A change of scenery.
Back in 1996, Robert M. Nash made a permanent switch.
Nash - a Worcester photographer and member of the former Grove Street Galley - and his wife Susan bought a house on Cape Cod. That's where he has stayed, and Nash is now executive director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth.
But Nash still has Worcester connections, and that has brought about another "switch."
In this case, "Paint and Switch," a pair of exhibitions involving the Cultural Center of Cape Cod and the Prints and the Potter Galley at 142 Highland St., Worcester.
The idea of "Paint and Switch" is that 12 Worcester County artists will have paintings exhibited at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod May 5 through 26, and 15 Cape Cod artists will have work exhibited at the Prints and the Potter from May 19 through June 16.
"I had this idea for the past couple of years that I wanted to make some kind of connection back to the Worcester arts scene," Nash said.
Nash had his own commercial photography studio in Worcester in addition to being a member of the Grove Street Gallery. "I got to know a lot of the local artists," he said.
They include Norman H. Ringdahl, owner of the Prints and the Potter. Last year, the two were talking and Nash suggested the "Paint and Switch."
"I thought it was a great idea," Ringdahl said. The principle behind the joint exhibitions is to expand the visibility of artists from both areas and to provide the viewing public with new and fresh images by talented artists from different parts of the state, he said.
The concept of having twin exhibitions has been met with enthusiasm by artists affiliated with both places.
"It helps some Worcester artists get seen outside of the area," said artist Allan Forrest Small, who will have three of his paintings switching to Cape Cod. "And it's a great chance to meet each other. Worcester is sometimes treated as a backwater, but there's a lot going on here and good artists who deserve to be seen."
Nash said the Cape Cod artists who will be seen here "are thrilled. I think they feel the isolation sometimes and look forward to the opportunity to spread their wings and get their work shown outside of here."
"Part of my motivation was that we get kind of isolated down here on good old Cape Cod," Nash added. "Consequently, our art work takes on a particular look that is very common to this area, and rightly so. But my intent was to introduce a different vantage point for creating art. And to bring that Cape body of work to Worcester, I thought it would be just as interesting at that end."
After moving to Cape Cod, Nash became involved with a group of artists who were working on transforming an old, vacant bank building - once considered an architectural treasure - into a cultural center.
The center opened its doors in January 2007, with Nash as executive director. The center's mission is to offer instruction, entertainment, and exhibition in the visual, literary, and performing arts. "It's been hugely successful," Nash said. "Last year there were 900 `uses' of the building."
Cape Cod itself is an area teeming with artists, he said. "They number in the thousands. Driving you'll see galleries on top of galleries. I don't think many people realize how many artists there are on Cape Cod until you start kicking the tires, and they're everywhere."
So there was no shortage of candidates for "Paint and Switch."
"I was looking for kind of a diverse group - at the same time a group whose work would represent the Cape well. I formulated a long list and whittled a short list," Nash said.
The 15 Cape Cod artists - who will have two works exhibited each - did not have to paint specifically for "Paint and Switch."
"For the most part, it's work already in their stable, although one artist told me she wouldn't be able to get it to me until Friday (April 25) because it was still wet," Nash said.
Nash drove to the Prints and the Potter with 30 paintings on April 29, delivering them to Ringdahl, and taking about 30 back.
As for future switches and connections, Nash said "quite possibly."
There will be a pause, he said. "After the show we'll think about it, and maybe ways to do a `Paint and Switch 2.'"
For more information, visit www.printsandpotter.com and www.cultural-center.org.
Contemporary encaustic exhibit on Cape
The Cape Cod Museum of Art will host "Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic" beginning May 18, focusing on the medium that uses finely ground pigments suspended in beeswax.
This is the first museum in the region to feature encaustic painting in a dedicated exhibition. Thirty-one masters of the medium from around the country, including Worcester artist Donna Hamil Talman, will show their works.
There are many qualities that distinguish encaustic - texture, malleability, even aroma - the most obvious is the way it interacts with light, refracting it slightly so that it emanates as a soft glow.
The exhibit runs May 18 through June 23 at Cape Cod Museum of Art, 60 Hope Lane, Dennis. There will be a reception with the artists 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 2. For more information, go to www.ccmoa.org.
`Paint and Switch,' Worcester opening
When: 2 to 5 p.m. May 19; exhibit runs through June 16
Where: Prints and the Potter Galley, 142 Highland St., Worcester.
Contact Richard Duckett at email@example.com
CUTLINE: (1) Norman H. Ringdahl, left, owner of Prints and the Potter Gallery, and Robert M. Nash, of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, look over some of the work by Cape Cod artists that Nash delivered to the Worcester gallery. Twelve Worcester County artists will have their works exhibited at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main St., South Yarmouth, through May 26. (2) Interior Dialogue: detail #5, Evolving, by Donna Hamil Talman
PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/CHRISTINE PETERSON