South Coast scenes: Cultural center hosts second socially distanced art show

Sep 4, 2020

Upon entering the Dartmouth Cultural Center on Sept. 4, patrons might have noticed a small troll greeting them with Norwegian candy for the center’s latest socially distanced event: an exhibition featuring the landscapes of Norwegian-born South Coast artist Severin Haines.

“It’s nice to be part of this,” Haines said. “It was a very nice group for this first night.”

Born in Norway, Haines said he had always enjoyed drawing what he saw — particularly horses. It wasn’t until his family moved to New Bedford when he was seven that he found his passion for painting.

“I was already drawing quite a bit, and my family knew I had the talent,” Haines said. “They wanted me to go places.”

According to the artist, it all began following a Saturday morning art class at the Swain School of Design, where he would eventually receive his bachelor’s degree in 1968.

Since 1977, the landscape painter has seen his work exhibited not only at venues in the South Coast, but also Boston, New York and his native Norway.

This particular showcase marked the second socially distanced exhibition the center has hosted. The first, which showcased the impressionist landscapes of Milton Brightman, was a “complete success,” according to DCC president Jill Law.

“People were coming in and out,” she said. “Traffic was great here.” 

Haines’ exhibition has already seen quite the turnout. On the first night alone, more than 80 patrons stopped by to check out his work — all while wearing masks, keeping their distance, and enjoying Norwegian caramel.

Dartmouth resident Ingrid Gary said she loved the art, adding that Haines’ landscapes made her feel like she was “right there.”

“Everything you look at is so beautiful,” she said. “Like, there’s Barney’s Joy and that’s what it actually looks like.”  

Although Gary has not been out to too many places during the pandemic, she said she felt very safe at the gallery.

“As long as we’re all being smart, I’m fine with it,” Gary said. “Plus, I’ve known [Haines] since I was born  — I had to come.”

Fairhaven resident Anne Haines-Jorgensen said she enjoyed how the exhibition gave her a chance to see her brother in person, something she hasn’t been able to do much during this pandemic.

“I don’t always get to see everything he’s done,” she said. “It’s so great to see the changes in his styles as he’s gotten older.” 

The exhibition will run through Oct. 4 by appointment only. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

No more than six people will be allowed inside the center at a time, and masks will be required for entry.