The South Shore has a thriving local art scene and summer is the perfect time of year to explore some of the area’s top galleries and studios on foot. Here are a few areas that are ideal for a do-it-yourself art stroll, plus a sneak peek at the eye candy you’ll find displayed along the way.By Maria Allen
Hingham Square is home to an assortment of upscale boutiques and art galleries featuring the work of artists who hail from Hingham and beyond. One of the key gallery destinations in town is South Street Gallery, which is located on the western side of South Street. A partial “who’s who” of featured gallery artists includes: Paul Arsenault, TA Charron, Alexander Korman, John Loughlin, Charles Movalli, Andrew Orr, Dale Ratcliff and Charles Sovek. The Gallery offers many opportunities to meet and learn from artists who display there. Many artists are known for their scenic plein-air paintings depicting local landscapes in true-to-life color.
Walking east on South Street will bring you to Framing Concepts Art Gallery. In addition to framing services, this shop displays the work of shop owner Diana Cousineau Aveni (a painter and potter) alongside other talented artists from the area. During the month of July the gallery will be exhibiting work by Braintree artist Florence “Flo” Markowitz. Born and raised in Ireland, Markowitz works in both watercolors and oils and her most recent Foliage Collection offers vibrant multi-colored impressions of trees and branches. A reception with music, wine, and hors d’oeuvres will be held on Friday, July 24, from 4-7 p.m.
Continuing down South Street will bring you to Artisans in The Square, a cute little artisans collaborative with pink awnings that displays all sorts of locally made crafts. From handmade textiles and pottery to birdhouses and framed photographs, you can find great gifts at various price points. The shop, which recently reopened after winter storm damage caused the shop to temporarily close its doors, is run by member artists who take turns manning the store and greeting visitors. One of the newest members is Helene Stracco, a master weaver who dyes fabrics by hand and makes beautiful scarves and shawls.
Almost directly across the street from Artisans in the Square you will find White Magdelena House, a shop that specializes in solid, country-style furniture and home décor, but also displays an impressive array of local artwork. Many pieces have a distinct coastal flavor, such as Peter Koster’s rustic fish sculptures, made from reclaimed wood, shiny fish and shark mosaics by Nanci Jaye, and fascinating encaustic fish prints by Maryanne O’Brien.
If all that walking has made you hungry, be sure to make a stop in Nona’s Homemade Ice Cream for a pick-me-up and a glance at Hingham photographer Alyssa Fortin’s beautiful black and white photography hanging on the wall.
Cross over to North Street and you will find a stylish home décor and antiques shop called Waterhouse. There, beside glistening chandeliers and Chinese vases you can view framed paintings by shop owner Amber Waterhouse, who is known for her Rainbow Fleet sailboat collection. The shop also represents several other area artists, including Jody Regan, Christina Eckerson, Lynne McCauley and Margaret McWethy.
The Scituate art scene seems to be building steam these days, especially with the addition of The Lucky Finn Café and Art Gallery. Perched right on the harbor, this adorable little shop is where people go to enjoy a cup of coffee or a sandwich and check out exhibits by established artists as well as emerging local artists. Visitors can enjoy eye-catching fine art by Michael Coyne, and during the month of July there will be a special exhibit of 3-D acrylic wave paintings by artist Jess Scott.
Joye Gifts is a treasure trove of pretty things, including locally made art pieces. This is a great place to shop for driftwood wreaths and tree sculptures as well as sea glass window panes.
Not far away is KJeld Mahoney Photography, where you’ll find dynamic images of the South Shore and beyond. Recently, owner Kjeld Majoney has been experimenting with mounting his dynamic images of South Shore scenes on sheets of metal, weathered planks of wood and even furniture.
When it comes to handcrafted gifts, you can’t miss Expressions of Scituate. This sunlit artist collaborative shop is filled with elegant silver and sea glass jewelry, local photography, screen-printed pillows, pottery, felted handbags and embellished glassware
Representing over 27 local artists and artisans in a town that is closely tied to its maritime roots, Front Street Art Gallery is a major supporter of Scituate’s arts Scene. During the month of July you can catch a special exhibit by watercolor artists Bill Mattern, who is known for his marine scenes, as well as Kay Shaw, whose recent work incorporates figures. The exhibit will run through July 19, with a reception on Sunday, July 12, from 2 – 4 p.m.
Tucked into a corner of pristine Cohasset Village, the South Shore Art Center is an artistic powerhouse whose members hail from all over the South Shore and beyond. SSAC offers courses and workshops for adults and children and its galleries are the natural spot to kick off an art stroll. The main exhibition space is the Bancroft Gallery, which was designed by architect Vcevold Strekalovsky and has soaring ceilings. Exhibitions are held throughout the year. On display through July 12 is a show titled Dynamic Conversations and beginning July 17 the gallery will host a Members’ Blue Ribbon Show.
Across the Street at Focus Gallery, sleek large-format fine art photographs make a big impression. Visitors can view seascapes by Michael Kahn, images of sea life by gallery owner Cindy Vallino and panoramic South Shore scenes by Mike Sleeper as well as many other well-regarded artists. This summer the gallery will be hosting artist appearances and book signings with people like Bryant Austin (known for his amazing whale photographs), Alison Shaw, Kerry and Bill Brett, creators of the books “Women of Boston” and “The Irish of Boston,” and Brian Skerry, a National Geographic ocean images photographer and author of the book “Man and Sea.”
Progressing around the corner, Main Street’s brick sidewalks will take you past various high-end shops and eateries. Cross over to Elm Street and you’ll reach your next art viewing destination. Flemings of Cohasset Village. While the shop is best known as a destination for elegant lighting fixtures and other home accents, you can’t pass by the front windows without noticing the beautiful art on display. In fact, there are paintings tucked away in nooks and crannies all around the shop. Local artists that are represented include Cohasset resident David Alexander, whose paintings of Cohasset Common and ships at sea portray a jaw-dropping sense of realism and landscape artist Joanne Chittick, who also sells her work just around the block at Darilynn’s Home Presence.
A good place to rest between galleries is French Memories Bakery and Café, where you can snag a café table to munch on sandwiches made on fresh baguettes while gazing up at a small display of local art displayed on the café wall.
If you plan your stroll ahead of time you can call for an appointment at Tina Watson Studio where you can view Cohasset plein air painter Tina Watson’s latest work. Watson experiments with a range of artistic mediums, from watercolors and acrylics to encaustic art.
Founded in 1972, Golden Gull Studios is Plymouth’s oldest custom framing studio and art gallery. The gallery showroom displays an assortment of artwork by artists from the South Shore region. There are numerous landscapes and seascapes on display, as well as a selection of abstract works, aerial photographs and other art pieces. Represented artists include people like Glenn Graffam, who has been represented by Golden Gull for 16 years, and the late Brooks Kelly of Pembroke. During the month of July, visitors will be able to view paintings by the gallery’s working partner Frimma Buckman, who specializes in watercolors and mixed media.
Plymouth Center for the Arts offers a wealth of artistic resources and shows throughout the year. This summer the center will host its annual summer show showcasing member art, including photography, paintings and ceramics. The theme is “Through the Years” and the exhibit will run July 2 through mid-August.
Right across the street rom the Plymouth Center for the Arts, in an antique old building, is the Yankee Book and Art Gallery. This cozy shop is a blend of a book shop and an art gallery and specializes in photography, antique art prints and posters.
Stopping for refreshments at Kiskadee Coffee is also an opportunity to spot bold and eclectic paintings, drawings and cartoons on display. Located in a dimly lit brick building, the room harkens back to the good old days of coffee shops, with comfortable couches and café seating and coffee that’s guaranteed to keep your blood pumping.
Down the street and around a bend, photographer Ed Nute can often be found working in his Water Street studio, Nute Commercial Photography. He has over 30 years of experience shooting commercial product, food and portraits, but the walls of his studio are usually hung with examples of his fine art landscape photography. The work of guest artists is also shown from time to time.
Retrace your steps up Water Street and continue on Court Street, which becomes Sandwich Street. A short distance up the hill is Kusmin Art Gallery, housed in a white historic house circa 1726. Owner Andrew Kusmin is known for his beautiful watercolor paintings, delicate depictions of flowers and images of boats on churning seas.