NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI — Hope is the theme of the Wickford Art Association’s 10th annual Reactive Poetry and Art Exhibition, which opened over the weekend. Members of the Wickford Art Association as well as non-member artists and poets were eligible to participate.
The exhibition, which sheds light on a theme that has been on most people’s minds and hearts for the past few years, produced results that captured the joy hidden beneath life’s cares.
“Usually the director chooses the theme,” said Maria Masse, director of the Wickford Art Association Gallery. “But we surveyed the artists this year, and so many of the themes that people were coming up with really responded to the times for the past two years. And it’s inspiring to see what people have written and the works of art that have been created.
Masse explained that the poetry entries and works created by the jury artists in response to the poems were particularly poignant and helped enhance the 10th anniversary of this exhibit.
The exhibit features poetry written within the prescribed theme alongside a two-dimensional artwork created by an artist unknown to the poet in response to the poem he received. The artist and the poet did not meet until the opening of the exhibition.
Poet Noreen Inglesi, a member of the Ocean State Poets, Warwick, has penned a poem titled ‘Tomorrow’, her attempt to cultivate new hope after the hardships of recent years. In addition to poetry, Inglesi is a composer of classical and chamber works and started a nonprofit publishing and distribution company called Notable Works that creates art to raise awareness of local environmental concerns.
Inglesi said the project really helped her look to the future with hope and that the opportunity to work with another artist, even indirectly, appealed to her. She explained that she had worked on a similar project in the past where she had been given a photo and had been assigned to write about it, which she really appreciated. Having had a positive experience with this project, she says, inspired her to write a poem for this exhibit.
“Everyone has a star in themselves and an inspiration that goes beyond everyday life. Working together is what I think it’s all about, where everyone has a mission and a gift, and the strength within,” Inglesi said.
This year marked the fourth time that Marybeth Rua-Larsen of Somerset, Massachusetts, has participated in Poetry & Art. Not a member of the Wickford Art Association and not participating in any other local arts organization, Rua-Larsen devotes his poetry solely to this event. His poem “Cosmos at Night” explores the human tendency to rush to judgment rather than to examine something in depth and make a considered decision.
She said the poem was started many years ago, but she put it aside, not knowing how to finish it until she learned of the WAA’s incitement to Hope for this. project. She explained that she had grown a ‘night garden’ of all white flowers and one of her friends did not like her white flowers, calling them ‘bland’.
The artist responsible for her piece, Denise Boisvert from North Kingstown, said she was delighted to have received this poem as inspiration for her art, as she had recently planted cosmos in her garden for the first time. .
His work, in pastels, also called “Night Cosmos”, was created on black paper and featured both flowers and the Milky Way, taking the word “cosmos” literally. This is the third time that Boisvert has taken part in Poésie & Art.
Poet Marybeth Rua-Larsen was so taken with Boisvert’s work the first day they were exhibited and met that she decided to buy it. The art will be on display until the end of the exhibit, but Rua-Larsen said she looks forward to bringing it home afterwards.
“I was just thrilled that Denise liked the poem so much,” Rua-Larsen said. “It was really exciting that the poem also spoke to Denise.”
The HOPE exhibition opened on September 30 and will continue until October 23.
The Wickford Art Association hours of operation are Wednesday to Saturday 12pm to 4pm and Sunday 12pm to 3pm.