Art in the Orchard

“Persephone’s Dream: A Prayer for Peace,” Valerie Gilman, Shutesbury, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Stargazer,” Joshua Ruder, Greenfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

APPLE ORCHARDS, in addition to producing beautiful fruit, are natural sculpture parks. Walking among the vigorous and prolific trees, their gnarled, twisting trunks and branches contrasting with the orchard’s orderly grid, is a sensory treat — especially at this time of year, when fall foliage is at or near its peak. 

The apples’ dazzling array of colors, sizes, and shapes are also sculpture-like, objects of singular beauty as well as a delicious and nourishing food.

Complementing these natural features, Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts, adds a distinctly human touch. “Art in the Orchard” is a walking sculpture trail that winds through Park Hill’s fields and gardens. The self-guided trail is about a half-mile long; a walk through the labyrinth near the end adds about a quarter mile.  

This year’s juried exhibition is the fourth biennial and features all new works by sculptors. Each piece has a plaque with a description of the work and biography of the artist. “Art in the Orchard” is open all day, every day, until Thanksgiving.

Here is a sampling of this year’s sculptures.

“Maureen,” Michael Tillyer, Conway, Massachusetts, completes the band, joining Tim, Jim, and Slim created one-by-one every other year for the three previous Art In the Orchards. “They sing to the sky,” writes Tillyer, “showering the orchard with harmony, and thus bring their honey to the apple pie.” (Russell Steven Powell)
“Through and Through,” Chloe DuBois, Allston, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
One of several “Monsters,” by Justin Cifello, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Gun Violence Project,” Michael Poole, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Wheel Wall,” Matt Evald Johnson, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Life Cycle,” Jon Bander, Turners Falls, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“The Elephant’s Child,” Lindsey Molyneux, Westfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“The Reach Field Tree Project,” Binda Colebrook, Northampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Anabasis,” Chris Plaisted, New Milford, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Lookout,” Walter Early, Plattsburgh, New York. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Bird Bird,” Tim de Christopher, Turners Falls, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Home,” Lynne Yamamoto, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Chronos,” Chris Woodman, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
“Weld-on, Kings of Tomorrow,” Kamil Peters, Holyoke, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

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ON A SMALLER SCALE, other orchards have added sculptural elements. Here are two recent examples.

Pumpkins populate a tree at Tougas Family Farm, Northborough, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
DeMerritt Hill Farm, Lee, New Hampshire, includes sculpture in its annual Haunted Overload, which continues this weekend. (Russell Steven Powell)

1 Comment

  • Melissa Caldwell

    Thanks Russell so much for posting this. Apples, amazing art and an incredible view, all in one beautiful place called Park Hill Orchard. And Northborough, MA and Lee, NH. Awesome!