Original Article: https://www.golocalprov.com/lifestyle/inside-art-with-michael-rose-realpro-combines-art-and-realty
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Michael Rose, Art Contributor
If art and home go hand in hand, then the pairing of art and realty should be a natural one. It is surprising then, that there is seemingly little overlap between these two industries. That is changing locally, with real estate entrepreneurs looking to support artists by giving them space to exhibit. At RealPro By The Water, a real estate firm based in Pawtuxet Village, the walls have been transformed into a regularly rotating art gallery representing local artists and raising funds for worthy causes. An innovative model, it boosts art and philanthropy.
While RealPro is not the first local real estate firm to show artworks, its program is extensive and features many artists who do not enjoy traditional gallery representation. RealPro’s Gallery is located in the firm’s bright and airy offices at 2202 Broad Street in Cranston. In the heart of Pawtuxet Village, the venue brings art to neighbors and to those traveling to the neighborhood. It is open to the public Mondays - Fridays, 9 am - 5 pm and Saturdays 10 am - 2 pm.
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RealPro mounts artworks and only asks that artists donate 20% of the proceeds from sales to a designated charity. Recently, they have been supporting the Non-Violence Institute and previously raised funds for other groups like the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center. They also regularly host festive Art Nights, where art enthusiasts and art makers can meet. The next is slated to be held on September 7, 2022 from 5-8 pm.
One artist with work on view is Matthew Hill, whose creative moniker SpiritxHill brands his gestural charcoal drawings that often celebrate Black figures. An emerging self-taught artist, Hill began making art at age ten with encouragement from his dad. He quickly discovered that his drawings were a powerful medium for self-expression. Based in Franklin, Massachusetts, Hill has family connections to Rhode Island, which he considers “home”. In addition to RealPro’s Gallery, his work has previously been seen at HeARTspot in East Providence and he has other work up for the month of June at Central Falls City Hall.
When asked what being represented at RealPro’s space means to him, Hill replies enthusiastically, saying, “It is an honor to see my artwork get a spotlight at a gallery-like RealPro! I am always blown away when I hear people loving and sharing the pieces I create. And to see my art next to other incredibly talented artists is an experience like no other. RealPro feels like a new beginning for me and a great chance to show everyone who SpiritxHill is. The curators at RealPro have helped open doors for me to continue to create and explore the art scene more!”
Twenty-five-year-old Fior De La Cruz is also currently featured. Like Hill, De La Cruz is self-taught. Her work is playful and often abstract. In addition to traditional painting techniques, she employs phosphorescent paint and UV light to make her paintings glow. This element brings her pieces to life within space and encourages audience participation.
De La Cruz discusses a recent Art Night, saying, “I was so honored to be part of such an incredible event for a cause, while being put in a room with a bunch of extremely talented artists from RI as well. I brought my UV Blacklight and it was so exciting seeing the faces of everyone enjoying and interacting with my work. I've had the opportunity to talk with many attendees and they were willing to learn and pick my brain about my inspiration, and the creation processes of each composition. Their exchanges on how they connect with the pieces was extremely heartwarming. The room felt very supportive and it made me realize that this is why I create - to help people recall a special moment in their life that was moving for them.”
The Gallery at RealPro is led by the firm’s Broker-Owner Eduardo Marines and Art Committee Chair José Ramirez, who is also a realtor. Ramirez is enmeshed in the community, working as a program manager for Roger Williams Park and serving on the Board of Rhode Island Latino Arts, among other organizations. A photographer in his own right, Ramirez exhibits alongside the artists he selects.
Of the gallery, Ramirez says, “My goal is to provide local artists with the opportunity to showcase their art. I want to emphasize the talent of local artists of color without closing ourselves to all artists, which I feel we have been able to do as showcased on our walls.”
Hosting work by dozens of artists, RealPro’s Gallery is a welcome new exhibition space and one whose focus on bridging art, community, and philanthropy is laudable. It is also a novel model within an art industry that is often uneasy towards change.
Learn more about RealPro’s Gallery at www.realprofoundation.org.
Michael Rose is a multi-talented fine art professional based in Southern New England. Since 2014 he has served as the gallery manager at the historic Providence Art Club, one of the nation’s oldest arts organizations. Through his current freelance work he advises collectors and artists, provides appraisal services, teaches, and completes curatorial projects. LEARN MORE HERE