Sweltering temperatures didn’t put a damper on the opening of the New Hope Art Gallery’s Summer Show, which doubles as a celebration of its ninth anniversary.
The gallery, located inside the Cranston Enrichment Center at 1070 Cranston St., welcomed more than 200 guests for the opening. The show features approximately 400 pieces of art from scores of artists of all ages and abilities.
Music was provided by Sue Dussault-Eddins and her band as well as Jim Chapin, David Denda, Mark Greenwood and Bob Ruzzo. Several guests were lucky enough to have a free portrait done by senior artist Jack Lai.
“We had our most successful opening ever, with 15 sales of art from the walls of our gallery and another 20 sales from our vendor tables from our artists,” said Ricky Gagnon, the gallery’s curator.
Beneath the success, however, was sadness and shock for the show’s participants. One of the new artists featured, Cassie-Leigh Stock, died unexpectedly at age 34 just a week after submitting her work for the show.
In a tribute, assistant curator David Koukol noted that Stock had not previously shown her work and was “excited and a little nervous” about showing her “delightful paintings” in the show.
“Cassie’s paintings brought a lot of joy to both the staff of the New Hope Art Gallery and the Michael Traficante Enrichment Center before our show even opened,” the tribute reads. “We are confident they will continue to bring smiles to people for the duration of the show, and beyond.”
The show also features 22 new artists from the United Cerebral Palsy Adaptive Arts Program.
“Having United Cerebral Palsy Adaptive Arts Program artists show in the New Hope Art Gallery exhibit gives our artists a chance to share their voice, vision and skill through their art,” director Kim Beretta said. “For people with physical and cognitive disabilities, art provides a special freedom of expression and creativity. When our artists create something others enjoy viewing, it is a very gratifying feeling.”
The featured returning artist for the Summer Show is Melyssa Lentini of Johnston, who has been showing her work at New Hope Art Gallery for five years.
Lentini is a painter, illustrator and mixed-media artist. She previously worked at the circulation desk and taught art classes at Johnston’s Mohr Memorial Library, but was unable to continue working after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2015.
“Although MS has made me face many physical and cognitive challenges, I continue to try to make my art, which has been extremely therapeutic for me,” she said. “Although I am not doing as many gallery shows as I used too, I always make a point to show at New Hope Art Gallery.”
The summer show runs until late October and can be viewed during regular gallery hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except holidays.