Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dance Fever

This article is from the current issue of Rhode Island Monthly Magazine. It was written by Hera Gallery artist, John Kotula.

For twenty-five years, the painting sat forgotten in a basement. Today, it is a world treasure. But this isn’t the first time Danza Afro-Cubana has set off fireworks.


In the summer of 1970, when artist Roberto Julio Bessin was sixteen, his grandfather gave him a painting. The two were spending the summer fishing on Long Island Sound, and the gift was a gesture to encourage the teenager’s dreams of becoming an artist. Thirty-seven years later, the painting was auctioned for $2.6 million last May.

It is hard for anyone who doesn’t see art as a commodity to think that a painting could cost as much as putting twenty students through four years of a private college, supporting 125 families of four above the poverty line for a year or buying pretty good season tickets to the Patriots for yourself and more than 2,000 of your best friends. Yet, if any painting looks as if it is worth $2.6 million, it is Mario Carreño’s Danza Afro-Cubana. It is big—sixty-five by forty-eight inches—beautifully composed, so colorful it seems to vibrate. And frankly, it is damn sexy.

In the painting, a man and woman are dancing in a cane field. The man is costumed and masked from head to ankle, but his exposed hands and feet reveal that he is black. The woman is white. She is naked except for a cloth wrapped around her hips, shimmying so fast that her legs and arms appear in two places at once. Her round, upturned breasts are at the center of the composition. There’s almost no question how this night will end.

There are two sides to every story. If the story is a good one, there are as many versions as tellers. Memory fails, emotional patina builds up, perceptions change. This is one story of Danza Afro-Cubana—the man who painted it, the one who acquired it and the grandson who learned what it means to love and part with something of great value.

Roberto Julio Bessin’s studio is a large, sunny room in an old mill building in North Kingstown. Art books, auction catalogs and bulging file folders form piles on shelves and tables. Nature photographs, paintings, drawings and old guitars cover the walls. There are comfortable chairs, a good music system. The studio is not only a place to make art, it is a good place to sit around, listen to Richard Thompson or Van Morrison recordings and talk politics over a cup of coffee.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

New York Times Article: Bracing For Lean Times Ahead

This article was recently published in the New York Times, and addresses the impact of the current financial down turn on nonprofit organizations. Be sure to visit the NY Times website to read the comments left about the article, it is all very interesting.

Published: November 10, 2008

SO what’s the fallout for philanthropy?

Given the financial tremors that have obliterated wealth and driven the economy deep into the doldrums, will charitable giving, which reached record levels in the United States over the past decade, show sharp declines? Will foundations, faced with shrunken endowments, scale back their grant-making? Will individual charities, squeezed by reductions in both private and public money, be forced to cut programs?

In short: was philanthropy, like the housing and financial markets, riding a bubble that has finally burst? So far, few fund-raising experts or nonprofit leaders are predicting an implosion in giving, a long fall from the more than $300 billion that was donated last year in the United States. But nonetheless they acknowledge that their world has changed and are preparing for leaner times. It’s more a matter of when, not if.

“I just don’t see how we can have these conversations out of one side of our mouths about people’s cratering 401(k) plans and sinking home values and then say there isn’t going to be some sort of big negative kick to the giving stream, as well,” said Lucy Bernholz, president of Blueprint Research and Design, a nonprofit consulting company in San Francisco.

Some experts, like Robert F. Sharpe Jr., president of the Sharpe Group, a fund-raising firm in Memphis, point to historical data showing that swings in giving are not nearly as severe as broader economic ups and downs, and that during some of the worst times philanthropy remained strong. “Just about any way you look at it, the Depression was one of the best periods for charitable fund-raising,” Mr. Sharpe said.

Read on here...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hera Gallery Member, Caroline Pyle Jr, will show her work at the Effe Leven Gallery in Chicago’s River North Art District

This article if from Chicago's Herald Bulletin

Local abstract artist Caroline Pyle Jr. will show her work at the Effe Leven Gallery in Chicago’s River North Art District.

Pyle is a self-taught artist who found her artistic voice more than three years ago after a near fatal car accident. Pyle says painting became her passion.

“My mother gave me a paint set and suggested I use art as a form of therapy. Though creative by nature, I had only had only taken a couple of informal painting classes. Painting became therapeutic, helping me endure long, painful days during my recovery. Later a friend viewed my work and encouraged me to share my work with the broader community — it was astounding to see that people were moved by my work!”

Pyle has since exhibited her work in Rhode Island and Cincinnati, where retailers carry her work. Her patrons include those from Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan, as well as a corporate client in Kentucky.

Islay Taylor, director of Hera Gallery in Rhode Island says, “Caroline gives her emotions a clear voice, allowing pain and brokenness to be articulated through beauty. Pyle creates vivid works that memorialize the chrysalis of perseverance and determination”.

Pyle, whose family has lived in Anderson for over 20 years, has recently relocated here from Cincinnati. She currently has a studio at the Landings Office Park on Main Street where she schedules viewings by appointment.

Image above: Field of Dreams, acrylic on canvas

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Office Space

Here are some pictures of our new office space. More images will be posted during the moving in process.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alexandra Broches and Jill McLaughlin at The Meeting Room Gallery

Hera Gallery is pleased to present the work of Alexandra Broches and Jill McLaughlin at the Meeting Room Gallery at Bagelz of Wakefield. Both artists are current members of Hera Gallery, and both will be exhibiting recent photographs.

Alexandra Broches will be showing photographs from recent trips to Cuba and China. Her black and white photography captures hidden moments in unique lands.

Jill McLaughlin will be showing a new series of black and white photographs. She likes to describe them as still-lives with a human touch. The photographs capture unusual combinations of ordinary items from her studio, posed with hands. This juxtaposition of inanimate object and human body gives the images a life of their own. The still-lives invite viewers to take a second look and imagine a story behind the images.

Hera Gallery’s partnership with Bagelz of Wakefield is a result of Hera Gallery’s temporary loss of exhibition space. Due to property development, Hera will soon be forced to leave the building that has housed the gallery for over 34 years on Main Street in Wakefield When construction is completed; Hera plans on returning to the Main Street location. During the interim, two years with out a permanent exhibition space may seem like a significant loss, however, Hera is excited to use this opportunity to try new exhibition formats and explore alternative programming.

Below: Alexandra Broches, Vedado Havana.
Bottom: Jill McLaughlin, Magic.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hera GAllery Welcomes New Board Member, Viera Levitt

Hera Gallery is pleased to welcome Viera Levitt to the Board of Directors. Levitt has worked with the gallery in the past by hosting lectures and participating in exhibitions. Since 1996, Levitt has curated and co-curated more than thirty exhibitions in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, and the USA. Originally from Slovakia, she worked with the leading Contemporary Arts Museum, the Jan Koniarek Gallery. Viera has been living in Rhode Island since 2006, where she now works as an independent curator facilitating exhibitions both locally and abroad.

Viera Levitt’s most recent curatorial project was an exhibition of Central European video art titled ‘Close Encounters.’ The show was held at the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center Galleries & Kingston Train Station (January-February 2008). She has also curated ‘Video in Progress’, a three-part series New Video Art from Central Europe (May – July 2007) at RISD Museum and Decaying Constant – Images from Poland by Denny Moers (RI, USA) and Tomas Agat Blonski (Slovakia) at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, West Kingston, RI (April 2007).

Viera Levitt was also awarded the ArtsLink residency in Graduate Studies at The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence (2002), internship at the Photography Department of Museum of Modern Art in New York (2005), and Study tour of Japanese Contemporary Art organized by Japan Foundation (2005). She gave lectures about contemporary art in Bratislava, Berlin, Rotterdam, Hiroshima, New Delhi, Caracas or Providence, RI.

Viera Levitt writes “Column from the USA” for cultural section of Slovak daily SME. She is the member of IKT - International Curatorial Association (

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last Board Meeting on Main Street for a while...

This past Wednesday was the night of the month that we routinely set aside for Hera's Board Meeting. This was also the last night that we will be having our meeting in the Main Street Gallery space until construction is completed, and we move back onto the property. It was a good meeting, and we were lucky to have some members attending who don't normally come to the meetings. Pictured from the bottom left going clockwise is: Barbara Pagh, John Kotulla, Jill McLaughlin, Kaiper Wilson, Donna Gustafson, Islay Taylor, Jeannette Jacobs. And Alexandra Broches was there, but she is behind the lens taking the picture!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Troy West at the AS220 Project Space

Housing + Transportation + Civic Design
October 3 – October 27, 2008
Gallery Talk and Discussion, October 16, 6PM

The AS220 Project Space presents Housing + Transportation + Civic Design, projects that chronicle South County architect Troy West’s exploration of design issues from 1963 to the present.

On display will be Transportation Projects from the 1995 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Design Grant for Light Rail Transportation for South County to the 1997 Design Studies of Westport, Connecticut Railroad Station Competition, which was awarded First Prize.

Housing Designs include works from the 1984 New American House International Competition (Minneapolis, MN) that garnered First Prize to a 2008 prototype on sustainable/affordable housing (Providence, RI).

Civic Designs include 1998 2-stage Neighborhood Revitalization Design Competition where West’s team was awarded First Prize for the Southside Broad Street Design Project (Providence, RI) to the ongoing design transformation project at Dale Carlia (Wakefield, RI) into a safe, sustainable, mixed use extension of Main Street from 2002 to present.

West received his architecture degrees (BArch/MArch) from Carnegie Mellon University and later joined the faculty and founded ARCHITECTURE 2001, the first university based community design center in the country. He is one of the original seven architects selected to form the new School of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology, culminating in 45 years of professional practice and teaching.

Troy West practices architecture and design with his partners Anker West and Claudia Flynn. He is actively involved locally with the Hera Gallery and Educational Foundation, DOT Watch, Inc., the Sierra Club, South County Land Trust, and nationally with Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR/NY).

Above image: interior gallery shot during exhibition opening. West is pictured second from left.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Peace Dale Arts Initiative invites you, your friends, and family to the

5TH annual
Peace Fair, 2008
Saturday September 13th
3-10 pm

Art activities for the whole family from 3-6
Peace Dale School Chorus performance…
Smart Start RI, a dance and movement center, will be giving dance lessons
and a special dance performance.
RI Rock Gym
Music all day and night…

In the Peace Dale public parking lot, next to
Sweet Cakes on Kingstown Rd.
Street Closed to traffic from 3-6

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DATE CHANGE: Troy West Gallery Talk

Please note that Troy West will now be hosting his gallery talk and discussion on September 27, 2008 at 1PM in the gallery. The talk is free and open to the public, and all are more than welcome.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hoxie Gallery Welcomes Hera Artists

From the South County Independent

WESTERLY - Sometimes thinking out of the box means finding a new box. Hera Gallery in Wakefield is moving office space across town to Lily Pads Professional Center in October, and the building housing the gallery is scheduled for demolition soon afterward. So Hera's artists will be exploring creative new ways to showcase their work until a new gallery space opens up on the same property.

The timing of "Hera at the Hoxie," therefore, is fortuitous, giving patrons a chance to see new work by a dozen Hera artists in the upstairs gallery at Westerly Public Library. The exhibition, which was scheduled two years ago, will end Saturday.

Alexandra Broches, president of Hera Gallery, said the gallery signed a one-year lease for office space at Lily Pads on North Road in Peace Dale that begins on Oct. 1. "But we will still be in the gallery through October," she said. "Moving into the office gradually."

As part of the final act for Hera's current building, gallery director Islay Taylor said that Hera is planning to go out with a bang.

"We're thinking of it more as a celebration than a closing," she said. "We've been on Main Street for 34 years. This is an opportunity to try something completely different, and some of the members I've talked to are excited and looking forward to moving in some new directions."

The gallery's final exhibition will be called "Concrete Alchemy." It promises to be a memorable one.

"We're inviting member and outside artists to work on the building directly," Taylor said. "No holds barred. We want the artists to use the gallery building as a primary material. Ultimately, the show will culminate in the destruction of the building and all of the artwork."

Like the Navajo sand-painting notion of nothing permanent, everything transitory in life, the gallery's destruction is viewed as part of its metamorphosis. Broches said that the exhibition and its demolition would be documented in a variety of ways, including a catalog and a video. She also said that as members begin to re-imagine the gallery, and the practical implications and financial considerations of running it, Hera will look for new ways to showcase work.

"We'll see what we'll be able to do," she said. "We may be able to do more site-specific work, perhaps exhibit in an entirely different way, similar to the Providence Art Windows idea, maybe." Broches said the gallery would host an open house once the new office is set up, and it will be able to display some art on the walls and in the hallway.

"We'll have a couch and chair," she said. "We still want visitors."

Taylor said that the gallery's ability to adapt creatively "speaks to what Hera really represents." A Providence resident who grew up in South Kingstown, she has enjoyed the "north-south" cultural exchange between Providence and South County artists, which Hera has fostered in recent years.

"I think that's something we can continue to do more of," she said. "Maybe get some South County artists more exposure up in Providence, where there are a lot of galleries doing interesting things in contemporary art."

The Hoxie show will help increase the visibility of Hera artists. Like most of its exhibitions, the work overall is eclectic and intriguing. Among the highlights are a number of pieces by Claudia Flynn combining found objects and organic materials that fuse subversively domestic themes into the mix. A series of whimsical masks, created with acrylic paint on papier-mâché and cardboard by John Kotula from his "What the Devil?" series face each other in a ring in the center of Hoxie Gallery. (They are accompanied by shrine-like detritus, including Magic Fireworks glasses, a guitar pick, a cigar, poker chips, a playing card, bones, a Midas business card and the Energizer Bunny.) Scenes from "The Domestic Landscape Series," eight-color photo archival ink jet prints made from original film negative by Broches, offer a quirky take on the world we've made. (Two favorites: "Wolf, Tuscon, AZ," which shows a wolf in a forested landscape that looks wild - except for the information disc with the drawing of a wolf in the foreground, revealing it to be a zoo scene. And "Foamhenge, Virginia," shot from a distance that could make you believe you were looking at Salisbury Plain, England, if it weren't for the photo's title and the surveyors tape in the foreground.

Barbara Pagh's "Woodland Series," consisting of photolithographs on handmade paper, present intermingling blocks, printed in cool tones, showing organic patterns of roots and ferns. Troy West's mixed media and found art assemblages express political outrage about the legacy of the Bush administration. Jeannette Jacobs' quilts convey color and movement (especially "In Flight," a 94-by-71-inch piece that suggests dragonfly imagery in the design). Also showing work are Linda Denosky-Smart, Cynthia Farnell, Jill McLaughlin, Caroline Pyle, Roberta Richman and Myron Rubenstein.

"Hera at the Hoxie" runs through Saturday at Westerly Public Library, 44 Broad St., at the edge of Wilcox Park in downtown Westerly. Hours are today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, log on to

Friday, August 22, 2008

Concrete Alchemy

I am so glad that the prospectus for our final exhibition in our current gallery is done! The show, entitled Concrete Alchemy, will focus on the flux of environment, gentrification of space, and the rebirth of a gallery.

During the past 34 years of operation, Hera Gallery has undergone numerous changes and developments; the gallery is an organic entity, always undergoing a natural flux. This ebb and flow has historically acted to strengthen the gallery throughout each metamorphosis.

Currently, the gallery is on the cusp of its most substantial transformation to date. The property that Hera has been located on for over thirty years has been recently sold to developers; as a result, Hera will be moving to an interim location before returning to a new gallery space which will be situated on the same property where we are currently located. This property sale heralds the ultimate demolition of the building that Hera has been housed in since it first opened its doors. Although Hera will continue to proactively move forward; space will change, and landmarks will be lost in this transition from old to new.

Hera Gallery is excited to take advantage of this opportunity, and to host an exhibition that will focus on the metamorphosis of space, identity, and material. This show, Concrete Alchemy, invites artists to use the gallery building as a primary material in pieces created for the exhibition. Artists may work directly with, or on, the building; and are encouraged to be site specific.

Concrete Alchemy will culminate in the ultimate demolition of the building, at which time, all artwork involved in the show will also be destroyed.

If you are interested in participating, feel free to email the gallery for a prospectus at

Troy West: Portraits

Troy West: Portraits
A Six Decade Retrospective

September 4th – October 9th, 2008
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6th, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Gallery Talk: September 20th, 1:00 pm

From 1950 to the present, architect and artist Troy West has explored the art of portraiture with watercolor, gouache, oils, ink, charcoal and sculpture.

These highly personal works of family, friends and others have been a parallel observation - obsession to his architecture development.

This sampling gleaned from hundreds of works will provide an insight that you are invited to visit and share interpretations if you wish in a booklet for your comments, sketches, etc.

There will be a gallery talk and discussion on September 20, 2008 at 1PM and all are welcome.

Above: Mother's Last Night, ink on paper

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hera At The Hoxie Opening

Here are some images that Alexandra Broches took at the recent opening for Hera At The Hoxie.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hera At The Hoxie

August 2nd – August 30th, 2008
Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 6th, 5:00 – 8:00pm
At The Hoxie Gallery, Westerly Public Library

Hera Gallery is pleased to invite the public to the Hoxie Gallery on Wednesday, August 6th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm for the opening reception of Hera At The Hoxie. This exhibition will feature the work of Hera Gallery members Alexandra Broches, Linda Denosky-Smart, Cynthia Farnell, Claudia Flynn, Jeannette Jacobs, John Kotula, Jill McLaughlin, Barbara Pagh, Caroline Pyle, Roberta Richman, Myron Rubenstein, and Troy West. On display will be photography, paintings, sculpture, quilts, and more.

Having just recently celebrated Hera Gallery’s 34th anniversary, this exhibition will again present gallery members with an opportunity exhibit together as a group. As always, Hera Gallery is dedicate to the creation and promotion of quality artwork within Washington County; and the pieces displayed in this show are sure to maintain this long tradition of excellence.

Cynthia Farnell exhibition in Charleston, SC

Images from the 24 Hour Challenge

Here are some images from the recent 24 Hour Challenge. This event was in conjunction with our current show, 30Days + 24Hours. There were some very brave, and creative, artists who stayed awake for a very long time making art.
Above, Jason Mayoh and James Russo beginning work on their comics. Below is an image of the African Drum circle that played during the opening.

A scene from the opening, above; and POW!! playing during the 24 Hour Challenge, below.

Alec Thibodeau giving a presentation about Dead in Desemboque, a book that was recently published that he illustrated for. Below, the gallery at 2:00am on Sunday.

Dawn in the gallery, Brendan Kelley working on his book, ECTOMY pt. 2.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hera Gallery showcases local comic arts

This Article was taken from the July 31st issue of the South County Independant.

By Doug Norris/Features Editor

WAKEFIELD - When you walk into the "30 Days + 24 Hours: All Rhode Island Comic Book Exhibition" now showing at Hera Gallery, be prepared. This isn't your grandfather's Kryptonite.

Here, Red Riding Hood is depicted as a sexually aggressive vagina. A plantain and a tomato are shown practicing safe sex. And the monkeys of old Rocky Point Park run amok in Warwick.

Hera's space is dedicated to a wide range of comic arts, from storyboards to prints, comic books to graphic novels, and even comic-inspired, pop art ceramics, all created by Rhode Island artists. The exhibition, which runs through Aug. 30, included a "24 Hour Comic Book Challenge" from noon on July 19 to noon on July 20 in which artists worked live in the gallery. The day also

featured comic-related events, including documentaries, slide shows, book readings and musical performers.

What results is a diverse and entertaining PG13- to R-rated show focused on handmade and limited edition comic art, from Peace Dale artist John Kotula's adventures of "Platano y Tomate," a series of illustrations for a bilingual HIV/AIDS pamphlet that the artist has described as "veggie porn," to Kingston-based artist Robert Wohl, whose entries include panels from his "Mister Mystery" comic book series.

Also in the room: Joanne DeLomba's colorful, whimsical and sharp "First Date" ceramic vessels, echoing Roy Lichtenstein. David Larson, a Rhode Island College graduate now living in New Hampshire, shows scenes from episode 16 of his "Stick-Man" comic. And Pawtucket's Jason Mayoh displays a range of work, including art from his comic books combining true stories with believe-it-or-not urban legends at a re-imagined Rocky Point Park.

The choice to dedicate six weeks of summer gallery space to comics made by local artists was a bold stroke by Hera. The work is extremely varied, balanced between raw and polished, subversive and slick. Some of it evokes the tradition of Golden Age comics, the age of lurid horror and mystery stories found in "Weird Tales" and "Tales from the Crypt." Other work seems influenced by the groundbreaking reality comics of Robert Crumb. Overall, this eclectic show in its fragmentary way reveals the pliability of the medium to tell stories and convey ideas.

In a summer when "Iron Man" and the Batman vs. Joker epic "The Dark Knight" are dominating movie theaters, comic art has never been more influential in the popular culture. But perhaps more impressive than its potential as a blockbuster movie franchise is the fact that comic art appears everywhere - in advertisements and screenprinted posters taped to Dumpsters and stapled to telephone poles. It retains its roots in affordable paper media but has branched out to canvas and clay. And now it's just as comfortable on the walls and floors of an art gallery as anything painted in oils, welded in steel or sculpted from stone.

As Robin might say: "Holy Picasso, Batman!"

Benjamin C. Laux of Wakefield (above) draws during Hera Gallery's "24 Hour Comic Book Challenge" held July 19, while Art Stein, also of Wakefield, checks out the concurrent exhibition, "30 Days + 24 Hours." The show features Rhode Island-based artists working in styles originating in the comic book format.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brown Bag Lunch Artist Talk Series

Visit Hera Gallery for a series of casual discussions regarding member’s works, inspirations, and methods. The talks will be led by gallery members whose work is currently on display in the 34th Anniversary Show. Bring your lunch, and prepare for an intimate and interesting opportunity to learn about what happens before a piece of artwork is 'finished.'

Troy West
June 14th, 1:00
Troy West will attempt to find connections between drawing (to see what is really there without pre-meditations), sculpture (ways to connect past with present), architecture and planning (ways to bring present challenges into projects for a sustainable future).

Alexandra Broches
June 21st, 12:00 - 1:00
The work represented by the these photographs from the series The Domesticated Landscape reflects the interest that perhaps underlies all my work, the relationship between culture and nature, man and our landscape.

Barbara Pagh
June 21st, 12:00 - 1:00
Barbara Pagh will talk about the influence of the local landscape on her work and her technique of altering a photographic image in her one-of-a-kind prints. She will bring a portfolio of small prints in addition to the work in the exhibition.

Jill McLaughlin
June 28th, 12:00
Jill will discuss the connection between her photography, collages, and 3D assemblages. She will focus on how her art is influenced by the environment and her surroundings.

Myron Rubenstein
June 28th, 1:00
Myron Rubenstein will discuss his wide scope of work, which ranges from printmaking to painting to digital medias. His work has no boundaries, and cross-pollinates itself in numerous ways.

John Kotula
July 5th, 12:00
John was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 2005-2007. One focus of his current art making is to create a visual documentation of his experiences living in Latin America. His talk will focus on the process of translating his time in Honduras into the piece "Coming Home to Roost."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finding Folklore

Finding Folklore: A collaborative project celebrating the lives and tales of local people Nominations Due July 15th

Artist, former director of Hera gallery and South County native, Chelsea Heffner has developed Finding Folklore to encourage community members to collect a contemporary folklore of their area. Through the nomination process and the recording of local stories, Heffner hopes to start a conversation about what is of value to this small community.

To participate, please write us to nominate someone you feel should be part of local folklore. In 500 words or fewer, tell us who this person is and what you find remarkable about his/her life. Please include contact information for both yourself and the person you are nominating. Any South County resident can be nominated. Nominees who would like to participate will have their portrait painted and their stories recorded and turned into a small book. The project will culminate with an exhibition of the portraits and personal histories at a local gallery or community space (TBA). Heffner plans on making the hand-printed edition of the collected stories available to all South County libraries.

Heffner has received numerous awards and scholarships including the 2007 Fritz Eichenburg Fellowship in Drawing and Printmaking by the RI State Council on the Arts, and the Presidential Merit Scholarship by the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She has shown on both coasts including at The Providence Art Club, RI, Firehouse 13, RI, Hera Gallery, RI, and Worksound, Portland OR.. She has curated and organized a number of exhibitions while working as the director of the Hera Gallery, and served as a panelist for grant giving organizations and fundraiser auctions. She has studied at the Hodgeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht, Netherlands, Brown University, Providence RI, and received her BFA from RISD in Providence RI. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland OR.

Nominations can be mailed to:
Finding Folklore
c/o Chelsea Heffner
23 Stern St
Jamestown, RI 02835
via email to:

Additional information can be found online at:

1545 DRAW

1545DRAW offers outdoor life drawing in beautiful gardens, year round. The group is facilitated by artists, and thrives on new participants. Feel free to call Lori (401 294 7816) for more information. The group meets every Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00pm, all media is welcome; however, you must bring your own easel!

Model fee is $10.00

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Troy West to exhibit in Germany

Troy West is showing art and architecture at two venues in Germany this year. An Architekur, an exhibition and publication on Community Design in Berlin (, and MYTHOS FABRIK EIN DEUTSCH - AMERIKAN ISCHER DIALOG exhibition and conference in Offenbach thru August 2008.

Pictured at right: The Dietze Building, Newark, New Jersey
19th century toy factory renovated into 10 units of artist work/live space, 2500 sq. ft.

Claudia Flynn receives Award

Claudia Flynn received The Innovators Program Award for Original Art in a Publication by the Johns Hopkins University Press. "LIFELINE," a digital mixed media work was selected by the Art Advisory Board at the School of Medicine for an upcoming book and traveling exhibition beginning in San Juan, Puerto Rico in June.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Alexandra Broches at the Gail Cahalan Gallery

Hera Gallery member, Alexandra Broches, will be exhibiting her work at the Gail Cahalan Gallery in Providence.  Alexandra will be exhibiting a series of photographs that capture elements of the natural world.  These masterful black and white images are wonderfully designed, inspired visions.  Collections of eggs, bones, and feathers are artfully arranged and edited to provoke a sense of wonder and curiosity in the viewer.  These easily overlooked artifacts of nature become interesting displays of natural patterns through Broches's lenses.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 17th, from 4:00 - 7:00pm.
The exhibit runs from May 14th through June 7th.
Gail Cahalan Gallery
200 Allens Avenue
Providence, RI 02903

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Opening Reception For Crossing Borders/Cruzando Fronteras

Last Saturday night, Hera hosted the opening reception for our current exhibition, Crossing Borders/Cruzando Fronteras. The evening was a great success, attended by artists, patrons, and people who hold the issue of immigration close to their hearts. Overall, it was a festive night, which enabled some very pertinent conversations.

Right: Artist Agustin Patino with his painting, Immigrants with Five Senses. Below: Dusan Petran, of Yorick's Marionette Theater, displays his handmade marionettes during the opening reception.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Price of Sugar

An Evening of Films presented by José Torrealba, Saturday, May 10th, 6:30 – 8:30.

The Providence Latin American Film Festival is a non-profit pan-cultural organization, to promote Latin-American culture and more specifically to provide Latin American film directors with an opportunity to exhibit in New England. Director, Jose Torrealba, has selected the film The Price of Sugar to show at Hera Gallery. This film follows Father Christopher Hartley as he organizes some of this hemisphere’s poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate from and at what human cost they are produced. Please view the films website for further details.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yorick's Marionette Theater

Hera Gallery is lucky to have Dusan Petran of Yorick's Marionette Theater present his work at the opening reception of Crossing Borders / Cruzando Fronteras. The opening and performance will be held at the gallery on Saturday, April 26th from 6:00 - 8:00. For more information about Yorick's, please view his website.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Portfolio Raffle

Hera Gallery is pleased to announce our spring fundraiser, a portfolio raffle. Back by popular demand, this raffle offers supporters an opportunity to bid on 14 original artworks; including paintings, photographs, prints, jewelry, mixed media art.

This suite of work consists of a uniquel handmade portfolio box created by local artists, Aggie Stewart. This custom box opens to reveal fourteen 11” by 14” pieces of artwork. This year Hera Gallery is luck to have guest artist, Maryjean Viano Crowe, participating. She has generously contributed a mixed media piece titled “Rebus” to the portfolio. Maryjean is a prolific artist, whose work has been exhibited and published nationally; her art can also be found in permanent included in the collections of museums both within the United States and abroad. In addition, Claudia Fieo, Claudia Flynn, Alexandra Broches, Barbara Pagh, Cynthia Farnell, Islay Taylor, Jeannette Jacobs, Jill McLaughlin, John Kotula, Maureen Murray, Myron Rubenstein, Roberta Richman, Linda Denosky-Smart, and Troy West have also contributed artwork to this portfolio.

Raffle tickets for this fundraiser are only $25.00, and are available at Hera Gallery. There are a limited number of tickets, and only 200 will be available; however, you may purchase more than one ticket at a time. The drawing will occur on May 31st, during the opening reception for Hera’s 34th Anniversary Exhibition.

To view the artwork included in the portfolio box, or if you would like further information, please visit the gallery or logon to our website.

Crossing Borders/Cruzando Fronteras

The United States is a mosaic of people and cultures; there is no other country in the world with more diversity. Almost all of us have a recent or distant ancestor who has crossed a border to get where they are today. Historically, waves of immigrants from various parts of the world have populated and enriched our shores. We have embraced our diverse history and our thriving culture based on the patchwork of immigration; yet, there have also been anti-immigration sentiments. Today the civic discourse between those who see immigration as a source of strength for our country and those who see it as dangerous to our way of life focuses mainly on people entering the States from Latin America. Unfortunately, this national dialogue has become dichotomized into ‘us versus them,’ ‘liberals versus conservatives,’ and ‘Democrats versus Republicans.’ The nuances of this intricate concept get lost in impassioned debates, and the topic is only addressed in starkly contrasting blacks and whites.

The exhibit Crossing Borders/Cruzando Fronteras is presented in the belief that painters, photographers, sculptors, puppeteers, guitar makers, lace makers, and architects can promote civic discourse that included shades of gray (and a rainbow of colors.) This exhibit includes a diverse group artists working in a variety of medias. Some of the images and objects created by these artists reflect directly on the experience of leaving ones home, crossing a border, and settling in a new place. Others engage more broadly with questions and dilemmas posed by immigration.

Hera Gallery is pleased to be showcasing the work of Diane Barcelo, Claudia Flynn, Valerie Mendoza, Abel A. Ortiz, Alexandra Copley, Faith Hagenhofer, Barbara Milot, Agustin Patino, Isis Falk Donnelly, Linda LaBella, Victoria Lockard Morton, Prince V. Thomas, Ana Flores, Christine LoFaso Blake Novotny, and Troy West.

Concurrent events will include music, films, and a panel discussion. Please visit the Hera Gallery website for further details.

This exhibit is part of a larger collaborative project developed jointly by the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative and Hera Gallery with support from many individuals and community organizations. The goal of the project is to promote civic engagement and dialog on the theme of immigration. A joint exhibit, Crossing Borders: Redefining the Dream will be exhibited at the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative Gallery located at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860 May 11 through June 21, 2008. For more information regarding this show please visit the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative website,

Top to Bottom:  Prince V. Thomas, Assimilations; Alexandra Copley, Norma With Bad Apple; Agustin Patino, Immigrants With Five Senses

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Providence installation by gallery member, Barbara Pagh

Barbara Pagh will be exhibiting as part of Providence Art Windows. Her installation will be at Two Brothers Beauty Supply, 60 Eddy Street. An opening reception will take place on Thursday March 20 from 6-8 pm at Design Within Reach, 210 Westminster Street. The installation will stay on view through June 13th.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Artists From The Mill At Shady Lea

Hera Gallery is pleased to present “Artists From Shady Lea Come to Hera,” an exhibition featuring the eclectic works of the artists from the Mill at Shady Lea. This show will feature the works of Jane Bailey, Roberto Bessin, Jon Campbell, Barbara Crane, Jeff Elsbecker, Jody Eyre, Susan Hayward, Karen Imbriale, Sandra Krupp, Sew Many Things, and Amanda Wright. The Mill hosts a vibrant and thriving community of makers; tucked away on Mattatuxet River, the Shady Lea Mill is home to over forty artists, craftsmen, and designers. Continually changing and expanding, the Mill is an organic entity thriving off of the creativity of its tenants.

“Artists From Shady Lea Come to Hera” will present the diversity of work created by select tenants of Shady Lea. Included in this biopsy will be the large format pastel drawings by Jane Bailey. Bailey’s paintings are laced with a sense of poetic loneliness, and allows for the pastel drawings to examine depth of light and space. Similarly, Barbara Crane uses the digital print format to delve into notions of the home and space. Her brightly colored prints use color and pattern to situate the viewer in relation to the artwork. Jody Eyre, however, looks at the landscape in a much more ethereal way. Her oil paintings articulate poetic, dreamlike landscapes where there is no concrete definition of space. Karen Imbriale works in an intuitive way, as well. Imbriale’s collaged paintings are conglomerations of materials and memories, creating fields of information that juxtapose media to create organic, living, images.

Sandra Krupp will be exhibiting large-scale paintings, which embody the regeneration of her discarded studio waste. Her highly textured, colorful works utilize color and text to bring concepts of reclamation and regeneration to the viewer. Amanda Wright creates her raku-fired ceramics in a similar fashion, organically adding elements in a fluid manner. The resulting works of art are highly detailed, unique depictions of marine environments. Susan Hayward also looks to the natural world for inspiration for her jewelry. Hayward uses nature for her inspiration and main material, weaving together leaves, berries, seeds, and twigs to create opulent pieces of jewelry that trick the eye. Jeff Elsbecker works with natural objects as well as marine refuse to create sculptures that present his findings as mementos. These format and presentation of these works reference those of reliquaries. Jon Campbell also works primarily with natural materials. Campbell uses organic elements to create highly detailed small-scale sculptures; his traditional and direct method of carving his materials imbues the objects with a greater sense of power and value. Working together for this exhibition, Sew Many Things and Roberto Bessin will be creating unique zoomorphic upholstered pieces of furniture. Bessin’s metalworking skill paired together with the exceptional talents of Sew Many Things is sure to create a symbiotic set of furniture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hera Gallery Welcomes New Member

Hera Gallery is pleased to announce the new membership of Troy West. West has a long established relationship with Hera Gallery; he has participated as an artist, curator, and has also helped to facilitate exhibition catalogues.

Trained as an architect, West held degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the School of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology. West’s work has earned him numerous national and international awards. And has also been featured and cited in numerous books and periodicals.

Troy’s artistic practice is not confined by media, as he employs a variety of materials and methodologies. His works of art have been selected for solo and group exhibitions throughout the country. He has also co-curated four socio-political art exhibitions with Hera Gallery member, Claudia Flynn.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Update on Crossing Borders/Crusando Fronteras

The following text is from gallery member, John Kotula; who has been working very hard to organize the upcoming exhibition and lecture series Crossing Borders/Crusando Fronteras:

On Saturday, April 19, 2008 a show entitled Crossing Boarders/Cruzando Fronteras will open at Hera Gallery. It is the goal of this exhibit to create civic engagement on the theme of immigration. Crossing Boarders is part of a larger project that has been developed with the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, supported by many individuals and organizations. A second exhibit, entitled American Dreams/Sueños Americanos will open May 11, 2008 at the Pawtucket Visitor’s Center. I have been working on organizing this project and want to share some of the process through this blog.

From 2005 through 2007, I was living in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer. I tried to keep up with the news back in the States by going to internet cafes and reading the New York Times online.
On June 18, 2006, I ran across this article:

“…a fence is proposed for the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico in an effort to improve national security and stem illegal immigration. The Senate wants 370 miles of it; the House, 698. And President Bush has invited military contractors to devise a "virtual" fence that would seal the existing stopgap fencing with high-technology tools like motion sensors, drones and satellites.
But maybe some form of backyard diplomacy is in order — Mexico is no enemy — and there are obvious suspects for the job: professional designers, whose duty it is to come up with welcome solutions that defy ugly problems; to create appeal where there might be none.
As a classic design challenge, The New York Times asked 13 architects and urban planners to devise the "fence." Several declined because they felt it was purely a political issue. "It's a silly thing to design, a conundrum," said Ricardo Scofidio of Diller Scofidio & Renfro in New York. "You might as well leave it to security and engineers."
Four of the five who submitted designs proposed making the boundary a point of innovative integration, not traditional division — something that could be seen, from both sides, as a horizon of opportunity, not as a barrier.”

I contacted the five architects whose designs were discussed in the times article. Two of them have agreed to exhibit their concepts as part of our immigration project.
Eric Owen Moss ( designed a park of laminated glass tubes that would stretch the whole length of the US Mexico border. Running East to West, there would be a raised promenade. People could pass, North and South, over the top of it or pass through tunnels below it. The tunnels would also house cultural exhibit. Moss says, “One way to look at the border is to understand it as a transitional zone between cultures. It interested me not so much as something that would be literally implemented, but as an indication of an aspiration.”
I find Moss’ ideas exciting and liberating and his images beautiful. It is a pleasure to have his participation in this project. Here is a link to find out more about the New York Times design challenge:

John Kotula

24th Annual Children's and 23rd Annual Young Adult's Exhibition

The opening receptions for this years Children's and Young Adult's Exhibitions were last weekend. Both events were highly attended and well received. We are very excited to have an opportunity to bring the states most prolific young artists together, and offer an opportunity to exhibit their work in a professional gallery setting. Please enjoy the following pictures of the gallery.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Broches contributes to The Altered Landscape

Long time gallery member, Alexandra Broches will be exhibiting a recent photograph in the juried show, The Altered Landscape, at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon.  The exhibition runs from February 8th through 26th 2008.

24th Annual Children's & 23rd Annual Young Adult's Exhibition

Hera Gallery is pleased to be hosting the 24th Annual Children's and 23rd Annual Young Adult's Exhibition; which will open on Saturday, February 2nd and run through March 1st. 

A true celebration of the developing talents from Rhode Island, this show offers young artists from across the state a unique opportunity to present their original artwork to the community in a professional gallery setting. Over 300 public, private, and home-schooled students will be participating in the exhibition. The exhibition will feature paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics, papier-mâché, and more. This month long exhibition will showcase the limitless range of technique and creative expression of our local young artists.

In addition to the programming for the exhibit, Hera Gallery is very pleased that Karen Stackow will again be leading a creative children’s workshop. Stackow is local artist and public arts specialist. Her workshops are always dynamic and provide exceptional opportunities for children to experience first hand unique creative outlets. The workshop will run during the Children’s Open House from 10:00 – 4:00.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Barbara Pagh scheduled to exhibit at the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery

Hera member, Barbara Pagh, will be exhibiting her recent work at the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA.  The invitational exhibition, Printmaking Now, runs from January 24th through February 21st.  The opening reception is January 24th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Current Endeavors: Myron Rubenstein

As the saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover. Because if you were to make the mistake of judging Myron Rubenstein by his proverbial cover; you would find every impression wrong. As an artist, he is the allegorical Clark Kent. His calm demeanor yields way to reveal an alternate identity that highlights Myron as an extremely prolific artist. Always quietly working on a new project, Myron has recently launched a new website, enrolled in art classes again, and is an active member at Hera Gallery as well as NoHo Gallery in Chelsea, NY.

Myron is constantly pushing himself. His artistic origins are in the field of graphic design, which led way to explorations in traditional media. Canvas, oil, and mixed media then gave way to a search ‘for the convergence of traditional painting, photography, and the virtual world of computing.’ This examination of method and material led to Myron’s characteristic computer generated art. Again, the ebb and flow of his creativity has led him back to traditional methods of making, as he has currently been exploring traditional forms of printmaking.

Please see his website, as well as his profile at Hera Gallery, and NoHo Gallery for more examples of Myron Rubenstein’s work.