Excerpt by Katherine Gianni
At Gateway Arts, an art center supporting careers in the arts for people with disabilities located in the heart of Brookline Village, the talented artists have certainly taken the time to appreciate and create art in many mediums. From achieving the perfect brush stroke, to weaving intricate designs, each and every artist has worked diligently to create their own unique pieces, the latest of which can be viewed at the Gateway Gallery as part of the “I Curate Myself: Voices in Harmony” show, running until March 11.
“I think when you look at the work you will see that it’s really excellent,” said Rae Edelson who serves as Gateway’s Director. “To all Gateway artists, you are what it’s all about…every time we have a new artist it’s like another star in the heavens.”
An artist’s reception took place on Friday, February 10 from 6 to 8 p.m., allowing viewers to drift between the gallery and the studio space to admire the selected works. The show features an array of Gateway artists, 12 of whom collaborated with one another to curate the exhibition. Their artistic voices, as the title suggests, came together in harmony while experimenting with a wide range of mediums including acrylic paint on canvas, oil pastels on paper, and woven fibers.
“I think the show is a nice compromise of pieces,” said Elizabeth McCormack whose vibrant painting of a home surrounded by a field of flowers is currently being featured. “The people at Gateway are so passionate and friendly, I’ve learned so much by being here.”
Artist Katy Bussell echoed McCormack’s appreciation for Gateway, noting that the studio space helps to rouse her artistic visions. “I like being surrounded by all of the artwork here,” said Bussell, gesturing towards her colored pencil drawing entitled, “What Power Do You Have?” “It gives me new ideas and inspiration for my cartoons and drawings.”
The studio space itself previously functioned as a factory building, which overtime has transformed into a multifaceted expanse of creativeness. Large tubs of art supplies line nearly every wall, while handmade signs adorn the various shelves—one of the most notable advertising that supporters can purchase poster versions of artwork that has already been sold.
“The mission of Gateway is to provide careers in art for people with disabilities,” said Christine Nolan who is Gateway’s development specialist. “It’s not just a day service where people come and spend the day, it’s really about empowering people to live a life that they want to live and make a career in order to support themselves in a way that they might not have had access to.”
Works by the artists are sold both online and in Gateway’s shop neighboring the studio space. The quality and uniqueness of each piece has drawn attention from viewers far and wide, with some even becoming exclusive collectors of Gateway art. Artist Alison Doucette, who specializes in fiber creations, recently had a sale with a prominent Gateway collector, further highlighting the creative gift held by each artist.
Spectators certainly took notice of this talent during the reception. Mary Ann Portmann took a particular liking to Doucette’s fiber pieces entitled “Flaming Guitar” and “Looking Out” respectively. “It’s nice especially in the winter when you can come in and see fibers with brilliant colors,” said Portmann, who works at Wellesley College. “It feeds your spirit.”
Decadent cupcakes from Party Favors as well as wine sponsored by Central Bottle in Cambridge served to feed both the spirits and stomachs of reception attendees. Music by local Brookline talent “Jack and Jason” and “The Crunchy Lemons” further established the ambiance, as their melodious art reverberated off the pieces displayed on the walls.
“Art is a profession but it also heals,” said Edelson. “It allows for emotional healing while simultaneously creating.”
“I Curate Myself: Voices in Harmony” can be viewed now through March 11 at the Gateway Gallery, 62 Harvard Street, 2ed fl., Brookline, MA. To learn more about Gateway Arts and its mission visit https://www.gatewayarts.org/