WESTERLY — Portrait artists Paul Flanagan and Dennis Lavorato will be the featured artists this month at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, the sixth show to be mounted in the gallery’s new location at the historic Westerly train station since early August. 

"Exploration — New Perspectives" opens Friday, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

Flanagan, a self-taught portrait artist who works primarily in acrylics, "has art in his blood as both the son of and the father of art teachers," according to artist Lois Lawrence in her exhibit note.

Earlier in his career, he honed his skills reproducing works of artists he admired, Lawrence wrote, artists like John Singer Sargent and Foster Caddell.

"He also practices his skills using a dozen or so castings of heads that he keeps in his studio and by working with live models," Lawrence wrote.

His art has been shown at the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, the Mystic Museum of Art and the Electric Boat campus in New London, where he shows on a continuing basis.

Lavorato was born and raised in Brooklyn and studied art at Pratt Institute and Cal Arts before moving to New England, where he has worked as a freelance artist, portrait artist, designer and photographer. These days, his focus is on portraits and alphabetical abstracts. He believes that every artist is looking for a sort of acceptance by someone or some group and confirms that he is, too. He describes his mission as finding ways to create work that can be loved and accepted everywhere.

Whenever possible, the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly sponsors events and programs designed to "involve the greater community in artistic endeavors and to stimulate the artistic imagination of its members," said Lawrence.

With that in mind, she added, the gallery will host a "Paper Pop-Up" and workshop on Jan. 19, to provide gallery-goers with a chance to see handmade mulberry Hanji papers from International Paper Connections of Providence.

"We are doing a 2-part set of events at the Artists' Coop," said Lisa Perez, an artist associated with Paper Connections. "I will be doing a demonstration to introduce the techniques that will be featured in an upcoming workshop being offered in March." 

Lauren Pearlman Sugita (Founder and President of Paper Connection International) will lead the pop-up by showing "some of our fine art papers," Perez added.

The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. More information is available at www.westerlyarts.com.


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