Last Saturday evening, surrounded, fittingly, by vibrant middle school and high school art work, the Belmont Gallery of Art bid a fond farewell to former Gallery Administrator Nan Rogers. Many years ago, as a member of the Belmont Cultural Council (BCC), Nan saw the possibility of a gallery when the Town Hall Annex (now the Homer Municipal Building) was being renovated. The BCC, which is part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, consists of volunteers from the town who are appointed by the Selectmen, and who review and issue annual grants to artists/humanists/scientists that will benefit members of the community. Grant information and applications are available at the Massachusetts Cultural Council website (http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/programs/lccgrants.asp), and from September until the October 15th deadline, at Town Hall and the Belmont Public Library.
Back in 2003, when the Annex was to be renovated, the Cultural Council members realized that without a public exhibition space in town, few artists bothered to apply for funding. Members of the BCC, including Nan, formed a Gallery Committee that researched and came up with a plan to find a gallery space in town. Working with other Cultural Council members, town administrators and Selectmen, Nan watched the attic of the Homer Building turn into a terrific space for showing local artwork--the loft-like, airy, light-filled Belmont Gallery of Art.
In 2005, when the Gallery opened, Nan became the first Gallery Administrator--a demanding, seven days a week unpaid position which required her to wear many hats to plan, prepare and exhibit ever varying artwork. At the celebration last week, Nan estimated that under her guidance, the Gallery had hosted 45 shows! The exhibits change about every two months, and feature a variety of media--from photography to painting, drawing, fabric art, graphics, collage, printmaking and sculpture. There have been solo exhibits, group exhibits, exhibits by themes--like the successful portrait exhibit last year, and the ever popular end-of school year Belmont Public Schools exhibits. The Gallery may be hidden on the top floor of a town building, with limited hours reflective of that fact, but there is always an interesting exhibit to visit in a beautiful space.
Day-to-day operations are managed by the Gallery Administrator, but a Curatorial Committee chooses the artwork that is submitted by local and regional artists, and the BGA committee is still under the guidance of the Belmont Cultural Council. While Nan found the job of Gallery Administrator to be incredibly fulfilling, if challenging, she recently got a wonderful job elsewhere, and couldn't continue in the day-to-day volunteer position at the Belmont Gallery of Art. Luckily, the BGA committee found a new Gallery Administrator--and Nan has passed the baton to the capable hands of Juliana Rozeboom--and the two have become fast friends. As was obvious by the enthusiastic crowd last weekend, Nan Rogers has done a fantastic job making artwork accessible in Belmont, and her hard work as Gallery Administrator is grately appreciated.