Festivals on the FarmCoast

Summer is a time to celebrate, and here on the FarmCoast there are plenty of chances to join in the festivities. FarmCoast festivals highlight the unique people, art, food, and landscape of our four towns and are happening here all summer long!

The Westport Fair July 16th- 20th

Here’s where you can experience a good old-fashioned summer fair right on the FarmCoast. Think local crafts, BBQ, 4H, carnivals, and music. In partnership with Lee’s Supermarket the fair grants scholarships each year to community recipients. The fair is located at 200 Pine Hill Road Westport, MA. For more information visit the fair website.

Arts and Artisan Festival July 19th

The 27th annual Arts and Artisan Festival is the longest standing art fest on the FarmCoast and is one of the many FarmCoast traditions that only gets brighter with age. The festival features over 75 New England artists showcasing everything from textiles to painting to photography and more. Live entertainment and amazing food by the Acacia Café food truck will be there all day long. The festival is held on lawn behind the behind The Mill Pond Shops in historic Tiverton Four Corners at 3998 Main Rd Tiverton, RI from 10-4pm. The rain date is Sunday, July 20th. To learn more about the festival and vendors, click here.

Padanaram Village Celebration July 26-27th

Explore Padanaram and the “Days of Yore” in this two-day celebration commemorating Dartmouth’s 350th anniversary. Saturday enjoy sidewalk sales, nature walks, a SEMAP culinary presentation, historic reenactments, concerts, tractor rides and more. Sunday brings more historic presentations, a baseball game, and family centered events. There will even be a birthday cake! For more information about this two-day event, click here.

SouthCoast Artists Tours July 19th & 20th AND August 16th and 17th

Now in their 11th year, the South Coast Artists are once again opening their doors during the Open Studio Tours this summer, providing visitors a glance at the life and work of established and unique area artists. Grab a tour map and wander through the FarmCoast towns on your choice of two weekends this summer to see live multi-media painting, sculpting and pottery, mosaic and more. The SouthCoast Artists are a non-profit organization working together to preserve and enrich the community through art. Click here for more information or to download a map.

Cultural Survival Bazaar July 26th and 27th

A traveling Bazaar of indigenous art and culture, this celebration of native people is the most colorful of the FarmCoast festivals. Here you will find tribal crafts, artwork, clothing, jewelry, carpets, and accessories, not to mention live music, Native American storytelling, cultural presentations, craft-making demonstrations, and short films all on the lawn of the Soule-Seabury House in Tiverton Four Corners from 10am to 5pm. Dedicated to the principals of fair trade the Bazaar facilitates the expansion and access to American markets. In the past seven years alone the bazaars have generated over $3 million for indigenous artisans, fair trade businesses, indigenous communities’ programs, and Cultural Survival’s work on behalf of indigenous peoples. For more information on the mission, the artists and performances click here.

Sing out Against Hunger  July 26th through October

A series of music performances by local musicians will once again take the stage on the FarmCoast to raise awareness and gather canned goods for the Tiverton Food Drive. In cooperation with local merchants, volunteer musicians, and civic-minded people, Singing Out Against Hunger raises thousands of dollars each year to help rid the community of hunger. Their main event at Evelyn’s Drive In will take place September 12-14th where you can find raffle prizes, a silent auction, and great local bands. Other concert locations and dates can be found here.

Hope to see you at one of the many Festivals this summer!

Summer Yoga on the FarmCoast

What’s better than yoga class in the summer time? Yoga class in the summer time on the FarmCoast! And we’re happy to report there are many spots offering you a chance to soak up some good vibes amidst a peaceful landscape this summer. Most classes are for all levels of practice, so pick your venue and bring your mat!


Gray’s Daily Grind- Little Compton

Saturday mornings before your cup of coffee, join Grays Daily Grind behind the mill for a morning of relaxing yoga practice next to the stream. Instructor Angela Denham from the Dancing Feather will guide a gentle Hatha yoga class designed to deepen your connection to mind, body, and spirit. Class will be held every Friday morning from 8-9am and the cost is $10. Grab your favorite cool drink from the grind after class for a refreshing start to the day.

Blue Sky Yoga- Westport

Meet at on the lawn outside the Deddee Shattuck Gallery and Partners Village Store for an hour of uplifting Kripuli yoga starting Saturdays at 8:30am. This early morning, donation-based class is open to the public and supports various levels of practice. Instructor Jeff Costa unfolds traditional yoga principles with special attention to both alignment and ease. Find yourself surrounded by art and nature, the perfect combination for a meditative yoga practice.  For more information click here.

Summer Yoga at Slocum River Reserve-Dartmouth

Jeff Costa will also be teaching Wednesday mornings beginning July 2nd
 at the beautiful Slocum’s River Reserve 
from 8-9am. This FREE class will take place  at Angelina’s Overlook, providing ample open space and gorgeous views of the nature preserve.  Parking is available on Horseneck Rd. in Dartmouth at the Slocum River Reserve Parking lot. Click here to see the poster.

Yoga at the Stone Barn- Dartmouth

Nurture your body and mind surrounded by all the natural beauty FarmCoast has to offer at Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary at the Stone Barn.  Join Juliet Fridays at 10am and Tania Saturdays at 9am for an uplifting practice to start the weekend. Drop in classes are $15 or you can purchase a six-class punch card for $75. For more information click here.

ABC Studio- Tiverton Four Corners

If you’re looking to add a little more power to your practice, stop by the ABC studio in Tiverton Four Corners Sunday mornings at 8:30 am for power vinyasa class with David. Various vinyasa classes are also offered throughout the week. To see their full schedule, click here.

Make wellness part of your summer and enjoy the serenity of the beautiful Farmcoast. See you at class!

 

Summer Music on the FarmCoast

FarmCoast summers are here which means fresh eggs on the roadside, clam cakes on the beach, open shop doors, beautiful sunsets, and of course, live music. Many of our members are offering summer evening concerts and we hope you get out to join them!

Westport Rivers Sunset Concert Series

A gorgeous vineyard with a long family history is bringing back their much-loved Sunset Concert Series starting this Friday June 20th with a fabulous entertainment line-up. Bring your picnic blanket and food if you want, but you may want to save your appetite for the Cuttyhunk raw bar or catering by Compton Clambakes. Beer and wine are also available to purchase, but bring your own glasses! The outdoor concerts will be every Friday from 6-8pm and a few Saturday nights as well. The cost is $10 per carload. For more visit westportrivers.com



Apponagansett Summer Concert Series

Find your spot on the lawn of the Apponagansett park overlooking the Apponagansett Bay in Dartmouth every Wednesday from 5:30 to 8:30pm to enjoy  a lively line-up of local music.  ”The Bucket” will be serving your favorite backyard cooks plus ice cream and cold drinks. The cost is $5 per person or $4 in advance; children under 12 are free. Rain date will be on Thursdays. Find details about the bands and series here.

LIVE at the Sail Loft

This Padanram hot-spot hosts live music Thrusdays and Sundays and just released a brand new menu. By the way, Padanaram is a must-see stop on the Farmcoast, so before dinner stroll the shops of this quaint and historic boating village. Discover the harmony of local music and local food together at the Sail Loft. To get updates on Sail Loft performances follow them here.

Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard Summer Concert Series

Surrounded by the beauty of Little Compton’s favorite vineyard, park your family and pets on the grounds of Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard for an evening of spirited music and superb local wine. Concerts will be held Thursday evenings from 6-8pm through Sept 18th and food and drink will be for sale at Carolyn’s Cafe. Dancing barefoot is encouraged. To see the full band line-up visit sakonnetwine.com.

Back Eddy

Long-time local favorite The Back Eddy has reserved Sunday nights for fresh seafood, spirited cocktails, and live music. Expect amazing performances like that of acclaimed singer-songwriter Rebecca Correia, in an entirely relaxed atmosphere. Stop by throughout the summer for waterfront seats, local food, amazing views, and great local music.

Tiverton Four Corners Arts Center Concert and Food Truck Festival

The Meeting House in Four Corners has made welcome hundreds of community festivals over the years and will be hosting this year’s not-to-be-missed Art Center Food Truck Concert Festival. Be there for one, or all three, concert dates June 29th, July 27th, and Auguest 17th and find delicious local creations from the Acacia Food Truck each time. The Concert line-up is as follows: Smith & Weeden on June 29th, Kate Grana & Friends on July 27th, and Abbey Rhode on August 20th; per ticket cost is $14 at the door. Alternatively, you can purchase a season pass for all three concerts for $30 which grants you discounts to 5 other concerts happening at the art center. This venue is an iconic stop for visitors and locals on the summer Farmcoast trail, we hope to see you there!

Community Supported Agriculture: Top 10 Reasons to get a Farmcoast CSA this Summer

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a big part of the FarmCoast heritage. The land in all it’s lush and fertile beauty is credit to the bountiful farms and farmers and their faithful integrity. If you haven’t signed up for a farm share this year, here are ten reasons why you should. Scroll down for a list of farms on the FarmCoast offering delicious summer produce.

10. Because we all know by now to SHOP LOCAL. 100% of your money spent on a farm share goes right to the farmer who picked those veggies allowing them to more efficiently sustain their business and crops.

9. Because in your market bag each week will be super FRESH, colorful, often ORGANIC produce that you’d pay more for in the grocery store.

8. Because the average COST of a couple’s farmshare is about $25 per week. For the same cost as a trip to the movies you can help to sustain and maintain the farms and open space on the FarmCoast for years to come and eat vegetables while you’re doing it.

7. Because summertime is a great time to get CREATIVE in the kitchen. Each week you’ll bring home an assortment of seasonal produce giving your dinner menu a chance to refresh. Not sure what to do with kohlrabi? Not to worry, many of the farms send home recipes to accompany their veggies.

6. Because you’ll get to know your farmer and other veggie-loving farmcoast FRIENDS. Anyone for a farmcoast CSA cook-out?

5. Because you’ll be in the know. Your trip to the farm each week will be like a crash course in eating by season, and even long after your CSA has expired you will continue to shop smarter and cook healthier.

4. Did we mention healthy eating?

3. Because food is culture, and part of the FarmCoast CULTURE is food. Join the wave of Farmcoast foodies!

2. Because getting it from the farm will minimize your carbon FOOTPRINT by decreasing how far your food travels.  Most food travels over 1500 miles before you eat it!

1. Tomatoes, corn, sugar snap peas, beets, blueberries, peppers, kale, cucumbers, peaches, squash, garlic, and happiness all summer long.


It’s not too late to get in on a CSA this summer. Below are a list of FarmCoast farms offering shares.Contact individual farms for details and share availability. Most begin in the next couple of weeks so don’t wait! Do you already have a share? Let us know what’s your favorite CSA take-home.

Tiverton

Roots Farm 

Mello’s Farm Stand

Little Compton

Wishing Stone Farm

Westport MA

Hilltop Farm

Skinny Dip Farm 

Dartmouth
Apponagansett Farm 

Brix Bounty Farm

Round the Bend Farm

Silverbrook Farm

Look Who’s New on the FarmCoast

A host of new members have jumped on the sustainably-minded bandwagon we call the FarmCoast, a beautiful stretch of land that sits on the coastal border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Farmcoast, as the name implies, is a community graciously dependent on its land, but farms are not all you will find here. Food caught fresh and sustainably sourced, clothing hand-made and fair-trade, art in many accomplished forms, and people who appreciate these precious modern amenities are all scattered across the FarmCoast landscape. If you haven’t been to this region of New England yet, now’s the perfect time. Here are some of 2014′s newest members. Welcome aboard!

The Local Bouquet

The local bouquet is a full service “field to vase” floral design studio using domestic and locally grown flowers and offering gorgeous event assortments, flower subscriptions, and workshops. Visit their website to learn more about Mary-Kate and Maureen or to order your own FarmCoast blooms.

Simmons Cafe and Market

You will find some flowers from the local bouquet stocked in the new Simmons Cafe and Market, a historic, lively café and marketplace that features natural and organic foods, local products, healthy meals, art, music, and wifi. Simmons Cafe is located at 78A Crandall Rd in Little Compton, RI.

Shop-Isa

An artist gallery and artisan boutique overlooking the Sakonnet River, Shop-Isa features a blossoming assortment of fair-trade and handmade goods. You will find everything from soaps and jewelry, to photography and up-cycled home vintage accessories. Find Shop Isa at 1793 Main Rd. Tiverton,RI and online at shopisa.tumblr.com.

Katherine Lovell Studio and Gallery

Previously part of the Mill Pond Shops, Katherine Lovell will be joining the FarmCoast and the lively arts community in Tiverton Four Corners in a new location at 3895 Main Road in Tiverton. Don’t miss her grand opening on June 14th to see wonderful, nature-inspired works of art! To learn more about her paintings visit klovell.com.

Acacia Cafe-Food Truck

Acacia Cafe is the tastiest new FarmCoast member, a Food Truck, serving up a mouthwatering menu and traveling throughout Rhode Island and the southcoast of Massachusetts at regular locations and special events. All their ingredients are locally grown and sourced, all natural and organic whenever possible. They will be guests of honor at the Tiverton Four Corners Food Truck Concert Series this summer, don’t miss it! For more information on their food, locations, and menu visit them online at acaciacafe.com.

Sakonnet Collective

A new member with a new location in Tiverton Four Corners, this colorful art gallery and studio brings excitement and enthusiasm along with fine furniture, sculptures, mixed media art, ceramics, and jewelry crafted by local and resident artists as well as visiting artists. Stop by their new location at 3842 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI for their Grand Opening on June 14th or visit them online at thesakonnetcollective.com.


Tess & Carlos

 
An urban upscale boutique comes to the village of Four Corners! Tess and Carlos is well-known for their high-quality, European-style women’s clothing and accessories. They have stores in and around the Boston metropolitan area and now right here on the FarmCoast. Read all about their new boutique on the Discover Rhode Island Style Blog!

For a full listing of all FarmCoast Members, visit our website at www.farmcoast.com.

A Day at the Spa

Whether you spend your summer days in the backyard, beach, or in the office, everyone deserves a little pampering this time of year. So when you discover this sophisticated day spa amidst the gorgeous seaside landscape of FarmCoast, you’ll know you’ve found the ultimate summertime indulgence. Although FarmCoast is dotted with elegance –from whispering natural habitats to upscale art galleries— Karyne and Company’s unique charm lies in the offering to relax both muscles and mind with expertise and glamour, a tempting luxury that’s hard to pass up.

Opened only in November of 2011 at 368 Elm Street, Karyne and Company Day Spa is a relatively new member of historic Padanaram Village and the FarmCoast. Once a South Dartmouth ship port, Padanaram can be traced back to it’s original purchase from the Wampanoag Indian tribe  in 1652 and now exists as a small-scale modern marketplace. The waterfront village is home to eateries, galleries, boutique shopping, and a bustling summer population. And it was Karyne who realized the village needed somewhere to put their feet up.

“I wanted to create a peaceful, zen place, but also one that was modern and comfortable,” she says. Karyne Hubert is owner and operator of the beautifully located spa and a Dartmouth resident herself who admittedly takes the back roads to work just for the views. If you ask her the secret to why clients always return she will tell you, “it’s the customer service.” A hand-picked, expertly-trained staff pride themselves on high standards, deep body awareness, and a keen ability to read their clients needs.  Not just anyone can work here, but everyone is welcome to reap the benefits of this bright and sunny village spa.

Karyne and Company’s services include nail care, sports and body massage, facials, spray tanning, skincare consultation and application, and full body waxing. Karyne chooses results-proven products for skincare and she and her staff always recommend SPF. Your summer self will love this place.

Karyne and Company is open Tuesday through Saturday year round; appointments are recommended and walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information about Karyne and Company and for special deals and last minute spa availability please visit them on Facebook.

Wide Open Spaces on the FarmCoast

Spring has sprung! And if this warmer weather has got you searching for a trip to the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. Our four coastal villages are filled with open spaces and gorgeous natural habitats just waiting for your visit. We invite you to bask in the warm sun and all the glory of being in the fresh outdoors. From open parks to nature trails, here are some stops you might want to explore this spring

In Tiverton 
Tiverton is known for it’s hidden treasures and certainly Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge is one of these. Situated just minutes north of historic Tiverton Four Corners on Sepowet Ave, this preserve features 50 acres of accessible tree-lined trails welcoming to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and encouraging to hopeful bird watchers; Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Glossy Ibis are just some of the birds you might encounter on your peaceful walk through the trails. What to bring: your binoculars and sketch pad; this refuge will delight you with stunning views of salt marshes and the sparkling Sakonnet River.
Weetamoo Woods, part of Pardon Gray Reserve, is another option for hiking in Tiverton. While you can travel through Pardon Gray to get to the forest trails, many prefer the entrance on East Rd. which gives direct access to over 5 miles of mapped trails. This healthy trek is a paradise for budding botanists and historians alike. Here you’ll find a showcase of nature’s most resilient mosses, mushrooms, and wild plants, and remnence of Weetamoo’s original Wampanoag ownership with historic stone walls, cellar holes and even a village sawmill. What to bring: Your pup and a few dollars for ice cream. Wetamoo is right across from iconic Tiverton ice cream parlor, Gray’s!

In Little Compton
Although the entrance may be easy to pass by, don’t drive by Simmon’s Mill Pond in Little Compton, especially if you’ve brought your fishing gear. Over 400 acres of land sit under forest cover with wide hiking trails and at the pond, we hear, an abundance of trout in the spring. Hike about a 1/2 mile from the entrance on Colebrook Rd. and find a beautiful place to spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy the sounds of nature. What to bring: sturdy shoes and your fishing pole.

In Westport
If you find yourself in this summer beach town make your way over to Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and explore the coastal wetlands. Two entrances give access to over 7 hiking routes, boasting 6 miles of trails and “first-class bird watching,” each with their own unique display of this rich New England habitat. Parking on Horseneck Rd. brings you to the Quansett Trail System including a breathtaking Beach Loop filled with gorgeous views of Buzzard’s Bay. Just up the street, parking on Allen’s Neck Road brings you to the Allen’s Neck Trail System through old pastures and grasslands to giant boulders and vernal pools.What to bring: a wind jacket and a bird dictionary; Over 300 species of birds have been spotted here!

In Dartmouth
Located on Barney’s Joy Rd., Demarest Lloyd State Park is rightfully called one of the best-kept secrets in southern Massachusetts. In a harmonious blending of farm and sea, hiking trails open onto a beautiful accessible beach. Visitors say traveling here feels like being a kid again, uncovering a secret treasure you’ll want to visit again and again. What to bring: sand shovels and buckets for collecting rocks and shells. Also in Dartmouth, managed jointly by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and Trustees of Reservations, Slocum River Reserve is a beautiful hike for those who appreciate a peek at the water featuring 2 miles of walking trails along the stunning Slocum River. To add to it’s appeal, over the passed year an art exhibit, The River Project, was installed inviting visitors to view large scale sculptures by local artists amidst the trails through May 18th 2013. What to Bring: your artistic side and a bit of bug spray.

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust manages over ten popular trails in the area including the popular Daffodil fields in Parson’s Preserve, a springtime delight for all ages. The organization hosts events and guided walks throughout the year.Visit their website for specific trail information. Another great destination in Dartmouth is the Lloyd Center for the Environment with five family friendly trails over 55 acres of lush forest and wetlands. Colorful trail maps available at the education center guide you through the reserve but don’t forget to spend some time in the indoor aquaria room! The Lloyd Center is also a great spot for canoeing and kayaking. What to Bring: all your friends!

Happy Trails! 

Hayrides and Superheros are Autumn’s Best Friends at Patchet Brook Farm

It’s true, fall has arrived, vibrant foliage and all. But here on the FarmCoast nothing says autumn like an old fashioned, slow and jostled hayride through the open fields. And if you like just a tad more excitement on your hayride definitely find Pachet Brook Farm where a hidden cast of characters await you in a surprising assembly along the 30 minute ride through the Pachet Brook forest.

It’s not quite haunted but surely a crowd and kid pleaser. Everyone from Spider-man to Shriek can be spotted if you keep your eyes open. Jean Bento is in charge of the operation and the farm, which has been in her family for some 107 years. That’s almost as impressive as the collection of costumed characters she’s amassed since her inheritance, not to mention the fact that she hides them single handedly along the 20-acre farm trail.

Traveling to Pachet Brook Farm is a small treasure in itself. After journeying the scenic Route 77 you will come to a small sign welcoming you to Pachet Brook. Turn into the drive and find a family of ducks frolicking in the autumn sun and a long dirt road ahead. When you finally make it to the top, rest assured, their are cookies– as well as pumpkins galore and some friendly farming faces waiting to greet you.

After the hayrides, kids are invited to pick a pumpkin from the scarecrow-lined field and play to their hearts content in the adjacent play yard complete with a slide, sandbox, and more spooky decor.

Even though the hayrides will only last through October, there’s no need to dismay. Next up will be tagging one of Pachet Brook’s 7 varieties of Christmas trees which are already filling the open space on the farm making for a charming addition to autumn hayrides and a welcome abundance of clean air. As we’ve been told, the smaller the Christmas tree the more oxygen they give off, so skip the small ones and head right for the big guys! Tagging starts in November.

We think Pachet Brook Farm is the perfect family outing for the autumn season. What’s your favorite fall tradition?

For more information on hayrides, the tree farm, and birthday parties visit www.pachetbrook.com

Set in Stone

On the breezy front porch of the Stone House, Stefanie May took a break from reservations for some afternoon sun and a chat about the place many vacationers, and even locals, are just now discovering for the first time. “This is our year,” Stefanie said of the Stone House, a sultry and secluded estate surrounded by a glimmering seascape and outstretched gardens. This once-exclusive 1854 residence has been through the hands of many proprietors throughout the years and is now in its 6th year of operation as an The Stone House…an inn, tavern, day spa, and special events venue. This summer, the Stone House is celebrating the sweetness of their most fruitful season yet.

Despite it’s size, this rural destination in Little Compton, RI is anything but overwhelming. Park in their private lot and wander over the expansive lawn in front of the house to gaze at the sea before checking in. Step through the lobby, modest and stylishly minimalistic, mirroring the calmness of the summer town and humbling visitors with its serenity. Subtle historic details–like a winding spiral staircase– honor the original architecture and provide just enough New England charm.

Choose from 13 artfully simplistic rooms in either the main house or the Wood Barn with the same mix of modern design and historic preservation. Each guest room is equipped with custom-made linens, i-pod docks, and a “gourmet corner,” but if you want a little more luxury,  upgrade to a room with features like their Japanese style soaking tub, heated flooring, fireplace, or stunning water views. Keeping with the Italian style in which it was built, the Lantern room invites its guests to enjoy the cupola, a 360° outlook tower offering arguably one of the most beautiful views in Little Compton.

Among new amenities to the property is this year’s new in-house chef, Steve Osman, already getting “rave reviews,” says Stefanie, with an impressively native Tap Room menu, served the inn’s downstairs speakeasy, and tempting tapas selection that can be enjoyed on their outdoor patio. Other perks of staying at the Stone House include a panoramic view of the water from the front porch, and of course, the beach, just a short walk from the main doors of the property. Don’t forget to make an appointment at the spa which boasts a seductive selection of treatments from aromatherapy to deep tissue massage.

This year the Stone House hosted 13 weddings and hopes to expand its wedding community in the years to come. They hold many other special events throughout the year, most recently a 15-year anniversary party for their friendly neighbor and  jewelry designer Tiffany Peay. Personalizing each event among the Stone House staff’s top priorities; ”We pride ourselves on service,” says Stefanie. Another Stone House employee, and special event floral designer Marc Vaughn, revealed a garden cove on the front lawn that he and the staff would be transforming into an intimate ceremony location for an upcoming wedding. “We’re really here for outside guests as well as locals. We’re moving upwards.”

Come for the service, the style, the beach, the spa, or the cuisine. But whatever you come for, may it be as rejuvenating and romantic as the view from the porch of the Stone House.

Learn more about the Stone House at stonehouse1854.com

ANNOUNCING “QUARTET” at GALLERY4

Solo exhibitions can unearth the unbound essence of an artist –their process, foundation, nourishment, and growth– with intensity and valor. While this earnest presentation of art is often liberating, a selective group exhibition can likewise illuminate new waves of understanding. So is the case with a new foursome exhibition at Gallery4 on Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners where Turkish slippers, fine jewelry, and wall-sized canvases flourish together side-by-side. Here four prominent south coast-area women have been chosen to exhibit their work in a showing titled, “Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance,” which will run through August 12th, exposing not only the depth of each female artist, but the “harmony and dissonance” between them.

The works of Jane Tuckerman, Gayle Wells Mandle, Susan Strauss, and Sarah Benham adorn eager white walls filling the gallery with familiar excitement and a new sense of importance. The four women who live as neighbors along the south coast have now come together in a poignant display of their experiences apart, in separate corners of the world.

“It’s a clever name,” says Sarah Benham reflecting on the title amidst a backdrop of opening-night attendees and her bold, figurative oil paintings. Showing are both early and late works by Benham who likens her process to a lucid puzzle, “it’s about finding a solution” she says. Inspired by the simple pleasures of life, Benham has spiraled through style and medium during her honored career as an artist, always considering the wise words of a friend: “to always be astonished by what you do. And I am astonished” she says. There are many ways to be astonished by Benham’s paintings. First it’s the figures that grab you, then the density and depth of the scene. They are faceless jolts of color and mood awakening the senses and mesmerizing in their perfection.

The exhibit, orchestrated by gallery owners Bob Smith, Elaine Hill, and Alix Cambell struck a chord of enthusiasm in the community with over 150 people gathering last Sunday for the opening reception. The works handpicked and juxtaposed in the four-room gallery gave enough space for each artist to breathe while infusing one another with vibrancy and contrast.

Tucked away in one nook of the gallery last Sunday was Susan Strauss whose landscapes and floral masterpieces float effortlessly on the walls as if growing there on their own. A master of decorative arts, Strauss is a fresh face in the gallery, yet her plein air paintings are exuberantly lived in. Their immediate transparency morphs into luminous and muddled movement the longer you let them in, drawing forth intellect, grace, and wonder. Strauss describes a satisfying fluidity to her path of “pushing back and painting over, pushing back and painting over,” and eventually pulling forward her work into a new dimension. That is when she knows her work is complete.

Neighboring Strauss was artist Gayle Wells Mandle present at the opening with husband Roger Mandle, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. The couple spent time in Qatar, inspiring Gayle’s striking selection of collaged fragments from this land of wealth and discord, elegantly blended with color, texture, and cultural artifacts in a rousing display of gender clash and blunt symbolism. Fascinating is how she recreates a history of travel, human rights, and cultural tribulation while still speculating on the future of this oil-saturated part of our world. Gayle’s work is piercing as she pieces together parts of humanity we might choose to ignore, extracting for the viewer something imperative to consider.

Lastly, former chairman of photography at Harvard University, Jane Tuckerman, took the right wing of the gallery with chilling mixed-media photographs of her lifelong study in the mystical world of death rituals. Since 1984 she’s been returning to Benares, India, the last existing site of cremation ceremonies and one of the world’s most sacred spiritual hubs. Here she began capturing religious rituals, rights of passage, and celebrations with vigor through film and photograph. With an anthropological twist, her layered photographs peer with sharp eyes into a world frightfully unknown. Astounding is the way she shapes darkness into something primitive and eloquent. Her work puts forth a magnetic pull of emotion into the descending layers of each photograph.

Even still, Tuckerman emphasizes, with deep understanding, connections within humanity; “We’re all so displaced and haunted by memories—memories become our own special ghosts.” Growing up in rural Westport spawned an obsession with the energy and history of a land; “Westport has this extraordinary connection to this history, Indians, colonists, pre-historic people…It’s about connection to the land, something our culture is loosing,” says Tuckerman. “There’s something very primal about art. Artists connect with each other and with a greater world. I’m appreciative and in awe of Gallery4 for their foresight and sensitivity to this exhibit and the world of art.” she says.

A fondness for the quest, the solution, and the layers of aesthetic, social, and spiritual life give harmony to these four women. But the beauty is in the dissonance.

Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance is open for viewing Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5 at 3848 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI. For more information about this exhibit visit www.gallery4tiverton.com