by Sandra Hutchinson
In New York State’s bucolic Washington County, on the edge of the hamlet of Salem, is a beehive of artistic activity known as “SAW,” for Salem Art Works. Founder Anthony Cafritz, writes “In a time when a lot of artwork is created in a reductive, ‘hands-off’ approach, SAW’s mission is to blend and create an atmosphere where all methodologies, approaches and concepts are equal. This fluid, investigative curiosity is a timeless pursuit which underpins a large part of the human experience.”
Offering classes and workshops in a range of techniques that include welding, glassblowing and blacksmithing, the casual visitor might be somewhat confounded upon driving down the lane leading into the complex. Well, first, there are the large metal sculptures scattered about the property. then there are pieces of what appear to be scrap metal and pieces, perhaps waiting to be welded into a sculptural piece? Then there are the kind-of-spooky whitish sculptures in an adjacent field that look like they’re made of paper mâché.
If you continue driving through the complex of buildings where you might spy a group of people doing something that seems kind of industrial, for example, welding, you end up on a road that winds up the side of a fairly steep hill, through what is called the Cary Hill Sculpture Park. If you think about turning around and heading back, don’t. Continue up the road and you will be awed by the gorgeous view looking east towards Vermont and Mount Equinox. You will also have the pleasure of taking in a wide variety of outdoor sculptures, ranging from a misshapen arch appearing to be made from cement, to a giant badminton birdie, to a piece that looks like a giant fossilized snail.
At the top of the hill, there are picnic tables and a large fire pit constructed of local stone. The signage says the sculpture park is open 365 days a year, from dawn to dusk. Check SAW’s website for additional info, here.
On August 14, 2021, SAW is hosting “Music on the Hill,” with The Bennington Traditional Jazz Band performing at 5 PM. Food will be available for purchase from The Wurst Food Truck and the Cleaver Clever. Local craft beers and ciders from R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery will also be available. Details, here.