2009-12-17 / News

Island artists create co-op gallery

A group of island artists have come together to create a co-op style gallery, the Jamestown Gallery, at 47 Conanicus Ave. The space will feature a wide range of fine art by both Jamestown and off-island artists.

“We’ll have about 10 artist members and a couple of monthly guest artists who split the rent and the work evenly, and we will have a couple of new artists showing every month, so there will always be something fresh and exciting to see,” said artist Fran Gorman, director of the gallery.

Gorman, who took the job of director this past October, calls this her “dream job.” After teaching art in Jamestown schools for 28 years and working as a programmer at the RISD Museum for eight, Gorman is enjoying showing her own artwork as well.

“The Jamestown Gallery is a wonderful way for artists to engage in the community,” said artist member and painter Elizabeth Congdon. “Being a working artist can be very isolating. But art is about communication. Showing your work where you live is an honor, a great chance to connect. I think Rhode Islanders really respond to that.”

The Jamestown Gallery’s holiday window display now features the sculptures of Susan Freda, a rising artist whose accomplishments include both a RISCA grant and a Pollock- Krasner award.

Besides Gorman and Congdon, island artists include ceramicist Karen Imbriale, painters Barb Hutchison and Cynthia Blair, and photographers Kate Petrie, Pat Tuff and Daniel Forster. Off-island artists include modern artists Roger Kirby and Joan Bishop. Stone sculptor Elizabeth Lind and jewelry designer Dori Hirsch will be guest artists as well.

“We hope everyone will feel free to bring their coffee and stroll through the gallery,” said photographer Kate Petrie, a coop artist and president of the Jamestown Arts Center. “See what your neighbors are up to! We have such a great range of talents here on Jamestown; there is always something for everybody.”

The gallery will close for the winter and re-open May through December, 2010. During January through April, the Jamestown Arts Center will sponsor programming for all ages in the space. Classes will include painting and drawing, writing, theater and preschool arts, among others.

The Jamestown Arts Center will also host its “collaboration show,” which will feature squares of art in a group installation for all ages, abilities and mediums. JAC will also hold its first juried art show, with all proceeds going towards the purchase and renovation of the future Jamestown Arts Center at 18 Valley Rd. in Jamestown.

“Having JAC take the space is the perfect way to keep the gallery alive in the winter,” Petrie said. “We want the gallery to be full of life, nothing elitist. And the arts center is excited to get started, so it’s a great fit.”

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