For a suburban town, we've got a pretty healthy art scene. All of the components are present: gallery space to show the work, and of course, a strong community of working artists to actually create the art work. Having an acclaimed art museum, which also offers classes, additionally gives legitimacy, strength and diversity to the local art community.
The Danforth Museum of Art, with its eye-catching metal sculptures on its front lawn facing Union Avenue downtown, is a high-visibility icon of the role visual arts play in the community. Its exhibitions have featured artists with national and international reputations as well as regional and local practitioners.
Its permanent collection focuses on 19th and 20th century American and European artists, including household names like Whistler, Picasso, and Matisse. Its museum school offers over a hundred classes and workshops and includes fifty working artists on its faculty.
The Framingham Artists' Guild is, after over fifty years of existence, the town's oldest artist organization. To some people in town, the most visible evidence of the group's work is at the exhibits they offer during the band concerts on the town green in Framingham Centre every summer.
Saxonville Studios, a group of artists with loft studios in the old mill complex on Concord Street in Saxonville, is widely-known for its annual spring open studios, which brings a little bit of Soho or the South End to the village every year. In existence for sixteen years, the fifteen artists represent a wide diversity of styles and media.
Fountain Street Studios, in the historic Bancroft Building in South Framingham, is both the new kid on the block, founded in 1996, and the largest collection of artist spaces in town, with over fifty working artists represented. Fountain Street also opens its doors for an open studios weekend each spring.
So where else in town is original art being exhibited, and often available for purchase? The Mazimanian Art Gallery at Framingham State College features student, faculty, and professional artists in exhibits that change nearly every month during the academic year.
The Tower Gallery at Framed In Time, a frame shop on Central Street in the Saxonville mill, offers numerous exhibits throughout the year.
Amazing Things Arts Center exhibits art work in its Saxonville location on Nicholas Road, as well as its "satellite gallery" at the Starbucks coffee shop on the corner of Route 9 and Prospect Street. Looks for Amazing Things to bring more visual art to downtown Framingham as it completes its transition to its new location at the fire house on Hollis Street this year.
Espresso Paulo, the coffee shop/bookstore in Nobscot Shopping Center on Water Street, has regular art exhibits, as does the lobby of the main branch of the Framingham Public Library downtown on Pearl Street.
So with all this great art to see all over town, it's not hard to find if you know where to look. And while you're at it, consider buying a piece from a local artist, and give them the support and motivation to keep creating!