Glad tidings, RI! This holiday season is going to be very bright. As 2021 draws to a close, the majority of our art galleries have not just survived the pandemic – they are thriving. Restrictions brought innovation and when in-person events went temporarily dark, a virtual world came alive. Gallery Night ran virtual trolley tours and live-streamed artist interviews that allowed viewers to be a part of events without leaving their own homes. Many galleries took advantage of increased web interest and amped up their online presences. Web sales were downright robust at many sites.
COVID has made us all more aware – safety protocol is taken seriously at all venues. But as the world slowly opens up again, the public is coming back. And while visitor numbers are down, viewers’ enthusiasm seems to have doubled.
Neal Walsh, curator of the AS220 galleries, noticed the optimism. “When we were by appointment only there was a different vibe, but with everybody who came to see shows … there is a certain excitement to be there. People were really appreciative to see art again. It was a good reminder of why we do this.“
Nearly every gallery in RI is having a holiday show: take advantage! They are all within easy driving distance. Bérge Ara Zobian, artist/gallery director of Gallery Z, used COVID as an opportunity to move his gallery to Warwick. Which might be “faaah” from PVD, but is “neah” to Cranston.
Bérge reminds us to, “Support the arts – RI galleries are a tax free zone, and the arts are what make RI unique.”
If you want to find the perfect gift, Ellen Matesanz from the Art League of RI has a tip: “Choosing art is deeply personal. You have to understand something about the person you are buying for, especially if you are thinking in terms of decor.” Her solution? “Visit a gallery together and see what they are attracted to.”
Debbie Duggan, treasurer of Portsmouth Arts, notes that their buyers appreciate the in-person experience. “People like to be able to look at the art.”
This year people are shopping for art gifts from around $100 up to several hundred. But there are a lot of small art holiday sales going on too, with visual goodies to please every palette.
Art League of RI
The Art League has moved its show gallery from Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket to Suite 107A on the first floor of 80 Fountain St in Pawtucket.
You can sign up for Art League’s Program on PAPER on Dec 8 at 5 pm. With Lauren Pearlman Sugita, Founder and President of Paper Connection International. Discussion
and demonstration of interesting papers for use in photography, printmaking, drawing, painting, and collage. Register at eventbrite.com/e/203381929827
And to shop online, follow the links at fb.com/ArtLeagueRI/
115 Empire St, PVD
Shoppers can find an amazing array of original art and prints at artandeditions.as220.org.
This colorful online shop, a project run jointly between the AS220 Galleries and AS220 Printshop, features the work of talented local artists. AS220 usually doesn’t update its listings until after our press deadlines. You can often find them at as220.org/author/parisparis
Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly
14 Railroad Ave, Westerly
Catch their Annual Holiday Gift Show this year from Dec 3 to 22.
This is one gallery that was showing artists throughout the entire pandemic. Curator Paula Martiesian told us: “early on when everything was in lockdown mode, the bank was still open.”
Showing now through Jan 3, 2022.
BankRI Turks Head Gallery, 1 Turks Head Pl, PVD: Paintings of Spain by Madolin Maxey
BankRI Gallery at 137 Pitman St, PVD: paintings by Christian Drury
Blackstone River Theater Gallery
549 Broad St, Cumberland
This year’s Holiday Art Show through Dec 14 features original pastel paintings by area artist Karol Nicholson, viewable two hours before and during scheduled theatre events, with 50% of sales going to support the theater. The annual Holiday Craft Fair on Dec 4 includes 24 local vendors and nonstop live entertainment. Over the next eight weeks their concerts and holiday programming will include some of the season’s biggest acts, a homecoming concert, and silent auction fundraiser.
This venue requests both masks and proof of COVID vaccination. Director Russell Gusetti told Motif: “If anything, [the vax mandate] has been met very favorably by our audience, and I’m told time and again by patrons as well as performers that it is one of the primary reasons they are comfortable returning to live performance.”
99 Spring St, Newport
Mike Bryce, known for his ultra-local and affordable paintings of all sizes, as well as his dedication to painting while exhibiting at craft fairs, has opened a studio in Newport. This is a rare opportunity to see his work indoors and on the walls. Hours are flexible and by appointment, so drop a message at fb.com/Mikebryceart/ for details.
134 Aquidneck Ave, Middletown
Their Holiday Show this year featured the art of Ewa Rose, Dec 4 – 28
Please note: The Gallery has moved and expanded to 100 Bellows St, Unit #8, in Warwick
Open Thurs. and Sat. 12 to 5 pm and by appointment or chance. On the 3rd Saturday of every month there is a reception from 1 to 4pm. Saturday Dec 18 is the opening for holiday works, featuring 39 artists from around the world and 134 pieces of art and ethnic handicrafts. Special gift items and reduced prices throughout December.
HeARTspot Center and Gallery
1970 Pawtucket Ave, East Providence
Small Works Holiday Show Nov 20 through Jan 12
Opening on Small Business Saturday Nov 27, 11am to 4pm
Gallery hours Tues 11am – 2pm, Sat noon – 3pm; and by appointment
10 High St, Wakefield
Small Works Show, showcasing works from Hera members, all for sale & under $100.
Nov 20 through Dec 18, 2021
Imago Foundation for the Arts
36 Market St, Warren
Open Thurs 3 – 6pm, Fri – Sat noon – 6pm, Sun noon – 4pm
And you can always shop online. imagofoundation4art.org/
Providence Art Club
11 Thomas St, PVD
Little Pictures 2021 – Open to the public Dec 1 – Dec 23
Current Gallery Hours. Sun – Fri, 12-4pm
8 Puncatest Neck Rd, Tiverton
Featuring fine metalwork by Teresa Mowery. Gift hint – the limited edition copper and brass ornaments would make for ideal family keepsakes.
Shop hours Sat – Sun 11am – 4pm and by appointment until Christmas.
933 Anthony Rd, Portsmouth
Holiday show will be held at the Common Fence Improvement Association building through Dec 17.
4 Market St, Warren
Gallery Takeover with Zach Prosser, Dec 11 – 13, 5 to 8pm
Zach Prosser is bound to dazzle with a series of works expressing color, movement, and energy.
The Gallery at Sprout CoWorking
166 Valley St, PVD
Rising Sun Mills Complex, Bldg 6M
Now through December, showing original woodblock prints, linocuts, paintings and illustrations from current and former members of AS220 industries, in a show titled “Corner Where the Dunkin Donuts used to be and other Rhode Island Landmarks.”
The Glass Station Studio and Gallery
446 Main St, Wakefield
Featuring hand blown glass by Even Horton & Jennifer Nauk, along with an amazing array of glass and jewelry by local and national artists. Visit the Gallery or shop online for gorgeous vases and jewelry, and a spectrum of artful ornaments for any décor.
The Main Gallery at Providence City Hall
25 Dorrance St, PVD
Showing through Jan 19, 2022:
Off the Court – Footwear Design, Style, and Cultural Expression at Providence Recreational Centers. We’re not sure if you can buy anything, but take a look anyway!
The RISD Museum
20 N. Main St, PVD
Ongoing family and teen art and craft workshops, exhibitions and events –
and the museum gift shop across the street always holds an intriguing array of art.
South County Art Association
2587 Kingstown Rd, Kingston
SCAA 50th Anniversary Holiday Sale, thru Dec 19, 2021
Spring Bull Gallery
55 Bellevue Ave, Newport
Holiday Little Pictures Show. Showing through Jan 2, 2022.
URI Urban Arts and Culture Program
URI Providence Campus, 80 Washington St, PVD
Steven Pennell, Gallery Coordinator, tells us that sales were unusually high these last 6 months: “I think people were not traveling so they had extra funds and were fixing up their home environments.”
Currently showing: Climate Change Inequalities with John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities at Brown University.
Warwick Center for the Arts
3259 Post Rd, Warwick
Winter Market for Artists and Artisans: Dec 4 thru 18.
Happy holiday shopping! And don’t forget – when visiting in person, please check ahead for COVID safety restrictions.