My Unexpected Collaborator

September, 2017

In early summer, while working at Ceres Gallery in Portsmouth, a young artist, Sophia, came in with her dad.  Her desire to explore an art gallery when just a few paces down the street was an ice cream parlor heightened my attention to her.  I watched as she gave herself over to looking at the paintings on the walls and then spotted my easel and the painting in progress there.  I told her it was a painting going into an upcoming exhibit at NHAA called Café Life.  She told me she had used many different mediums but never oil paints.  I handed her my paintbrush and told her to go for a spin on my palette and canvas.  No hesitation, she just took that brush and dipped it in the pool of paint and went right to the canvas with bold but delicate strokes.  I believe those strokes remain in the painting on the green-lit wall. 

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In August, she returned again to Ceres Gallery and her dad showed me the photo (above) of her painting, and I said, “Oh my, Sophia!  That painting is hanging this month in NHAA!  You have to go see it all finished!!!”  Within the hour, I had received a text from her dad with the photo above and below. 

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It is always gratifying to play even the smallest role in awakening a person’s aesthetic response to the world.  I’m grateful for Sophia and her dad for allowing me that opportunity and for allowing me to share this story.

Art Connects NH ‘Connects’ with Chase Home

  • Sep 15, 2016, Carriage Towne News, Kingston, NH

Pictured from left, Chase Home Board President Rob Levey, Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, Arts Connects Director of Development Virginia Skevington, and NHAA Artist Peg Murray.

PORTSMOUTH —Having placed donated contemporary art pieces throughout Chase Home earlier this year, Art Connects NH recently completed a large painted mural in its dining room with the help of a local artist and kids who live there.

Expressing excitement regarding the project, Virginia Skevington, director of development at Art Connects NH, an initiative of the New Hampshire Institute of Art and New Hampshire Art Association, said she has long been aware of Chase Home.

“I actually first became aware of the services provided by Chase Home in my previous role as Executive Director of Arts In Reach,” she said. “We always had Chase Home teen girls attending our programs. When I became involved with Art Connects, I immediately thought of Chase Home and thought what a perfect space for art.”

Chase Home Board President Rob Levey said he could not believe how the art has transformed the living space at Chase Home. 

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “The fact that this mural involved New Hampshire Art Association artist who volunteered her time and some of the kids who live here, too, makes this project even more special. We want anyone who lives here to feel like this is a home. Art Connects has made a powerful difference here and we are very grateful.”

For Skevington, the project underscores the importance of their mission.

“Art and color have the power to transform a space and leave a lasting impact on an agency's clients, staff and volunteers,” she said. “It is our hope that the framed pieces and mural created by Peg Murray and teen residents do just that for years to come."

Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said the project has already made an impact in the lives of their residents.

“The entire creative process energized our kids and brought them together,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home was founded in 1877 and is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. To learn more, visitwww.chasehome.org. To learn more about Art Connects NH, visit www.artconnectsnh.org.