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Roslindale artists show their work at City Hall

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  July 15, 2011 09:23 AM

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(Courtesy Iris Sonnenschein)

Iris Sonnenschein’s vibrant quilt “Yaffo Boats” is among the works by members of Roslindale Open Studios currently on display at City Hall.

This month and next, City Hall’s Scollay Square Gallery will showcase the work of many local talents as it presents Artists from Roslindale Open Studios.

Co-hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino; the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events; and the Roslindale Arts Alliance, the show in the third-floor gallery opened on Monday, July 11, and will run to Aug. 30.

The works in the exhibit include photography, oil painting, watercolor, decoupage, fabric art, and assemblage, and their subject matter ranges from recognizable scenes such as Adams Park in Roslindale to images from the shore of Maine, the Old Santa Fe Trail, even Israel and Nepal.

Janice Williams, a participating artist as well as one of the organizers of the group show, said the variety is one of the things that makes for an interesting exhibit as well as a successful open studios weekend.

“We have a really good mix of people working in different mediums, which is exciting and which makes for a good open studios,” Williams said. “There’s sculpture, there’s jewelry, there is photography, there is a quilt, there’s a fabric artist who is participating. And that’s one of the beauties, I think, about a group show like this, is that you get to see different mediums, not just different styles of photography, not just different styles of oil painting.”

Around 100 artists participate in Roslindale Open Studios each November. Many live in the neighborhood, but others come from around the region to show their work in group spaces set up for the weekend.

This is the artists’ first exhibit as a group outside the open studios weekend, now in its 7th year. Williams, a longtime champion of the neighborhood’s art scene, said it took about that long to make it come together.

“For years, Jamaica Plain Open Studios was the only one around,” she said. “We knew we had a lot of artists in Roslindale, and it actually took us about seven years to get this off the ground, to get enough momentum, to get enough volunteers to help out, and to attract the artists.”

Over time, the event has grown and developed a dedicated following, Williams said.

“We have collectors that come to buy work from our artists, and now after … six years, we have a lot of the same artists have come back to us, because people are coming and buying their stuff,” she said. “So they build up a clientele.”

Most of the works on display are available for purchase, but one that isn’t for sale is a watercolor by 92-year-old Elinor Downs, a retired pediatrician and vocational archeologist.

“She’s just precious, you know what I mean? Her piece is very interesting,” Williams said, noting that Downs took up painting only in the past five years. “She’s thoroughly enjoying it, too.”

Williams said the chance to exhibit in City Hall was an honor for the artists, but also a measure of how much they’ve accomplished.

“We’re very proud to be invited to exhibit at City Hall because we’ve really built this into a very important venue, not only for the Roslindale community, but it draws people from other communities as well,” Williams said. “I feel like all the efforts that all the volunteers and all the people in the community have put into this have come to kind of a fruition with being invited to exhibit as a group in City Hall.”

To see a gallery of works on exhibit, click here. For more information about Roslindale Open Studios, visit

Email Jeremy C. Fox at

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(Jeremy C. Fox for

Artists from Roslindale Open Studios will be on display in City Hall’s third-floor Scollay Square Gallery from July 11 – Aug. 30.

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