“Field Notes from Salem” comes to Old Town Hall

A free, immersive art exhibit by Salem Public Artist in Residence, Maia Mattson and collaborator Casey Keenan exploring the nature of Salem through community stories, field sounds, and upcycled local botanicals.

Salem, MA – Where is your favorite botanical place in Salem? Why is that place so valuable to you? These are a few of the questions that Maia Mattson is asking for her culminating project as Salem’s 2022 Public Artist in Residence. For this project, entitled Field Notes from Salem, Mattson has been working in collaboration with sound artist, Casey Keenan. The duo has spent the last several months interviewing members of the community about their relationship to nature in Salem and collecting free-laying samples of the botanicals from the featured locations. In addition to the interviews from community members, Keenan also collected field sounds from surrounding coastlines, cemeteries, parks, and woodlands while Mattson created large cyanotypes using the plant material foraged from those areas. Weaving these elements together, Mattson and Keenan designed an interactive exhibit exploring the nature of Salem through community stories, field sounds, and botanical installations.



This dynamic exhibit will be on display at Salem’s Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square from January 6th to January 16th and is FREE to the public. An opening reception will take place from 5 to 9 pm on January 6th and those interested in sharing their own stories can record with Casey Keenan on January 7th and 13th.


Field Notes from Salem is an immersive art installation that functions primarily as an invitation for the broader community to share their own stories, knowledge, and experience of the local ecology and land.  “This exhibit is in no way representative of Salem’s vibrant, layered history and culture,” states Maia Mattson, “Which is why we are calling it Field Notes. We’re making observations and recording stories about a piece of a much larger picture. There is much we have not been able to capture or know. We hope that folks who come through share their knowledge and the things they notice with us.”

Explore and share in the connection between community and nature at Field Notes from Salem at Old Town Hall from January 6th to the 17th. For more information about this event please visit: www.maia-mattson.com/events



About the Artists

Maia Mattson – is a multi- disciplinary artist. She creates site specific, nature inspired work that merges her knowledge of botany and art. Designing this exhibit is Mattson’s culminating project as Salem’s Public Artist in Residence 2022. Find more about her work at www.maia-mattson.com

Casey Keenan – is a sound artist based in Gloucester, MA. His collaborations with David Buckley Borden have been presented at Mass MoCA, Harvard Forest, and Wayne State University. He believes in art/science communication, and that a regions’ sonic landscape can be an effective addition to the collaboration. Find more of his work at www.gravitywavestudios.com


About Salem’s PAIR Program:

The role of Salem’s Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) on Artists’ Row is one of Community Engagement and Arts- Centered Programming through public art. The PAIR is selected through a robust artist call for submissions and review process that take place every two years or so.  The selected artist is provided with a small stipend and studio space by the City in exchange for their activation of the space and Artists’ Row in general through Public Art for the term of 8 months. Public art is defined as any media whose form, function and meaning are created for the general public through a public process. The City is excited to have an artist imbedded in this unique downtown public-way to contribute to and enhance the cultural vitality of Artists’ Row and the greater Salem community. The Public Artist in Residence main guiding principles are, firstly and most importantly, that the primary and central focus of their work, and the way that they approach that work, is with a focus on community engagement and art that the community can directly interact with. Secondly is to work in art forms that can be created with the public and providing ongoing interaction with the community that shape and guide the final ‘product’ from their residency.  To learn more about this program please contact City of Salem’s Senior Planner of Arts & Culture Julie Barry at jbarry@salem.com.


About City of Salem Arts & Culture

The City of Salem is committed to enriching & enlivening the urban environment through showcasing innovative & transformative works of art in all media & modalities.  With a focus on working with local artists, especially those historically underrepresented, we seek to foster greater community awareness of & interaction with the arts and celebrate diversity in all its forms. Our goal is to nurture diversity & creativity; foster a sense of community pride & belonging; and enhance the quality of life for all. Learn more at https://www.salem.com/arts-culture

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