With the exception of UFO sightings, nothing excites us more than hearing about a new gallery opening in the city. The Mission Gallery, a travelling exhibition space, hosts its official opening this Friday night at Make Shift Boston. Spearheaded by Mattie Loyce—a San Fran transplant and Northeastern alum, who works in Somerville as a family support worker at an in home therapy clinic—the community art show features works from Anya Smolnikova, Cassandra Santos, Cameron Hamlet, Jacob Giberson, and Melissa Ulloa, and producer HiFadility will provide tunage for the evening. We caught up with curator/founder Loyce to talk about the power of temporary spaces and art by the community, for the community.
What’s the “mission” of Mission Gallery?
Mission Gallery is a traveling gallery that focuses on creating community based art shows and events. Our mission is to highlight both established and emerging local artists as well as create diverse art experiences that make the art and the audience’s experience of it more impactful. Our shows will often include music, collective concepts, or other elements that work to create a fuller experience. Our vision is to foster collaborative engagement within the creative art world and present innovative/diverse/creative opportunities for the general public to participate.
You had one show with a similar energy and curating effort back in May. Did the reception of that first show spark an interest to set up Mission Gallery as a more regular series? Or did you always intend for these events to be semi-regular, but were just waiting on the logistics?
The show in May entitled ‘Me, Myself, and Eye’ was definitely a test run but I have had this desire to organize and curate for quite a while. Mission Gallery as a concept had been cooking for a little over a year but with a larger goal in mind, essentially this is a first step to a greater project. ‘Me, Myself, and Eye’ was my first show where I both organized and curated completely on my own and it was a great success with many thanks to the support from the contributing artists and community. There was a brief pause in production since the that show because I was going to move back to California where I am from, yet in a twist of fate I did not relocate so I decided it was time to fully engage and launch the Mission Gallery project.
You curate a diverse lineup of artists. Does an aesthetic, theme, or medium connect them?
The connection of artists is all dependent upon the type of exhibition it is. ‘Me, Myself, and Eye’ was a concept show, so artists were not inherently connected by aesthetic but by their interpretation of the concept presented to them. This coming show is a collection of both seasoned and emerging artists with the objective to engage diverse artists in the community. The shows will continue to evolve and change; I do enjoy curating based on concept, medium, and aesthetic and opening up space for conversations around those thematic presentations. Yet one tenant that will always be a focus of mine is how to continually engage the community at large.
Why do you feel pop-up, guerilla, and/or temporary galleries are an important addition to the Boston’s arts scene?
I think that pop-up art shows and ‘guerilla galleries’ are important for a range of reasons to any city. I believe they can give light to local artists that many people may not hear of or be introduced in the larger gallery scene. I also think they are important because they present a capsule experience that is not only memorable but can often be an intimate way to engage with the art and artists themselves.
Is there something you see missing from the arts scene that you hope to fill with Mission Gallery?
In a basic statement I hope to connect the arts and the surrounding community in a fluid experience. Having a mobile art gallery lends the possibility to truly engage and inhabit any landscape or establishment that is agreeable. The concept of reenvisioning and reworking a space you may recognize into something new is an art of its own; engaging this transformation in order to create a vessel for artists is quite powerful. I think that there are many voices waiting to be heard within the arts, and reflexively many spaces that could be converted into holding vessels for these voices, even if just for one night.
Do you think art and community are inherently linked?
Yes, artists make art that is inspired by the community that surrounds them. Whether that community is large or small, human or otherwise, their lived experience inherently informs their art. And from the reverse perspective communities are undoubtedly affected by the inclusion of art or lack there of. Art often can speak the to the identity, emotions, and thoughts of the community and opening space for that voice is very important. This ‘space’ can come in the forms from structural integration to local business like galleries and arts oriented non-profits. They both serve very important roles to one another and will always be inherently linked.