Mission & History.
The North River Arts Society was established in 1968. We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization fostering participation and appreciation of the arts at the community level.
We offer classes and workshops, a Festival of the Arts, Members Show, Focus on Figures Show, Outside the Box- Silent Auction, Brew Ha-Ha, a Holiday Arts Sale,
and Marshfield PreK-12 Student Art Show, a free writers workshop and a free drop-in knitting group.
We also provide additional opportunities for artists to exhibit at the Dolphin Gallery, Jeanne Horan Gallery and at our many themed Exhibitions on site at North River Arts Society.
Scholarships and financial aid are available for both adults and children.
Since its founding in 1968, the North River Arts Society has been a pillar of the South Shore community. But, today, our structural foundation is beginning to crumble beneath us. The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall, which has been our home since the 1970s, has suffered the ravages of time and the elements—and the repairs necessary to restore this historic hall to its former glory are well beyond the financial constraints of an arts-focused nonprofit volunteer organization. We desperately need your help to preserve the past and future of the North River Arts Society and the G.A.R. Hall!
Over the past 40-plus years, the G.A.R. Hall has been a hub of creativity, hosting NRAS activities of every sort for all ages, including a ballet academy for young girls; classes in every medium for all levels, from budding preschool artists through intermediate and experienced painters; creative writing for teens; drama and theater for kids and teens; yoga and meditation for adults; author talks and writers’ events; and more. Today, the North River Arts Society welcomes weekly classes in pastels, oils, acrylics, watercolors, drawing, and bird carving, as well as a weekly knitting group, art for ’tweens, children’s art and theater camps, and artists’ critiques. A variety of one-day and weekend workshops are also available.
History of G.A.R. Hall
Even before the NRAS moved into the G.A.R. Hall, the building served as a community resource and gathering place for neighbors:
1826 - 1853
Episcopal Church (originally located in Marshfield center; relocated to current site).
Local entrepreneur Wales Rogers converted the building into a paint and wheelwright shop, ultimately expanding it into a function hall, which he rented out for celebrations.
The building was officially designated as the David Church Post #189 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), a veterans’ organization. David Church was the first of 26 Marshfield men to give his life serving in the Civil War. In total, 135 soldiers from Marshfield fought in the war.
1910 - 1919
The Hall served as a movie theater, playing silent movies accompanied by a piano player, to local audiences.
The G.A.R. Hall was given to the Town of Marshfield.
The Marshfield Hills Players, a local theatrical troupe affiliated with the Leland Powers School of Theater, performed summer stock at the Hall.
1930 - '40
The Hall hosted community meetings and gatherings, church dinners, musicals and plays.
The Curtain-Timers, a community theater organization, staged performances at the Hall.
Leased to the North River Arts Society.
Source: Marshfield—A Town of Villages 1640-1990, by Marshfield Historians Cynthia Hagar Krusell and Betty Magoun Bates, published by Historical Research Associates (1990)