What To Do Next Friday Evening

I often go to First Fridays at SOWA to unwind, get a good stroll in and see some art. Next Friday November 6th is supposed to be (and this is New England weather we’re talking about) mild and in the 50s.

The SOWA Art District is the epicenter of the Boston art scene. If you’re looking for the edgier galleries that used to be on Newbury Street, chances are good that if they’re still around they’ve moved here. The best time to explore this robust area is either during their First Friday Events which happen the first Friday of every month thoughout the year. Or Sundays mid-May through mid-October when the Boston Open Market is there, you can spend your whole day exploring the galleries, studios, the farmer’s market and have lunch at the famous food trucks. If you’re there for the artists’ studios, more are open on First Fridays than on the Sunday events, though many artists do both.

John Gonnella is an old friend and has a space at 450 Harrison. His huge canvases of pop-culture iconography have been selling in the area for some time, and he recently had a very successful show at the JCO’s Place Fine Art gallery in Los Gatos, California. I am always inspired by his colorful style, sense of texture and work ethic . Every time I go he’s got something new going.

A corner full of canvases

A corner full of canvases

Curious and inspirational ephemera

Curious and inspirational ephemera

John proudly hangs some of son’s work as well.

John proudly hangs some of son’s work as well.

An in-progress commission for a local restaurant owner

An in-progress commission for a local restaurant owner

Like most of the artists in SOWA, his space is a showroom as well as a working studio, and he makes himself available for conversation during the Open Studio events.

I often drag a friend or two along and they usually come away tired but inspired. Some folks may be intimidated by the usual, austere gallery visit and I think this is a more unique experience and a great way to really get in touch with the art (and artists) in a more direct and relaxed manner.

If an artist’s studio at 450 Harrison is open, their name will be on the sandwich board in the lobby next to the elevator. Look for John Gonnella (on the 3rd floor). There are also open galleries, stores and more buildings full of studios as well as a plethora of fine dining in the area.

You may even want to start (or add to) your own art collection.