At Fruitlands, sculptor Carolyn Wirth is a free-range historian

“I Read Emily Dickinson All Last Winter,” by Carolyn Wirth.
“I Read Emily Dickinson All Last Winter,” by Carolyn Wirth.(Fruitlands Museum)

FRUITFUL VISIT Carolyn Wirth usually refers to herself as an artist. But this summer, she has a different way of describing her vocation: “amateur free-range historian.”

“I walk around, look at exhibits, then go back to my studio and think about what I saw,” Wirth explains.

Wirth is the artist-in-residence at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard this year, and her inaugural public exhibit, “Seeing Past Faces,” will be on view July 2 through Aug. 21. In keeping with the museum’s history and connections with such literary families as the Alcotts, Wirth’s work showcases authors including Emily Dickinson and Louisa May Alcott, and women connected to Fruitlands’ history, such as Shakers leader Mother Ann Lee, Fruitlands Museum founder Clara Endicott Sears, and Wampanoag basket maker Emma Safford. An opening reception will be held Saturday, July 16, at 1 p.m.


Wirth calls her current work “disruptive portraiture,” a phrase whose invention she credits to Fruitlands guest curator Rebecca Migdal. “It reflects the way that I often look at a figure and try to make a poetic narrative about an aspect of that person that doesn’t really have anything to do with what the person actually looked like.”

In some cases, Wirth said, the women in her Fruitlands show were never painted during their lifetimes, so it’s hard to say what they looked like. In other cases, the artist is being deliberately fanciful, such as a piece about reading Emily Dickinson in which Wirth used Photoshop to combine her own image with Dickinson’s.

Wirth’s tenure as artist-in-residence means she is also creating several works around the Fruitlands grounds and has designed a Spirit Tree mural to which visitors will be invited to add their own efforts. Special programming during Wirth’s residency this summer includes workshops, gallery tours, a studio tour, and collaborative opportunities.

Fruitlands Museum is at 102 Prospect Hill Road. For hours, admission fees, and more information, including a full schedule of Wirth’s events as artist-in-residence, call 978-456-3924 or go to


CELEBRATE EARLY Acton holds its annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 2, at NARA Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way. Activities begin at 3 p.m. with Family Fun Time. The BAHA Brothers perform the music of Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys starting at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk (approximately 9:30 p.m.).

Complimentary shuttle buses will begin at 2 p.m. to and from NARA from designated parking lots along Nagog Park Drive. Admission to the event is free. Bracelets for $10 during Family Fun Time include moon bounces, a 35-foot inflatable obstacle course, a slip ‘n’ slide, and a water slide. A train ride will also be onsite for $3 per person. Food vendors will be available throughout the event. Go to for more information.

SOUNDS OF SUMMER The Northborough Community Affairs Committee launches a new season of its free Summer Concert Series, taking place at Ellsworth-McAfee Park in Northborough from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday evenings June 30, July 14, July 28, and Aug. 11. New this year will be Food Truck Nights on July 28 and Aug. 11. The series begins June 30 with Beatles for Sale, a New England Beatles tribute band that recreates the sounds of the Beatles live in concert. For more information, including rain dates, go to


CONCERTS ON THE GREEN The Framingham Park & Recreation Division announces the return of its free “Summer Concert Series on the Green,” with performances by a wide variety of groups and artists every Friday through Aug. 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Village Green, Edgell Road. Upcoming acts include the Tom Nutile Big Band on July 1, XRB on July 8, and Amy Gallatin & Still Waters on July 15. For a complete schedule, go to or call 508-532-5962.

BLOCK PARTY Westborough holds its annual July Block Party on Friday, July 1, from 6 to 10 p.m., on West Main Street with food, live music, and games. The Block Party features a concert by the Westborough Community Band at 6 p.m. in front of the Forbes Municipal Building. Parking and admission are free.

VEGAN TAXIDERMY Aimee Baldwin presents her solo show “Enduring Blooms” through July 24 at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston. A self-taught artist from the Bay Area who specializes in what she calls “vegan taxidermy,” Baldwin creates botanical and bird sculptures from crepe paper. For hours, admission fees, and more, call 508-869-6111 or visit

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