Inside Art with Michael Rose – a new art gallery unveiled

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Wednesday 20th October 2021

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MSQA PHOTO: Michael Rose

It’s always exciting to see a new creative company take shape. In Woonsocket, Monument Square Arts, a recently opened gallery, is a bright spot on the local cultural scene. The space was developed by artist and art educator Kim Celona and is a mix of a traditional art gallery, retail store and sort of living room all rolled into one. Located in the heart of Woonsocket near other established cultural venues, this up and coming art shop is a place to watch.

When asked what Monument Square Arts is all about, Celona says, “I would say my mission at MSQA is creativity and connection. I want to improve the community through the arts and collaborate with other artists and companies through the gallery and its events. “

Monument Square Arts is located on Two Monument Square, right across from the fat neon tent of the Woonsocket Stadium Theater, in a humble storefront with an interior full of character and history. High sheet metal ceilings contrast subtly with fresh, white paneling. On the walls, Celona is currently displaying a mix of pieces, including some of her own richly layered paintings, as well as atmospheric photographs by Laurie Maitem.

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PHOTO: MSQA

Jewelry and textile work can also be seen in the back of the gallery. Particularly noteworthy here are hand-sewn garments made from recycled clothing by the aspiring designer Emma Joyce. Joyce’s work brings a second life to previously possessed items like sweatshirts by sewing them together into entirely new objects.

Celona’s hybrid model, an unconventional mix of art gallery and art boutique, is just one of the ways she wants to offer a new experience to visitors who may postpone their visit to the gallery. This unique type of space could lure the uninitiated into exploring their first art gallery, making Monument Square Arts a friendly entry point for newcomers. In addition to creating a cross-border format, Celona also seeks contact with artists who are not yet established. With her new space she wants to stand up for artists and open up new opportunities to share her work with a previously untapped audience.

In response to what she hopes the public will take away from a visit to the gallery, Celona says, “I would wish this to be a cool, unique and creative place where you are surrounded by beauty and art feel kinds; Fashion to fine arts. In addition, you are buying something that is made by local artisans with integrity, passion and skill. “

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Work by Celona PHOTO: Rose

One of the main reasons for following the developments at this newly opened cultural location is Celona herself. As a long-time educator who studied at Parsons and NYU, she has an infectious enthusiasm for the work she is doing in this new company that she runs alongside her job as an art teacher. When you visit the gallery, you can immediately feel how enthusiastic Celona is, both about the possibilities in her own shop and in Woonsocket as a whole. With relatively low overheads, the city is uniquely positioned to attract more creative businesses like Celona’s. More art-driven ventures would keep downtown Woonsocket alive.

Younger people and those new to the exhibition are on the list of artists Celona hopes to work with. In a state where renowned long-career artists often have opportunities, a business owner who invests in new voices is someone worth celebrating.

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PHOTO: Rose

Celona describes her feelings about starting this project in the northernmost town of Rhode Island: “The people and the community here excite me, along with their love and devotion to Woonsocket. The passion and pride in advancing the revitalization projects while maintaining the integrity of the story is incredible and inspiring. It’s the perfect place and time to be a company in Woonsocket and I am happy and grateful to be here. “

In Woonsocket, Celona’s space is out of the shadow of other state cultural centers such as Providence or Newport. Opposite the Stadium Theater, the gallery also counts the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts as a neighbor. The famous Chan’s Restaurant, which has brought live jazz to generations of listeners, is just around the corner. The Museum of Labor and Culture and the St. Ann Art and Culture Center are two other landmarks of the city, along with the non-profit RiverzEdge Arts. With the addition of a retail store like Monument Square Arts, Woonsocket has added another valuable cultural attraction that is sure to draw art-seekers from across the state and beyond over time.

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PHOTO: Rose

Monument Square Arts is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Celona is also available to open the room by appointment. To learn more, visit HERE.

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