The Art Connection: Bringing Art to Healing Environments

We’re interested in Massachusetts cultural organizations that identify a specific need in the arts, then shape their organization to directly meet it. In essence, they match the right horse with the right course.

We contacted Tova Speter, a local artist, art therapist, and arts educator – and the program manager for an organization that connects contemporary art with underserved communities.

The course: Community non-profits interested in displaying original work by local artists often don’t have the means to purchase art. And artists who want to donate work to worthy organizations and reach more members of the community may not have the connections to make it happen.

The horse: The Art Connection, an organization that finds homes for donated art in service organizations that make a difference.

What we do: The Art Connection enriches and empowers underserved communities by expanding access to original works of art. The art donation and placement program allows the opportunity for clients and staff at the nonprofits to choose the works that are most meaningful to them and to experience the transformative possibilities of art in their lives.

Since its inception in 1995, this unique gifting program has supported over 300 agencies in their personal selection of more than 4,500 pieces by 300+ artists and collectors. Within these healing environments, the original works of art provide welcome opportunities for reflection, inspiration, comfort, and hope. The artists are delighted to exhibit their work in places that attract a large number of visitors and feel good knowing that their work can have an impact on the daily lives of others. Organizations find that original artwork enlivens spaces and connects them to their constituents in profound ways. Ours is an enriching creative collaboration on all counts. Sometimes, just one painting or sculpture can make a difference. This simple but powerful idea has resulted in thousands of installations into scores of organizations, giving those who often have the least access to art direct contact in their own communities.

What’s up next: The Art Connection hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Coming up in the next three months:

  • Just As I Am, a 50-year survey of the work of Fay Chandler, September 16-27 at the Cyclorama Building, Boston Center for the Arts. Fay Chandler is an artist and the founder of The Art Connection, and her altruistic nature has encouraged her to celebrate her 88th birthday by having a survey of work from her 50-year career. Opening Reception and Art Sale: Thursday, September 16, 5 to 7 PM. All funds raised will benefit The Art Connection, and at the end of the exhibition, Fay will donate any remaining work to our community nonprofit partners.
  • Esperanza Mural Dedication on September 28, 5:30-7 PM. Residents of Casa Esperanza, Inc, a substance abuse treatment facility in Roxbury, have been working with The Art Connection and professional artists Tova Speter and Anyahlee to create a community mural in the Dudley Street Neighborhood (mural pictured below). A Mural Dedication Ceremony will be held on September 28, 2010 at 349 Dudley Street, located next to a community center and children’s playground. The mural highlights Roxbury’s diverse community and depicts themes of hope, Latino culture, recovery and community support.
  • Film screening of Herb and Dorothy, November 8, time TBD, in partnership with the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Herb and Dorothy is the story of a postal clerk and librarian who, with very modest means, built one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. Stay tuned to The Art Connection website for more details to come.
  • Longwood Symphony Orchestra Concert at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, December 4, 8 PM. Maestro Jonathan McPhee and Longwood Symphony Orchestra take the audience on a moving journey that features works by Alexander Borodin and Richard Wagner in a concert to benefit The Art Connection.

What artists interested in working with us need to know: The Art Connection’s art donation and placement program connects artists and collectors who want to donate artwork knowing that it will have an impact on those who access services at the recipient agencies. We have seen art bring hope and inspire people, while making their work or living places simply better places to be.

Our artists are both established and emerging, mostly academically trained and gallery-qualified, and a few are self-taught. Their work represents the spectrum of disciplines including painting, printmaking, sculpting and photography and spans a multitude of media.

Artists have donated work through The Art Connection for a number of reasons, including to:

  • Know their work can have an impact on the daily lives of people in need
  • Show work to audiences who normally do not have access to art
  • Have work out of storage and have it viewed by many
  • Support a recipient agency’s mission
  • Increase their visibility and reputation
  • Provide a solution to issues relating to estate planning
  • Donate through a reliable program that makes the process simple

If you are an artist, learn more about how you can get involved. Questions – email us or call 617-338-7668.

Images: all images courtesy of The Art Connection; logo for The Art Connection; ESPERANZA MURAL by Tova Speter and Anyahlee working with residents of Casa Esperanza in Roxbury, photo by Paul Foley; Fay Chandler, HOLD TIGHT (2010), 60×48 in; Ken Beck, TOO BIG PEACHES (1989), lithograph (work donated to Children’s Services of Roxbury; Fay Chandler, WINTERS APPROACHING (2008), 18x6x4 in; Helena Wurzel, RED SHED, oil on canvas (work donated to Sherrill House).

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