2013 marks the second anniversary of the founding of the Good Purpose Gallery and the settling into its home in Lee. “You were made for good purpose and are inherently valuable,” reads the quote from founder Michael McManmon stenciled and appropriately placed on the wall space above the gallery’s large westward looking window. Simple enough, logical, should be a given, however…well, it is given, but a tenet that is often overlooked, misused, and not often enough generally fully realized.
While it is understandable that positive affirmation is not always a constant and not realistically expected to be as such either, there are, of course, circles where the percentage is higher, indeed much higher. The Good Purpose Gallery, as one component of the Berkshire Visual and Performing Arts Center, along with the Spectrum Playhouse, is one such circle.
The gallery, located on Lee’s re-invigorated Main Street, adjacent to the Starving Artist Café and another instance where appropriateness may be noted, is the national headquarters for the College Internship Program. This program works with post secondary school students as a comprehensive transition solution for young adults with Autism, Asperger’s, and other Learning Differences. The artwork shown in the Good Purpose Gallery is created by artists on the Autism Spectrum, as well as supporters of the CIP program. Sales proceeds benefit CIP student development in the arts.
Over the course of the past two years, the shows at the gallery have been very well received and very well attended, certainly re-enforcing the gallery’s ideal to act as a bridge to the community at large and act as an instrument to blend, meld, and blur the lines and borders between outsider art and fine art. The gallery’s proponents firmly believe everyone has a creative spark to ignite and can wonderfully voice their passions through their art. Through the language of art, the protégées of the gallery are recognized for their talent and develop and augment valuable life skills that aid their assimilation into the mainstream populace.
During my recent visit to the gallery, I was delighted to be able to spend time with the current Yom Tov Blumenthal exhibit, “The Way I See It”. Yom Tov, which is Hebrew for “Good Day”, paints large-scale acrylics in a more or less realist fashion, but draws the viewer through a conscious state of mind and then beyond. Surreal, yet plausibly engaging scenarios and circumstances present the viewer with categorically fantastic creatures, geometrically heaving landscapes, and deceptively tranquil lake scenes. Yom Tov comes to the Good Purpose Gallery by way of his own gallery in Zfat, Israel.
Beyond “The Way I See It”, the gallery has a very exciting 2013 season lined up indeed. The immediate exhibit after is a national show drawn from “The Art of Autism”, compiled by Debra Hosseini. The show, entitled “Shifting Perceptions”, is also curated by Hosseini and features Wil Kerner, Kevin Hosseini, Seth Chwast, Dylan Guest, Neri Avraham, Jimmy Reagan, Grace Goad, Trent Altman, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker for Esther Brokaw, and Justin Canha. The show will run from April 5 through May 27.
Cheers from the Berkshire Voice of Arts Indie (BVAI)