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Cambridge Valley tour aims to kick 'COVID blues'

Cambridge Valley tour aims to kick 'COVID blues'

Artists' works to be displayed outdoors, in large studios or online
Cambridge Valley tour aims to kick 'COVID blues'
“Red Sky in the Morning” by Sara Kelly
Photographer: Photo provided

CAMBRIDGE -- While life has slowed for many during the pandemic, for some Cambridge artists there hasn’t been much of a change in pace.

Some of the works that artists like Matt Chinian, George Van Hook and Mark Tougias created will be on display during the Cambridge Vallery Fine Art Tour this weekend.

Though many events, from concerts to county fairs, have been canceled due to COVID-19, the tour will take place Saturday and Sunday as originally scheduled, with a few new rules and guidelines in place.

The five participating artists will show their work outdoors; in studios large enough to allow for social distancing; and online.

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“It’s a great way to get over your COVID blues,” said Sara Kelly, an artist and graphic designer on the tour. She’s organized the event since 2015, and since then it’s drawn 80 to 100 visitors each year.

“It’s really nice to meet a different group of people because we do draw from outside the village. Every year there [are] people that surprise me with how far they’ve driven,” Kelly said.

“Bedlam Farm” by Elena Mark
Photo provided 

The tour is self-guided, and people can visit the studios of Chinian, Van Hook, Mark Tougias and Kelly. Due to the nature of her work, Elana Mark’s pieces will be available to view virtually.

The featured artists work mainly in oil on canvas, though each has a distinctive style. Chinian and Van Hook’s work leans toward impressionism, while Kelly and Mark’s style is more illustrative.

“This time the bulk of my work now is oil on canvas. The graphic designer in me has to do other things with them, so I’ve made calendars and I have some cards and stickers as well,” Kelly said.

She’ll be showing her work outside as well as in her gallery. While her work isn’t usually focused on current events, one of her most recent paintings was inspired by the pandemic.

“I only have one painting that I would call COVID-inspired and the name of it is ‘Red Sky in Morning.’ And anyone that knows the saying ‘Red sky in morning, sailors take warning … ’  ” Kelly said.

The painting features a dark, tree-filled landscape with a burst of pink and yellow streaks across the sky.  “It’s about as gloom-and-doom as I can get,” Kelly joked.

One of the reasons tours like these are popular among artists and attendees is, of course, the interaction between the two. It’s a great way for people who are simply curious about art or who are looking for advice to speak with professional artists about their work.

It gives artists who usually work on their own a chance to gain a different perspective.

“It’s always fun to get their feedback,” Kelly said.

Spring Barn with Hills by George Van Hook
Photo provided

In previous years, it’s been relatively simple to know how many people to expect on the tour, but this time it’s difficult to estimate.

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“Either people are going to be so anxious to get out … that we’ll have a lot of people, or they’re going to be still too afraid to go out,” Kelly said.

“I think a lot of people are out driving around now so I’m hoping they’ll stop. It’s not going to be crowded, we know that. We’re preparing for social distancing, hand sanitizing, [etc.].”

The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For a map of the studios and information, visit cambridgevalleyart.org.

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