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January Hillside salon features local visual artists

The latest in a series of Hillside salons hosted by Sabine Holub, the wife of University of Massachusetts chancellor Robert Holub, featured the visual artwork of five local artists. Running from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. yesterday, the salon session was the first of the spring semester’s monthly series of Hillside gatherings to be held in the Holub’s residence located at 150 Chancellor’s Drive in Amherst.


During what was described as an “informal gathering” by salon organizer Rebecca Dufault, each artist received 20 seconds to show 20 slides of his or her artwork, which was then promptly followed by an open discussion with the artists.


“It’s very interesting,” Dufault said. “You get to experience local artists who come from a variety of different backgrounds and you have different formats – dance, print, video, etc.”


The artists featured in January’s salon included Anita Hunt, who has been producing a variety of artwork for the past 30 years, including printmaking, photography and drawing, as well as producing handmade artists’ books.


Hunt, a resident of western Massachusetts, is currently teaching printmaking workshops as well as working with Zea Mays Printmaking, a studio facility in Florence dedicated to the use of safer, non-toxic and innovative printmaking methods.


Mary Frey is a professor of photography at the University of Hartford’s art school whose past work has incorporated the use of documentary images to express contemporary culture of families, friends and real-life dramas. Frey’s work has been featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Chicago Art Institute and the International Polaroid Collection.


Lilliana Pereira also took part in the salon. She is an art director for Northampton marketing firm Bidwell ID, and was born and raised in western Massachusetts. Pereira specializes in drawing and collages, as well as printmaking with the Zea Mays Printmaking studio. Pereira has won several design awards, including a Gold CASE Award and a Gold Creative Merit Award.


Fraser Stables is a Scottish-born photographer and video artist who is currently a professor at Smith College. Stables’ work has been featured in art galleries throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.


“It’s a different and exciting way to get to know local artists and to get to understand what motivates the artists,” Dufault said.


Loretta Yarlow, director for the University Gallery (who also helped coordinate the event) added to Dufault’s sentiments on the benefits of the small, informal gatherings at Hillside for both the artist and those in attendance that are passionate about the arts.


“There is a really wonderful mix of local artists and media,” Yarlow said. “It’s a wonderful way to get an overview of what is happening in our community because it’s such a rich community of artists who are working with different mediums.”


Each Hillside salon session is held on the third Tuesday of every month, with the next one scheduled for Feb.16. The salons require those in attendance to register via email with, or by contacting Dufault directly at 413-545-4336.


Jennifer Heshion can be reached at

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