New Roswell Park Gallery Showcases Fruit Belt Artists
Roswell Park Cancer Institute has launched a new Community Artists Gallery with the inaugural exhibition Artists Are All Around Us: Fruit Belt Artists.
The gallery was created to highlight the works of a wide range of artists in the broader community. “We wanted visitors at Roswell Park to see the diversity of artists that we have in our local neighborhoods,” says Molly Bethel, a member of the Roswell Park Alliance Art Committee and curator of the exhibition.
Bethel has taught painting in the community for almost 60 years. In 1959 she founded MollyOlga Neighborhood Art Classes — now called Locust Street Art — a nationally recognized visual art studio offering free classes to people in the community. Since its founding, more than 6,000 children and adults have developed their artistic talents in the former convent on Locust Street. “The studio is something that developed and grew organically from the requests of the neighborhood children and families who wanted to draw, paint and create,’” says Bethel. “I was on the third generation of a lot of students when I stepped down as director.”
All six artists featured in the Roswell Park exhibition studied at Locust Street Art, some as children and some as adults, at different times from the 1960s through today. “I believe everyone should have the opportunity to develop their talents without being held back because of cost and accessibility,” says Bethel. “I’m always happy when the practice of art clicks with a person who has the urge to create, regardless of age, and of course, I’m happy when people stick with it and progress.”
The eight-piece installation features a range of subjects, from a portrait of the late entertainer Prince to a painting of Scottie’s Steak House. The gallery is located in Roswell Park at the east end of the connector between the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center and the main hospital.
The current Artists Are All Around Us installation will be on display until February, when it will be followed by an exhibit featuring photos and poetry by immigrant and refugee children in Buffalo. The rotating exhibit space will be managed by the Roswell Park Alliance Art Committee, a group of dedicated community volunteers that are responsible for coordinating every aspect of soliciting, selecting, installing and maintaining Roswell Park’s art collection with the philanthropic support of generous donors.