Category Archives: Cultural

Cultural Alliance of Medfield

Rob Gregg presented the following report to the Board of Selectmen last night on the Cultural Alliance of Medfield’s s work and status.

The Selectmen’s meeting focused on the downtown, and had reports from nine separate groups that deal with differing aspects of the downtown (see the agenda I posted for the full list of groups represented).  Richard and I both opined the we found it hugely interesting and helpful, and endorsed a next step of holding a visioning “summit” or “charrette” in the fall focused specifically on the downtown, in order to craft the strategy and agenda for moving forward.  By contrast, Mark said that hearing from all the groups took too much time away from the selectmen doing their work, and that he would curtail such reports.

July 15th meeting with the Selectmen


The Medfield Cultural District appreciates this brief opportunity to acquaint you with two particular aspects of our organization while addressing how those impact downtown redevelopment.


First, we are comprised of seven members: Kirsten D’Abate, Jean Mineo, Deborah Kelsey, Diane Borrelli, Sarah Reposa, Bill Pope, and myself. We will very much miss Deborah‘s energetic participation, and we wish her just the best as she takes her skillset to Gloucester. In her stead, Alex Lunt, our Senior Librarian, will give his leadership.


We meet monthly at the library to tackle a wide range of opportunities which are focused on increasing local and visitor spending.   At the moment we are exploring how best to maximize the experience anyone has when visiting cultural sites in Medfield, some of these being attached to history, commerce, recreation, and the arts.


Another agenda item is to decide how best to promote a community-wide calendar. Amid all our challenging tasks, we are moving ahead to acquire designation as a non-profit charitable organization and to consider how a part-time leadership position can better leverage both public and private perceptions of delivering cultural activities.


To embody our focus as to how Medfield’s assets are differentiated from those in any other community, we have changed our name to the Culturalliance of Medfield. Inasmuch as we will designate over time a number of cultural districts within the town, we felt than a name change would clarify our organization and allow for additional districts to be included. Thus, Medfield will have a variety of cultural districts identified by name and geography. A good metaphor for the alliance is an umbrella which gathers underneath it a variety of persons and organizations needing collective coverage.


Item number two. The Culturalliance is learning valuable lessons in our process to differentiate Medfield’s cultural amenities from those in every other town. We constantly ask ourselves this question: “Why do these set us apart from other communities?” We are always narrowing our focus. In doing so, we are learning to jettison the generic. What is it that Medfield wants to be known for? What do we need to do to own it? If one might say a brand could be “Preserve the Past, Engage the Future,” then we ask, “How is this different from every other community who wants to do the same?” The answer is, it really isn’t. Our strategy is to move beyond the first level of creativity.


Both visitors and locals perceive Medfield for what it is – good or bad. What is it that sets us apart from any other community?



The Culturalliance of Medfield responds positively to the need to rejuvenate downtown Medfield, in fact all that lies within its borders. To that end, Medfield needs to be much more specific in finding its niche. Why do visitors come to town? How soon will they return? What will they tell their friends about their experiences here?


The Culturalliance champions community branding as a process which involves the entire population of this town. A brand is the preservation of an essence. We cannot build a successful brand using focus groups because a “group-hug mentality” will only give us a watered-down generic brand, a “one size fits all,” which is not a brand at all.


Small towns across America are succeeding today in setting themselves apart. Travelers Rest, South Carolina, a town one-third the size of Medfield, has repositioned itself from being a gateway community to now being a destination. Opelousas, Louisiana, twice the size of Medfield, now brands itself as perfectly seasoned, with a flavored history, music with a spice, and a zest for life with its flavored food. Springfield, Vermont, identical in population to Medfield, overcame its predicament as a pass-through town for commuters (doesn’t this sound familiar?), with a brand which resonates its reinvention.


Part of your agenda tonight is to hear from ten different organizations as to Medfield’s downtown redevelopment. Each of these can admirably tell you what they are doing, and some can tell you how they are doing it. What is missing to our collective response is why we are doing what we are doing. Economic development requires community-wide participation in establishing how we want people to think of us. The answers to what we do and how we do it are easy to identify. You will hear them tonight.   Instead of looking at Medfield from the outside in (what ?, how?, why?), our suggestion is to reverse this process. Look from the inside out. That begins by asking the question “why.”   Why are we different from any other town? Why do people come here? In today’s economy, the answer starts with the experiences of locals and visitors when they are here. Only then will we know why, and if, Medfield is inspiring.



Medfield Cultural Council grant reception

This email from Jean Mineo -

Medfield TV has posted the video footage of the Medfield Cultural Council grant reception held in April. We invite you to share the link on your Facebook pages, on your blogs and blasts, and / or on your websites where appropriate to promote your award, your great programs, and the recognition by the Council and town leaders.
Best wishes for a creative summer!
—–Original Message—–
From: aditi
To: JeanMineo; ron.gustavson
Sent: Thu, Jul 3, 2014 2:41 pm
Subject: Medfield TV Youtube link for Cultural Council ICC recipients

Jean and Ron,

Medfield TV Youtube link for CC- ICC recipients at Zullo.

Happy July 4th.


Aditi Thatte
Executive Director

Busy Saturday coming up

This from Chris McCue -


Lots of fun in Medfield on June 14!

If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, there’s no reason to leave Medfield for it! Here’s what your Saturday could look like:

  •  Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., take a one-of-a-kind trolley tour led by Town Historian Richard DeSorgher to learn about “Art, Culture and Mystery; the life style of Medfield’s Rich and Famous.” This event, part of Medfield’s Annual Discover Medfield History Day, is sponsored by MEMO and always gets rave reviews. Six one-hour tours on the Boston Old Town Trolley will run on Saturday, June 14. Tickets are $9 adults; $6 for children & seniors, and are on sale at Needham Bank through Friday, and then at the departure point of Lowell Mason House on Green Street (if not sold out), with parking at Hinckley Pond. The tour will be filled with interesting information about the likes of Kennedy, Roosevelt, Disney, Babe Ruth and many other famous individuals who have been linked with Medfield. Before or after your trolley ride, be sure to check out the Lowell Mason House, home of the father of music education, and make a donation toward the restoration efforts.
  • Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., pop into the Dwight-Derby House “Dads & Grads” sale, where most of the items are handmade by local artisans, and you can purchase custom-made Medfield items such as historic coasters and notecards, Dwight-Derby House trivets, cutting board, key chains and posters. All proceeds support the continued restoration of the historical gem on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the Dwight-Derby House, go to
  • From 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., head over to the Medfield Fire Department for the Annual Chicken BBQ. For just $5-$7, you can have a delicious slab of BBQ chicken (eat there or takeout), while also supporting our amazing team of Medfield firefighters. If you have little ones, they’ll love checking out the fire engines and firehouse!
  • After you’ve finished your dinner, head over to the 5th Annual Zullo Art Festival & Party under the tent behind the gazebo where festivities will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Medfield is fortunate to have the Zullo situated in the heart of downtown Medfield providing free exhibits throughout the year, 1st Thursday gatherings out on the deck, and affordable art lessons (and so much more). Despite so much change in Medfield, the Zullo Gallery remains a constant, and the art festival is critically important to the gallery’s ongoing sustainability. Tickets are $75 per person, and the price includes Sam Adams beer and an assortment of wine, small plates of local cuisine donated by virtually every Medfield restaurant and dining establishment, and music by the surf band “The Fathoms”. You also have the opportunity to peruse the art sale featuring original, affordable paintings by many of the Zullo’s exhibitors. Tickets can be purchased at the Medfield Public Library, at the Zullo, online at, or at the door if still available.


Cultural Council get $4,250 at ATM

The Cultural Council got a first time $4,250 budget out of our annual town meeting (ATM) last night, a request that was so modest for a return that is so big, that it made that decision easy for me even in a year of self-created tight budget decisions.  The Cultural Council gets $4,250 from the sate each year, so they will now have double the budget going forward.

My summary I had written out, if the Board of Selectmen needed me to speak to it, was going to be:

  • Small money
  • Big Value
  • Huge addition to quality of life

I have come to believe that the quality of life in town is the sum of the many small things that happen that are interesting and good, and all the items supported by the Cultural Council are high on that list.  Their new grant awards ceremony this past month is the newest one of those.

I want to believe in the idea that spending on the arts redounds to the community economically as well, as I have heard, but I am still not sure about that in my mind.  Regardless, I feel it is still worthwhile spending even if we do not get a direct financial return out of our spending on the arts.

Cultural Council budgets OK

I just heard Governor Patrick say that he thought that the budgets of the state’s Cultural Councils should be OK, despite the fact that the house budget released yesterday cut those budgets in half.  Medfield gets $4,250 a year in state funds and pays for lots of things with little money.  There is a pending annual town meeting (ATM) warrant article to have the town match the state contribution, to effectively double spending on the arts in town.  However, I believe the Warrant Committee is not supporting that new spending this year.

Cultural Council 6 PM tonight at Zullo

Medfield Cultural Council grant awards this evening at 6 PM at the Zullo Gallery.

See and hear from the grant recipients, see the Zullo’s exhibit, see and listen to real live politicians, and take part in the first First Thursday of 2014.

For details click here.


This from Jean Mineo -
Deadline: Thursday Jan. 23, 2014 at 5 pm
The Town of Medfield owns a small 5,352 square foot parcel of land between Zebra’s and Starbuck’s that has affectionately been called the Pocket Park for lack of an official name. The Pocket Park Steering Committee was appointed in Oct. 2013 to initiate a public planning process to both propose a design for the park and establish its name.
Naming Contest
Medfield residents are invited to vote on, or propose, a name for the Pocket Park by completing an on-line survey here:
History of the site is included in the short survey.
As an added incentive, Woodland Theater has generously donated two tickets to a Jan. 24 – 26 performance of Spelling Bee, one of Broadway’s most buzzed about Tony award winning musicals. The winner for the tickets will be selected at random from among all entries. The performance takes place in the Lowell Mason Theatre at the Medfield High School and additional tickets may be purchased at
The Pocket Park Steering Committee will select the name from among the entries and forward for approval at Town Meeting. Thank you for participating in this exciting opportunity to name our Pocket Park!
For questions or more information, please email

Medfield’s new downtown dog

Jean Mineo explains Medfield’s new downtown dog (I personally think the choices for the first Art Box were brilliant)-

Jean Mineo also commented on her J.A.S. Monks Art Box album.
Jean wrote: “At an unknown date, Jack became the faithful canine companion of then 23 year-old Dr. Arthur Mitchell who arrived in Medfield in 1887 and served as the town’s beloved doctor for the next 47 years. During a storm of epic proportions (perhaps the one from October 12-15, 1895), the young doctor fell into floodwaters of what is assumed now to be the Charles River. Caught under the rapids, with his lungs filling with water, Dr. Mitchell glimpsed his ever-faithful dog Jack who had offered himself as a canine life-jacket. With his life in the balance, all Arthur remembered was holding onto Jack for dear life as they paddled for refuge. Reaching the river bank, Arthur grabbed onto tree branches and pulled himself to safety with Jack still by his side. Dr. Mitchell never forgot his own near drowning, or the fact that Jack saved him. For this memory and honor, Mitchell commissioned Medfield artist John Austin Sands Monks to paint a portrait of Jack which later hung in the doctor’s office. It appears that the portrait was painted sometime between the 1895 storm and Jack’s death in August 1899. After Dr. Mitchell’s death in 1934, his will stipulated that the painting become property of his housekeeper, Mrs. Mary Carver Haskell. She later donated it to the Medfield Historical Society before her death in 1951. Both the good doctor and his faithful dog were buried side by side in Temple, Maine’s Mitchell Cemetery. The other images on this Art Box are 1) the 1888 Monks Block (across the street) which the artist and his wife Olive built on property owned by her parents, Orson and Olive Wales (Thayer) Young, and 2) an etching of sheep for which John Austin Sands Monks became America’s painter par excellence. This Art Box was sponsored by M.E.M.O., the Medfield Employers and Merchants Organization. The Art Boxes are a program of the Medfield Cultural District and the remaining five will be installed in the spring, each telling a different story of Medfield’s cultural history.”
Reply to this email to comment on this post.

Santa photo op at Dwight-Derby House

From the Medfield Cultural District -

Dear Medfield Cultural District Steering Committee and Friends,

In the spirit of keeping everyone informed about upcoming cultural events, I wanted to let you know about Santa’s special appearance at the Dwight-Derby House to continue Medfield’s traditional annual “Free Santa Photo Op.”  He will arrive on Friday, December 6 immediately following MEMO’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and will leave for the North Pole at 9:30 pm. In conjunction with his visit The Dwight-Derby House Shoppe will be open on Friday, December 6, from 7pm to 9:30pm. It will also be open on Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 3 pm.


I will be posting the event on the Medfield Cultural Council Events Calendar. Attached is an event flyer as a PDF and a jpg (for posting on Facebook). The press release  copy appears below and is attached.  We are hopeful that you will circulate the flyer and/or the press release to your various constituencies. Please contact Cheryl O’Malley with any questions.


Thanks very much. We hope to see you there!


Best regards,

Jo Ellen



Jo Ellen Collins



Press Release


Contact Information:

Cheryl O’Malley, President

Friends of the Dwight-Derby House

(508) 359-7264


Santa Claus is Coming To… The Dwight-Derby House for Free Photos



Medfield, MA – Yes, it’s true! Santa is making a special appearance at the Dwight-Derby House to continue Medfield’s traditional annual “Free Santa Photo Op.” He will arrive immediately following MEMO’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Baxter Park at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 6, which officially kicks off the holiday season in Medfield.


Santa will be available until 9:30 pm after which he will be heading back to the North Pole. Medfield photographer, Colleen Sullivan, will be taking the photos, so they will be of utmost professional quality—perfect for reproduction and gift giving. And she will email them to you—what could be easier? More good news?  When you arrive you will receive a number so you can browse and shop at the Dwight-Derby House Holiday Shoppe while you wait. No more standing in line.


The Holiday Shoppe, filled with fresh new merchandise and seasonal decorative items, will be open on Friday, December, 6, from 7 pm to 9:30 pm and Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 3 pm. Handcrafted jewelry by Susan Gerow and Cheryl O’Malley will be available. Ribbon yarn scarfs and shawls by Susan McCarthy are back by popular demand. We have many new items created by Colleen Sullivan who has integrated her artistic photography into her designs. Do you have a bird lover in your family? We have the perfect gift for them—a handcrafted replica of their house transformed into a birdhouse. Come see it all. We have gift items for everyone on your holiday list.

Shop the treasure trove of delightful and creative gift items produced in our own community at prices that are sure to please. Bring a friend! We’re located at 7 Frairy Street in Medfield right behind Meeting House Pond.

Give a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will your purchase delight someone special, but you will be supporting local artisans and the ongoing maintenance, preservation and development of the historic Dwight-Derby House.

Visions and Voices: Community Art Project

From Jean Mineo of the Cultural District -

Visions and Voices: Community Art Project

Pocket park between Zebra’s (21 North Street, Medfield) and Starbucks

(Medfield, MA): The Medfield Cultural District Committee is pleased to announce the second and final installation of the community art project Visions and Voices in the pocket park between Zebra’s and Starbucks.

During Medfield Day, a chalkboard kiosk was set up in the park for visitors to write their ideas for the park. Medfield photographer Connie Thomson took portraits of visitors which were then printed poster sized. These paper portraits are now temporarily installed along the sidewalk through the park to further capture public interest in this public space. The posters are adhered with a natural wheat paste and the paper will be completely removed within a few weeks; the duration is weather dependent.

Project Coordinator Jean Mineo says, “this project provided a way for people to reflect on their community and share their ideas publicly. Over 150 comments were left on the chalkboards during the two weeks they were in the park.” The portraits are part of the global on-line art project Inside Out, a creation of the artist JR, recipient of the 2011 TED prize.

Medfield Selectmen are appointing a Steering Committee to manage a public planning process over the winter. Anyone interested in participating in planning workshops can contact Jean Mineo at or 508-242-9991 for more information.

Visions and Voices is supported in part by donations from Will’s Hardware and Photographs by Connie Thomson.

For More Information:

Contact: Jean Mineo