As a gallery owner and member of the Rocky Neck Art Colony (in Gloucester, MA), I believe that the neighbors living here in our small community help us thrive. Their interest in art and its history here protect us from the commercialization that undermines other areas where artists converge. That interest was also a large part of the reason that we were recently named one of the first cultural districts in Massachusetts. Also, while a visitor may expect that marine paintings are what they would find here, our area supports artists working in many other forms as well including installation, video, paint and photographic processes. Many of us here feel that an artists continuing education and connection to current trends is paramount. The Goetemann Residency Program here on the Neck invites three artists each summer to spend one month creating new work while interacting with the community through limited open studio hours. The artists are chosen for their innovative work and willingness to share their methodology.
We are working together to purchase a former church building for use as a Community and Welcome Center. This space will help us continue to engage artists and neighbors alike through a series of free or low cost lectures and classes on subjects of interest to all.
So what makes a community of artists thrive? The support of serious, hard working artists and neighbors who believe that what you do is important and want you to succeed. A variety of studio and gallery spaces at reasonable rents is critical. The opportunity to show work, continue an artistic education without high costs, and ask for a critique from others you trust makes life as an artist quite wonderful.
– Kathleen Gerdon Archer
Image: Kathleen Gerdon Archer, JUDY’S BLUE TOWEL AND GUATEMALAN SASH (2010), portrait using her favorite fabric, 36x48x1 in.