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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Escape to the Arts with Franklin ArtWALK Celebration

By J.D. O’Gara
The Franklin Cultural District in collaboration with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Franklin Cultural Council, presents the Franklin ArtWALK Celebration – a three-day art and cultural from Friday, June 11th through Sunday, June 13th. This event will help to highlight the arts and culture throughout the Franklin Cultural District. The ArtWALK Celebration will include live performances, exhibits featuring the work of local artists displayed in storefronts, fun family activities, and wonderful entertainment.
“We really wanted something that would welcome more artists and also encourage … the economic development of downtown, bring people down into the Cultural District, so they can see some of the great stores down there, and also, maybe while they’re down there, go into one of the many restaurants and enjoy a great meal or a nice beverage and some appetizers. That’s where this started,” said Nancy Schoen, chair of the Franklin Cultural District, in an interview with Steve Sherlock, of Franklin Matters.
Not knowing what the future would hold with Covid regulations, the Cultural District planned an event centered on visual art that would be accessible in case stores were not. Artists who are members of the Franklin Art Association will display their work in 15 different business locations around Franklin.
Businesses, said Schoen, “have been so very gracious of donating the window space. Artwork will be displayed on the windows of the stores, with, she said, “a QR code you can scan with your phone to find out more information about the artist, and also the business.”
The event became richer as the Franklin Public Library became involved.
“The Franklin Public Library has two outstanding children’s librarians, … and every year they do a summer reading program, and the theme this year is animals,” said Schoen. “They asked the Franklin artists to create animals that they could use as part of a scavenger hunt … it was just another great way to get the Franklin artists involved and a nice collaboration between the library and the visual artists.”
In fact, at 4 p.m. on June 11th, the hodgepodge puppet will be at the Town Common, distributing reading packets, which will have information about the scavenger hunt. The Franklin Veterans Council will be also be onsite to provide background information about the War Monuments and Memorials on the Town Common.
There are also many performances that weekend.
“There’ll be one on the common that is actually a collaboration between the Franklin public schools and wonderful violinist Sarah Whitney. And part of the Franklin public school Music Department got a grant to sponsor Sarah to come and do a day-long masterclass with the music students, then she’s going to be coming to the common at 5 p.m. Friday evening,” said Schoen. Following that, THE BLACK BOX will be the site of an ArtWALK kickoff celebration, including a complimentary reception followed by Rising Stars Cabaret.
Saturday’s events at the common will feature a Latin jazz funk group, Mark Shilansky & “Join the Club, while at 67 Degrees Brewing, in addition to visual art, piano and guitar performances will take place all day, along with food trucks at that location. Later, Emily Koch will perform in eMulbOy5, at THE BLACK BOX.
Sunday will wrap up Franklin ArtWALK with a brunch at THE BLACK BOX, featuring the Ken Hadley Big Band, and after residents enjoy the visual art at various locations, a free performance at THE BLACK BOX by Don Krishnaswami, soloist and a chamber music collaborator and founding member of Franklin’s LiveARTS String Quartet. 
“We tried to stagger the events so you could see part of everything and still fit almost everything in,” said Schoen.
Please visit the Franklin Cultural District website ( for more details on all the events.
The key, coming out of the pandemic, says Steve Sherlock, who has been involved publicizing this event, “is to bring people to the downtown and establish the relationship between the artists and the businesses. It’s also to engage the youth – if the youth want to go, the parents are going to go as well. Hopefully, it will be part of a celebration as we get out of Covid and into a new normal,” says Sherlock.