Art in the Orchard sculpture walk returns to Easthampton’s Park Hill

MassLive, August 8, 2017, by Mary Serreze

EASTHAMPTON — A curated, biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition and festival returns to Park Hill Orchard this year, with an opening celebration set for Aug. 12.

It’s the fourth iteration of Art in the Orchard, an innovative artwalk open dawn-to-dusk on the grounds of a classic hilltop New England apple orchard from Aug. 13 through Thanksgiving.

“We have been excitedly anticipating this year’s exhibit ever since we started receiving submissions this spring,” said Jean-Pierre Pasche, owner of the Elusie Gallery and an original co-founder of Art in the Orchard.

The concept was launched in 2011 when Alane Hartley and Russell Braen joined forces with Pasche. Hartley and Braen wanted their apple farm to play a part in the cultural economy, and Pasche had long dreamed of creating an outdoor sculpture garden like one set in meadows near his hometown in Switzerland.

Response to the inaugural show was strong, and “AiO” quickly became a popular New England destination. Thousands of visitors have since walked through the orchard to marvel at the range of sculpture on display.

This year promises to be especially exciting, said Pasche, with around 30 new pieces and site-specific installations. Special events will be held most weekends, including a Full Moon Poetry Walk, music, theater, puppetry and other performances.

Admission to the sculpture garden is free, but donations are invited and encouraged. The weeks-long event is made possible by a host of volunteers and through financial support from Easthampton City Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Those who attend Saturday’s opening event are invited to stay in town for Art Walk Easthampton, a festive downtown monthly gallery walk. And Park Hill Orchard, known for its cider slushies, opens its “pick your own apples” program on Sept. 13.

If you go:

What: AiO17 opening celebration
Where: Park Hill Orchard, Park Hill Road, Easthampton
When: Sat. Aug. 12, noon-3 p.m.