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Worcester Art Museum to Host Four Major Exhibitions Starting in May

Friday, February 24, 2017


The Worcester Art Museum is getting set to present four major exhibitions ranging from 19th century painting to photography at the turn of the 20th century, to contemporary artists tackling both personal and wider social themes. 

“Worcester has always been an unexpectedly international city, a place historically—and currently—welcoming different peoples and cultures, and the Museum’s reflects this diversity in its collections and programs. The exhibitions of Winslow Homer and William Bullard present a complex story about America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while the O’Reilly and Huang shows address a breadth of approaches to contemporary art that have become a hallmark of our Museum, as we present regional voices of national importance and also bring in emerging international artists whose works connect to other aspects of the Museum’s collection and the city’s long tradition of technological innovation and invention,” said Jon L. Seydl, director of curatorial affairs and curator of European Art at WAM. 

The Exhibitions 

John O’Reilly: A Studio Odyssey

May 13 - August 13, 2017


A Studio Odyssey covers the artistic range of John O’Reilly’s 50-year career, examining the evolution of his creative process and giving the Worcester-based artist his first solo exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum. O’Reilly is best known for self-portrait photomontages that use Polaroid photographs and mix images of himself with fragments of photos of works by other artists. More recently, O’Reilly has incorporated found coloring books into his art, reconnecting with his World War II childhood and exploring his own feelings about mortality. Moving from photomontage to collage, these new works explore a range of different influences, while continuing to use a more metaphoric self-portrait to engage with his biography.

Curated by Nancy Kathryn Burns, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, the exhibition features 75 of O’Reilly’s works—including over 20 created since 2000. The exhibition highlights the role the artist’s studio has played in his creative process, placing special emphasis on the rich art historical and literary allusions in his work. 

Reusable Universes: Shih Chieh Huang

June 24 - November 11, 2017


This exhibition features a new installation by the Taiwan-born, New York-based artist Shih Chieh Huang. Huang’s work combines his longstanding fascination with technology and the materials of modern life to transform mundane manufactured objects into novel and remarkably complex sculptural forms. For his exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum, developed by Assistant Curator of Asian Art Vivian Li, Huang will create his most ambitious immersive environment to date—a kinetic and light installation consisting of over one hundred various-sized sculptural elements. Exploiting the gallery’s 18-foot ceilings, Huang’s installation will be more vertical than his previous works, making use of the height to hang different elements and create a large-scale sensory experience. The work’s unique sonic experience produced only from the air-driven movement continuously inflating and deflating the sculptures reflects Huang’s decades-long study of the creative and organic possibilities of manufactured materials.

In addition to his new work, Huang will create on site an iteration of his Organic Concept, an infinitely scalable sculpture made from rolls of painter's plastic and box fans. The creation will be a public performance at the Museum on July 20, 2017. Afterwards, Organic Concept will be temporarily installed in the Museum’s Renaissance Court.


Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard

October 14, 2017 - February 25, 2018


At the time of his death in 1918, photographer William Bullard (born 1876) left behind a trove of nearly 5400 glass plate negatives, over 230 of which are portraits of Worcester’s people of color.  Taken primarily in Worcester’s Beaver Brook neighborhood, where Bullard himself lived, these images offer a unique look at a community made up of recent Southern migrants, people of Native American descent, Black Yankee families, and a handful of immigrants from the Caribbean. For the first time, over 80 of these portraits will be on display. Serendipitously, Bullard left a logbook behind, identifying over 80 percent of his sitters, making this collection especially rare. As a result, the exhibition is able to tell the personal stories of Bullard’s sitters.

Coinciding with the “New Negro” movement, which sought to reframe how African-Americans of the period constructed a new progressive and cultured public identity, Bullard’s images depict confident and well-dressed citizens in many of the same poses—and with many of the same fashionable accessories, such as bicycles—as portraits of white Americans of the same period. Co-curated by Nancy Kathryn Burns, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and Janette Thomas Greenwood, Professor of History at Clark University, the exhibition provides a unique window into an American community of color between the end of Reconstruction and the start of the Great Migration, a period often overlooked.

Working with Frank Morrill, owner of the Bullard collection of negatives, Greenwood also created The Worcester People of Color Photo Project, an online resource to identify and track down descendants of Bullard’s sitters. A community advisory board, made up of local descendants and community leaders, also linked Morrill and Greenwood with family members.  Clark University students, who have helped conduct research, will create a website to accompany the exhibition. The exhibition will also include a scholarly catalogue edited by Burns and Greenwood. 


Coming Away:  Winslow Homer and England

November 11, 2017 - February 4, 2018


By the 1870s, Winslow Homer had established himself as a popular figure in American painting, from his sketches of army life during the Civil War to his portraits of bourgeois leisure. During an 1881–82 stay in the small fishing village of Cullercoats on the northeast coast of England, however, Homer’s subjects and style changed. Where his earlier paintings often used nature as a backdrop for the presentation of his subjects, his paintings from this time emphasized instead the dynamic struggle between humanity and the natural world. Homer’s brushwork during this time also became more vigorous, in keeping with the power of the North Sea and the ruggedness of the people who lived and worked along its coast.

Jointly organized by Elizabeth Athens, Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum, and Brandon Ruud, Abert Family Curator of American Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the exhibition demonstrates the impact of Homer’s years in England on the rest of his career. It features the two major oils to come from his English period—the Worcester Art Museum’s The Gale (1883‒93) and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Hark! The Lark (1882)—along with more than 60 additional paintings, watercolors, drawings, and photographs. Among these are five extraordinary Homer watercolors from the Worcester Art Museum’s collection, as well as comparative works by English artists Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Frank Holl, and J.M.W. Turner. Following its run in Worcester, the show will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum from March 2‒May 10, 2018.


Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must Do in New England This Winter - 2017

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Go Snowshoeing at Wachusett Mountain

Leominster, MA

For those who can't ski or snowboard, snowshoeing is another way to get around in the snow. Wachusett Mountain is the perfect place for snowshoeing.  


PHOTO: Matt, just Matt

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Ice Skating at Newport Skating Center

Newport, RI 

Whether you are skating on a pond or at one of the many ice rinks across the region like the Newport Skating Center in the heart of Newport.

The skating center provides a full schedule of activities to carry you through the winter including adult and kids skating sessions as well as activities for the entire family. 

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Snowmobile at the Tall Timber Lodge 

Pittsburg, New Hampshire

For snowmobiling enthusiasts, Pittsburg, New Hampshire might be the snowmobiling capital of New England with more than 200 trails, all filled with great adventures. 

The Tall Timber Lodge offers a variety of packages that include rentals, dinners, lodging and much more. If you need a break from the trails, the lodge also consists of a spa. 

PHOTO: Paul Williams

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Dog Sled Tours at Ultimate Dog Sledding Experience

Oxford, Maine

Embrace the call of the wind and go up to New England Dog Sledding for dog sled tours. Tours are pulled by trained and "friendly" Husky sled dogs and are offered throughout the area.

Ultimate Dog Sledding is located just 40 minutes from Portland. 



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Get Out of the Cold and Into the Water at CoCo Key Boston

Danvers, MA

Get out of the cold and into the water at CoCo Key's 65,000 sq. ft. indoor water park in Danvers. 

The park includes multiple water slides, tube rides, pools and so much more to take your mind off of winter, at least for a little while. 

For those who might need a break from the water, there is an arcade with games for all ages. 


PHOTO: Coco Key Facebook

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Sled Down Neutaconkanut Hill

Providence, RI 

Neutaconkanut Hill has some of the best slopes for sledding in the state. 

Bundle up, hold on, and enjoy the ride. 

In addition to the sledding slopes, snowshoeing and cross country skiing is offered at this legendary Providence slope.

For more great places to sled, check out GoLocalProv's latest list. 

PHOTO: Popofatticus/Flickr

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Ice Climbing With Adventure Spirit 

Burlington, Vermont

For the adventurous out there, Adventure Spirit in Vermont is your place for ice climbing. Choose from climbing at Bolton Quarry, Bristol Cliffs or even Smuggler's Notch to be lead by one of their experienced instructors.

Be prepared to spend your day strenuously climbing some of nature's frozen streams and flow offs. They also offer alpine climbing and outdoor rock climbing for those who wish to fully test their limits.


PHOTO: Adventure Spirit

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Providence Restaurant Weeks

Providence, RI 

Providence Restaurant Weeks will take place from January 14 to January 27, 2018, with nearly 100 restaurants participating. Enjoy three-course lunches at $16.95 and three-course dinners at $29.95 or $34.95, as well as two-for-one specials.

Restaurants include Capriccio, Milk Money and many more. 

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Jump Around at Launch Trampoline Park 

RI, MA or CT

Need to get some energy out? or get the energy out of your kids? Head to Launch Trampoline Park. They have a park in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. 

With dodgeball, basketball, foam pits and more, indoor trampoline parks have something to offer people of all ages. Whether you want to bring a group of children for the day or sign up a group of adults for some "xtreme" dodgeball, trampoline parks can be a great change of pace and a fun way to try something new.

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Newport Winter Festival 

Newport, RI 

The 2017 Newport Winter Festival is set to be held from February 16-25. 

The festival features live music, food, games, a chili cook-off and so much more over a span of nine days. 

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Indoor Rock Climbing

RI, MA or NH

Do you need a new challenge this winter? Try one of New England's indoor rock climbing gyms. Whether you choose Rock Spot Climbing in Rhode Island, Carabiner's in Massachusetts, or Vertical Dreams in New Hampshire, rock climbing is a fun and challenging way to get some exercise without running on treadmills.

Photo courtesy of Rock Spot Climbing

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New England Pond Hockey Classic 

Merideth, New Hampshire 

You have never seen hockey like this. 

The 8th annual New England Pond Hockey Classic kicks off on February 2 with final team rosters due on January 20. Get your team together and head up to New Hampshire. 

If you can't make it up, grab the skates and find your local pond and play hockey anyway. BE SAFE of course. 

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Curling at Ocean State Curling Club 

Cranston RI

You watch curling in the Olympics every year and you love it. So try it this winter. 

The Ocean State Curling Club has your curling fix. Hosting events and tournaments or "bonspiels" at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in Cranston, RI, the Ocean State Curling Club is a "social club for anyone interested in recreational curling." The club also offers lessons for those who want to learn the sport. 

Photo: dave/Flickr

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Ice Fishing

Across New England

It's practically a tradition for a lot of people, but ice fishing is an interesting winter experience. Head out to the ponds and see what you can get. 

But be safe, it takes 4-6 inches of ice to support a person and 8-10 inches to support a vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Dushan Hanuska/flickr

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Get the House Organized 

The weather isn't great, it's freezing outside. Winter presents a great opportunity to get the house organized. It's not the most fun thing in the world of course, but it will pay off and at the end of it, you will be glad you did it. 

Here are some ways to get organized this winter. 

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See the Lights at La Salette Shrine

Attleborough MA

By far one of the coolest lighting displays you will see anywhere in New England and maybe even the country. 

The Festival of Lights runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night until January 1. 

Do not miss out! 

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Sing-a-Long with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall

301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

Held at Symphony Hall, the Boston Pops holiday concert is filled with food, sing-a-longs and a visit from the one and only Santa Claus!

Have some holiday cookies as the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays holiday classics for you and your family.

The seven kids afternoon shows include post-concert photos with Santa as well as special treats. 

The concert runs until December 31. 

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Give to the Community

While the winter holidays are generally the biggest volunteer days of the year, any day of the year is a great time to give to organizations or people in need.

Items like food, clothes, and blankets are just some of the things that are needed most this time of year. 

See 50 Ways to Give in Central MA Here

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First Night Hartford New Years Eve Celebration 

Hartford, Connecticut 

Join First Night Hartford for its 29th year of celebration! The multi-venue event will include performances by aerialists, Circophony Youth Circus, the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music, and Crafts and tours at Bulter McCook House. 

Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks starting promptly at 6 p.m. with a second showing at midnight to ring in the New Year!

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 Zip Line

Mount Washington, Bretton Woods New Hampshire

Soar down Mount Washington on a series of tree-top zip lines! The Canopy Tour is lead by one of Bretton Woods Adventure Guides as they describe the native fauna and flora. You'll descend over 1000 feet of elevation on this 3-hour tour. Each tour guide can take a group of up to 8, so grab some friends and zip down the mountain!

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Cross Country Skiing

East Bay Bike Path, Bristol to Providence RI 

Grab your poles and skis and head down to the East Bay Bike Path for some Cross Country Skiing. Of course, you can go cross-country skiing anywhere there is snow and some flat land, but the East Bay Bike Path stretches about 14 miles from Bristol to India Point Park in Providence. 

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Ride the Polar Express

Woonsocket, Rhode Island 

Buy your ticket now for the Black Stone Valley Polar Express! Watch the popular book and film come to life before your eyes as you take a 90-minute train ride with Santa and the Conductor.

Rides will be available every Friday through Sunday with the final stop on December 23. There will be light refreshments and cookies made available, children are encouraged to wear pajamas.

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 Take a Nature Walk at Squam Lakes

Holderness, New Hampshire

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH offers a wide arrange of guided tours of live animal trails. A staff naturalist leads and teaches groups how certain animals are adapted to the winter climate in New Hampshire. The guided tours are run on weekends and can be a great way to experience and learn more about nature in New England.

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Paint and Vino 

Pawtucket, RI

Forget about winter by painting a picture of a tropical sunset at Paint and Vino, Rhode Island's first paint and wine studio. Bring children for family paint events and parties, or leave them at home to enjoy complimentary "adult beverages" as you paint.

Perfect for date night, girls night out or a fun Friday night, Paint and Vino's classes run for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and a spot must be reserved.

Photo: Yelp Inc./Flickr

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Snow Tubing at Ski Ward

1000 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA

Sledding, skiing or snowboarding not for you? Grab a tube and enjoy the ride down one of the many hills at the Ski Ward.  

Don't forget to take the whole family out to Slopeside Bar and Grill after a long day in the snow. 


PHOTO: Flickr


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