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Demystifying the Art World At Gallery 263

The art world is an inclusive community with a rich history and a long battle to overcome adversity. Gallery 263 is a safe haven for artists in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The building housing the Gallery has a long-standing relationship with the art world, dating back to the early 1970s. Once the Brinkerhoff Gallery, the space provided a location for the filming of the film "Behind the Lines," starring Jeff Goldblum. The movie detailed another art-based industry, depicting the story of an underground newspaper trying to avoid a corporate take-over.

Following the Brinkerhoff Gallery was the Organic Furniture Cellar, which claimed the space for close to two decades. Then, in 2004, the space was transformed into Gallery 263.

Gallery 263 didn't start out as the medium it is today. Upon foundation, the space was utilized as a personal art studio for the first four years. However, in September of 2008, Gallery 263 shed its coil and become the exhibition venue that it is now known as.

"Gallery 263 is a nonprofit art space proud to showcase a wide variety of visual art, as well as provide an intimate venue for acoustic music, performance, poetry readings, and special events," Alexandra Photopoulos, managing director, said. "While we exhibit the work of artists from across the country, and artists at all career stages, our particular focus is on supporting the work of local, emerging artists."

The Gallery also acts as a gathering place and community resource, making time to present works from local elementary schools and preschool classes. In an effort to encourage art education in the community, Gallery 263 offers low-cost workshops and classes for adults and families.

To combat the belief that the art world is an enigmatic community, Gallery 263 has crafted a specialized, welcoming environment aimed at drawing in the general public.

"I think the coziness of our space, and the atmosphere we have worked hard to cultivate demystify the art world a bit and make our exhibitions accessible to everyone in our community," Photopoulos said.

In addition to workshops and exhibitions, the art gallery provides a variety of different opportunities for artists, including juried group exhibitions, an artist membership program, and an artist residency program. A favorite of the Gallery's programs is the Curatorial Proposal Series. The series allows many local, emerging artists to propose their own exhibition, either solo or group, based on a theme of their own design. If the artist is selected, they partner with the Gallery staff to create the event.

"Gallery staff members work with the artists on each step of the exhibition process, from creating postcards and press releases to installing the show and hosting a reception," Photopoulos said. "As an artist myself, I know how difficult it can be to navigate the business and logistical sides of the art world, and it has been gratifying to hear from artists who have participated in this program that it has been a really valuable professional development experience for them as they embark on their careers."

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