After months of talks, plans, and lengthy preparation, the Essex Art Center provided a warm welcome last night for the opening reception of the 2019 “Celebrating a Winter Crow Roost” exhibit with all three galleries open with beautiful Crow themed artwork. Members of the local Crow Patrol group have been working very hard with the staff and leaders at the Essex Art Center in advance of the opening night.  Crowds swarmed just inside the main entrance of the two story brick building located on Island Street to get inside to the warmth, and out of the cold, and to enter a wonderland filled with all kinds of Crow photos, videos, paintings and other mediums! This show was very well organized under the leadership of Cathy McLaurin, the Executive Director of the Essex Art Center.  She was assisted by many staff members including Lee Anne, Carter, and Hannah.

The Crow Show includes a photography exhibit by five professionals, a community exhibit of paintings and pastels by area and regional artists, and a side show built around an Dennis Hylynsky’s video and still images. This is part of a first year celebration of the annual winter crow roost in Lawrence, MA.  Each winter, the City of Lawrence welcomes thousands of Crows for the winter season.  Recently, over 25,000 crows have been counted in the overnight communal roost.  Based on research and observations by members of the local Crow Patrol, under the leadership and guidance of Dana Duxbury-Fox, and her husband, Bob Fox, it is estimated that about 80% of the Crows in the winter roost are migrants from breeding ground locations as much as 300 miles away.  The other 20% make up a more localized population that maintain territories within 30 miles of the roost.  The roost includes a mix of adults and younger birds, as well mostly American Crows along with a much smaller group of Fish Crows.

Karen Van Welden-Herman is one of the board members at the Essex Art Center.  She is an avid bird watcher, and has a studio below the Essex Art Center and has been intrigued by the Lawrence crows since she first saw them, years ago. Karen has studied at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with Israeli artist Eli Shamir, the DeCordova Museum School, Haystack Mountain School, and the Essex Art Center. My work, in both public and private collections, has been shown in Massachusetts at the Preble Gallery, Charlestown, Memorial Hall Library, Andover, Essex Art Center, Lawrence, Concord Artist Association, Concord, Brush Gallery, Lowell, Merrimack College Thegaste Gallery, Whistler Museum of Art, Lowell, Turtle Gallery and Deer Isle Artist Association, both in Deer Isle, ME and in other venues.  She is seen here with David Lipsy, one of the photographers with ten matted and framed photographs on display!

The entire Art Center was buzzing with energy and conversation about the Crows, the City of Lawrence, the Art Center, conservation and environmental issues, birds and nature along with so much more.  Over twenty people came in fresh from time out on Crow Patrol nearby where the skies had been filled with Crows streaming into the communal night roost!

In the Elizabeth A Beland Gallery: Murders and Other Flying Things Video and still images by Dennis Hlynsky. Dennis Hlynsky is a Providence, RI-based artist and designer. He teaches at Rhode Island School of Design. There was a time once in England when it was fashionable to coin words for groups of animals based on their qualities, whether perceived or real. For crows in flight the word “murder” seemed appropriate. To be allowed proximity to a large flock of crows is a fearsome thing. As the sunlight fades; the language of the crows fills the air. In twilight, our human vision begins to fail. The birds bounce heavily on tree branches and take to wing. They glide in large arcs. There, in the penumbra of the sinking sun, our minds wander to seal up the perceptual gaps. We make up stories. We make sense of the mysterious. We are witness to an incomprehensible event. A murder is in the air. The spirits of the night awake to remind us of our mortality. A heightened awareness consumes the night.  Here is look inside that gallery!


CROW ART EXHIBIT: PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOS, & MORE                                                                                                                                                                                                 ESSEX ART CENTER

56 Island Street, Lawrence, MA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hours: 10am – 6pm Monday-Friday                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phone: 978-685-2343

Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019                                                                                                                                                                                               From 5 – 7PM

Exhibit: January 11 – March 15, 2019