Archive for the ‘horses for courses’ Category

Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge

Monday, March 19th, 2012

We’re interested in Massachusetts organizations that identify a specific need in the arts, then shape their programs accordingly – the right horse for the course, so to speak.

Here, we look at Maud Morgan Arts, an art center that tailors its programs to its community of artists – and to the eclectic creativity and generous spirit of the artist after which it’s named.

Who: Maud Morgan was an abstract expressionist painter who, though she exhibited alongside Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, was under-recognized during her lifetime. The Maud Morgan Arts Center (not to be confused with the Maud Morgan Prize for women artists at the MFA Boston) is located in the Agassiz neighborhood of Cambridge, where Morgan lived for much of her life. The artist was a generous source of inspiration to artists both young and old, so it’s fitting that the center offers programming for adults as well as children – supported in part by exhibitions and sales of the artist’s work. And like Morgan, the center has a flexible, ever-creative nature.

What interested artists need to know: Maud Morgan Arts offers classes and programs for all ages in beautiful 2D, 3D, printmaking, and ceramics studios. “All our classes and workshops are limited in size and taught by highly qualified artist/educators,” says Maud Morgan Arts Director Catherine Kernan. Among the artist/instructors teaching small, tutorial-style classes or workshops are recent MCC Drawing Finalist Raul Gonzalez and past ArtSake guest bloggers Deborah Davidson and Adria Arch.

Along with the opportunity to learn from colleagues and peers, artists can rent the center’s printmaking and ceramics studios or rent the space for presentations and film screenings. Also, artists and curators can submit proposals for exhibitions in the center’s Chandler Gallery. And, artists interested in gaining educating experience can propose a class or workshop to teach.

What’s up next: The Spring Session has been announced, including wheel throwing, acrylic painting, observational drawing, and printmaking. Upcoming workshops include “Watercolor” with Joel Janowitz; “Drawing” workshops with Jon Imber and with Deborah Davidson, and “Screenprint” with Boriana Kantcheva.

Images: Maud Morgan Arts, photo by John Horner; Maud Morgan, BLACK CORNER (1976), Screenprint, 40×23 1/2 in; Boriana Kantcheva (Maud Morgan Arts staff member), THE STRAWBERRY EATERS (2009), Gouache on paper, 26×19 in.

Community Supported Art: Growing Local Arts

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

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

The Cambridge Center for Adult Education has an intriguing new way to grow local art and artists…

The course: visual artists sometimes lack the business training and experience to translate their studio work into career growth, while in their communities, there may be plenty of art-buyers inclined to “go local.”

The horse: Community Supported Art (CSArt), which brings local art into the hands of community members through a model based on community supported agriculture. Rather than produce, fish, or dairy, CSArt shareholders receive original works by local artists, and those artists receive business training and experience.

What CSArt Does
CSArt sells shares to community members and commissions local artists to create original works of art to be “harvested” by their shareholders. This summer, in its first iteration of CSArt, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education selected nine varied Cambridge/Somerville artists (Grace Durnford, Kate Martens, Judith Motzkin, Anne Peramaki, Christopher Poteet, Richard Sabin, Bryan Smith, Ed Tekeian, and James Zall) to create works for 50 shareholders. Within a week of announcing those artists, CSArt sold out of its shares. The program is now accepting waitlist applications to receive harvests from a future group of artists.

It’s a case of the right program for the right organization for the right community. Susan Hartnett, Executive Director of the CCAE, says the origins lie in CCAE’s internal research, which revealed that the CCAE’s “single largest program, by participation alone, is visual arts.” That participation includes art classes, exhibitions, and CCAE’s annual art fair. In the visual arts, she says, “we uncovered a real strength.”

The CCAE consulted with Springboard for the Arts, who had developed a community supported art program in the Twin Cities, to create something similar in Cambridge and Somerville. “We knew we wanted to draw on both communities,” Hartnett says. “The ties between Cambridge and Somerville are both fluid and, in the best sense, competitive – a friendly competition.” The CCAE was already involved in Cambridge Local First and sought out Somerville Local First as another organizational partner, and the Cambridge and Somerville Arts Councils helped spread the word to artists and have advised the CCAE throughout the process.

This September in Union Square, CSArt will host the first of three Harvest Parties, where a crop of the artists’ work will be presented to the shareholders. There will be three Harvest Parties in all, sharing artwork including embroidered paintings by Grace Durnford, personalized “superhero kits” by Ed Tekeian, clay works by Kate Martens (see Martens’s work and read her impressions on CSArt), and more.

So, the artists sell work and navigate the local marketplace in a unique way. What’s more, they receive entrepreneurial training through one-on-one small business coaching and a scholarship to attend courses at CCAE.

The program has been successful in making connections that build on one another. Hartnett says she suspects the partnership with Local First may have been what drew the attention of the Boston Globe (which closely follows local food issues); shortly after the publication of a favorable Boston Globe article about CSArt, the program sold out its 50 shares. Massachusetts Cultural Council was one of the program’s initial funders, with a $17,000 Adams Art Program grant in 2011. Hartnett says that the Adams grant may have impacted Eastern Bank’s decision to become a sponsor, and the support of both funders has freed up more capital for a future round of art harvests.

Most important are the connections the artists make: to their communities, to local businesses, to other artists, and between the numerous threads of their own careers.

What’s Up Next
There will be a group exhibit (running July and August) of the first nine CSArtists at CCAE’s gallery at 42 Brattle Street in Harvard Square. Don’t miss the opening reception on Friday, July 8 from 5-7 PM.

And if you attend any farmer’s markets in the Cambridge and Somerville areas, don’t be surprised if you see the hand-designed CSArt pedal-powered vehicle, which visits communities to promote the program.

What artists interested in the program need to know
If you’re interested in applying to be a CSArtist in the future, join CCAE’s mailing list to receive updates. You can find a “Get updates via email” box on the CCAE homepage. (Be sure to check “CSArt” as one of your areas of interest.)

Images: Kate Martens, HENNY PENNIES (2010-2011), Terra cotta and slips, 5x3x3 in (each); ceramic sculpture by Judith Motzkin; CSArtists, l to r: Bryan Smith, Christopher Poteet, Anne Peramaki, Ed Tekeian, Grace Durnford, James Zall, Judith Motzkin, Kate Martens (not pictured: Richard Sabin); 3-D model kit by Ed Tekeian; mixed media, painting and embroidery by Grace Durnford.

The Art Connection: Bringing Art to Healing Environments

Monday, September 13th, 2010

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).

Open Screen: you make it, they screen it

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

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

We contacted Jeff Stern about the monthly screening series he runs with collaborator Zak Lee, giving local filmmakers an open, democratic forum for their film & video creations.

The course: because of the time and resources it takes to make and screen new film/video, it’s hard to find that immediacy and vitality of responsive community of peers; plus, sometimes showing your work is about who you know… and what if you don’t know anybody?

The horse: Open Screen, a monthly open mike for film & video artists, now at Somerville Theatre

What we do: Open Screen is Boston’s only “open mike night” for short films. Open Screen is hosted by filmmakers Zak Lee and Jeff Stern. We offer a venue for local filmmakers to exhibit their work to an audience of their peers. Open Screen happens every 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Somerville Theatre. Each Open Screen is different, but it’s always a strange and wonderful evening. We do not pre-screen and we do not censor. As long as your movie is under 10 minutes, we’ll screen it. We do reserve the right to stop a movie if its is in very bad taste or is very offensive, but, amazingly, in our 5 years of doing this, that has never happened. Because we show everything, there is an element of chance that often results in serendipitous programming. Over the years, we have developed a dedicated core following and an expanding community. Open Screen has “regulars” who come every month and there is always a bit of anticipation about new work by Mike Szegedi, Dave Baeumler, Peggy Nelson, and James Dingle (Film & Video Fellow ’07). Peggy and James both debuted films at Open Screen that went on to play at South By Southwest. There is an Open Screen blog on our website. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

What’s up next: The next Open Screen is December 8. In January, we will hold our annual Best of Open Screen at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge (date to be announced). This is our chance to pick our favorite films from the past year and to celebrate Open Screen. We have a formal Q&A afterwards and give trophies and a Lifetime Achievement Award. We usually draw big crowds. This is a great point of entry for Open Screen newcomers.

What artists interested in working with us need to know: If you want to screen at Open Screen, just show up between 7 and 7:30 pm on event night with a DVD of your (under 10 minute) film. We screen in the order of submission. That’s pretty much it. Feel free to bring your friends. Feel free to just come and watch. If you are scared about showing your work, you might try leaving your name out of the credits and submitting anonymously. It’s great to test out new stuff on a random audience. There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting in the crowd as your movie plays on the big screen. It’s the best way to know what’s working and what’s not.

The next Open Screen will take place at Somerville Theatre on Tuesday, December 8. Signups start at 7 PM, screenings start at 7:30 PM. This month’s theme is “You Aught to be in Pictures.” From an Open Screen announcement:

To celebrate the end of the first decade of the 21st century, we’re asking filmmakers to make movies that reflect the spirit of the last ten years. Hence our theme: You “Aught” to be in Pictures. Get it? “Aught?” Of course you do.

One of the films screened will receive the Audience Award – see last month’s award-winning video.

TransCultural Exchange: making Massachusetts an international center for creativity

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

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

We contacted Mary Sherman about her thriving organization and its unique appeal to artists with global aspirations…

The course: artists may not have the time or resources to connect to a greater network of ideas and opportunities from the international community – such as international residencies or cross-cultural collaborations

The horse: TransCultural Exchange, a nonprofit organization that bridges cultural divides through the arts and supports artistic innovation through large-scale, cross-discipline, global art projects and programming

What we do: This year TransCultural Exchange celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Since 1989, TCE has worked directly with hundreds of artists, arts organizations, foundations, museums, and cultural centers in more than 60 countries, producing cultural exchange programs, educational workshops and critically acclaimed public art works and exhibitions, from Sarajevo to Sao Paulo, Berlin to Boston, Tel Aviv to Taipei, Mongolia to Mumbai. In 2002, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization awarded TCE sponsorship – the first US project to receive this honor since the US mission rejoined UNESCO.

Along with its large scale art projects – the most recent of which asked artists to collaborate with someone from another country, resulting in over 200 artists participating in 60 exhibitions and performances worldwide – TCE organizes a biennale Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts. This conference is “the” forum in the world bringing together artists, teachers, musicians, writers, museum and cultural administrators, and residency directors to network, showcase, support, and promote the vast array of programs for cultural administrators and practitioners to interact with their international peers. In the short period since the Conference’s launch in 2007, more than 70 US artists have been invited to attend all-expense-paid  exchange programs, 3 have received teaching positions, and over 75 have received invitations to exhibit. (Read about success stories from 2007 and 2009.)

These are just a few of the activities directly credited to TCE’s conferences. Many of the local schools also began exchange programs with the people they met at the conferences.

Already Massachusetts is seen as the nation’s educational hub, attracting people from every corner of the globe to its institutes of higher learning. TransCultural Exchange’s goals are no less than to 1. reinforce this international asset; 2. promote culture as a vehicle for diplomacy; and 3. complement the state’s already world-renowned cultural attractions to help position Massachusetts as a new, important, and vital international center for creativity and the important diplomatic role the arts – which transcend all political, social, and geographic borders – can play on today’s larger, global stage.

What’s up next: TCE is currently soliciting work for its next global project for which artists are asked to collaborate with people from different cultures and different disciplines – such as science, technology, and business – as a way to showcase the advantages of bringing multi-perspectives to bear on a task.

Any artist (including visual artists, writers, and musicians) looking for the time, space, and money to pursue their work, particularly in the International arts arena, should not miss the next Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts: The Interconnected World, April 8-10, 2011 at Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel.

Also stay tuned: TransCultural Exchange is pleased to participated in the 2010 London Biennale as a satellite venue…

What artists interesting in working with us need to know: Anyone interested in being on our mailing list should add their name, by entering their email on the form at the bottom of this web page. Also, follow the TransCultural Exchange blog.

Mary Sherman is the founder of TransCultural Exchange. As an artist, she has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including New York, Seoul, Vienna, Chicago, London, and Venice. Read her guest blog about her Taiwan artist residency, summer 2008.

Image: Dana Prescott, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, from the Transcultural Exchange Conference, photo by Sophia Andrianopoulos

Rose Metal Press: publisher of hybrid genres

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

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

We talked to Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney, founders of Rose Metal Press, a recent recipient of organizational grant support from the MCC. Abigail and Kathleen saw a community of writers (such as past Artist Fellows Steve Almond and Peter Jay Shippy) doing out-of-the-ordinary work. So they formed an out-of-the-ordinary press to publish it.

The course: a growing number of literary artists are creating works – like flash fictions or book-length poems – that push the boundaries of form and have trouble finding a place in traditional publishing.

The horse: Rose Metal Press, an independent, not-for-profit publisher of hybrid genres.

What we do: We publish a total of three books a year: One is the winner of our annual short short chapbook contest, and the other two are full-length books selected from what we receive in our specific open reading periods or what comes over the transom in the form of unsolicited submissions. We make our selections based on our mission statement: “We’re an independent, not-for-profit publisher of hybrid genres specializing in the publication of short short, flash, and micro-fiction; prose poetry; novels-in-verse or book-length narrative poems; and other works that move beyond the traditional genres of poetry, fiction, and essay to find new forms of expression.”

Since we only do three books a year, we’re able to promote them fairly aggressively by sending out tons of review copies and setting up as many readings, panels, and workshops all over the country as our various authors are willing and able to do.

Whats up next: In August, we released our latest short short chapbook contest winner, How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace (read an excerpt), so we’re up to our eyeballs in getting the word out. He’ll be doing a couple readings in Indiana in October and November, so if you find yourself in or near the Hoosier State then, you should check him out.

Early next year, we’re going to release The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice, edited by Gary L. McDowell and F. Daniel Rzicznek, the second book in a two-book series that started with The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, edited by Tara L. Masih and released in spring 2009 (ed. note: read an interview with Tara Masih).

After the launch of the second Field Guide, we’ll publish our as-yet-to-be-selected Fourth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest winner in the summer, and in fall 2010, we’re excited to release one of the most unusual books we’ve done so far, Color Plates by Adam Golaski. Color Plates delivers eerie small fictions that blur the lines between art and prose, time and place.

In the meantime, we have upcoming readings featuring our various authors in such states as Colorado, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and, of course, Massachusetts. You can get all the up-to-the-minute details here.

What writers interesting in submitting work to us need to know: We have a very specific focus, per our mission statement, but we always try to emphasize that our interpretation of “hybrid” is extremely broad, since innovative often comes to us in forms we hadn’t dreamed up yet ourselves and can barely name. But at our mission’s core is the combination or merging of genres in an innovative and effective way. The best way to figure out what we mean (everybody says this, including us, and we say it often, but that’s because it bears repeating) is to read some of our books. But if you’re reading this interview and you think you may have something that we’d be into, the best course of action is to query us and see. Be sure to mention that you heard about us here!

We will accept submissions for the Fourth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest between October 15 and December 1, 2009. The winner will have his/her chapbook published in summer 2010. For information on how to submit to the contest, as well as submission inquiries in general, see the press’s web site.

Abigail Beckel has worked professionally in publishing for more than eight years and is a published poet. Her poems have been published in 13th Moon, Rainbow Curve, and Family Matters: Poems of Our Families (Bottom Dog Press). Poet and writer Kathleen Rooney is the author of numerous books, including Oneiromance (an epithalamion) (Switchback Books, 2008), Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object (Arkansas, 2009), and the forthcoming prose collection For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs (Counterpoint Press 2010).

Images: Rose Metal Press logo; cover art for HOW TO BUILD A GHOST IN YOUR ATTIC by Peter Jay Shippy (Rose Metal Press 2007); cover art for BREVITY AND ECHO, edited by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney (Rose Metal Press 2006); cover art for FIELD GUIDE TO WRITING FLASH FICTION (Rose Metal Press 2009).

GLOVEBOX: creating a community for emerging artists

Friday, July 10th, 2009

We’re interested in Massachusetts arts organizations that have identified a specific need for artists, then created programs to directly meet that need in essence, matched the right horse with the right course. We’re calling this type of post – you guessed it – Horses for Courses.

Our first subject is the Boston nonprofit GLOVEBOX. We asked Jodie McMenamin, co-founder and co-director of the group GLOVEBOX with Liz Comperchio (and, incidentally, our fabulous MCC Artist Department intern for Spring 2009), about what need they identified, what they do, and what’s next.

The course: “We saw emerging artists with talent and energy but lacking a community to help foster growth and professional experiences,” Jodie said. “We knew there are so many opportunities for these artists to share their work with the community. What was missing was the link.”

The horse: GLOVEBOX, a grassroots nonprofit artist organization that creates a community for emerging artists and enables them to exhibit art in nontraditional spaces in the Boston area.

What we offer artists: “We locate non-gallery spaces around the city, like pubs and vintage clothing stores, and turn them into a creative space for artists to exhibit,” Jodie said. “The local businesses that donate their space often get exposure through the press. GLOVEBOX and our artists maintain relationships with the businesses, supporting and advocating Boston’s local scene.

“GLOVEBOX provides a community where artists can begin to discover how to exhibit their work or where more established artists can take risks with their work–and where all artists can bounce ideas off each other. Our artists get involved in the entire process, and we often give them opportunities to volunteer, promote and curate.”

What we’ve done: “GLOVEBOX has hosted a variety of events including art shows at Goody Glover’s and Ned Devine’s (two Boston restaurants), an art auction to benefit orphaned girls in Kenya (in collaboration with One Home Many Hopes), and our most recent event, SPIN, an exhibition themed around cassette tapes and vinyl records (check out Studio Views: Kevin Hebb to read more about it). Rescue, Allston’s local vintage apparel and accessory store, teamed up with us to host SPIN, which was a huge success and was covered by the Allston-Brighton Tab, The Metro and the Weekly Dig.”

Up next: JUNKO REVIVAL, a group art show themed around environmental consciousness, using found materials, recycled goods or just plain old junk!

The art from JUNKO REVIVAL can be viewed and purchased at the opening reception on Sunday, July 12 from 7-10 PM at Rescue (252 Brighton Avenue, Allston). The show will be ongoing from July 12 to August 9.

Artists interested in learning more about GLOVEBOX and/or submitting work to future calls to artists should visit and their blog,

Images: Liz Comperchio and Jodie McMenamin, co-directors of GLOVEBOX; Jacklyn Boyland, WEEDING (2009), paintings on paint samples for JUNKO REVIVAL; Christopher Schuch, LOOKING NORTH-NORTHEAST FROM THE MAIN GATE (2008), C-print, 20 x 24 in; In-progress sculpture by Vic Yambao for JUNKO REVIVAL; Amanda Atkins, WILD BIRD GUEST (2009), book painting for JUNKO REVIVAL; Gary Duehr, APPLE, glass sculpture for JUNKO REVIVAL.