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Downtown Windows Featuring Art for Annual Exhibition

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A piece by Worcester's Terri Priest.

Nine downtown storefront windows will soon feature the diverse work of 36 Massachusetts artists during the annual Worcester Windows exhibition. This year, the show will be Taking it to the Street! and celebrating the city’s creativity and downtown in a nod to the window-shopping trends of the past.

The show will feature the work of renowned Worcester artist Terri Preist and will be curated by two Worcester State University alumni, Howard McGinn and Anne Seuthe. Works include painting, sculpture, drawing and photography.

“As for this year’s theme, we entitled it Taking it to the Street! as a reference to the days of yesteryear of going downtown,” said Howard McGinn who has been involved with the group for a year and a half. “Anne came from a very large family, and that was one of the highlights in the holidays. We wanted to show the downtown area and the businesses that are letting us use their windows as venues.”

An Impressive Group

From the show’s curators to its star artists, this year’s Worcester Windows exhibition should prove to be an impressive show.

The two curators have a long history of enjoying the arts and are excited to have such talented individuals to push Worcester as a creative city.

While McGinn claims to remain on the sidelines of art as an admirer, he clearly admires the work of his fellow curator and enduring friend.

“I met her 37 years ago, and we became lifelong friends and visited just about every museum in the world together. We go way back,” he said. Anne is currently the director of the Hampden Gallery at University of Amherst and an accomplished artist.

“I’m a great admirer of art, and I appreciate the arts immensely. Having known Ann so long, I’ve been very involved with the arts,” he added.

Between the two curators, members of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the artists, it’s been a lot of work, McGinn says, but it’s something everyone will be proud of. He was especially happy to have the work of featured artist, Terri Priest, in the exhibition.

“The premier artist in Worcester”

“Terri is an artist of significant stature. She’s been here for forty years in the Worcester art scene. She taught at Holy Cross. She’s probably the premier artist in Worcester,” McGinn said. “Getting Terri to agree to do it was great. It took a bit of coercing to get someone of that stature.”

But the convincing was worth it, McGinn said, to elevate the show and raise awareness for all of the impressive work put into the Worcester Windows project.

“It’s for the culture of the city. We’re not just putting some crazy paintings up on a window. They’re professionally installed,” he said. “The artists have sold work for thousands of dollars. It’s serious artists, and their work is being shown in a very respectful way. The city is taking it seriously. The businesses and the cultural commission are behind it and have been great to support us. It’s a partnership.”

Art in Your Face

One artist whose work will be featured in the show really enjoys the idea of art being in public places and disrupting the daily routines of passersby.

Jeff Stauder, an art teacher at Amherst Regional High School, has five pieces in the show, all drawings.

“It’s a great thing and I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s a way to get people out to see a lot of different art they wouldn’t usually see,” he said. I like anything where the art can go to the people. It’s rarer than it should be.”

A piece by Northampton's Jeff Strauder

The work that Stauder chose for the Worcester Windows exhibition has only been seen online, and he’s excited to get it out in into the world and getting a reaction from people on the street.

“Art should stick its nose in places it doesn’t belong. I’m all for that. Hopefully the work shakes up the routine of life even if it’s just for a moment,” Stauder said. “Being able to have people see the work who might not normally seek out the work is really important. It can make an impact.”

Stauder’s work is definitely something that shakes things up. He described his pieces as “a confused iconography” that blends together traditional American narrative with something out of the ordinary.

“The work is realistic. It’s very representational in terms of the imagery, but they’re all put together digitally so there’s something surreal there,” he said. “The imagery is from American iconic scenes. There are buffalo, and a central figure is a lone pilgrim.”

Stauder is working with introducing other things in American iconography to create something he says is, “suggesting a story but never quite getting to it.”

“You could call it surrealist, but the production is very conceptual. I get an idea and figure out how I want it to look and execute it,” he explained, but while all of this may sound very methodical and dry, Stauder’s take on it is anything but. He gets a lot of joy out of these playful scenes that make their own stories.

“There is a deeper element of reflection on American history and identity, and also they’re fun and odd and lovable. That’s an important part of the work.”

A Mixture

"We have a lot of great work in the show. There’s portraits, oils, installation, drawings, photos – it’s all over the place. It’s really diverse from a wealth of great artists.

"You’ll see many different things on display,” McGinn said, adding that the age range is just as diverse – from a young 84 to an even younger student at Mass. School of Art in Boston.
“I applaud Erin for starting this. It’s been going on for a while. It’s a win win. It’s great for the city. It’s great for everyone. I hope it will continue, and I’m sure it will,” he said.

To launch the exhibition, an opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 12th from 5-7 p.m. at The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge Street, Worcester. Many of the artists will be there, and Priest will be speaking briefly about her three works at the Hanover Theater as well as another piece not included in the show that she will be bringing.

Following Priest's talk, guests will be invited to take the walking tour that starts at The Hanover Theatre on Southbridge Street, proceeds on to Franklin, Portland and Front Streets and ends up at the City Hall Gallery, 455 Main Street, where the Worcester Alliance of Photographers will be showcasing works by 25 photographers in an exhibition titled The People of Worcester County.

Worcester Windows is funded in part by the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the City of Worcester, and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.


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