Archive for the ‘Alison Shaw Gallery’ Category

What a ride…

by Sue Dawson


I THINK I’VE READ ten articles – online, and in local papers – mentioning how fast it’s felt, with Memorial Day weekend already here. New England had a rough winter, so perhaps we’re still reeling from that. I’m still drinking in the sounds and smells of the spring birds and flowers, marveling at the transformation. Or maybe it’s that the island is staying busier in the off-season, so we’re wondering if we’ll be able to fit all the summer visitors onto this rock. All I know is that the college kids are back, heavier traffic is making my errands take longer, and I gave out three of my homemade maps yesterday, showing tourists the way back to the center of town. The 2015 season has officially begun.

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Our first Advanced Mentorship show opens May 3rd

by Sue Dawson

THERE’S ONLY ONE reason we’d open our gallery three weeks early. I complain brag about never getting even one day off during our busy season, which starts every year on Memorial Day weekend. So there’s gotta be a really good reason for me to work nonstop open our doors three weeks ahead of schedule. Lots of island businesses are pulling up the window shades, dusting off their shelves, and putting out their “OPEN” signs now, but we always wait until the big holiday weekend. Until this year.

Our first Advanced Mentorship group is affectionately known as our “guinea pigs,” since they’ve been with us since the very beginning of our Mentorship program in 2013. The culmination of their Advanced year is a group show in our gallery, for three weeks in May. From choosing what to hang, to writing an artist statement, deciding how to present their work, and creating a catalog of their photographs, they’ve worked hard and learned a lot.

The opening reception is May 3rd, from 4 to 6pm, at our gallery. The nine Advanced Mentorship members are: Gwen Norton, Doug Burke, Diane Collins, Jean Schnell, Estelle Disch, Kate Griswold, Karla Bernstein, David Matthews, and Steven Koppel. They’ll be hanging the show on the 2nd, and will all attend the reception, so you can meet them. We’re honored to be hosting such a stunning, diverse selection of work, and to be working with such a lovely group. In case you’re wondering, it’s worth my May…

Wonder what this photo means?

by Sue Dawson


AT THIS VERY MOMENT, our lives are changing. It’s a pivotal time, as you can see from this photo…. Well … I can see it.

Give up?

Leaning next to the card tower are our “OPEN” flags for the gallery, and I just brought them in for the last time this season. You won’t see them flying outside here until next May. Until then, this space will be a teaching space (for our mentorship retreats and VIP days), a storage space (it can get a little Sanford & Son in here sometimes), a disorganized space (see me at tax time, with my teetering Jenga-esque piles of receipts and papers all over), and an inspiration space for our business. Of course, I’m happy to open the gallery for you, if you’d like to stop by. But the next time you’ll see the flags will be our Advanced Mentorship student show next May.

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Our last opening reception of the season…

by Sue Dawson

IT’S SO HARD TO BELIEVE that we’re already past Labor Day, the school year has started, and the Vineyard summer season is officially over. The good news is that September is so amazing here. The weather’s usually mild, the water’s warm, and it’s WAY less crowded. For us, the fall season also means workshops, and our last show of the season – our “Best of” show.

This year we’re so excited that Cathy Walthers will be here for our opening reception on Sunday (yes, Sunday), from 4 to 6pm. Her new book, “Kale, Glorious Kale,” just arrived, and it’s full of fantastic recipes. We’re huge kale fans – Alison makes roasted kale at least three times a week these days, and our whole family loves it. Cathy and Alison will sign books, and Cathy’s bringing lots of great kale treats for you to try. I’ve said this before, but when Cathy invites you over to a meal, it’s your lucky day. She’s a private chef, teaches cooking classes (I highly recommend taking one, by the way), and has published a number of cookbooks. She’s known for her healthy, fresh take on slow food (as opposed to fast food). One of her books, “Raising the Salad Bar,” has sold over 50,000 copies so far. She’s that good.

Hope you can make it on Sunday!

september sign flat blog

Come see us tomorrow at the gallery

by Sue Dawson


WE’RE HANGING new photographs today, in preparation for tomorrow’s opening reception and Arts District Stroll, which will be from 4 to 7pm. If you’re going to the Moth performance at the Tabernacle, why not get to Oak Bluffs early, get your parking spot, and come to our opening beforehand? We’ll offer you a nice glass of wine or San Pelligrino, and you can sample delicious food from the new Morning Glory Farm cookbook Farm Food. You can even buy the new book, and get it signed by Alison, chef Robert Lionette, and Jim & Debbie Athearn (Jim says he’s got to load a bunch of pigs into a truck first, but he’ll be here as soon as he can). Happily fed, you can take a short walk over to the Tabernacle, and get great seats for the Moth.

We’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

This might be my favorite shot of 2014

by Sue Dawson

lifeboat blog

WE JUST HUNG a canvas of this image on the main wall of the gallery, for tomorrow’s Arts District Stroll. I’m in love. This is a detail of one of the lifeboats that used to be on-board the Ferry Islander. I’ve heard customers say to their partner (on several occasions) “Honey, we need to buy another house so we can buy this canvas to hang on the wall.” Today, that’s exactly how I feel.

I asked Alison about this shot, and here’s what she said: “The Martha’s Vineyard Museum owns this lifeboat now. She was originally on-board when the Islander was launched, in 1950. The Islander went out of service (for the Woods Hole – Martha’s Vineyard run) in 2007, and was scrapped in 2012. The lifeboat has wonderful layers of texture and color. I love the understated, stenciled look of the word “ISLANDER” on the bow.”

In honor of this photo, and the 12 additional new shots (including three of the Charles W. Morgan, which visited the Island in June), we’re having an opening reception tomorrow, from 4 to 7pm. It feels appropriate to serve hot dogs again, since we’ve had lots of requests since we last served them a few years ago, and Offshore Ale for you seaworthy types. See you tomorrow!

Whew, it’s been awhile…

by Sue Dawson

IT HAS BEEN a long winter on the Vineyard, and yet it’s flown by for us in some ways. I feel like I haven’t seen flowers in ages (our amazing landscapers just made our garden come alive!), and yet it feels like yesterday that we started our new mentorship program. Back in November, we began our first 6-month mentorship, all mapped out on 6 calendar pages taped together. What we didn’t map out was that Alison was also working on four books. Four. Yeah, she won’t be doing that again. One book at a time from now on.

Our 12 wonderful mentorship students have graciously let us continue with them for a bit. We need the time, to finish all we want to do – we are LOVING it, and loving them. I just posted the 2014-2015 mentorship pdf if you’re interested in joining us this November. I promise the next one will keep to the 6-month plan. And we’re creating a way for students to continue with us after they’ve finished the mentorship. More on that in June.

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And the winner is …

by Sue Dawson

WE HAVE a winner! A clear winner, in fact. As of this writing, with 92 “likes,” the easel sign that readers liked the best is:


This has been so interesting to me. A couple of my favorites came in second and third, but this was clearly the top choice, by almost 30 votes. Ironically, neither Alison nor I “get” this one. The “2013” in between the other words doesn’t make sense to me, and the “NEW” makes it redundant, I think. So, what to do? We respect the votes, and wanted to make this work.

Yesterday, in anticipation of the Arts District Stroll today, we hung our newest show. So I worked for awhile on the winning design. Just a tweak, I thought. I needed to alter it so we’d like it better, but stay in the spirit of the concept our readers like best. I came up with the following, with Alison standing behind my desk. “I was just about to suggest putting the “2013” in a serif,” she said as I did it. We’re usually in agreement about these things, so that confirmed it. We like it now:


Thanks for all of your great suggestions! I hope you like the end result. I’ll let you know if anyone stops in and asks where the New York photos are…

I’d love your feedback…

by Sue Dawson

IT’S TIME TO DESIGN my new easel sign for outside the gallery. We’re producing Alison’s latest photographs, and will be hanging them this Friday for our new show, and this Saturday’s Arts District Stroll (from 4 to 7 – hope to see you there). We got so many great suggestions and comments for my last blog post, that I decided to mock up most of them, and ask for your votes. If you haven’t read my last blog entry, please do, so you understand why I’m doing this! Our programmer, Heather, found these dandy little thumbs up/down thingies that make it easy to vote, and keep track of what you think. Today was the fun part – doing all the suggested designs and word combos. As I said in my last post, I like trying everything, even if I think I won’t like it. I’m always interested to see how suggestions look, and sometimes I’m surprised by my reactions to them. Design is a process.

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Designer’s dilemma

by Sue Dawson

AN INTERESTING THING has been happening at the gallery. Every other week or so, someone comes in and looks around, ending up at my desk with a quizzical look on his/her face. “Is this all New York, or just some of it?” or “Where are the New York photos?” I didn’t get it at first. But it kept happening. Obviously something was triggering the confusion. Finally, someone said “The sign said ‘New York,’ so I’m confused.” We went out and looked at the sign – “Oh my gosh! I thought sure it said New York! I must be losing my mind!”

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