Through the death of her husband, Sue Katz not only exposed her disparity through art but also inspired artists around her. At Gallery A3, Katz, and three other artists in her cooperative, themed the monthly exhibit around losing a part of her family. Along with Katz, Olivia Bernard, Constance Hamilton, and Evelyn Pye titled their show, “nothing is wasted in nature or in love.”
Through sculptures, wax, glass, wood, paint and discarded beach buoys, the artists work together to create a show with variation and depth that symbolizes their business as a whole. Gallery A3, is tucked away behind the Amherst Coffee, lost in the crevice of Amherst Cinema and the Chamber of Commerce. Run by 17 local artists, each month showcases a different element of their cooperative.
Jozan Treston, the pioneer of the Amherst Art Alliance, fronted the capital and negotiated the use of the space that is now Gallery A3. After the travesty on September 11, 2001 the alliance was created as an emotional outlet for Amherst’s contemporary and innovative artists and the gallery opened in March of 2002.
“He wanted to form an organization for artists to create, and not necessarily as art therapy, but when artists are together creating, it then builds a healthier community and makes a place where healing can happen.” Marianne Connolly, the public relations representative, describes Treston.
With more than half of the cooperative being retirees, it allows for all of the members to fully dedicate themselves to the cause. “We are good at not just doing our own work, but at making it good for everybody.” Connolly elaborates, “We don’t have a slacker, everybody does their job, and everybody does their job really well.”
Being a cooperative art gallery means that each person takes responsibility for a different part of the business’ success. Where Connolly does the public relations, Janet Winston sets up the reception. It allows each person to bring their strengths to the group, which in turn keeps each member happy. As Winston describes it, “We try to consistently to make each other’s work look good.”
Every month each member is required to work two days a month in the gallery. This relieves the pressure of selling their own work and allows each piece to speak for itself. Though the majority of their work does not sell, the gallery is at least a way for each artist in the cooperative to showcase their work.
In the coming month each member contributes to the show. The walls will be covered with six by six inch boxes depicting each artist individually while together creating a greater picture of the gallery as a whole. The show titled, “Small Wonders / Holiday Show” opens on Dec. 3 and will span the entire holiday season concluding Jan. 2.