Thursday, August 31, 2006

St. Paul's Parish Hall is new home for Portsmouth Arts Guild

We signed our agreement with the Arts Guild last week at the PAG members meeting in the parish house. We thank God for opening this opportunity to us, and pray that we grow in this partnership with grace and abundance. Also, we thank all of you who have shared in the conversation that led to this agreement. Further information on our exciting new partnership is provided below.
Aug. 16, 2006: For immediate release

The Portsmouth Arts Guild, which has been in search of a permanent home since its founding in January 2003, has found a home in the parish hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2679 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI.

In an agreement signed yesterday with the senior warden of St. Paul's vestry, The Portsmouth Arts Guild will occupy the 19th-century parish hall for exhibitions, lectures and meetings, and art classes and workshops. St. Paul's will continue to use the space for weddings, funerals, and its other usual gatherings, and groups such as AA will continue to meet there. The church itself, adjacent to the parish hall, where two masses are celebrated every Sunday, will also be available to the Arts Guild at other times for poetry readings, musical and theatrical performances.

The parish hall provides some 1,200 square feet of gallery and meeting space, plus a kitchen and basement area suitable for art classes and workshops.

"This is definitely a win-win," said Guild president Eric Broudy. "The church has acquired a partner who, like them, has a real interest in improving life in the community, and the Guild for the first time has its own space for art shows, meetings and classes. And the parish hall is ideal for a community arts center; it's centrally located, with parking and handicapped access."

"It warms my heart to envision a lively arts center in this same space that holds our parish gatherings and events," added Linda Remington, senior warden at St. Paul's and new Arts Guild member. "Creative expression and viewing artists' work are both so inspiring - how perfect. I'm very excited by what this partnership will bring to our parish and community."

The Guild hopes to inaugurate its new space with an open, juried show in the late fall, Broudy said. "We have some work to do first to transform a meeting hall into a proper gallery, but we're optimistic that working together we'll be ready for a show in the fall."

The Portsmouth Arts Guild has 100-plus members, nearly all of whom are artists working in oils, watercolor, pastels, mixed media, photography, fiber arts, ceramics, sculpture, wood carving, and print making. About half are Portsmouth residents, with most others coming from the surrounding towns of Tiverton, Middletown, Newport, Barrington, Bristol and North Kingston.

St. Paul's Episcopal church was founded in the summer of 1833, built by parishioners between September and December, with the first service held on Christmas Day of that year. The little church has always been deeply-rooted in the Portsmouth community.

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