’Orbs and Orbits’ by Carrie Crane on view this summer at the Fitchburg Art Museum
'Orbs and Orbits' by Carrie Crane on view this summer at the Fitchburg Art Museum

It's a big weekend for major shows opening at two regional art venues — Fitchburg Art Museum and Lowell's Brush Art Gallery and Studios.

At the FAM, it's an art embarrassment of riches with three shows opening Friday, June 21. and running through summer until Sept. 1.

The 84th Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft, an annual summer tradition and one of the oldest juried exhibitions in New England, discovers, encourages and celebrates artists and crafters in the region. It gives them a museum environment to exhibit their work and connect with artists and patrons.

Aynel David Guerra, a Greater Boston curator and arts advocate, is juror. FAM's consulting curator of photography Stephen Jareckie is awarding the photography prize.

"Lost in the Summer" by John Wesley Small on view at FAM this summer
"Lost in the Summer" by John Wesley Small on view at FAM this summer

Also opening at the FAM is "Call and Response: A Matter of Perspective, the seventh annual collaboration between the museum and ArtsWorcester. The exhibition features 10 works from FAM's permanent collection and a single work by each of the 10 selected ArtsWorcester members — Eugenie Lewalski Berg, Eli Brown, Christine Croteau, Madge Evers, Nathan Fiske, Angela Kelly, Haley Marchant, Kat O'Connor, Amanda Kidd Schall and John Wesley Small. They all created works to respond to this year's theme of perspective.


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The final show opening at FAM this weekend is "Carrie Crane: Beyond Measure." Crane, a Worcester-area artist and first-prize winner in last summer's 83rd Annual Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft here, creates instruments and graphic displays that seek the unknowable by capturing elusive, forgotten things. Her abstract work is rooted in that of various early 20th-century pioneers of non-objective painting and finds truth in emotion.

The museum is at 185 Elm St., Fitchburg. Call 978-345-4207 or visit www.fitchburgartmuseum.org.

Meanwhile, the studio artists at Lowell's Brush Art Gallery and Studios present "Fragile — Our Precious World," their annual group show, which runs through July 28. A reception is set for Thursday, June 20, 5-7 p.m., and a gallery talk with the artists is on Sunday, July 21, 1-3 p.m.

An historic map featured in "Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform" at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston this summer
An historic map featured in "Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform" at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston this summer

The show is a meditation on the uncertain ecological times we live in and the impact our actions have on the delicate balance of the environment. Artists include Penelope Cox, Jenny Day, Lolita Demers, Chrissy Theo Hungate, Debbie Janes, Paul Richardson, Iona Singureanu, Victoria Voner and Will Winslow.

The Brush is at 256 Market St., Lowell. Call 978-459-7819 or visit www.thebrush.org.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.

Social reform at Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum greets the summer season with "Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform," an exhibition that examines how landscape architects and photographers in the late 1800s and early 1900s advocated for social reform in Boston, New York and Chicago. On view June 20-Sept. 15, it features city plans, archival materials, historical maps and photographs. The show invites visitors to see how photographers and landscape architects from the past advocated for social reform and to consider how their work speaks to today's urban challenges.

4th of July Art Festival in Chelmsford

Wednesday, June 26, is the deadline to register for the Chelmsford Art Society's 51st 4th of July Art Festival at Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road. Online registration preferred, but paper applications available at Picture Yourself and Chelmsford Public Library. Drop-off is Sunday, June 30, 3-6 p.m. Festival begins with artist reception and award ceremony on Tuesday, July 2, students 4-5 p.m., and adults, 5-7:30 p.m., with refreshments, cash bar and music. Public viewing is on Wednesday, July 3, 4:30-8:30 p.m., and Thursday, July 4, 8:30 a.m.-noon. The show comes down after the parade. Late pickup for art is Friday, July 5, 4-6 p.m. Volunteers needed at www.chelmsford artsociety.com.