Art to Inspire & Heal

The Pentucket Arts Foundation hopes everyone has been staying strong and healthy during these challenging months. In times that are so uncertain and scary, it can be difficult to keep our heads up and to keep moving forward. Though we may feel alone, it's important to remember that we are all going through this together.


We believe in the transformative power of art to heal, nurture, and to bring people together, in both times of crisis as well as peace. Art is a medium through which we discover our similarities as well as celebrate our differences with the people around us and the world in which we live.

To this end, we'll be posting weekly "discoveries" this summer, in the hopes of inspiring our creative community and highlighting the beautiful and creative ways that people are creating art around the world.

If there's an arts project that you'd like us to share with our community, please e-mail us at

June 1st

To kick off this project, we'll start with the Wara Art Festival, held each fall in northern Japan. Check out the video to see the incredible sculptures that Musashino Art University students created with rice straw!

June 8th

As part of our weekly Art to Inspire & Heal project, check out this piece published by NPR last Friday, titled, "2 Uncles And A 'Doorway To Imagination' Spread Love On Social Media."

"Love has a way of dispelling fear. The work of love is more than just the people that we know, but even the people that we don't know — that we all deserve love. We all deserve respect."

June 15th

What's a Travel Photographer to do when cooped up indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic?  For week 3 of our Art to Inspire & Heal project, you should definitely check out the work of artist Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors), who demonstrates how far one can travel without leaving the house. Using imagination and creativity as her roadmaps, Erin transforms everyday objects into incredible landscapes that take her audience on stunning journeys.

To view Erin's work on her Instagram, follow this link.

June 22nd

Ripple in still water, where there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow...

How do you measure the effect you have on others? Many times, if nothing is said, then the impact we each have on the world seems to go unnoticed...but just because it may be unspoken, it doesn't mean that it's not felt.


Think back on the people in your life who inspired you -- perhaps it's someone who helped you discover the joy of reading; maybe it's someone who instilled in you the importance of helping others in times of need; perhaps it's someone who started a tradition that you now share with your children or grandchildren?


For week 4 of our Art to Inspire & Heal project, check out this beautiful cover of the Grateful Dead's Ripple -- featuring musicians from around the world, coming together across cultural lines to celebrate and share their love of music with the rest of the world.

The Grateful Dead's last live performance of Ripple was on September 3, 1988 -- and yet, more than 25 years after their songs last filled the air, they're still bringing people together.

May the impact you make on the world around you also be long-lasting and far-reaching!

July 3rd

Since 1998, Arts in Prison has made it their mission to use the power of art as a constructive and creative outlet for some of the more than 10,000 incarcerated people in the state of Kansas. "The arts are uniquely able to reach those hiding deep within themselves. Arts provide an opportunity for reflection. The arts create opportunities for empathy, collaboration, and accountability."

For this week's Arts to Inspire & Heal segment, check out the work being done inside correctional facilities across Kansas, with the goal of motivating and inspiring change within their prison population. "Success, combined with confidence, grows hope. And with hope, anything becomes possible."

July 10th

A few months back, The Washingtonian asked people to submit art they created in quarantine. Sarah Lyon, associate director of alumni relations at the George Washington University School of Engineering, Cleveland Park, snapped a photo and made this observation while picking up takeout from a local restaurant:

"This photo is a reminder that there are many beautiful sights in our own backyards if we just take a moment to look around and appreciate what is in front of us—and that sometimes the little adventures, like walking to pick up a delicious meal and a to-go margarita on a Saturday evening, can be just as enjoyable as the big ones."

Image by Sarah Lyon, associate director of alumni relations at the George Washington University School of Engineering. Posted to the Washingtonian.

In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, have you had occasion to find the extraordinary in the ordinary? What beauty have you found hiding in plain sight? Please share your experiences with us!


July 18th

The ability to adapt to change in the face of crisis is a hallmark of resilience and strength. For performance artists, this can be especially difficult because the foundation of their art normally relies upon people coming to them to see a show.


In the city of Medellín, Colombia, local mariachi bands have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by taking their acts to the streets for some socially-distanced soul soothing in the form of beautiful street performances.


For this week's #ArtToInspireAndHeal segment, check out this news clip covering the roving mariachi bands of Medellín. Even if you don't understand Spanish, take a look at the joy these musicians are giving their adoring fans, watching happily from their balconies above.


In bringing their art to the people, they bring a glimmer of hope and normalcy during the difficult times we are all experiencing.

July 31st

Good poetry timelessly captures shared emotions and experiences. The job of the poet is to examine the world around us, and to help inspire & heal us by articulating that which lives on the tips of our tongues and in the backs of our minds.

Portsmouth, NH Poet Laureate Tammi Truax does a phenomenal job examining the times we're in, and giving voice to this collective pandemic experience through which we're living.

This week, we share her poem "Transitions."


Today I find the mask useful along with sunglasses
to hide my tear streaked face, not wanting to scare the barista who has enough to deal with behind his own mask.

He need not know
I just read the good-bye letter of a beautiful, brilliant poet signing off forever
from the outside world
to slip into her hospice.

Her courage,
her sadness,
her eloquence,
her impending death have pummeled me with premature grief.

I don’t know how to prepare my good-byes. Though the inevitability, the enormity, of the task hovers on the edges of this gorgeous summer.

For today, I only know
how to harvest a gourd
from my meager garden, wash it in clear, cool water, and chop it with slow strokes of a sharp blade.

For today, I only know
how to measure, pour,
and stir in slow folds,
batter for zucchini nut bread, to bake for the young man who fixed my car.

Realizing in the doing
that there are so many ways to say good-bye.

-- Tammi J Truax
Portsmouth Poet Laureate 2019-2021

August 11th

Back on June 15th, we shared the awesome art that travel photographer Erin Sullivan was creating while cooped up indoors during the pandemic quarantine.


On his Youtube channel, Pilot-by-Day-Model-Builder-by-Night Luke Towan is doing similar projects that are definitely worth checking out, if you're in need of a "little" inspiration! Check out the amazing miniature worlds he creates completely by hand!

August 17th

For this installment of Art to Inspire and Heal, checkout this peaceful and inspiring version of composer Eric Whitacre's "Sing Gently, written for the Virtual Choir during the global pandemic and performed by 17,572 singers from 129 countries.

A Juilliard alum, the Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor is widely considered to be the pioneer of Virtual Choirs. According to his website, "in 2018 his composition for symphony orchestra and chorus, Deep Field, became the foundation for a collaboration with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Music Productions and 59 Productions.  The film was premiered at Kennedy Space Center has been seen at arts and science festivals across the world.  Deep Field has been performed in concert on several continents, and with simultaneous film projection by the New World Symphony, New World Center, Miami; Brussels Philharmonic; Flagey, Brussels; Bergen Philharmonic, Grieghallen, Bergen among other great orchestras."

He has "worked with legendary Hollywood composers Hans Zimmer, John Powell and Jeff Beal as well as British pop icons Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox."

August 24th

Retired longtime arts educator and founder of Pentucket's fine and performing art program, Ellen Burke Hart shared with us her recent submission to Moore ArtShare, a digital collection of creative works from the Moore County community in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The exhibit documents how residents responded to this strange time we find ourselves in.

“Tomayto Tomahto”

"Through the COVID experience, I have taken great comfort in my little gardens and planters. Gardening kept me connected to nature, and in a time when “normal” was no longer and each day held uncertainty, my little garden was a mantra of sorts. Nature knows what it needs to do and my little tomatoes grew from flower, to little green balls to tasty little additions to my salad. The garden provided distraction and comfort, so I decided to use various garden plants as subject in watercolor studies."

"Tomayto Tomahto" painted by retired Pentucket Arts educator Ellen Burke Hart