Though our studios are closed to the public, Gateway artists are working away in their chosen mediums. We have compiled a suite of videos showing Gateway artists at work over the years, and the staff and families who have supported them in their art careers. Click here for more Brookline First Light programming!
Current Artists on Screen
Yasmin Arshad was born in 1975 and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has attended Gateway Arts since 2006. She loves color, especially shades of blue, and has devised a personal way of sequencing color onto grids. She also likes to sequence numbers and is fascinated by the millennium. Her work has exhibited at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline, the Berenberg Gallery in Boston, MA and in New York City at Cooper Union, the Outsider Art Fair, and the Phoenix Gallery. She has also shown at the Museum of Everything in London, England and Creativity Explored in San Francisco, CA. She enjoys skiing, swimming, horseback riding, making large jigsaw puzzles, and eating in Italian restaurants.
Neri Avraham was born in 1990 in Israel, and currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his family. Avraham has a natural curiosity which is present in art, is very motivated to create artwork, and even has his own studio in his home where he creates colorful large scale paintings. He enjoys working with clay, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, and pencils. Avraham has shown his works of art throughout Massachusetts, including at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline; the Chestnut Hill Mall in Newton; the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee; the Belmont Gallery of Art in Belmont; the Copley Mall in Boston; and the Boston Children’s Museum.
Mary DeCesar, born 1950, has been a dedicated Gateway artist since joining the program in 2005. DeCesar creates beautiful self-portraits, often in the form of meticulously constructed embroideries. DeCesar’s fiber works vary in size and inspiration, ranging from small daisies to large self portraits. She places the same care and attention to her 2-D works on paper and canvas; her application of paint and pencil mimic the repetitive nature and focus displayed in her embroideries. Her intricately detailed works of art are admired by many and she gets a true sense of fulfillment in defining herself as an artist. DeCesar has exhibited her artwork in Massachusetts at The Gateway Gallery, the Boston Children’s Museum, Drive- By Projects, the Water Works Museum, the Fuller Craft Museum, and Barneys NY.
Rebecca Geller and Family
Rebecca “Becky” Geller was born in 1963 and began working at Gateway Arts in 1997. Geller is a constant observer. Often found sitting with hands clasped and pensive, she is endlessly composing her thoughts and interactions into dark comical narratives. Geller works in many media, including drawing, fiber, and found objects. Her choice of medium often represents the juxtaposition between hard and soft elements and how she perceives the world. At first glance, the often visibly soft sculptures appear inviting. It is not until further investigation that it becomes clear to the viewer that the sculptures often have seemingly protective or defensive spikes. Geller’s two-dimensional work is more direct. She focuses on pattern, often using previously developed language and characters. Geller’s work has been exhibited in the Phoenix Gallery in NYC, and in Massachusetts at the Open Door Gallery, Berenberg Gallery, Barneys NY, and The Gateway Gallery.
Colleen McFarland was born in 1991 and lives in Norwood, Massachusetts. She started working at Gateway Arts in late 2015. Since joining the Gateway studios, McFarland has furthered her skills and developed a strong personal style. McFarland primarily works in colored pencil, although she has been experimenting with acrylic paint, in addition to working in a variety of other media. She has a great wealth of knowledge surrounding ballet/dance as well as musical theater, and these are the primary subjects of her works. McFarland creates colorful portraits of the subjects of her interest. She is also an amateur writer and has written a number of pieces that have been included on her prior school’s blog as well as in a Gateway Arts annual newsletter. McFarland’s artwork has been exhibited at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline as well as at C & J Katz Studio in Boston. In 2018, McFarland was a leading member of the Art Production team for the Wheelock Family Theatre production Mockingbird.
Abdel Michel was born in 1986 and lives in Milton, Massachusetts. He has attended Gateway Arts since 2008. Abdel is a highly gifted self-taught artist. He is interested in forms of transportation, and enjoys making very intricate drawings of the MBTA subway system. His work has exhibited at the Museum of Everything in London, England. In Massachusetts, he has shown in The Gateway Gallery in Brookline and Barney’s in Boston, MA. Abdel enjoys playing video games while eating his favorite food, Subway. He’s also a huge fan of the Miami Heat.
Ruby Pearl was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1949 and currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Pearl is a self-taught artist who won her first art award at age four, and has considered herself an artist ever since. Pearl uses collage and paint to create worlds that she would like to inhabit. Pearl struggled for a while with homelessness, but has managed to turn her life around. Pearl paints from the inside out and is drawn in and mesmerized by the artistic method through which the imagination is visually realized. She is inspired by poignant and tender thoughts and emotions rather than rational ideas of what to paint. Her color palette and sense of light capture the life, mood, and feelings of her subject, which hypnotize her as it reveals something that cannot be expressed in words. Gateway Arts helps Pearl to maintain her artistic equilibrium, and her work has been widely exhibited and admired. Pearl’s work has been exhibited at The Berenberg Gallery, Boston, MA, The Gateway Gallery, Brookline, MA, NAEMI Conference Exhibition, MA, Inside Outsider Art II, AOL, The Diversity Gallery, MA, Barney’s NY, Chestnut Hill, MA, Brandeis University, MA, and the Bayside Expo Ctr., Boston, MA. Pearl’s work has been reviewed by The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Brookline Tab, Brockton Enterprise, Wilton Bulletin, and Boston Herald.
Ray Salter was born in 1945 in London, England, and currently resides in Salem, MA. Salter originally studied Drama at Emerson College in Boston and was an actor throughout his twenties and thirties. During the Vietnam War Ray served as a photographer in the Armed Forces. Salter began studies at the Butera School of Art in 1979, followed by training at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1982. His interest in portraiture, in part due to his work as a photographer, led him to apprentice under Warren Prosperi in Newton, MA. Salter has been greatly influenced by the work of Toulouse Lautrec, Edward Hopper, and Mucha. He prefers to paint his portraits on paper or board isolating within the edges of the surface and stray paint smudges. Salter has exhibited his work locally in libraries in Salem, MA, Lynn, MA, Cambridge, MA and at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline, MA. Several of Salter’s works are owned and internationally exhibited by the Museum of Everything in London, England.
Josie Sosa was born in 1973, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has attended Gateway Arts since 1996. Sosa often incorporates hand-written text in her work, and creates intricate line drawings of her favorite motifs such as radios, buses, and people. She has participated in exhibitions in the Barney’s Windows at Copley Place Mall and the Mall at Chestnut Hill, the Gateway Gallery, and Copacabana and Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers in New York, NY. She enjoys working on puzzles, singing, dancing, and playing the synthesizer.
Jane Tarlow was raised in Brockton, Massachusetts. She has been working at Gateway Arts since February of 1996. Tarlow remembers enjoying drawing ever since early childhood. When she began working at Gateway, Tarlow was primarily a decorative craft artist. Since then Tarlow has spent considerable time focusing more on fine art. Tarlow’s work deals with the themes of nature, human relationships, and emotional conflict, and her “Roots” series explores the connections between the past and the present. Tarlow’s work has been in many exhibitions at The Gateway Gallery, and she has also shown her work at the Lincoln Gallery at Beaver County Day School, Chestnut Hill, MA, The Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA, and The Sherrill House, Boston, MA. She also contributed to an art/fashion show at Avalon, Boston, MA, and participated in Brookline Open Studios, Brookline, MA.
Dominic Tufo was born in 1945. He lives in Revere, Massachusetts and has been attending Gateway Arts since 1994. Tufo has his own unique style of drawing, which has been called reminiscent of Joan Miro. He likes to be productive and works hard in all seven studio art areas.Tufo drawing and painting his favorite subjects: children singing, dancing, and playing. Tufo’s work has been shown at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline, the New England Outsider Artists with Disabilities Exhibition in Boston, Barney’s NY in Boston and Chestnut Hill, the Federal Reserve Bank Gallery in Boston, MA, and the Margaret Bodell Gallery in New York, NY. He has also shown in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center Gallery in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Tufo received an award for Excellence from the Ebensburg Center in Pennsylvania, a MENCAP award from London, England, and at the 6th National Juried Art Exhibition for People with Learning Disabilities.
Artist Archive on Screen
Nancy Cunningham (1950-2014) and family
Longtime Gateway artist Nancy Cunningham (1950-2014) was born in Boston, MA. A very prolific writer, Cunningham published several novels through the Gateway Arts in-house publication arm, Agent X Press. Her stories, including “The Anonymous Alien,” “The Unemployed Cat that Goes Out of Control,” “The Secret Storm of the Rabbit,” and “The Ups and Downs of Talking Back, Scratching Your Teacher, and Doing Drugs,” were always well received. A lover of animals, stories, humanity, history and culture, Cunningham worked in many media. Her ever-changing subject matter moved from aliens to cats to historical figures to ancient populations. Cunningham enjoyed a special friendship with fellow Gateway artist Elaine Abboud. Cunningham exhibited her artwork at a variety of locations, including the Berenberg Gallery in Boston’s South End, and Barney’s Department Store at the Mall of Chestnut Hill in Brookline, MA.
Donna Johnson (1956-2020) and Family
Donna Johnson (1956-2020) was born in Miami, Florida. She began making art in 1995 when she started attending Gateway Arts. Johnson had a special affinity for art materials and used color and repetitive motifs very effectively. Over the years her abstracted drawings developed into cohesive large expressionistic paintings. Johnson’s work is visually stunning and through her use of color, she created a unique sense of depth. Her work was executed with strong design elements and a keen appreciation for color. Johnson’s work has been shown at The Gateway Gallery in Brookline, the State House in Boston, the Mall at Chestnut Hill, the Fuller Craft Museum and a solo exhibit at Duffy Rare Violins in Florida.
Bohill Wong (1934-2004)
Bohill Wong (1934-2004) was born in Hong Kong. He came to the United States in 1934 and began attending Gateway Arts in 1979. Wong drew almost constantly and interpreted his impressions of life through his art. The work he created is unique and entertaining. Wong had many fans in the Boston area and completed numerous commissioned works. His work has been shown widely in the U.S. and abroad at the Berenberg Gallery in Boston; the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA; Very Special Arts Gallery in Washington, D.C.; and at Cavin-Morris Gallery, the Outsider Art Fair, the Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and Margaret Bodell Gallery in New York City. Wong’s work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, on WBUR radio by Lynda Morgenroth and in ArtsMedia, a Boston publication. The biography on view about Wong, produced by Marty Ostrow on WGBH’s Greater Boston Arts, won a New England Emmy in 1997.