Shows and events at Gallery 263

Shows and events at Gallery 263

Photo: Josh Gondelman (l) and Shawn Donovan (r) introduced performers at Stand-Up Comedy Night on June 13 at the gallery at 263 Pearl Street, Cambridge. On the walls behind them are fabric folk art panels from Uganda.

Gallery 263: Art and the Community

Gallery 263 is the new face at the corner of Putnam and Pearl in Cambridge. It’s art with a neighborhood flavor.

“We walk a line between being a fine arts gallery and a craft gallery,” David Craft says. He and Annie Newbold are co-directors of the enterprise. She is a painter and illustrator. He's a hybrid, like the gallery itself--he's part painter and musician, part researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Gallery 263 is a kind of community studio--a way for artists to interact with each other and with the neighborhood,” Craft says. Recent events have included a watercolor class with local artist Sam Thompson (part of a Cambridge Public Library series) and a show of works by kids from the nearby Morse School.

In addition to regular exhibitions, Craft and Newbold book live performances at the gallery. June 13 was stand-up comedy night, m.c.’d by Josh Gondelman and Shawn Donovan and featuring Lamont Price, Maria Ciampa, Zach Sherwin, Jono Zalay and Ted Pettingell.

Jeremy Quick’s band, Infinite Ensemble, opened the evening with an accomplished jazz/fusion set. Later on, music and comedy mixed it up as Sherman pumped out a high-energy rap on “sphygmomanometer” (a blood-pressure gauge, in case you’re wondering) with the band backing him up while saxophonist Pat Osborne spelled out the word in Morse code.

The visual backdrop for the comedy event was “Common Threads,” a series of fabric art panels stitched on ficus bark. The scenes illustrate the effects of HIV/AIDS in the village of Lyantonde in Uganda. The show is part of the Project FOCUS Boston initiative: Artists Against Social Apathy Project (AASAP).

Cambridgeport residents are old friends of this crossroads locale, which until recently was the home of the Organic Furniture Cellar. That store's colorful 1982 mural still defines the Putnam Street side of the corner.

Earlier this spring the gallery staged a cooking demo. On that occasion Craft played the role of Iron “Forage” Chef, showing ways to prepare and serve Japanese knotweed.

“I know, everybody hates knotweed--it's all over the place and you can’t get rid of it. But if you pick it young it’s really good--kind of like rhubarb,” he says. The event included a contest to invent a knotweed recipe; local 11-year-old Eli Saltzman was the winner.

Gallery 263 is a not-for-profit project, according to Craft.

“Right now I’m working on the application for 501(c)(3) status. That means we’d like to be able to say that contributions are tax deductible. Until we get that status, we can only say ‘Give us money, but you can’t write it off.’”

Currently the gallery has a call out for submissions for a juried show of re-painted works. Artists are invited to pick up a second-hand painting and re-work it, incorporating part of the old surface. Sunday, June 21 is the submission deadline. The exhibition will run July 9-August 1.

Walk-in hours are Thursday - Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and by appointment.