Ten years ago, First Parishioner and artist Maria Green said as she walked through the upstairs rooms in the church “this beautiful space would make a nice art gallery.” When she shared this idea that First Parish should have a gallery to showcase art made by parishioners as well as artists from the larger community, a group of visual artists from the church met to brainstorm how an arts ministry could be realized.
One of the goals from the meeting was to make Maria’s idea of a gallery happen. She and others worked with the Rev. John Gibbons and the church’s Interiors Committee to make this dream become a reality.
The first artists to have their work shown in the new gallery were two artists from the church – Eleanor Merz and Greta Rothman.
Over the years, many emerging and professional artists from the church as well as from the larger community have had their work exhibited. Some shows featured just one artist such as that of the masterful oil paintings by F. A. Sadeghpour.
Other shows featured art from the larger community, including exhibits by the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society and the Bedford Photo Group.
In 2018, the Gallery hosted a traveling exhibition – “White on White: Churches of New England.” This exhibit featured 30 photographs by renowned architectural photographer Steve Rosenthal.
Other shows featured work by families such as the work by two sisters, Hilary and Lindsay Gravina. Another exhibit showcased mother-daughter art with Maureen and Kati Oates.
In addition to seeking out art for shows, the Gallery Team has offered art workshops, participated in worship services, and in their most recent event, participated in the Artisan’s Fair this past December, sponsored by First Parish and the Bedford Cultural District.
This past Sunday, there was a reception celebrating 10 years of bringing art from a variety of artists to the congregation and the Bedford community.
Bedford artist Marcia Bushnell told the group gathered at the celebration about showing her art to the Gallery Team. “I was moved by your interest and support when I first showed the committee my art to be considered for an upcoming show,” she said.
Her exhibition in 2016 was titled “Against Forgetting: The Human Condition, Using Art as Witness to Refugees of War and Famine.”
Local musician Dean Groves provided music for the event, playing and singing songs that entertained the artists as they discussed their art and projects they were currently working on. Commenting on the presentation at the reception, he said that he “liked the informal discussion of what to do next that included everyone.”
Trudy Sadeghpour had earlier expressed her gratitude for how the Gallery Team had consistently brought interesting art to the congregation.