The Mass Cultural Council and New Art Center will present the 2017 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellows Invitational in Photography, Sculpture/Installation/New Genres. Tracie Pouliot is one of the exhibiting artists. Her work focuses on the uses oral history and bookmaking in order to explore the impact of having & losing meaningful work on individuals and community.
As a community artist I work with people to create meaningful, engaging, collaborative artwork that speaks to the demographic and needs of my community. As an artist I make visible a story of my community that would not otherwise be seen. I work with the assets of my community and problem-solve areas were we have been failed by forces outside of our control. The resulting fine art products make aesthetic and conceptual sense in local art museums, history museums, special collections and on the kitchen tables of factory workers. In my current work, The Chair City Oral History Book Series, I am focused on deindustrialization and its impact on individuals and community. Nicknamed Chair City, at one time Gardner produced the most chairs of anywhere in the world. Our infrastructure, character and values are shaped by furniture manufacturing. People in Gardner have pride in craftsmanship, value beautiful and useful products, and appreciate collaboration. Since the last large factory closed in 2008 the individual and community trauma is apparent in decaying buildings, increased rates of substance abuse and people without work. When the factories closed, so did the social and creative spaces for hundreds of people. My community practice recreates that type of space and provides a project in which community can come together around shared values of collaboration, craftsmanship, beauty and usefulness.
Working class voices and the artistry and community building inherent in manufacturing are at the heart of my artwork; I create the structure and organize the community to make books and prints celebrating the stories of factory workers. I teach people how to use the industrial vintage letterpress, how to hand-bind books, and how to make woodcuts. Each step of away I engage with volunteers around the quality of product that honors factory workers. The books are shared locally and nationally to start a dialog about issues this region and our country face – deindustrialization, globalization, gentrification, the divide between owning and working classes.
For more, see Tracie Pouliot’s work at the upcoming exhibition 2017 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellows in Photography and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres.
New Art Center
61 Washington Park, Newtonville
2017 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellows Invitational
Photography, Sculpture/Installation/New Genres
Opening Reception: Friday, October 27, 6-8PM
Exhibition Dates: October 27 – December 2, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 1PM-6PM, and by appointment.
The exhibition is free, open to the public and accessible to all.
Image credit: All images courtesy Tracie Pouliot.