• by Sarah Teach •
Sosebee Studio & Fine Art Gallery has stepped back from the harborfront and forward to a fitting future. The gallery, owned by island artists Deb and Doug Sosebee, has moved to 8 Washington Street, just two blocks from the bottom of Main Street. It retains the feel of a beach cottage while opening up some breathing space to enjoy their signature Nantucket imagery. The main floor is bright and spacious, allowing the gallery to broaden the styles of artwork available, such as a selection of island-inspired jewelry. Paintings of Nantucket’s iconic scenes are arranged alongside its lesser-known landscapes all the way from eye level to the top of the cathedral ceiling, enveloping the viewer in a panorama of colorful island images. Deb Sosebee says, “Our goal is to create a more rich experience for those who visit the gallery.”
But the loft is where the action happens—quietly. A canvas-covered art table extends across the middle of the room and points towards a welcoming little coffee station. Behind the table is a large window, which offers an abundance of natural light, not to mention a view of the harbor and the green expanse that abuts it. In front of the art table is a lounge area with a comfortable designer couch and an inviting duet of armchairs. Paintings line the loft walls so that the viewing experience is not interrupted. Sosebee discusses plans for the space: “Whoever is here at the studio—me, my daughter Jessica, my husband Doug—is up here painting.” Gallery visitors are welcome to come up and sit, relax, and converse while enjoying a cup of coffee or a sparkling water. Also, on select evenings throughout the summer, featured artists will use the loft space to offer live demonstrations of their techniques, allowing onlookers to ask questions as they observe an artist at work. “The premise,” Sosebee says, “is to get people connected to art and to each other, and to talk about creativity and what inspires people.”
The Sosebees are also sketching out plans to use the loft area for art education, after having spent years in a smaller space where that idea was only a dream. Sosebee says, “Over the years, I’ve had so many people come into the gallery and say to me, ‘Oh, I’ve always wished I could paint, but I can’t draw a stick figure!’” The Sosebees plan to open the loft to persons who are interested in painting in the studio. “It’s on an individual basis. There is no cost, just commitment,” says Sosebee. “We want to create an experience for people; one that is personal and small-scale. And,” she adds with a slight smile, “to explore the spiritual side of things. To me, art and spirituality go together,” Sosebee continues, clasping her hands. “Making art brings out the spirit within you. It’s so wonderful and so healthy to tap into that. Art has a voice,” she says, earnestly adding, “It calls to people!” Anyone who is interested in the painting instruction opportunity is welcome to come by the studio to discuss it with Sosebee.
This weekend, you’re invited to enjoy some special events at the studio. On Friday, May 24 from 6-8 p.m., come to the Welcome Reception and kick off the long weekend by toasting to the gallery’s new location. Fine art collectors should drop by and check out the subject of this weekend’s silent auction: local painter Kathleen Potter Kelliher’s “Island Pastoral,” 12×24 oil landscape that features the island’s soft, undulating beach scrub and reveals a hint of the Great Point lighthouse in the distance. Proceeds will benefit the Nantucket Community Food Co-op. Bidding starts at $500 and increases in increments of $50. Phone bids are accepted at 508-228-0014. The final bid will be accepted at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. And whether you are looking to purchase paintings to remind you of Nantucket when you are away, or you simply want to check out everything that the new space has to offer, then visit 8 Washington to see the Sosebees in their new spot. They’ll be delighted you dropped by.