By Celina Colby

This year the Gateway Arts summer exhibition has specifically celebrated Black, Indigenous, and Latinx artists working in the Gateway community. Featuring artists working currently and throughout the years, their online exhibition showcases a dynamic series of works on current issues like police violence and COVID-19. Celebrating Artists of Color” runs through the end of August, but Gateway visitors are encouraged to support the artists involved year-round.

Many of the staff have been personally working towards ending institutional racism,” says Gateway artistic director Stephen DeFronzo. It was this anti-racist work by the staff that inspired DeFronzo to create an exhibition highlighting artists of color.

Works have been added to the online exhibition on a rolling basis throughout the summer. DeFronzo estimates there are as many as 50 pieces total in the show. Some of the works can be seen in person, by appointment at the Gateway Arts store and abbreviated gallery. The primary gallery space is still closed to the public.

Gateway Arts is a nonprofit Vinfen service dedicated to supporting artists with disabilities in the Boston area. Located in Brookline Village, the organization provides materials, studio space, and a supportive artistic community for these makers.

During the pandemic DeFronzo says the Gateway team has stayed in touch with artists via video chat, doing online studio visits, and sending supply kits to each artist thanks to donations from Blick and other art supplies stores. “We are reaching out by phone and we’re reaching out through Zoom. And over Zoom people have been showing their work,” says DeFronzo. “People can actually see each other, because they miss each other, and look at each other’s work and talk about it.”

As a result of this continued support, many of the works in the show were created during quarantine, such as Jordana Simpson’s piece “Untitled (BLM)” that features a woman of color wearing a mask that reads, “I am not a virus.”

In conjunction with the summer exhibition Gateway Arts is running a 25 percent off sale on all artwork and other products from the Gateway store. Fifty percent of the sales from artwork go to the artist and the other half Gateway uses to purchase materials for future projects.

Though the sale and exhibition end this week, many of these artists create and sell work with Gateway year-round. A purchase from Gateway beautifies your space and supports the local artistic community during a particularly challenging time.

“Because of the political time we’re in now we’re trying to lend some support to that particular voice that is saying Black Lives Matter,” says DeFronzo. “We need to pay more attention to people of color in general.”