Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 07-29-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 29-AUGUST 4, 2020 PAWTUCKET 7 PAWTUCKET – Her first few months serving as director of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society did not go exactly as she had planned, but Kathleen O'Hara has turned trying circumstances into an opportunity to innovate. O'Hara's lifelong passion for art led her to take the role of gallery assistant with the Watercolor Society last June. In February, she was promoted to the position of director, just weeks before coronavirus forced the gallery to close its doors. The gallery at Slater Memorial Park officially opened to the public again on June 27, and O'Hara said she and the staff are excited to welcome back artists and visitors after three months in the dark. When the gallery closed in March, O'Hara said she spent a lot of time looking for grants and other funding opportunities to help keep the lights on. It may not have been the introduc- tion to directorship that she expected, but O'Hara said despite the circum- stances she's happy to be working in the field. "I've been drawing since I was maybe 3, 5 years old. It has always been my favorite thing to do," she said. The Tiverton resident, formerly from Scituate, graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2017. "I think the way a lot of people respond to stress, especially in a global situation like the one we're in right now, is through art and creat- ing. Many people use art as an escape from day-to-day life, and also as a reflection of the day today. Particularly during a pandemic like this, people want to paint some landscapes and kind of relax," she said. The Watercolor Society began offer- ing online workshops and classes, including introductory courses to vari- ous watercolor techniques, digital art and more, giving people the oppor- tunity to hone their craft from home during the current pandemic. "COVID-19 has caused us to move a lot of our programming online, and we hope to continue that even after the pandemic has passed," O'Hara said. "We're happy to be able to reach more people and cultivate an online community of artists and art-lovers." Smaller, in-person workshops are being planned for the fall. The gallery eased into re-opening, beginning with a smaller members showcase of three artists, Elaine Gauthier, Catherine Mansell and Donald Blough. The exhibit is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. "The three-person group show up right now is a great way for us to segue into a full show," she said. A full show typically includes about 70 to 80 artists. O'Hara said the experience of visit- ing the gallery hasn't changed expo- nentially, as the space is never usually crowded with people and guests in an art gallery aren't usually touching the art. Visitors must now wear masks and maintain distance between one another. The society's 2020 National Show is scheduled to open on Aug. 1. They're accepting most of the pieces via mail to limit the amount of people drop- ping off artwork. The show will be available online on the Rhode Island Watercolor Society's Facebook page so that anyone can view it, even if they can't make it to the gallery. O'Hara said the ability to share art with the public is important for humanity. "While we should be cau- tious and responsible while visiting a gallery, it's nice to be able to stop and remember a little tiny piece of normal life," she said. R.I. Watercolor Society re-opens under new leadership By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer KATHLEEN O'HARA has stepped into the role of director of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, help- ing to guide the gallery at Slater Park through unprecedented times. IN BRIEF Donate to Duffle Bag Bash to help children in foster care On any given day, there are more than 2,000 children in R.I. living in a foster care placement. Ten minutes – that may be all the time a child being removed from their home or moved to another foster placement has to pack their entire life – too often into a trash bag. This year, the pandemic has led to canceling the annual Duffle Bag Bash to collect gift cards and new suitcases for children in foster care. However, people can still help make a difference with a donation. Between now and Aug. 9, the goal is to collect $30,000 to make life better for children in foster care by purchasing suitcases and duffle bags and other essentials. To donate, visit http:// ChildreninFosterCare/ DuffleBagBash or mail gift cards and checks to Adoption RI, PO Box 6411, Providence, RI 02940.

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