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By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Tenth Annual Capturing Nature in Westwood Exhibit opened on Thursday, October 27, in the Westwood Public Library. The bottom level of the library, usually pretty sparse, save for some plants and tables, was lined with local artists’ renderings of the natural beauty that can be found in Westwood. Karen Manor Metzold, a member of the Westwood Land Trust’s Board of Directors, has been involved with the exhibit since its conception, a decade ago.
“We as the Land Trust were looking to host an event that could become annual and hopefully collaborate with other organizations in town that would help bring awareness to the Land Trust but not be a fundraiser,” Metzold explained.
“Our mission is to preserve land and habitat so we thought how about having artists see it themselves and capture nature through their eyes and then share it with other people.”
The Westwood Public Schools are also a big part of the exhibit, and this year, an entire room was dedicated to the work of the local middle schoolers. Sara Sanchez and Robert Worth, the middle school art teachers, were there to help promote their students’ work. While the theme of the exhibit each year is simply for the art to be focused on natural aspects of Westwood, the teachers chose to create collaborative pieces, each student painting part of a larger picture. “We were first struck by the fact that Westwood does have such gorgeous landscapes all around us and it seemed a good way to not make it such an overwhelming process and parcel it down a little bit but still make it something that’s a big statement about how much the natural beauty around the town is magnificent,” Sanchez said.
Worth explained how they chose the images for the students to paint: “We wanted to have a variety of color and black and white and some that are close and some are far away so there are different perspectives. Some of them are kind of ambiguous, you don’t really know where it is, which I like,” he said. One of the biggest benefits of the exhibit for students is boosting their artistic morale. “It’s a really nice chance for students to see their work in a public setting that they actually engage with and so it’s really present for them, as opposed to being like, oh it’s in the Town Hall. Students don’t go there, so it’s really powerful that it’s here in a space that they actually use,” said Sanchez.
Beyond student art, the exhibit is made up of nearly 30 local artists’ work. “We do open it up to adults beyond just Westwood because Westwood doesn’t have its own art guild anymore, so the Dedham Square Artist Guild is involved and the Needham guild as well,” Metzold said. Her favorite part of the exhibit, however, is the sense of community. “I like the fact that the schools are involved and the adults are involved. Children can even submit things on their own, it doesn’t have to be through the schools.”
Even for Westwood residents who have visited the exhibit in the past, Worth explained that each year is worthy of a visit. “This is my fourth Capturing Nature. Every year, Capturing Nature kind of evolves and changes and it’s so different. It’s the same title, but it’s truly a different event, which is what I like about it,” he said.
Evolving from a former format which involved a one night only showing at the High School, the exhibit will be up in its new library location until December 16.