The New Art Center has opened its first hybrid exhibit, titled “Women In Abstraction” — viewable not just online but in-person for free at the New Art Corridor, 245 Walnut St., in Newtonville.
Emily O’Neil, executive director of the New Art Center, said “We’re really thankful for the community believing in the vision of creating a fully accessible public art corridor where anybody can walk through because those doors are open 24 hours a day.”
Destiny Palmer, a Boston-area-based artist and middle school art teacher at Thayer Academy, curated the exhibit. She said she wanted to amplify the voices of local Newton artists who are women in the exhibit.
“A lot of women are typically out of the conversation so I wanted to find a way to include ourselves in the conversation by utilizing our own local talents,” Palmer said.
The exhibit is part of a new BIPOC curatorial program at the New Art Center and hosts guest curators who are part of the BIPOC community. O’Neil said the center created the program in response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We asked, ‘What could we do as an organization to really put social justice, racial justice, equity, equality at the forefront of conversations that we were having?’” O’Neil said.
After the success of an online exhibit called “Peaceful Protest Posters” in 2020, which “shed light on recent acts of violence against Black and brown people,” the center decided to create the BIPOC curatorial program, curator Ibrahim Ali-Salaam said in a letter.
The program’s purpose is to “enable curators who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to develop and share exhibitions that spark dialogue” according to the New Art Center website.
O’Neil said they decided at the center to create an in-person exhibit and continue with an online exhibit for “Women in Abstraction” because they saw an opportunity to engage a wider audience through an online platform.
“During COVID so many things moved to this online platform, and suddenly realized we could successfully hold virtual exhibits,” O’Neil said.
The exhibit highlights art created from a variety of mediums including sculpture, mark making, and fiber arts to highlight varied interpretations of the theme of abstraction, Palmer said, and artists came from a call put out earlier this year.
Georganna Greene, a Boston-based artist whose piece was displayed in person and virtually, said she worked with material like denim and T-shirt scraps to create a “nostalgic” piece for the exhibition.
Greene said she was humbled to be featured in the exhibit and excited to be learning from all of the artists who are a part of it.
“If I can bring like one little piece of the puzzle, and offer some material investigations through my abstractions, then that’s enough for me,” Greene said.
Greene is one of 12 artists featured as part of the in-person gallery. Greene said women in abstract art are underrepresented, and the exhibit shined a light on this perspective along with also highlighting the BIPOC community.
“I’m really grateful for a show like this, with Destiny Palmer, who is an influential artist of color,” Greene said, “And giving a voice to that perspective in terms of abstract art.”
Palmer said the exhibit’s opening reception at the New Art Corridor was a key opportunity for artists to meet and network after more than a year without in person art exhibits.
“It was so nice to nerd-out with so many other people who I know are thinking about art making and material and process and color,” Palmer said. “It definitely felt like I had these moments with artists that I hadn’t really known before.”
To view the exhibit in person, go to 245 Walnut Street in Newton. To view it online, visit ArtSteps.
Andi Purcell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.