Joint Venture — Student Curatorial Project with Riverside Industries

Art students from The Williston Northampton School will curate Joint Venture, an exhibition showcasing paintings by individuals in the Riverside Industries arts program. Joint Venture will exhibit at the Grubbs Gallery in the Reed Campus Center at The Williston Northampton School from April 12-29, 2011. An opening reception will be held on April 17, 2011, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

This semester, five Williston students who are the advisees of Williston art teacher Marcia Reed have joined art classes at Riverside Industries—a non-profit organization that serves people with disabilities. Riverside Industries is located in Easthampton in the One Cottage Street mill building, just a few blocks from Williston’s campus. The organization offers art classes to clients, giving them the opportunity to explore and express their creativity. In this semester’s classes, the students of Williston and Riverside worked together to create artwork as they talked about their processes and interests. During the final class preceding spring break, Williston students worked with Marcia Reed and Denise Herzog, art director at Riverside Industries, to select individual pieces for the exhibit in the Grubbs Gallery.

Marcia Reed says about the class, “All of my advisees this semester are all art students. I thought this could be a good community service project and a way for them to interact with the Riverside. I approached Denise and she thought it was a good idea, too. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for them to curate the show, select the art, and help to hang it. They could be part of that whole process.”

During one class, Williston and Riverside students casually chatted around a table about their hometowns as they painted on large pieces of paper. With Williston students’ hometowns ranging from Saudi Arabia to Easthampton, MA, and Riverside Industries clients coming from all of the surrounding pioneer valley area, the group learned about a variety of places, some near and far.

During the discussion, a Riverside client named Jen turned to Williston student Ashley Wong, a senior from Hong Kong, China, and asked what color should she use next on her drawing. Ashley, a senior at Williston, encouraged her to pick a color that she liked. Ashley has been enthusiastic about the program since the group began visiting Riverside. She says, “All the students have their own style. They are very independent. There is a student named Tony, his work is amazing! He captures so much detail.”

Denise Herzog toured the Willliston art studios in the Reed Campus Center and was enthusiastic about the work on view. Herzog says, “I’m very impressed with this group from Williston. They are very mature for their age. To come into a new situation like this class, one has to adjust their comfort levels. They did it quickly.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public and takes place in the Grubbs Gallery of the Reed Campus Center at The Williston Northampton School. For more information see