On Wednesday I visited the Rock Valley Cemetery with the Holyoke Historic Commission. The Commission had some concerns about the amount of landscaping being done in the cemetery.
The concerns were brought to the commissions attention by Earle Brick, a descendant of those buried in the cemetery, and volunteer caretaker of the burial stones. The heavy machinery being used to mow the grass has created tracked paths up and down the rows, and Earle felt that landscape contractor was simply mowing to frequently. The moss had been killed off in many areas, and Earle suggested, many of us agreed, that the cemetery should be left in a pastoral state, with the grass being mowed only a few times a year. Even more alarming, the weight of the hefty mowing equipment could potentially collapse the coffins in the ground. This is real problem that has occurred in other historic cemeteries.
The city of Holyoke is obliged to maintain the property by state law, but the cemetery is the real property of the descendants having originally been a family burial ground for the farmers of Rock Valley.
Rock Valley is the 2nd oldest cemetery in Holyoke. Many of its residents have been here since the late 1700s. When Earle first went looking for the cemetery he couldn't find it. He was looking in Westspringfield. This section of Holyoke had once been part of Westspringfield, but not anymore. Earle's information was very out of date.
The Historical Commission was happy to learn on Wednesday that the DPW agreed to let Earle mow the property himself from now on, and when he saw fit. So a minor crisis was averted, and the city will be saving money too.
If only all Holyoke problems could be solved this easily...
At last Fridays art crawl someone commented that the photos I just took were merely "art replicating art". Of coarse my pictures are a bit more than that. More of a documentation of the people, and happenings in the Canal District.
The day was a marathon for me. On the go from noon to midnight with the final crash taking place at my bed around 2:00AM after attempting to upload and edit all the days photos.
The first event of my day was not artsy at all. The Holyoke Economic Development Summit, held at held at Heritage State Park, was a discussion of economic development opportunities and solutions to help further revitalize the city. About 50 residents, business, and community leaders attended the summit. Here are some notes of the event from Hello Holyoke.
After a quick visit to a cookout at Carlos and Elaine Vega's house I headed down to the 'Bring Your Own Restaurant', Holyoke's plein air potluck by the side of the canals. This has become one of my favorite Holyoke events. It really is a lot of fun, and it went well with the Spring open studios event on Friday. Since I already ate I dropped off a cooler full of drinks, and walked over to the Open Square for my first art exhibit of the evening.
"SYSTEM" featuring the art of Denis Luzuriaga was on the 4th floor of the Open Square. It was almost over when I got there, but still a few familiar faces greeted me.
There was also little bit of performance art happening out the window as a man threatened to jump from the train trestle over Lyman Street. The police eventually talked him down. Story from the Republican
I went back down to the BYOR to grab a drink, and exchanged photos with Holyoke Sun correspondent Dennis Hohenberger.
Then over to Paper City Studios to see “Maverick Mechanisms", yet another in their great series of art exhibits. This was 4th open studios event they put together, and judging by the number of cars parked on Race street their biggest one to date.
Back out to the BYOR to grab another drink.
And over to Parsons Hall Project Space for the other half of the open studios event - a cool show called "Speculation(Elation)3 Visions of Life, Land and Letters".
Back outside to see the neat-o spot light effect off the canal. "Can HG&E buy that and keep it up permanently?" I was asked.
People still having a good time at the BYOR.
Back into Parsons Hall.
And finally sit down at the BYOR.
It was a great day with lots of great Holyoke friends.
Positronic Design held its Annual "Spring Rock-n-Roll Business Networking Keg Party, and Celebration of the warm days to come" last Saturday - with rockin good music, sultry color dancing, poetry reading, a book launch, and much more.
The basement at Positronic Design HQ serves as the main stage for music, and performances. There is something reminiscent of the now defunct Fire and Water down there. The band is Derick Cummings & The Concoction. VanDog Recommended!
The porches serve as a hang out spot for idle stragglers, and secondary stage for the color dancing. These guys were trying to look cool.
I always meet interesting new people at these Positronic parties, and while the general tone is of chronically liberal politics, I always have stimulating conversations without any harsh disagreements.
Color Dancing by Dakini Borealis is really cool to watch. There is another chance to check her out in Holyoke this Friday on Race Street during the Spring Open Studios as part of a performance titled ECLIPSE.