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FIRST PRIZE AWARD during 'incipit spring' exhibition at the salem art gallery...2021

SALEM — The Satanic Temple of Salem is reopening with Incipit Spring, a new community-based exhibition focused on regrowth and renewal. Walking into the temple’s Milton Hall, a visitor’s eyes are immediately drawn to ornately-patterned blue velvet walls, on which paintings and sculptures celebrate spring and rebirth with a characteristically dark tone. “This was a really hard show to select pieces for just because of the degree of skill and technical prowess that people displayed,” said museum curator and manager Alex Corey. “We had an amazing turnout.” The piece Original Sin, by Daniel Breslin, is striking, featuring a large white cross divided into six small shelves, each housing a green apple. One of the apples has a bite taken out of it. From the bottom of the cross, an intricate network of white roots extends towards the floor. The piece won third place in the exhibit’s juried competition. The first place winner, Another Awkward Evening at Bambi’s House, by Steve Negron, depicts a surreal nighttime scene of a party that appears to have gone awry. Two guests seem to be leaving the event, while a shirtless man mows a lawn, and what Corey calls a “conspicuous deer” watches from the forest. “It was both the narrative aspects of his work, and the absurdist themes,” said Corey, who was so intrigued by the piece that he decided to purchase it. “You can just invent so many stories to apply to this.” The show, co-organized with the Salem Arts Association, features all local artists. Moving into the next room, one will see the infamous statue of Baphomet, a large winged creature with the head and legs of a goat and the body of a man. Two children watch as the creature holds up two fingers on his right hand. The room is dark and the walls are lined with images of veiled people. The cast-bronze statue is 8½ feet tall and weighs 1½ tons. It also holds an important place in the history of the organization. In response to Oklahoma and Arkansas placing a Ten Commandments statue on Capitol grounds, The Satanic Temple offered the statue to stand alongside the Christian monuments, and filed lawsuits against the states when their request was refused. The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious organization, which participates in activism around the separation of church and state. “Any time that religious privileges are granted to one religion over others, the Temple exerts itself to have the same privileges granted to them,” Corey said. Walking up the winding staircase to the second floor, visitors can find a library of literature on Satanism, and a room featuring two empty thrones. Apparently, some of the other rooms in the upstairs will soon be made available to the public for overnight stays. The temple, which only reopened in April, was one of the first organizations to shut its doors at the onset of the pandemic. “It’s been really tricky,” said Corey. “We’re in this weird catch-22 where there’s obvious demand for us to be open. You have to toe that line between what is safe enough to keep separation between us and the virus and being able to keep the lights on.” Tickets to the temple and the exhibit cost $12. The Incipit Spring exhibit will run through July 3. For more information about The Satanic Temple, visit its website. Guthrie Scrimgeour Guthrie joined the Daily Item in 2020 after graduating Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in International Relations and Politics. He was born and raised on the North Shore and is a proud graduate of Salem Public Schools. Follow him on Twitter at @G_scrimgeour. Guthrie Scrimgeour can be reached at


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