the Worcester art community and create awareness of the local creative culture. One of the ways the gallery does this is by showing the work of local artists in a great variety of different mediums. Currently, you can see an exhibit by Emily and Robb Sandagata; Unearthed, which runs through February 7th.