There’s a hidden gem in the heart of Narragansett Bay that’s well worth a visit. We’re talking about the Jamestown Arts Center, a non-profit visual and performing arts space that hosts cultural and educational programs for all ages. Fitting for its island locale, the arts hub is housed in a former boat repair shop “that’s been beautifully repurposed into an art space, with some studio space for classrooms, ceramics, and printmaking,” says Lucy Paiva, marketing director at JAC.
For over a decade, the center has become a multi-purpose destination for Jamestown residents and beyond. “We have two gallery spaces including one that is quite extensive,” says Paiva. “It opens up with a garage door that was originally intended for large boats to be brought in and out, but now works really nicely for indoor/outdoor events. When the weather is beautiful, we open it up. It’s also quite convenient for loading in some larger art pieces that fit well in the space.”
With COVID waning, exhibits and in-person programming are returning to JAC in 2022. “We’re looking to get back to some semblance of normalcy after the past year and a half,” says Paiva.
When up and running, JAC is a busy place, with eight to 10 exhibitions a year, from established artists to first-time exhibitors, according to Paiva. A featured JAC member’s show each fall highlights wide-ranging artists from all over New England.
“We have everything from local emerging artists to established names, including individuals who have exhibited internationally. In addition to exhibitions, we have art classes for all ages and some musical performances. We also like to be a hub for film screenings, which has been more than a little difficult during the pandemic,” adds Paiva.
Paiva is looking forward to future programming, including an exhibition featuring young artists which opens January 14 called Artistic Interpretation. It’s curated by an elementary school art teacher from the Metcalf School in Exeter-West Greenwich.
A major installation is planned for the summer of 2022 when the Biennial Outdoor Arts Experience returns to Jamestown. “The program is an island-wide outdoor arts exhibition that we’re really excited to be doing again,” explains Paiva. “We started this exhibition of outdoor art in 2020. I think we had 12 installations across the island. In 2020, it just happened to coincide with the pandemic. It offered the opportunity for people to see some outdoor art, including large sculptures that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to display inside. It was a huge success.”
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