10/11/23 update: With rain and a possible Nor’easter on Saturday, we and Val’s family have decided to postpone the opening ceremony to spring 2024, date to be announced.
The opening ceremony for our Memorial Garden will honor Val Coleman, longtime friend, volunteer, speaker, and Board member of the Sandisfield Arts Center, whose family’s gift in his honor helped turn the plot into a peaceful garden with two all-weather benches and lovely plantings by Snow Farm.
After a short ceremony with remarks about Val and the history of the garden, join us for a reception with light refreshments and a chance to swap stories about Val.
Check out Val’s talks on this website:
A Story of Poetry
The Enigma of Socialism
A Story of Fascism
Abraham Lincoln: A Talk by Val Coleman
And watch and hear Val reading his poem on the Arts Center.
About the Memorial Garden
The Memorial Garden is on the spot where once stood the only two-story school in Sandisfield. The school, no longer used, had become derelict and was burned by the fire department (as a training exercise) in 1961.
In 2018, Sandsfield Historical Commissioner Ron Bernard had the idea of commemorating the historic space (which was on property now owned by the Sandisfield Arts Center) by building a wall using stones from the old foundation. An interpretive historical marker was installed memorializing the history of the space. Ron was aided in his wall building by Benjamin Luxon, and the initial cleanout by machine of the tangle of weeds, rocks, etc, was generously donated by C.W. Nelson Landscaping.
Once the space was cleared, many ideas were discussed about how to use it. When our beloved Val Coleman passed away in October 2021, his family approached the Arts Center about a memorial gift and the idea of creating the Sandisfield Memorial Garden became a reality. A garden committee was formed consisting of Adam Manacher, Susie Crofut, Jean Atwater-Williams and Tom Christopher. Val’s family’s gift along with several other generous donations, allowed work to begin in earnest in Spring of 2022. Snow Farm was contracted to install a garden. A sign was designed and purchased and Jean’s childhood friend, John Harney, again fabricated and donated a stand for the new sign, which was installed by Ben Luxon and Steve Kopiek.
Two weather-resistant benches provide a place to sit and contemplate the verdant surroundings and the layered history of this place. One bench bears a plaque with Val’s name.