The Mystic River will be celebrated in multiple forms during the “Into the Mystic” Environmental Art and Film Festival in Medford Square on June 19-22.
Four film showings, a juried art exhibit, and a river park cleanup will be among the activities during the first-year event, being organized by Medford Arts Center Inc. (MACI) and four environmental groups.
Festivities will begin on Thursday, June 19, with a “sneak preview” at Circle the Square from 3 to 7 p.m. The Into the Mystic booth will be near the Salem Street Burying Ground entrance on Riverside Avenue, where samplings of the winning art entries will be on view, along with an informational display on the headstone artwork at the historic cemetery. The trio of Arlington singer-songwriter Chris Nauman, Kenny Selcer and Steve Gilligan will provide musical entertainment from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
The festival officially gets underway Friday evening with an Opening Night Reception and three short films at the Hyatt Place hotel, 116 Riverside Ave., from 6 to 9 p.m. The films to be shown are:
– “The Mystic Unseen,” produced by Emerson College students, about sanitary sewer overflows in the Mystic River
– “Re-Storying the Anacostia River,” produced by the American University Community Voice Project, about engaging a community in river stewardship
– “Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia,” produced by Freshwaters Illustrated, on celebrating the precious creatures who make their homes in our rivers
On Saturday afternoon, Grace Church of Medford’s GreenUp CleanUp will bring its volunteers to Clippership Park along the Mystic for a cleanup from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants should meet at the Mystic Art Gallery at 14 Main Street (behind Citizens Bank facing Clippership Drive).
Saturday evening, the festival’s feature film, “The Mystic Herring Run: The Return of 2012 and Beyond,” will be given its premiere at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt. The documentary, by independent filmmaker Shervin A. Arya, explores the past, present, and future of the Mystic River through the story of the blueback herring. Each spring, tens of thousands of the small fish journey from the inner Boston Harbor to the Upper Mystic Lake to spawn before swimming back out to sea. Arya, founder of Illuminating Minds Media, a cloud-based media production company focused on quality science-based films, will be on hand to discuss his film and take questions.
Meanwhile, the top 20 entries in the Into the Mystic art competition will be displayed festival weekend at the Hyatt all day Friday and Saturday and until 5 p.m. Sunday. The pieces include found art sculpture, photography, mosaic, painting, drawing and mixed media creations.
Admission to all of the festival events is free. Due to limited seating for the film screenings, RSVPs are requested for the Saturday night feature film at this web page.
In addition to MACI, co-sponsors are the Mystic River Watershed Association, Green Medford, the Friends of the Mystic River, and the City of Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment. The festival is also supported in part by a grant from the Medford Arts Council, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
– Submitted by Ken Krause and Mike Oliver