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By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Monday, October 1, the Zullo Gallery celebrated its 30th anniversary. The art studio was initially created by Executive Director Bill Pope. Pope explained that the gallery was initially started by the Medfield Cultural Council in 1988 to bring different pieces of artwork to Medfield.
“The idea was to bring high-quality, wide variety artwork into town for exhibit to share with the people … and bring in some exciting, new pieces of art,” said Pope. “That’s how we started.”
Pope, who used to be a physical education teacher at an elementary school, wanted to be involved in the gallery because he has a passion for art.
“I’ve just always loved art,” he explained. “There is something that is very exciting [about art] that connects you to other people. It broadens your view on things. It sparks curiosity. It inspires people.
“I think it’s really important for any town to have a place or an exhibit that shows artwork,” Pope added.
Although the initial goal was to just have live show exhibits, the studio also offers a variety of art classes and live music.
“The main purpose of the gallery is the exhibition of artwork,” Pope explained. “All of the other things we present are just to further that.”
The gallery offers art classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for adults and kids, and kids-only art classes on Saturday mornings.
In addition to classes, the gallery also hosts live jazz, rock, and acoustic music.
“We love to do live music, but it is a lot of work [to do on a regular basis],” said Pope. “One of our goals with the music is to make it a regular thing.”
There are six show exhibits a year, and each show can differ on the type of art or artist. For example, some shows may contain watercolor paintings. Some may include only photographs. Still others may consist of city landscapes.
“Every show is different,” Pope said. “The goal was to bring in a variety of styles, mediums, artists, subject matters and the shows reflect that.”
Every year, the gallery has a competition that allows artists to submit three pieces in the hope of being selected by an art evaluator. The evaluator then selects the best 60 paintings out of the 200 or 300 pieces submitted. This occurs every year and was the process for the current show, which lasts through November 3. The art show is open on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“It becomes this wide variety of people, [from some] who are really well-established and do great work to somebody who may just be getting into it and did one great painting … to somebody who just dabbles in it but is really talented,” Pope said.
The current gallery is just one of many galleries Pope has organized over his thirty years. With such a long tenure as executive director, Pope was able to reflect on the gallery’s journey.
“I was certainly hoping that [the gallery] would be here this long, and I am hoping that it goes long beyond when I am here,” Pope said. “That’s really our goal now … to make sure the Zullo Gallery Center for the Arts continues forever.”
In the upcoming years, Pope plans to hire new people and create a fundraising campaign to help pay for the gallery’s renovations. Pope hopes the Zullo continues for many more years to come.
“When we started, I thought it was really important to establish a home for the arts in some fashion in the town,” he said. “The goal is to keep it going.”