On a recent sunny afternoon, the sun was shining through the floor-to-ceiling windows of Gallery 263, illuminating the pristine space and the many paintings on display inside. There was no shortage of admirers to come and see the works created by local artists. The dynamism of the colors and the design of each painting corresponded to the dynamism and excitement of the visitors. Visitors and paintings gathered in the small space to celebrate 10 years of local art, culture and community in the gallery tucked away in Cambridgeport.
Located at the corner of Putnam and Pearl Streets, Gallery 263, an art gallery, music space and yoga studio, celebrated its 10th annual Membership Show and 10th anniversary as a non-profit association . Over the years, the members’ exhibition has allowed Cambridge artists to showcase their art and potentially develop a working relationship with the gallery, making it easier for them to make connections in the art world and to perfect their art.
“I love the idea of this space showcasing some really fresh and beautiful artwork, but doing it in a way that welcomes everyone,” said Alexandra Photopoulos, General Manager of Gallery 263 and herself artist. “You don’t need to have this sophisticated training in the academic arts to see truly beautiful and interesting work.”
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Photopoulos described how one of the goals of Gallery 263 was to support the Cambridge artist community and make art a more sustainable career, either by increasing the exposure of local artists to the world of l art, giving artists the opportunity to organize workshops at the gallery, or helping artists sell and market their work. While the gallery can help artists advance their careers, it also provides them with a safe space to work on their art and get to know the people of Cambridge.
“It helps me, in a very basic way, to connect with the community, with the people who can see my art and who I can work with in the studios,” said Tamar Etingen, gallery member and multimedia artist. “It’s just an outlet for me that I can’t imagine finding otherwise.
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Etingen has worked closely with Gallery 263 for many years and has so far showcased his art in all member exhibitions. She also runs gelatin plate printing workshops. Gelatin plate printing is an art form where hardened gelatin becomes a canvas and acrylic or oil paint is used to make designs on it. Small items like pieces of paper or thread can be placed on the canvas before painting it to add variety to the designs. Etingen offers workshops for children and adults, as well as anyone in the community interested in learning art.
Mutually beneficial relationship
The key to Gallery 263’s success is community support. While a portion of the gallery’s revenue comes from funding programs such as workshops, yoga classes, and art submission fees, most of their revenue comes from fundraising.
“There have certainly been challenges along the way,” Photopoulos said. “But we’ve been really lucky to have such great fundraising support from artists in the community and from people who love and support the arts.”
Gallery 263 also receives funding from the Cambridge Community Foundation. It recently received the largest donation in gallery history from a supporter of the arts. Photopoulous called the gift “transformational”.
The donation will allow the gallery to continue to strengthen its programs, particularly its artist-in-residence program. This program selects artists of all experience levels each summer and allows them to use the gallery to develop their skills in many different mediums, from mural painting and mold making to photography. In addition, the donation allowed the gallery to “transform our residency experience from a low-cost opportunity to a program with a stipend of $ 250,” according to the gallery’s website 263. In recent months, the returns Positive fundraising efforts have helped the gallery thrive despite the hardships brought on by the pandemic, and they have shown how the gallery has become a valued organization in Cambridge.
“It’s a focal point for many reasons,” Etingen said. “People can see through those big windows in the gallery, see the exhibits, and there’s nothing in this neighborhood that looks like that.”
Speaking of what the future holds for Gallery 263, Photopoulos remains optimistic, citing the many opportunities available to artists and community members. Photopoulos said: “Plans for the future of the gallery include” continuing our outreach in the community both for artists who wish to show their work or for members of the community who are looking for welcoming, free cultural activities. or low cost to do. She added, “We just want to make sure that we get our message out to the world.”
Since the 10th Membership Show, Gallery 263 has featured new work by local artists, including a piece called Collective Consciousness, which used a projector to digitally display images along the gallery walls. There was also a culinary art exhibition called Cookout, highlighting the gallery’s commitment and openness to many types of art.
“It’s a very flexible and community-driven space,” Etingen said. “The gallery has grown and prospered, and continues. “