For the past five years, the Clever Hand Art Gallery has collaborated with art students at the high school, working to offer them a glimpse of the professional art world. The gallery, located at 52 Central St. in Wellesley, showcases the work of local artisans, whose handiwork range from pottery to glasswork to letter art. Each item in their store is handcrafted by a local artist, with over twenty artists in total.
“The Clever Hand Gallery started in 1973 in Sudbury,” said Réme Gold, one of the artists who works at the gallery and also specializes mainly in pottery. “They decided to move to Wellesley in 1993, so we’ve been in our store in Wellesley since.”
According to Metals teacher Ms. Shayla Vines, in the past five years, artists from the Clever Hand have come to the high school “to do demos for the students in both Ceramics and Metals. In return the Ceramics and Metals Intensive students [would] have their work on display for the month of April,” she said. “When the new high school came about, so did the offering of Metals Intensive. Metals Intensive joined in [the collaboration] at that time, which was three years ago.”
This year, as part of the collaboration, an art display has been set up in the front lobby to showcase the work of artists from the Clever Hand. “The WHS display came about this year as a new way for the Clever Hand Artists to be able to advertise and display their work somewhere else in Wellesley besides their own store and gallery downtown,” said Vines. “This has also helped with freeing up time for curriculum needs in both courses here at WHS. So far it seems to be a win-win for everyone involved.”
According to Gold, the display case serves several main purposes that benefit both the high school students and the gallery. “One is to publicize the collaboration of Wellesley High School with the Clever Hand Gallery. Another purpose is to show Clever Hand Gallery’s work to students and faculty – it’s good publicity for Clever Hand, and we also want students to learn about the work of a professional artist,” she said. Vines agreed: “The case allows for everyone in at WHS, including the Intensive students, to be exposed to more visual art and see how some artists are making a living at something they love to do.”
The Clever Hand Gallery also has a show called Collaboration with Clay and Metals on Tuesday, April 7 from 2-5 p.m. where Ceramics and Metals Intensive students will bring their work to the gallery and have it displayed in one of the windows for three weeks.
Many of the students agree that having their work showcased at a local gallery feels rewarding as an artist. “It feels good having my work being displayed at the Clever Hand Gallery because after all my efforts, I’m being showcased alongside professionals, which is really amazing,” said an anonymous junior, whose metals work is on display there.Rachel Cohen ’15 agreed: “I feel honored that the Clever Hand Gallery has offered to display the work of such young and unrecognized artists, such as the Intensive Metals students. It is a huge privilege that the Gallery is not only displaying our artwork, but doing so in the window of their store for all passersby to acknowledge. If not for this opportunity, most of the Intensive students’ artwork would likely fly under the radar.”
Furthermore, Cohen feels that this collaboration has benefited her as an artist. “The collaboration between WHS and the Clever Hand Gallery provides an immense opportunity [to have my artwork seen] and be more widely appreciated, allowing me to get feedback on my artwork that I would otherwise not receive.” Cohen added that having her work displayed also “pushes me out of my comfort zone to open me up to other artwork when I visit the gallery to view our displayed pieces. On top of these various benefits for me as an artist, the gallery also gives us the chance to sell our pieces and possibly gain a profit on our hard work. I thank Ms. Vines and the Clever Hand Gallery immensely for providing us with such a tremendously beneficial opportunity.”
Not only does the collaboration between the gallery and the high school benefit students, but it also helps the Clever Hand Gallery because “everyone in the high school gets an idea of the work of Clever Hand artists, and hopefully they’ll come to our gallery and support local artists by buying gifts for themselves and their families and friends,” said Gold.
Meet Clay and Metals Intensive students, as well as local artists, at the Clever Hand Gallery’s show on Tuesday, April 7 from 2-5 p.m! All are welcome.
(Noor Pirani ’15, Editor-in-Chief)