Blueway Wants You to Get Out
By Greg Morell
The majestic bend in the Connecticut River that winds its way down throughthe valley of Western Massachusetts, known as ”The Oxbow,” has a long history as a source of inspiration for artists. A rich heritage of expansive tableaus of the curious loop of blue water has been documented by such luminaries as Thomas Cole, Lewis Bryden, Thomas Locker and Robert Masla, to name a few.
This August a troupe of painters will follow in the footsteps of those distinguished masters and hike up to a high perch on Skinner Mountain, set up their easels in a painting encampment and survey the exhilarating scene as they set to work with brush in hand. The plein air expedition will be hosted by Kathleen Jacobs as part of the programming of her Blueway Art Alliance, a brand new arts education experiment in Florence, Mass.
The Blueway Art Alliance takes its name from the national designation of the Connecticut River as the first and only National Blueway. Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the grand waterway was christened the National Blueway on May 24, 2012 by former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The project was envisioned by the Obama Administration as the keystone of the president’s Great Rivers program. However, the Blueway program was soon dissolved in the beginning of 2014, due to concerns of property owners anticipating regulatory restrictions.