Fall Northampton • Directors’ Picks

The 220 artists who are accepted to participate in the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA on October 8, 9 & 10 are the “best-of-the-best” of America’s independent painters, sculptors, and craft makers from every corner of America. Each season, Paradise City introduces dozens of exciting new artists who will exhibit their work in the Northampton show for the first time.

We are pleased to welcome a new crop of brand-new exhibitors to the show. From those artists making their Paradise City Northampton debuts, we have selected three as our Directors’ Picks. They include a New Jersey jeweler of sculptural jewelry, a Maine artist whose dreamy paintings evoke serene landscapes, and a Massachusetts glassblower of graceful, soft-hued work who loves to share her skills by teaching. Please welcome these three and dozens more new artists to Paradise City Northampton this fall!

Laurie Russo-Smith thinks of her paintings as visual poems or dances, inspired by a love of landscapes. A graduate of American College of Switzerland and Goddard College, her work quietly reflects the mountains of Switzerland and Vermont, the hillsides of Western Massachusetts, and the coastline of Maine, where she now lives and works. Although rooted in her observations of the real world, these richly saturated watercolor paintings are abstractions of dreamy, harmonious landscapes. Russo-Smith’s ever-present concentric orbs of color – her iconic suns or moons – add a mystical element to each painting.

“My preferred medium is water-soluble media and collage on unprimed canvas,” states Russo-Smith. “I enjoy watching the colors blend and swirl together unpredictably, one brush stroke at a time, one layer at a time.” Arts writer Greg Morell wrote: “Smith has a refined touch and signature style that gently abstracts the natural world. Each piece is a geometry of gentle contoured easeful shapes that quietly charm.”

From the time she was a child, Ellen Cohen had a table in the basement to call her very own. It was where she would make a mess and be creative. That basement table grew into a well-equipped jewelry studio in Leonia, New Jersey. Cohen says, “It’s still the place I go to create and make a mess and work things out, from an idea to an actual finished piece of jewelry. The making is what drives me.”

Cohen’s work is sculptural and solid, but there is an almost ethereal aspect to her designs. Moonscapes and Earthscapes anchor her newest series, with gorgeous blue gemstones floating amidst the space of sterling, bi-metal and 18K yellow gold orbital circles. She describes this work as “an exploration and metaphor for the fragile connections that link my practice to the planet, my work to the wearer, and all living beings to the ecosystems we coexist within.” Her jewelry engages with sustainability, not simply through material choices but on a deeper metaphorical level.

Glassblower Kimberly Savoie received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2013 with a concentration in glass and photography. During her time at Mass Art she incorporated both mediums to create sculptures that inform her photographs. Savoie spent three years working for the Corning Museum of Glass’ Blow Glass At Sea Program, doing hot glass demonstrations for Celebrity Cruise Line guests. Once back on dry land, she focused her energy on helping Pairpoint Glass Company, currently the oldest operating glass company in the United States, open a glassblowing school. She has always a passion for teaching people about glass.

​In her current body of work, Savoie focuses on combining light, form, nature, and a modern design aesthetic. She infuses each piece of glass with a subtle and feminine color palette. Her glass is notable for being able to work as a grouping or stand alone. All of Kimberly Savoie’s pieces are off-hand blown glass out of a 2,100 degree furnace with no finishing molds, made in Massachusetts.