Ekua Holmes' painting "Free" is one of the paintings that will be on exhibit at this weekend's Franklin Park art show. Image courtesy Franklin Park Coalition / Ekua Holmes
"Buy local." The slogan works for veggies, fruits, and dairy products. Why not for holiday gifts? At least that's the pitch from visual artists from Dorchester and near-by neighborhoods who make at least part of their living from sales of their work.
They're marketing their creations at two upcoming exhibits which showcase made-down-the-street alternatives to mall-ware, mass-produced in China.
First up is "Nature's Gems," an exhibit and sale of art inspired by nature and community scheduled for this weekend - Saturday, Dec. 6, 12 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7, 12 to 4 p.m. at the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse.
This second annual exhibit follows a hugely successful Nature's Gems show in December 2007 that drew hundreds to Franklin Park on a bitterly cold Sunday. It is expanded this year to include two exhibit days, free to the general public, and an opening reception and auction to benefit woodlands restoration and summer jobs for youth in the Emerald Necklace parks. Established and emerging local artists will present and offer for sale their acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings; collages; mixed media pieces; photographs; and sculptures.
Candelaria Silva, Dorchester writer and founder of ACT Roxbury, will give a Saturday noon gallery talk, which is free to the public. There will be a children's activity corner inviting young people to create their own collages and artwork.
This event is the latest collaboration between the Franklin Park Coalition and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, two prominent Boston park organizations. Both recognize the powerful connection between nature and art and seek to celebrate this relationship with such projects as the restoration of the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park. (Weekend details at franklinparkcoalition.org).
"Nature's Gem's" participants include such familiar Dorchester names as Lucilda Cooper, Marcia Sewall, and Laurence Martin. A former Dot resident who now goes by the name Radiant Jasmine will offer jewelry including necklaces studded with - you guessed it - tiny emeralds!
The following weekend - on Sunday, Dec. 14 - there will be a gallery reception from noon to 5 p.m. at the Pearl Street Cooperative Gallery.
When curated by Larry Pryor the exhibition space at 11 Pearl St. was known as the Ahimsa Gallery. The Dec. 14 show will be the first group show curated by new manager, Dorchester Arts Collaborative. They can be reached at 617-839-6734.
Photographer Rob Littlefield will have postcards of kids sledding on Savin Hill. Susan Krause, Shane Ruff, and Robert Thornell will also have reasonably priced items. The group hopes to launch its website - pearlstreetgallery.org - in time for the show.