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Dedham Square Artist Guild Provides an Open Door to Local Artists

From local events to workshops and classes, the Guild has embedded itself into the Dedham community.

Dedham Square Artist Guild Member Lisa B. Walker, left, with Guild co-founder Kerry Hawkins, on a recent January day.
Dedham Square Artist Guild Member Lisa B. Walker, left, with Guild co-founder Kerry Hawkins, on a recent January day.

Dedham Square is home to a host of local businesses, but there's also a little niche carved out with artists in mind. 

The Dedham Square Artist Guild, located adjacent to the intersection of High Street and Eastern Avenue, sells art created and produced by local artists from Dedham and the surrounding area. 

The Guild is Dedham's first artist cooperative that aims to provide its members with a home for their work and opportunity to connect with the community, as well as working to boost cultural life of local residents with classes, workshops, art openings and other initiatives, according to its website.

Co-founded in 2011 by Jennifer Barsamian, Marietta Apollonio and Kerry Hawkins, the Guild has worked with several community groups over the last two years, including Dedham Shines, Dedham Open Studios, Dedham Square Circle, the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center and the Dedham Community House, among others. 

"It's really nice that we get asked by other organizations that are nonprofit to work with," Hawkins said. "That they really know us, they know the artists really want to do this kind of stuff."

Walking through the Guild's two main exhibition rooms, patrons can peruse a wide variety of art, from painting to photography, as well as pottery, jewelry, monotype, wood, glass and textiles.

"We found that one of the great parts of being apart of the Guild is every time you walk in here, you meet an artist," said Lisa B. Walker, a Westwood resident and Guild member. "Each month, we feature a wall artist and a table-top artist, or one or the other. It's a way to meet people, buy art."

The Guild, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary in October 2013, has already kicked off its series of events with a "Pop Artist Challenge" event on Jan. 16. Hawkins said that one thing she'd like to see in 2014 is for the Guild to continue hosting more events and to have more returning patrons. 

The Guild currently comprises 24 members hailing from Dedham, Westwood, West Roxbury, Needham, Medfield, Mansfield, Brookline and other surrounding communities. The Guild is run by artists on a volunteer basis, all of whom take different parts such as artist of the month exhibits and Dedham's annual "Love is in the Square" effort, as well as offering classes that focus on clay, water colors, painting, and more.

"Anything that we want to share and that allows people to come in and meet us," Walker said.

Moreover, Walker and Hawkins both said being a part of Dedham Square's recent reconstruction project has been beneficial to the downtown area.

"I think they're working really hard to revitalize the square and it is looking fantastic sand it's really a wonderful place to be," Walker said. "I think as a community, everybody is working really hard to make this a destination. We're still a town where you come in and meet the people. You come in and you see people walk by. I think that's what they're trying to create."

The Guild also offers an opportunity for outside vendors who may be looking for a home for their work. 

"If you're an artist and you don't have a gallery and you want to sell your stuff, you can come in here and set up for a day and invite your friends and family," Walker said. "They get to sell their work and we get to have people come in."

Five of the Guild's members serve on cultural councils in various communities, with Hawkins serving on the Dedham Cultural Council and Walker serving on the Westwood Cultural Council. 

To learn more about the Guild's offerings, follow the group on Facebook or Twitter.

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