MustArt Art Studio New Bedford ateliers galleries Ropeworke
NEW BEDFORD – A mother-daughter artistic duo, longtime lovers of the whaling city, finally have the chance to join forces and provide an art studio for the community.
MustArt Studios, located inside the Ropeworks Artists Condominium on Sawyer Street, celebrated their grand opening on Saturday with family and close friends. With over 500 paintings available for purchase, the duo’s love for the city is contagious.
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“I love this city so much. This is my city, ”said Pat Gray, 81. Born into an artistic family in New Bedford, Gray is the descendant of artist Evelin Bodfish Bourne and illustrator Parks Bodfish.
Gray raised his family in Marblehead, but returned to New Bedford to care for his mother. She has stayed in town ever since.
Throughout his career, Gray previously owned Café Uva in Onset as well as a restaurant in Newburyport and a studio in Ipswich. She recently completed a series of paintings in tribute to Albert Pinkham Ryder of New Bedford.
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“I love him and I love painting in his style,” she said, adding that she also loved acrylic painting of landscapes and still lifes as well as pottery. She has also created a series of abstract paintings of New Bedford waterfronts.
Work inside the ropes
Today, Gray lives in Ropeworks, a former rope factory that was renovated 20 years ago into 12 artist condominiums. The artists in residence share a common space and a gallery. MustArt Studios is located inside the unit, by appointment only, for visitors to view and purchase artwork from Gray and his daughter, Noelle Keach.
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“It’s ridiculous how much paint we have between the two of us,” Gray said. “We have no intention of stopping and we don’t know what to do with our art now because we have no more space to hang it. So we decided to start this business and share our art with the world.
Keach, who attended architectural school, recently retired from teaching after 21 years at the Helen R. Donaghue School in Merrimac. Now she visits her mother and works in the studio alongside her at least three times a week.
“I have loved art all my life and loved to paint. Now I have the time to do it, ”Keach said. “It’s great to be able to come and share time with my mom and build this business with her. “
“I’m so excited to have a daughter who can do all the grunt work,” Gray said with a laugh.
Gray says she and her daughter inspire each other. “We have the same level of energy. We’re both real workaholics, ”Gray added. “We always look at other people’s art, read about it, learn about it… wherever we go.”
Inspired by oysters
Recently the two collaborated on a work of art. They were inspired during a visit to The Black Whale and tasted half a dozen oysters together.
“We were just looking at the seashells, noticing how beautiful they were,” Gray said. “They were all wet, juicy and each was absolutely different from each other.”
They took back the shells and painted a series called “A Dozen Oysters on the Half-Shell” which included 12 oyster paintings, six painted by each of them. It was accompanied by a poem written by Gray.
“Everyone who sees them loves them. But we don’t want to separate them, ”Gray said.
In addition to offering their work for purchase, they also hope to give workshops at the studio when COVID-19 security restrictions are lifted for their type of space.
“We’re both grassroots teachers,” Gray said, adding that his main goal was to inspire others to create. “I can’t imagine how anyone can live without art or at least be able to look at art and appreciate it.”
“I hope when people come to the studio they see us,” Keach added. “And it helps other people see that they can do art too.”
Standard-Times team writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.