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Movin’ On Up

By Courtney McKenna

A selection of Up The Ladder artists: Matthew, Kristina, Amy, Donna, work study Edem, David, Yasmin, Carmen, and Donna

Leaves are not the only things changing over here in Brookline, where 21 Gateway artists have been selected to move their careers Up The Ladder. Working in small groups to allow greater focus and minimum distraction, these artists have been given access to individualized support from Gateway’s staff of professional artists. Staff members instill in these artists an understanding of their creative practice and how to turn it into a real career option.  

The Project Director, Courtney McKenna, is working one-on-one with each individual to develop an artist statement and professional resume, while Portfolio Director Gary Batty photographs finished work to build their digital portfolios. McKenna and Batty’s work will facilitate the mainstream art world’s access to the inventory of these 21 artists, opening their careers to added exhibition possibilities. Members of the Up The Ladder Board, as well as UTL staff, meet regularly to discuss the progress being made.  

UTL Facilitator Ashley shows the progress being made by artist Carmella S. at staff meetings

Groups have participated in field trips to the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Waterworks Museum.  The artists were particularly infatuated with the ICA’s Barry McGee exhibition, where they were given time to explore and remark on a variety of pieces. Matthew Treggiari, a lover of cats and drawing on napkins, was especially fond of a corner of the exhibit featuring a cluster of framed napkin drawings. “Oh, wow” he remarked upon being pointed in the direction of the piece.  

Artist Matthew and UTL Director Courtney discuss the work of Barry McGee at the ICA. 

Funding from the Shapiro FamilyFoundation and a variety of private families and organizations allow us to give our artists these ‘Wow’ moments, and help them connect the work they make to the larger contemporary art world outside of Gateway Arts.

It has been a great first 6 months. Artists’ works have been featured in special exhibits and have been purchased from various collectors and gallery owners.  Our excitement for our artists is growing, and we can hardly wait to see what the next 6 months will bring. 

Stay tuned!

For inquiries on Up The Ladder or to support the project, please contact Courtney McKenna at mckennac@vinfen.orgor Hannah Hoffman at hoffmanh@vinfen.org.  We look forward to seeing you at our next event! 


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