The Governor’s Academy is excited to feature Local Artists: Liberty Street Lunch Club, an exhibition of four local artists: Gordon Przybyla, Matt Connorton, Damon Jespersen, and Lorenzo Minoli. They represent the local art scene in the greater Newburyport community. Their ceramics, painting, photography, and woodwork exhibit will be on display in the gallery in the Remis Lobby of the Wilkie Center for the Performing Arts on The Governor’s Academy campus from now until Friday, October 13.
Through a history of motivating each other, this group of artists has endured as makers in a society that highly values efficiency, production, and commercial goods. Their story began in Newburyport, meeting for lunch and sharing their time over meals on Liberty Street. Shanna Fliegel, ceramics teacher at The Governor’s Academy and director of the school’s gallery, says, “My intention on showing their work is to spotlight how that simple act of support and togetherness, how human connection, is what makes art valuable.”
Newbury-based artist Matt Connorton is a carpenter specializing in traditional Japanese carpentry. Connorton has significant experience in wooden boat construction and maintenance, yacht carpentry, furniture making, timber carpentry, and many other woodworking disciplines. Connorton’s work for this show includes wooden cutting and serving boards, tables, and some Japanese joinery samples for hands-on display. His pieces feature hand-planed finished surfaces, some in combination with live edges or attractive damage. This is the first time Connorton has participated in a gallery show.
Damon Randolph Jespersen was drawn into the world of theater and ceramics as early as high school, which became the center of his artistic career for many years before transitioning into sculpture and dance. Based in Byfield, he currently works as an actor, director, potter, sculptor, farmer, and politician. His ceramics range from altered thrown forms to functional pottery.
Newburyport-based artist Lorenzo Minoli’s Italian heritage has informed his photography over the years. His childhood was immersed in the elements that create dramatic colors in nature, and Rome, with its mild temperatures and frequent sea breezes, surrounded him with gently mixed, smoother colors. These experiences brought him to what Lorenzo now searches for in nature: the simple, little things that surround us, that brim with either strong contrasting or smooth colors. Revealing the unique beauty of small hidden treasures in nature, he now shares stories through his photographs.
Gordon Przybyla is a visual artist whose interests span drawing, painting, photography, and videography. Przybyla’s work focuses on the human form. Over time, his interests have shifted towards the material themselves, with the figure as an excuse to push paint or pixels around. Przybyla’s work has been seen and sold at the Newburyport Art Festival, and he has run a life drawing workshop at the Newburyport Art Association for 29 years.
Fliegel shares her inspiration for the exhibit, “The collective power of artists exists on all levels, and this show intends to support the local niche that is alive and well in our immediate area. Being an artist requires practice and a spirit, but it is only through the connections in which we have with each other that allows us to continue to pursue our creative directions.”
All are welcome to experience Local Artists: Liberty Street Lunch Club in the gallery in the Remis Lobby of the Wilkie Center for the Performing Arts on The Governor’s Academy campus from now until Friday, October 13. Please take some time to experience this local exhibition and join us for a reception on Friday, September 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The gallery is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays by appointment (please contact Shanna Fliegel).