Updated February 23 at 11:56am
9/1/12 11:39AM

Art for Your Office or Home? Pawtucket Armory Becoming Arts Mecca

Pawtucket Armory to Host First Fine Arts/Crafts Exhibit & Sale Pawtucket, Rhode Island is rapidly evolving into a burgeoning arts center, attracting artists from across the United States. …

Pawtucket Armory to Host First Fine Arts/Crafts Exhibit & Sale

Pawtucket, Rhode Island is rapidly evolving into a burgeoning arts center, attracting artists from across the United States. Small business and enterprises driven by artists and designers, have been finding a welcome environment in the city.

This is one of the reasons why a new art and crafts show has chosen Pawtucket to take place: The First Annual Arts Marketplace Pawtucket (www.artsmarketplacepawtucket.com) will take place on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9, 2012, from 10am to 4pm, in the Drill Hall of the newly renovated Pawtucket Armory Art Center, 172 Exchange Street, in downtown Pawtucket, next to Tolman High School and The Gamm Theater.

The recently renovated Drill Hall in the newly named Armory Art Center, is a perfect site for this exhibit, with a light-filled 11,000 square foot space with soaring ceilings and beautiful balcony.

Conceptualized and organized by two local, well-known and savvy artists, whose own studios are in Pawtucket and East Greenwich – Gretchen Dow Simpson and Nancy Gaucher Thomas – this event has the markings of becoming one of the most esteemed art shows in the region.

“We have been excited to see the success of the Pawtucket Arts Festival, and we always felt there could be a wonderful showcase for fine artists during this annual event,” said Nancy Gaucher-Thomas. “When we suggested the possibility of such an event,” added Gretchen Dow Simpson, “we thought it was something we could definitely do. We are thrilled to say that we are very happy with the enthusiasm of the participants and the city.”

The show will be comprised of fifty artists working in fine arts and crafts, many with connections to Rhode Island, others from throughout the region and from as far away as Arizona. The work they will be exhibiting and selling is high quality fine art and crafts: jewelry, sculpture, painting, printmaking, fine wearables and accessories.

What makes this show different?

Not only is this the first show of its kind being held in The Armory location, but Arts Marketplace: Pawtucket, is one of the few juried shows in the area. Jurors for the show are: Jewelry Designer, Micki Whelan and Sculptor, Kenn Speiser and artists Gretchen Dow Simpson and Nancy Gaucher-Thomas.

In addition to the exhibit, the event is designed to give the entire family some wonderful and free activities that have been planned to take place over the course of the weekend. These include an interactive demonstration of printmaking by the Ink Monkeys, whose unique program employs a giant, 12’ steamroller for printing on paper; “Ceramic Throw,” a hands on-program for all ages that allows participants to make bowls and cups from clay and subsequently, they throw their objects on a wall to create an original art installation; Dan Butterworth and his marionettes, the Rossonians music group and Sidewalk Chalk Artist, Michael Macaulay who will create a special chalk painting on the sidewalk leading up to the Armory Art Center; and the work of students from the JM Walsh School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Additionally, colorful, handmade banners designed and created by students participating in the New Urban Arts program will line the Morris Nathanson Bridge on Exchange Street. Two decorative cauldrons will also help create a festive feel to the entrance – the cauldrons are on loan from Waterplace Providence.

While this is the first year for the Arts Marketplace, this is the thirteenth year for the Pawtucket Arts Festival, whose attendance totaled over 35,000 in 2011. Other festival events will include music, demonstrations, vendors, and many other family programs. There is ample parking and a beautiful Blackstone River view from the nearby Morris Nathanson Bridge. For additional information log on to the website at www.artsmarketplacepawtucket.com or on Facebook (Arts Marketplace: Pawtucket).

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