Highfield Hall & Gardens will kick off its 2018 season with a spring open house on Sunday, May 6, from 12:30 to 3:30 PM with five inspiring art exhibitions that bring the woods inside and invite visitors to attend outdoor docent-led tours and a festive maypole celebration. Artist receptions, live music, floral, woodturning and carving demonstrations, will also be part of this free community event.
A one-hour docent-led estate tour will start at 12:30 PM for those who want to learn about the history of the Beebe family who built the estate and the community activism that saved the mansion from demolition.
From 1 to 3 PM, artist receptions will be held for the national and local exhibiting artists. Local woodworkers will be on hand demonstrating the art of woodturning and wood carving. Visitors are invited to learn more about woodworking in the educational area on display through June 17. Also from 1 to 3 PM, award-winning floral designer Anna Holmes will demonstrate a variety of floral arrangements.
At 1:30 PM, landscape director Terry Soares will lead a walking garden tour around the grounds and share an overview of Highfield’s horticulture, the historic sunken garden and west garden restoration projects, and new garden initiatives including the launch of a pollinator path.
At 2 PM, Highfield Hall will present its annual maypole celebration on the front lawn with music accompaniment by The Queen Victoria Secret Band from Woods Hole. Visitors of all ages are invited to participate in the traditional maypole dance.
Wrapping up the festivities, music director Robert Wyatt will perform his favorite songs of spring on Highfield’s Mason & Hamlin concert grand piano at 3 PM. Mr. Wyatt, a Steinway artist and popular music history lecturer, has performed throughout the United States and internationally and presented at the Smithsonian for more than 20 years.
Throughout the day, a special $5 discount will be offered for new memberships and membership upgrades, and members can enter to win two tickets to Anthony and Joseph Paratore, duo-pianists performing at Highfield Hall & Gardens on May 20.
Tickets will also be on sale for Highfield fundraiser, Highfield Celebrates: Gardens of Earthly Delights on Saturday, June 30. With a lush garden theme, guests will enjoy gourmet food, live music, a live auction, lawn games, and magician Mike Pisciotta.
The spring exhibitions include “Art Ability: Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s Celebration of Art by Artists with Disabilities,” a national show featuring the work of 29 artists whose works include prints, sculptures, metalworks, drawings and paintings. The exhibition’s goal is to foster a better appreciation of people with disabilities through their artistic achievements and extraordinary stories.
“Artistic Trails of Healing: the Paintings of Debra Hope Colligan and Her Students,” on display through May 13, is a series of horse portraits. Artist Debra Hope Colligan suffered a traumatic brain injury from a horseback riding accident.
“Thin Places: Drawings and Photographs by Deborah Coolidge” explores Ms. Coolidge’s profound connection with trees, particularly old growth trees and witness trees in New England. Her drawings begin with graphite tree bark rubbings, which she transforms in the studio by polychromatic applications of oil stick, pastel, and graphite into a personal aesthetic statement. This exhibition will be on display through June 17.
“Expressions in Wood: Carved and Turned Vessels,” located on the first floor at Highfield Hall through June 17, showcases the woodturning and carving expertise of local artists Sue Beardsley, Bob Beardsley, Mike Grady, Toby Lorenzen and Gary Tabor. Inspired by the texture, color, and grain of wood, these artists make each piece a personal artistic expression while preserving the wood’s natural beauty.
“The Continuum of Now: Photographs by Jon Moore,” on display through June 17, is a series of photographs taken near the Punch Bowl in Beebe Woods. Mr. Moore’s photos of a winter’s walk around a snowy pond, printed in sepia tone, record fleeting moments of seeing as in “the waning sunlight of a winter’s day.”
There will be complimentary Beebe Woods trail maps and a “Passport to Beebe Woods” children’s activity booklet for families to explore and celebrate the woods located behind Highfield Hall & Gardens.
Highfield Hall is wheelchair-accessible, and handicapped parking is available