James Baldwin Photography Exhibit

Photography exhibit showcasing the 60th birthday celebration of writer James Baldwin. | Central Library | All Ages

Central Library – Wellman Hall Art Wall, and Rotunda
Ongoing through February 2023 | Open Hours | All Ages

The library is thrilled to host a photography exhibit curated by local and beloved photographer, Edward Cohen.

The exhibit is being kicked off with a free talk and reception Sunday, December 18th from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Central Library will be home to Cohen’s photography exhibit celebrating the late American writer, James Baldwin. Photos of Baldwin’s 60th birthday celebrations at the UMASS Campus Center and Amherst College, along with friends such as Maya Angelou, will be on display.

Ed Cohen is a Springfield, MA based freelance photographer who has been photographing in the Pioneer Valley since 1975. He attended UMass Amherst and received a degree in Communications Studies with a concentration in Afro-American and Diversity in Communications. Cohen is a published author, exhibition curator, and an accomplished political demonstration, musical and community events photographer; having participated and captured many local monumental moments for the city of Springfield and surrounding areas. He takes pride in presenting diversity in his imagery.

Cohen received a grant from The Springfield Cultural Council in order to showcase Baldwin’s birthday celebration. He says, “I had the honor of being given permission to take photos at James Baldwin’s birthday celebrations in August of 1984. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown I edited several of the negatives of Baldwin and his close friend Maya Angelou and had time to publish a photo book and eventually to create a photo exhibit of the Birthday party events. James Baldwin remains an important figure because of his activism around racial and sexual discrimination and his literary genius. I felt it was a great time to have an event to feature the photos to generate a discussion about James Baldwin and the issues that he was so passionate about.”

UMass Professor Emeritus, Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, will serve as reception speaker. A pioneer in Afro-American Studies, in 1970 Thelwell became the founding chairman of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department. The Jamaican-born writer, activist, educator, came to the United States in 1959 to attend Howard University and went on to do his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Ayana Irene Pierre-Maxwell, currently a freshman at University of Miami, will present a painting based on a photo taken by Cohen at a UMass Commencement in 1978 where Baldwin received an honorary degree.

Pierre-Maxwell says, “While I did not take the photo, I am honored and delighted to have painted this image of the inspirational James Baldwin. I hope that when people view my art they are able to separate themselves from their world and enter mine [and] my work can evoke an emotion in those who view it.”

The exhibition is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. The exhibit will be on display through the end of Black History Month in February 2023.

This exhibit is supported in part by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Springfield City Library, and Monson Savings Bank.



Watercolor Workshops

Take a break and join us for this vibrant watercolor workshop, perfect for beginning and experienced artists alike! | East Forest Park | Teens & Adults

Mountain Pathway Workshop

East Forest Park Branch – Makerspace
Wednesday, April 19 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM | Adults 18+ | Register
Wednesday, May 17 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM | Adults 18+ | Register

Craft a journey along a serene mountain top with this vibrant watercolor workshop, perfect for beginning and experienced artists alike! All materials will be provided.

Space is limited in both workshops, and registration is required. Register at the links above!

Makerspace Collaboratory Drop-In

There will be a variety of projects and experiments to get you and your family started exploring and creating! | East Forest Park | All Ages

East Forest Park Branch – Makerspace
Mondays & Tuesdays | 2:00 – 4:30 PM | All Ages

This program is temporarily on hiatus. It will restart at a  future date TBD.

From traditional crafts to digital tinkering, the East Forest Park Makerspace is your place to create, invent, and learn. Each week we will have a drop-in project or two based on a theme.

Want to learn more? Contact the East Forest Park Branch Library at (413) 263-6836.

Sew Fun! Drop-In

Drop in and learn the basics of sewing while working on various projects throughout the series. | East Forest Park | All Ages

East Forest Park Branch
Every Other Thursday: Mar 9, Mar 23, Apr 6, Apr 20
2:00-5:00 PM | All Ages

This program is temporarily on hiatus. It will restart at a  future date TBD.

Are you interested in learning how to sew, or maybe just want to brush up your skills? Drop-in for our bi-weekly studio session. From sewing a button or hemming pants, to following a pattern to construct a garment using a sewing machine, our sewing volunteer can help you get started!

Sessions are open to participants of all ages and skill levels.

Knot Just Knitters

Grab some needles and yarn, then come join us! Newcomers always welcome. | Adults

Whether you knit, crochet, cross-stitch, or crewel, these groups are the place for you. New members are welcome, and current members are willing to teach their skills.

Some yarn and needles are provided, but donations of such items will always be welcome. Many of the finished items are donated to charitable causes.

Coffee and tea provided compliments of the Friends of the Library.

Central Library, Wellman Hall
Tuesdays, 2-3 pm

East Springfield Branch
Fridays, 10-11:30 am

East Forest Park Branch
Tuesdays, 1:30-3 pm

Mason Square Branch
Fridays, 1-2:30 pm

Sixteen Acres Branch
Wednesdays, 1-2:30 pm

Write-Up Springfield!

Calling all creative writers! Join a group to workshop your writing. | East Forest Park | Adults

Write-Up Springfield!

East Forest Park Branch
2nd Saturday every month
12:30 – 2:30 PM | Adults

Upcoming dates:
– March 11
– April 8

Creative writers of all types are invited to Write-Up Springfield’s monthly meeting of networking, writing exercise, and sharing. Led by Tara Dasso and Kateri M. Walsh, these hands-on workshops are a chance to hone your skill and hear from other western Massachusetts writers on creative writing. Newcomers welcomed!

Funding comes from the Friends of the Library and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

During the pandemic, members of Write-Up Springfield have shared poetry and other small pieces of writing on Facebook and Instagram! See their most recent work below.