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Visitors to Boston will sing the praises of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, among other fine institutions. But what of the area’s lesser-known galleries and creative art endeavors?
There are many, and many of them welcome the curious traveler who might be wandering off-the-beaten-path of cultural icons in the Hub. What follows here is a troika of art galleries that will warrant close attention!
Contemporary art has a fine and wonderful home at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and the Bakalar & Paine Galleries are part of this institution’s core mission to edify the general public and to educate young artists.
On the walls, visitors might find recent work by the celebrated fashion designer Zandra Rhodes (see photo above) or a well-curated collection of contemporary ceramic sculptures. How about a talk by the celebrated public artist Jaume Plensa or Inka Essenigh?
Every semester the galleries have a wonderful selection of public lectures and events that are offered free of charge. Nothing escapes the careful eye of curator Lisa Tung, and she has received high praise from many quarters, including Boston Magazine.
The galleries are located at 621 Huntington Avenue in the South Building and visitors can take the 39 bus or the Green Line’s “E” train for easy access to campus. Their hours of operation are Monday to Saturday, 12PM to 6PM and Wednesday from 12PM to 8PM. The galleries are closed on Sundays.
Located in the Fields Corner area of Dorchester, the Howard Art Project is based in a rather lovely Art Deco building that houses a number of prominent local community service organizations, including an ACORN office and the Vietnamese-American Civic Association.
The Project is a new endeavor in the neighborhood, and it was founded in June 2011. Their space includes a video room, a recording booth, and two galleries. Recent shows have included the thought-provoking “Ask Me: Works by ICA Visitor Assistants,” and works by recent graduates of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). The Howard Art Project is open on Saturdays from 12PM-6PM and they are located just a short walk from the Fields Corner station on the MBTA’s Red Line.
It’s well worth the trek over to Arlington for a number of reasons, and the diverse collection at the 13Forest Gallery is top-notch. The gallery and accompanying store are ran by Marc Gurton, Sarah Buyer, and Jim Kiely, and feature artists based all around New England.
Their recent shows have included work inspired by the questions: “What do you want?” and “What do you need?” and the fun “Tag (you’re it)” exhibition, a gallery that “chased down” ten artists to play a little game by inviting them to create a piece and then have a new group of artists respond to these pieces.
The gallery also has a wonderful store and visitors can stop on by on Tuesday to Wednesday from 11AM-7PM, Thursday 11AM-8PM, and Friday and Saturday from 11AM to 6PM.
For more on Massachusetts’ robust arts scene, head to www.massvacation.com/arts, where you’ll find that the world of art in Massachusetts is a feast for the eyes, and ears!
What’s your favorite art gallery in Massachusetts? Tell us in the comments below!
Max Grinnell is a writer based in Cambridge, MA, who writes about cities, public art, geography, travel, and anything else that strikes his fancy. He’s the author of several books, and his next book, “Secret Chicago,” will be published in fall 2012. His writings can be found online at www.theurbanologist.com and he tweets over @theurbanologist.