Accelerating at WaterFire Arts Center: Great art

The WaterFire Arts Center sponsors an annual cohort called “Accelerate” to develop innovative work in a collaborative framework. They’re encouraged to work together, and are all artists early in their careers, co-curating their own show under the guidance of Gretchen Rosado, the Accelerate coordinator.


The unveiling of the cohort’s work has been taking place for the past couple of weeks, including a few artist talks. The group presents well together, and their mutual support and camaraderie makes them a pleasure to listen to.

The theme that emerged for their show was “When I get home,” and they determined early on that the overriding theme was going to be “Grief.” 

“We’re all in our 20s, and of course for almost anyone, your 20s are filled with grief,” explained Sydney Darrow during a panel talk on June 9.

The exhibit is a combination of photographic gloomy grief, textile-based homey ruminations, paintings of abstracted human forms, and varying permutations of hair, all of which manage to tie together. The combined effect is provocative, at times a little unsettling, and a testament to the individual creativity of each artist. The work was created by photographer Kannetha Brown, abstract surrealist Sydney Darrow, spiritually inspired textile and sculpture artist Emily Gray, textile artist Andrea Pascual, painter Adolfo Peralta, and portrait photographer Leiyana Simone.

At the talk-back, the artists had a great deal to say about the process of working together – describing it as therapeutic, inspiring, and a great way to bounce back from artistic blocks by bouncing ideas off each other. Each felt motivated by the structure of the program and especially by the efforts of their fellow artists. The results reference family, connection, loss, and a variety of cultural roots the artists brought to the project. 

The exhibit is open to the public through June 30, 2024 at the WaterFire Arts Center, 275 Valley St, PVD.