At RISE Amherst, new mural meant to represent connection between cannabis culture and art

To Ben Sussman, the exterior walls of RISE Amherst were a blank canvas, presenting an opportunity to bring something special to Western Massachusetts.

A quest to find a muralist to add vibrance to the buildng became a passion project. That project is now complete, as artist Zaeos has spray-painted a mural around recreational and medical marijuana shop RISE, showcasing images of black-capped chickadees, the Massachusetts state bird, and a blue heron.

The artwork helps to present a connection between cannabis culture and art and honor both communities, said Sussman, the RISE Amherst community outreach coordinator.

“At a time in the country where everybody is so divided and there is so much strife in people’s lives with the virus and everything that’s going on, giving back to the community in kind of a different way and putting up a piece of public art that can really help people, just taking

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Simone Leigh to Represent U.S. at Venice Biennale 2022

Sculptor Simone Leigh has made history as the first Black woman chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most prestigious art and culture events. The Brooklyn-based artist, renowned for her large-scale work celebrating Black women, will make her debut in 2022.

“I feel like I’m a part of a larger group of artists and thinkers who have reached critical mass,” Leigh told The New York Times. “And despite the really horrific climate that we’ve reached, it still doesn’t distract me from the fact of how amazing it is to be a Black artist right now.”

Leigh’s Venetian show, mostly composed of sculpture, “will engage the work of black feminist thinkers who have enlarged and transcended the limits of this democracy,” she explained on Instagram. The presentation will run from April 23 to November 27, 2022. It’s set to be her biggest

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