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The Yankee Express

Small Stones Festival of the Arts

"Committed," photograph by Al Weems of Sutton

By Patty Roy

As the old saying goes, “better late than never.”  And you can certainly follow that up with “it was worth the wait.”
Both these well-used maxims can be applied to the 2023 Small Stones Festival of the Arts which will finally launch on Saturday, January 27 through February 4. The public is welcomed and admission is free. 

"Canal" by Joseph Corn of Grafton


The regional juried art show was postponed for months due to spaces becoming unavailable. The show is now slated to take place at the Brigham Hill Community Harvest Barn, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton. 
Saturday exhibit hours are 12- 5 p.m. The awards ceremony and reception will begins at 2 p.m. Artist talks will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the exhibition gallery.
With the pace of work life on the farm slowing for winter, the beautiful post and beam venue became available.  The b arn is home to the Community Harvest Project and the Grafton Land Trust.
“It worked out nicely for the Festival,” said Carolyn Kinloch-Winkler, co-chair and art teacher. “It’s an absolutely beautiful space.” 
The show originated with a trio of organizations: the Worcester Camera Club, Apple Tree Arts and the Blackstone Valley Arts Association, she said. Over the years, it has developed into one of the largest art exhibitions in the state with about 550 submissions from which 144 were selected for display at the Festival, she said.
The artwork is chosen by a six person jury who have recognized careers in either photography or fine art painting. Awards are given for both fine art and photography categories. Cash prizes of $500 for first; $250 for second; and $100 for third are awarded. Additionally, each of the six jurors select a Juror’s Choice. The public votes for a Popular Choice winner in each category.
The fine arts jurors for 2023 are Glenn Murray, Kim Morin Weineck and Michael Rose. Photography jurors are Ron Rosenstock , Shane Gutierrez and Tom Nault. Jurors work independently of the organizing committee.
“It’s a fairly selective show,” Kinloch-Winkler explained, add ing that about half the exhibits are photography and half painting. “It’s a nice combination of people who are well-established in their field and people who are looking to be well-established in their field.”
Sometimes when you go to a museum you’re overwhelmed by an artist who’s off in the stratosphere, she said, naming Andrew Wyatt or Ansel Adams as likely suspects.
“There is lots of talent right here. One of the things I love about the show is when you visit, it’s a marvelous collection and you realize, oh! I know him; he lives down the street. It’s local,” Kinloch-Winkler said.
Not every artist is going to show in Boston or Providence or Worcester, she went on
“As a former art teacher, it’s wonderful to have a show that’s centered on us. I love the fact that we’re providing this opportunity for local artists,” Kinloch-Winkler said.
The Small Stones Festival offers a hardback catalogue that includes every submitted piece of artwork. It can be purchased at the festival or online at
The Festival operates under the shield of fiscal sponsor, Grafton Arts, Inc., a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization. Small Stones received a generous festival grant of $2,500 from the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency ,as well as additional grants provided by the Cultural Councils of Grafton and Millbury administered through the nonprofit organization.
This year, Small Stones has received donations from Homefield Credit Union, The Town House Tavern, One Grafton Common and Yesod Foundation, Inc. Support also came from community businesses including Art and Frame Emporium, Gaudette Insurance Agency, JCSI, Pepperoni Express, Roney Funeral Home, Mathieu Newton Sotheby’s International Realty – Sydney Padgett, Theroux Dental Associates, Touchstone Crystal – Kathleen Schaker and the Uncommon Cow.

Festival schedule
Saturday, January, 27: Awards Ceremony 2 p.m., Artist Talks, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 28 through Wednesday, January 31; The exhibition open 12-4 p.m. (closed Monday)
Thursday, February 1:   Friday, February 2:  Exhibition open hours, 12- 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 3:  Exhibition open hours, 12– 6 p.m. 
Sunday, February 4:  Exhibition open hours, 12– 4p.m. with Juror talks at 2 p.m. This is the final day of the Exhibition for 2023.

Local artists exhibiting this year:  
Grafton artists: Bonnie Frederico, Cherie Davis, Joan Gage, Carolyn Kinloch-Winkler, Lori Aberg, Joseph Corn, James Bravosi, Bethani Chadbourne, Neil Rosenberg.
Sutton artists: Al Weems, Louise Winant.
Northbridge artists: Carol Frieswick, Candace Imming, Maria Buckley.
Uxbridge artists: Michael Zeis, Joanne Zeis, Sue Dion, Heather Cassano, Karen Cloutier.
Douglas: Sarah Trudeu, Leslie Breault