Schock Gallery paves the way for fine artists
Since its grand opening on the festive night of the tree lighting last December, the Schock Gallery has unfurled the dream venue of five local artists. "We like to say that the Newport area's best gallery is found at the East Ferry waterfront," says David Schock, director of the cooperative gallery.
A collage of color meets the eye upon entering the Schock Gallery. Paintings and photographs swell from the bright peach walls of the deep room. From shell-seeking girls cast in oil to fine art photographs on canvas of local boating scenes, the space is dedicated to the business, and the enjoyment, of beautiful art.
The gallery was created with the purpose of showcasing the artistic works of five professionals who brought the idea to fruition, agree the partners. "The gallery is about each artist's individual work," Schock says. "This is essentially a fine arts gallery that does outreach programs, put together by five artists."
The five that make up the cooperative recalled how the idea came about to open the gallery. Schock was the Director of the Randall Art Gallery at the time, and the original idea was to create a similar arrangement at the old Randall space. The new artists were unanimous, however, that a location more central to the pedestrian traffic in Jamestown was essential to forming a group effort.
Shortly thereafter, photographers Pat Tuff and Kate Petrie learned about the new space becoming available, and told Schock. Landscape painter Barbara Hutchison and pastel artist Cynthia Blair also came on board, and the group was formed.
With no other gallery of its kind on the island, the team jumped on the opportunity for a waterfront showcase. "It all happened in an hour," says native islander Tuff. "The location became available."
The group shows a strong teamwork dynamic. "Everyone has a sense of the common good," says Schock as the others nod. "We respect each other as artists."
The gallery's placement, complete with a view of the harbor, affords that activity. Pedestrian traffic in front of their window includes residents, tourists and boaters. "We get people from the Newport ferry as well," Schock adds. Not only does it provide a permanent showcase for the five founding artists, but the gallery also provides a space reserved for exhibits featuring artists from the Jamestown Arts Center.
The dedicated wall allows visitors to see all the talent in Jamestown as the exhibit revolves every two weeks.
Not only does it provide a permanent showcase for the five professional artists, but the gallery also provides a space reserved for exhibits featuring artists from the Jamestown Arts Center. The dedicated wall allows visitors to see all the talent in Jamestown as the exhibit revolves every two weeks. "David is very much about the community," says Petrie. "He was very happy to give some space for it." Petrie is president of the arts center, and Barbara Hutchinson is on the board of directors.
The JAC doesn't have a building now, but the gallery gives it a public forum, she explains. "It's a nice way to get a public venue for this budding arts center. JAC rents a regular wall space from the gallery, and then it's free for the artists to show their work. Half of the sales then go to the Jamestown Arts Center. I think it's a really friendly arrangement."
Over a half-dozen JAC members have exhibited at the waterfront since the gallery opened. Jane Mc- Nally Wright just closed a showing of mono prints. Sculptor Jillian Barber has new creations on display.
The five principal artists price their gallery pieces from $50 to $15,000. In addition to artwork on display, the artists all do commission work. For example, Schock is internationally known for his portrait work of families at the shore.
The gallery has shown exhibitions that expand beyond the island's borders, as well. The May "Artist's Travels" show, for example, displayed art inspired by international roaming. The artists have come to realize, nevertheless, that many visitors look for local themes. In response, bridges, cows and flying Veteran's Day flags are featured the walls during the current "Celebrate Summer " exhibit.
The artists of the gallery rotate their pieces on display, so they invite everyone to stop by often at 47 Conanicus Ave. They love to chat, and they invite questions about their craft. Summer gallery hours are daily noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday until 9 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call 423-3383, or visit online at www.schockgallery.com.