Celebrating Amherst's culture, heritage
© Eric Sparling - Amherst Daily News
Andrew MacGregor, seated, is organizing the arts festival being held next month in Amherst. Deputy Mayor Dale Fawthrop is heading up an arts committee that will liaise with area artists working in theatre, visual arts, music and writing.
AMHERST - It's a time to celebrate all that's special about Amherst's heritage.
"The Four Fathers Festival has developed into a month-long celebration," said Andrew MacGregor, Amherst's arts, culture and heritage co-ordinator. "We tend to think of art and culture as something that happens elsewhere. Art truly is what we do every day."
Originally held in early July, organized decided this year to move the festival to September to celebrate the town's culture and its heritage.
The festival is a loose association of events spanning the month, beginning today with a library-sponsored ‘read-in' at Victoria Square from noon to 2 p.m. Other highlights include the Rockabilly Festival Sept. 7, 8 and 9, the county museum's dinner at the Lions Den on the 22nd - the same day as the Four Fathers Half-Marathon - and wrapping up on the 29th with a culture day: live performances and art participation in the square. MacGregor expressed his hope this kind of event can bring an intentional focus on the things we do and the way we live; an understanding that activities today are the building blocks of culture and the stuff of the future's heritage.
While acknowledging his own enjoyment of such mundane pastimes as eating a snack in front of the TV, he pointed out that a culture dominated by such activities
would be a poor one.
MacGregor also provided a broad, inclusive description of art. A hand-built bookshelf is an art object, for example.
"Amherst has so many people that do that," he said.
The coordinator pointed out that mass media has changed the way we think of and participate in art. Art may be viewed as something done by someone else and then presented to us. But historically, art and culture were engaged in by individuals and communities everywhere, according to MacGregor.
In addition to the festival, a community arts council committee has formed, headed by Deputy Mayor Dale Fawthrop. Fawthrop called the Four Fathers Festival "the essence of Amherst."