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South End agency places 5,000th donated art piece in Roxbury

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 9, 2011 10:24 AM

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Edie Bowers with Joyce and Susan.JPG

(Courtesy: The Art Connection)

URIAH Resident Services Coordinator Joyce Ewing (left), artist Edie Bowers (center), and The Art Connection Executive Director Susan Collings (right) meet inside Bowers' studio to pick up the two artworks selected by URIAH's selection committee. The art agency's 5,000th donated piece, "Falling into Place, 5," which was created by Bowers, is pictured here.

A 15-year-old art-donation organization headquartered in the South End will celebrate a significant milestone this month – it has placed more than 5,000 original works of art throughout Greater Boston.

Founded in 1995 by Boston-based painter and sculptor Fay Chandler, The Art Connection links local artists and collectors with area community organizations that can’t afford to buy art on their own.

In March, the non-profit agency’s 5,000th work of art was selected by a committee of staff and residents at a low-income Roxbury housing complex, United Residents in Academy Homes II. The oil stick on paper art piece by Edie Bowers, "Falling into Place, 5," was chosen to be displayed in a new community room at the residential development.

"I like that my paintings have an audience that they might not have had without The Art Connection,” Bowers, who has made several donations to the connection program since 2007, said in a release. “I’m happy to know my work found a good home. It’s important that original art is available to all, and I’m fortunate to be able to donate through such a unique program."

An art reception and milestone celebration will be held May 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the URIAH New Academy Estates Community Building at 2908 Washington Street.

“This donation means a lot to us,” said Gloria Bowers, Executive Director and 30-year resident at URIAH. “Just five years ago, our community was struggling with crime and gang violence but today things have really turned around. This donation of locally-made art is very generous and I know it will serve as source of inspiration for our community as we continue to improve the standard of living for all of our residents.”

Over 300 artists and collectors have donated work through The Art Connection, and placements have been made at more than 300 area nonprofits. The idea is spreading to other cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., the group said.

“Just one piece of art can make a difference,” explained Chandler, the program’s founder. “Whether a donation is placed in a homeless shelter, a local health clinic, or a tutoring center, my belief is that the art provides an opportunity for reflection, inspiration, and comfort. Art not only transforms the space around it, it transforms the people too.”

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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