Creating an Artist’s Community at Ciel Gallery

August 24, 2017 7:29 am

When mosaic artist Pam Goode opened a gallery in South End in 2008, she decided on the name Ciel, meaning sky in French. “I liked the idea of the sky’s the limit, reach for the sky,” says Goode. As Ciel Gallery has grown and expanded, Goode and other members of the arts collective have taken the name to heart, focusing on helping artists grow in their work while doing what they love.

“We feel like it’s really important for people to feel involved with the gallery and feel like they have an active hand in the decisions” says Goode.

After moving from its first home on Camden Road to its new spot on Park Ave, Ciel Gallery expanded to include six partners and 27 members who own and operate the gallery, keeping the location one hundred percent artist-run. Initially focused on mosaics, the gallery now features work from a variety of artists. But beautiful glass mosaic is still a calling-card for Ciel: you can see mosaic work on their original building on Camden Road, and a beautiful, colorful mosaic work on the side of their current home on Park Ave. 

“We’re very proud of the fact that all of the artists are local,” says Goode, “and [that] we have a wide range of ages and a wide range of mediums.”

Ciel Gallery is a regular participant in the monthly South End Gallery Crawl, debuting a new exhibition each month highlighting featured artists or showcasing juried artwork from across the country. “It’s fascinating to do the juried shows and see what people in different parts of the country are doing,” she says.

Each show at Ciel features an exhibition in the front of the gallery alongside artwork from members of the collective. Some of Goode’s favorite shows are those that feature collaborative works, where artists create pieces together: “I love seeing what gets pulled out of your consciousness when you’re working with someone else who has a completely different mindset.”

For their September show, Ciel will be doing a member-takeover, allowing a few members to create the theme, hang the art and make the event their own.

Along with finding ways to help its members grow, Ciel also provides opportunities for local artists with open studios. During set hours each week, artists are welcome to bring in whatever they’re working on and create in a communal space. The gallery doesn’t sell materials but it does provide a space for artists to relax and create with other people.

“We have people who have been coming since we started and are still coming because it’s their happy place,” says Goode.

New artists are also welcome to create at the studio through regularly scheduled workshops. Pam and other artists teach classes in their craft with each class culminating in something the students can take home.“There are painting classes, mixed media, mosaic, alcohol inks – some very serious classes and some shorter classes.”

From helping artists grow to hosting workshops to opening their doors for monthly gallery crawls, everything that Ciel Gallery and its members does is with community in mind.

“We have a fabulous group of people, we’re really proud of that.”

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