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‘Portraits of Hope’ grace Dana Hall’s art gallery in Wellesley

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By Via Perkins
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

The Dana Hall School in Wellesley is currently displaying images by photographer Jeff Adams in their visual arts gallery. From student and faculty work to local and regional artists, Dana Hall has utilized their gallery as a haven for all types of creative work.

The show features portraits taken at the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston, a daytime shelter and resource for women who are homeless or impoverished.

Dana Hall has displayed an impressive array of exhibits in their gallery, including works that involve crafts, music and electronics, among other mediums. They also use the space for their Artists in Residence program, and to host classes.

“It’s a great teaching gallery,” says Michael Frassinelli, Department Head of Visual Arts. “We’ll have our students come in and learn about how artists actually make work out there in the world.”

Adams’ work may be more traditional than some of the gallery’s prior shows, but is no less powerful in its poignancy and ability to inspire. Frassinelli lives in the same town as Adams, who is based in Holliston as a professional photographer.

“I’ve seen his work for years, but just recently, at an open studio, I saw his current work from the Women’s Lunch Place,” Frassinelli remembers. “He’d been working for them for the last couple of years [taking] portraits.”

Lorraine Levine, Director of Development at the Women’s Lunch Place, knows that Adams’ presence at the shelter is appreciated by the staff and those they service.

“He’s taken portraits of our ladies [and volunteers], and we use them for all kinds of purposes,” she says. “He’s done a beautiful job of capturing the ladies enjoying the Women’s Lunch Place… including portraits as well group activities.”

His photography, in a series he calls “Portraits of Hope,” has honored a number of the hundreds of women the WLP serves every day.

These photos provide some insight into the services and activities the WLP offers. The organization serves breakfast and lunch six days a week, which comes to around 250 meals per day, and they also offer showers, weekly laundry service, medical services and advocacy for areas such as housing and benefits.

“We have a very popular creative expressions program,” says Levine. “We have art, and photography, and knitting… for ladies who would like to do a little art therapy, or just spend some time doing something creative.”

WLP is run by a dedicated volunteer staff, some of which come from Dana Hall.

“They bring groups of students in to work in our kitchen and serve lunch,” Levine explains, “so they have been a great partner to us as well.”

This cooperation comes full-circle in Adams’ gallery, and the WLP hopes to display the images in the shelter after they are removed from Dana Hall.

“Everybody has really enjoyed the photographs, and Jeff has been so kind [as] to even make copies for the ladies, and bring them back to the women that he photographs,” Levine says.

The Portrait of Hope series will be on display in the Dana Hall art gallery until February 5, and the following show will feature faculty art from the Beaver Country Day School. For more information, visit www.danahall.org.

The WLP is collecting personal care items and winter clothes for the women they serve, and welcome collection drives as well as opportunities to speak at clubs or groups about the work that they do.

To learn more, visit www.womenslunchplace.org.

Via Perkins is a correspondent for Hometown Weekly. She can be contacted at news@hometownweekly.net.

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