We (heart) the Deerfield River: A Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night

Art Garden Event: River Fest Parade

Hilltown Families and The Art Garden partner for a final community-service art-making event for the season

Our watersheds are vital and important ecosystems for animal and plant species. Celebrate the Deerfield River Watershed with friends, family, Hilltown Families and The Art Garden on Friday, June 6th, from 4-7pm in Shelburne Falls for our final community-service art-making event for the season.

At this event we will be focusing on what we love about the Deerfield River Watershed and preparing for the annual Deerfield RiverFest’s Frog and Flower parade on June 7. Be a part of creating large cardboard fish, frogs and flowers for the parade, as well as individual processional artworks. All ages can participate! Materials provided. Takes place at The Art Garden.

Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers. Join us for an evening of community service art-making on Friday, June 6th from 4-7pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA, for We (heart) the Deerfield River, the final event in a series of five free family community service nights!

The Art Garden is located at 14 Depot Street in Shelburne Falls, MA (in the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum building.) SEE MAP. Questions? Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

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Paying it Forward with a Small Act of Kindness!

Intergenerational Community Service Workshop Spreads Kindness into Western MA Communities

On Friday, April 11th, 2014, Hilltown Families and the Art Garden presented a Flowers for Friends Workshop, the fourth workshop in a 5-part free Friday family workshop series in Shelburne Falls, MA. Families gathered to paint terracotta flower pots, planting them with violas to pass along to others in their community. Participating families were encouraged to give their flowers to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice. — Paying it forward with a small act of kindness!

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Do this project at home or with your youth/community group too! Simply paint terracotta pots with acrylic paint (no need to prime). Wait for the paint to dry (20 min.). Fill your pot with dirt and a pansy or viola. Write a note of encouragement, support and/or kindness on card stock and adhere it to a popsicle stick to stick into the dirt with your flower. Give to people in your community!

Random Acts of Kindness on Friday with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden

Flowers for Friends: Family Workshop
with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden
Friday, April 11th, 2014 from 4-7pm

Share a small act of kindness to another! Decorate pots and plant posies to pass along to others in your community with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th from 4-7pm (FREE).

In the spirit of spreading kindness to others, Hilltown Families presents a free family workshop, Flowers for Friends, at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th, 2014, from 4-7pm.  Families are invite to join neighbors & friends in a free community art event, painting terracotta flower pots to plant with pansies and pass along to another in their community.

Participating families are encouraged to give their posy to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice.  — Pay it forward with a small act of kindness!

This is the second year in a row we are coordinating this event. See photos from last year here and check out this video that features last year’s event: Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers for Friends: Free Friday Family Workshop with Hilltown Families

Flowers for Friends: Family Workshop
with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden
Friday, April 11th, 2014 from 4-7pm

Share a small act of kindness to another! Decorate pots and plant posies to pass along to others in your community with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th from 4-7pm (FREE).

In the spirit of spreading kindness to others, Hilltown Families presents a free family workshop, Flowers for Friends, at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th, 2014, from 4-7pm.  Families are invite to join neighbors & friends in a free community art event, painting terracotta flower pots to plant with pansies and pass along to another in their community.

Participating families are encouraged to give their posy to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice.  — Pay it forward with a small act of kindness!

This is the second year in a row we are coordinating this event. See photos from last year here and check out this video that features last year’s event:

Flowers for Friends is the fourth in a series of five Free Friday Family Community Service Nights that Hilltown Families and The Art Garden are offering, thanks to a grant from the Xeric Foundation. All materials included. Space is limited for this free event and pre-registration encouraged.

Click here to sign up…

Random Acts of Kindness with Handmade Valentines!

Handmade Valentine Workshop for Families on Friday, Feb. 7th from 4-7pm The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls

Make Your Own Handmade Valentines with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls during a free family workshop: Friday, February 7th, from 4-7pm.

Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met!

Handmade valentines are lovely tokens of kindness to share with others!  Join us to make a batch of your own! Drop in anytime. All materials included, but feel free to bring any materials you’d like to incorporate into your handmade valentines. Space is limited for this free event and pre-registration encouraged. Click here to sign up!

DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition: A Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night
at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA
DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition
Friday, January 17th, 2014 from 4-7pm

Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers. Join us for an evening of community service art-making on Friday, Jan. 17th from 4-7pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA, for DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition, the second in a series of five free family community service nights!

What better gift to receive in the winter than a warm pair of handmade mittens or cozy handmade scarf; and what better gift to give to someone in your community than something you have lovingly made?

On Friday, January 17th from 4-7pm, Hilltown Families will be hosting a Free Family Community Service Night with The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls.  We are inviting families to join us for an evening of DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition. Come with an outgrown felted wool sweater, and/or fleece outerwear to be repurposed into easy-to-sew mittens and scarves to donate to New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT).  No previous experience is needed and there will be tasks for all ages… Join Us!

Handmade Valentines Workshop: Spreading Random Acts of Kindness with Hilltown Families & The Art Garden

Handmade Valentine Workshop for Families on Friday, Feb. 7th from 4-7pm The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls

Make Your Own Handmade Valentines with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls during a free family workshop: Friday, February 7th, from 4-7pm.

Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met!

Handmade valentines are lovely tokens of kindness to share with others!  Join us to make a batch of your own! Drop in anytime. All materials included, but feel free to bring any materials you’d like to incorporate into your handmade valentines. Space is limited for this free event and pre-registration encouraged. Click here to sign up!

A Serving of Art: A Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night
at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA
A Serving of Art: Placemat Making
Friday, December 13th from 4-7pm

Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers. Join us for an evening of community service on Friday, Dec. 13th in Shelburne Falls at The Art Garden, for A Serving of Art: Placemat Making, the first in a series of five family community service nights!

During the holidays, many families find themselves wanting to give back to their community by supporting food security and connecting with their neighbors. This time of year can also see children with a bad case of the “gimmies.” A family night of community service is one way to support your community while helping children focus on the needs of others. Using art and making your own gifts creates a well rounded recipe for the holidays.

Hilltown Families and The Art Garden will be collaborating again this year in a series of Free Family Community Service Nights! The first in the series will be on Friday, December 13th from 4-7pm: A Serving of Art: Placemat Making.

Join us in Shelburne Falls for an evening of art and community service, making reusable handmade canvas placemats and collecting nonperishable foods, both to donate to Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield, MA. Families will also be invited to make a second canvas placemat to take and give to an elder in their life or a home-bound senior in their community… Find out more about this community service event…

Mother’s Day Mementos: Free Friday Family Event with Hilltown Families

Mother’s Day Mementos: Free Family Friday Night Event with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden
Friday, May 10th from 4-7pm

Join us on Friday, May 10th at the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls for a free, intergenerational community building art event that celebrates Mother’s and creativity!

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Hilltown Families presents a free family Friday night event, Mother’s Day Mementos, at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, May 10th from 4-7pm.

Come make handmade cards and gifts to give to the mothers in your life. Bring the kids and join your neighbors in a free community art event, making handmade tokens of appreciation for your spouse, mother, grandmother, or other mothers in your life. Let them know they are appreciated while getting creative with your kids!  And if you’d like, bring along a photocopied image of mothers you’d like to honor to include in your memento too!

This is the third of a series of three Free Friday Family Nights that Hilltown Families and The Art Garden are offering.  All materials included and everyone is invited to join in this community building event that honors the mother in your life.

The Art Garden is located at 14 Depot Street, Suite 2 in Shelburne Falls, MA (in the same building as the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.).   SEE MAP.  Questions?  Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Families Gather to Pay it Forward with Small Acts of Kindness!

Flowers for Friends Combines Art, Spring Blossoms and Small Acts of Kindness

On Friday, April 5th, Hilltown Families and the Art Garden presented a Flowers for Friends Workshop, the second workshop in a 3-part free Friday family workshop series in Shelburne Falls. This past Friday families gathered to paint terracotta flower pots, planting them with violas to pass along to others in their community. Participating families were encouraged to give their flowers to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice.  — Paying it forward with a small act of kindness!

❤ Big thank you to Home Depot in Greenfield, Shelburne Farm & Garden, Hadley Garden Center and friends of The Art Garden for their donations and discounts for terracotta pots, soil and Violas!

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Getting creative with family, friends and neighbors in a community art space like The Art Garden, builds relationships, affords opportunities to share and connect, and allows the space for creativity that our otherwise busy lives might not offer.

Flowers for Friends: Free Friday Family Workshop with Hilltown Families

Flowers for Friends: Family Workshop
with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden
Friday, April 5th from 4-7pm

Share a small act of kindness to another! Decorate pots and plant posies to pass along to others in your community with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 4th from 4-7pm (FREE).

In the spirit of spreading kindness to others, Hilltown Families presents a free family workshop, Flowers for Friends, at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 5th from 4-7pm.  Families are invite to join neighbors & friends in a free community art event, painting terracotta flower pots to plant with pansies and pass along to another in their community.

Participating families are encouraged to give their posy to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice.  — Pay it forward with a small act of kindness!

This is the second of a series of three Free Friday Family Nights that Hilltown Families and The Art Garden are offering this winter/spring.  All materials included.  Space is limited for this free event and pre-registration required.

Sign up. WE’RE FULL!

Registration for Flowers for Friends has been closed as our maximum allowance of participants has been filled.  If you would like to be put on our waiting list to be contacted if a family cancels, please submit your information below:

The Art Garden is located at 14 Depot Street, Suite 2 in Shelburne Falls, MA (in the same building as the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.).   SEE MAP.  Questions?  Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Families Gather to Make Handmade Valentines in Shelburne Falls

MYO Handmade Valentine Workshop
Brings Families Together

On Friday, January 25th, Hilltown Families and the Art Garden presented a Make Your Own Handmade Valentines Workshop, as part of a 3-part free Friday family workshop series in Shelburne Falls. Families with children of all ages gathered to make Valentines together.

Getting crafty with family, friends and neighbors in a community art space like The Art Garden, builds relationships, affords opportunities to share and connect, and allows the space for creativity that our otherwise busy lives might not offer.

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Join in the Swap!

Hilltown Families 5th Annual Handmade Community Valentine SwapThere’s still time to sign up to participate in the Hilltown Families 5th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past several years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Push back against the commercialization of Valentine’s Day while getting creative with your kids and connecting with your community… sign up to participate! Swapping happens through the mail with 10 other families! It’s free to sign up and open to all in Western MA. Deadline to sign up: Jan. 31, 2013. Western MA (FREE)

Handmade Valentines: Free Family Workshop

This free workshop is full and pre-registration is now closed… however, there’s still time to sign up for our Valentine Swap! Click on the banner to sign up by Jan 31, 2013:

Handmade Valentine Workshop for Families
Friday, Jan. 25th from 4-7pm
The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls

Is your family participating in the Hilltown Families 5th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap? Come create together in The Art Garden’s community supported art-making space. Find inspiration from other along with great direction from visual artist/teacher Jane Beatrice Wegscheider!

Make Your Own Handmade Valentines with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls during a free family workshop: Friday, January 25th, from 4-7pm.  Families can create their own unique valentines using simple book-making techniques or countless other ideas with materials provided by The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls.  Drop in anytime.  Pre-registration required (Sign up below.).

This is the first of a series of three Free Friday Family Nights Hilltown Families and The Art Garden will be offering this winter.  All materials included, but feel free to bring any materials you’d like to incorporate into your handmade valentines, such as photocopies of personally relevant images if you’d like (photos of loved ones, poems you love, pictures of places and things your Valentine cares about, etc.).

PRE-REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED. EVENT IS FULL: This free workshop is full and pre-registration is now closed… however, there’s still time to sign up for our Valentine Swap! Click on the banner to sign up by Jan 31, 2013:

The Art Garden is located at 14 Depot Street, Suite 2 in Shelburne Falls, MA (in the same building as the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.).   SEE MAP.
Art Garden Valentine's (submitted)

Hilltown Families Counteracts Commercialization via Creativity

Empowerment by Art: Hilltown Families Checks Commercial Fashion

“We had a great time! My son is wearing his shirt with pride right now at an evening event at his school,” texted Helen Kahn of Florence, MA.

In the wake of JCPenney’s “I’m too pretty to do homework” and Forever 21 “Allergic to Algebra” t-shirt debacle, this past Friday Western MA families came together to pushback against commercial fashion and corporate marketers in the Hilltown Families event, “I Am Not A Billboard!”

Presented by Hilltown Families and hosted by The Art Garden, a newly formed non-profit in Shelburne Falls, grandparents to toddlers came together from Charlemont to Northampton to make their own fashion statement by designing and decorating t-shirts with their own words and images. Slogans like “Science Rocks,” “Girls Rule,” and images of peace were drawn, sewn & painted in a successful intergenerational event!

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“With children’s clothes often donning corporate symbols and slogans, our kids are made into walking billboards for big corporations,” says Sienna Wildfield, Founding Director of Hilltown Families. “Fashion is just one of the many avenues corporate marketers utilize to market their brands to children, surprisingly, at a very young age.  Allowing children to embellish their own clothes with symbols and words that celebrate their individuality and intelligence is just one simple way families can counteract commercialization while fostering creativity and expressiveness.

“Messages that communicate values on physical appearance, consumerism and gender stereotypes to our children are pervasive,” says Jess Kuttner, LICSW, Psychotherapist and mother of two boys. “The recent news of t-shirts sold by JCPenny with the slogan, ‘I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me,’ is one example of how empty and degrading values are being marketed to our children.  Is it any wonder that there are epidemic numbers of kids and teens who bully each other and numb themselves with video games, TV, food and drugs? Giving children the opportunity to create their own t-shirts is a proactive way to counter corporate and negative messages while helping children focus on what is unique about themselves on a deeper level.

Big thank you to ❤ The Art Garden for hosting this event, to ❤ Country Pie Pizza of Ashfield for donating pizza for our pizza party, and to all the ❤ amazing families who came together to empower their kids and themselves through art!

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