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Nurturing the Artist Community in Somerville at the Brickbottom Artists Association

The BAA is one of the country's oldest and most prosperous art associations among its peers, and has many invaluable services to offer to aspiring and established artists alike. It is an essential venue for countless artists and visitors.

One of the gallery's appealing qualities is that any artist can join the BAA. An important membership benefit is being able to submit your work in the two member exhibitions- one summer exhibition and one spring show during Somerville Open Studios. A member can also participate in Brickbottom Open Studios and include his or her work in the gallery for the Open Studios Directory Exhibition in November. Gallery Director Debra Olin adds that both affiliated and non-affiliated artists are invited to submit group exhibition proposals as a way to foster diversity of expression and ideas.

The gallery encourages and accepts a wide variety of artistic forms. Professional artwork of all genres and mediums is welcome. "We have exhibited paintings, sculpture, printmaking, collage and assemblage, installations, video and multi-media," points out Olin. The BAA serves an important role in the community by promoting the work of budding young artists and mentoring them on how to best showcase their creations.

Photo Credit: Shannon Humphreys

Moreover, the gallery is a non-profit space that is fully devoted to providing a professional venue for artists to exhibit their work. Olin adds that because they are not a commercial business, they can offer artists the opportunity to experiment with a gamut of artistic forms, materials, and methods. "It is a space where artists can curate exhibitions with far-reaching themes. Timely topics such as climate change or the role of religion are welcome and generate provocative discussion," he says.

Photo Credit: Chris Engles

The BAA also runs a popular series called "Brickbottom Speaks," inviting Brickbottom residents such as an astrophysicist, a playwright, and a landscape architect, among others, to give a talk about their respective professional field. To offer a little more variety, the gallery also invites various outside performers. For instance, two weeks ago, a performance was given by actors from Somerville's sister city in Morocco, Tiznit.

On their website, you will find information about Brickbottom's Open Studios, the latest shows, art resources, member benefits, news, programs, classes and events, and a complete list of members and background about their work. You can also sign up to receive news about their monthly gallery exhibitions and their annual Open Studios event, which are quite popular with the local residents. The BAA also has its own Facebook page, which gives up-to-date information on all of its activities.

For even more information about the Brickbottom Artist Association, check out their website at

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