Haute Spots Boston: Girard’s Private Art Gallery

Luxury living has taken on a haute new look at the Girard in Boston where the South End’s 160-unit luxe residential building now houses private art galleries. When New Atlantic Development created their vision for Girard,they were looking to provide an exclusive amenities to its residents.

Photo Credit: Girard

Enter 12 rotating galleries that will feature works from local Boston area artists, including Christine Vaillancourt, Liang Guo, Robert Baart and Greg Norstrom. The gallery spaces will showcase local artwork from greater Boston painters, photographers and designers inspired by mid-century modern masters including textile designer Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames, Hans and Florence Knoll and George Nelson,

We caught up recently with Peter Roth, president of New Atlantic Development, to find out the inspirations behind creating an art gallery inside a luxury residential community

What was the inspiration behind creating a private art gallery?

“Several reasons led to the incorporation of private gallery spaces at Girard. From the beginning, we wanted to create an environment that was rich with content related to art and design, and to distinguish our apartment community from others. Therefore, the decision to do a strikingly contemporary building, to invest in carefully curated furnishings and interior design elements from modern masters, and to incorporate a range of interesting works of art and craft in the building, seemed to be an ideal fit. In addition, Girard is located in the SOWA district of the South End, which is rich with contemporary artists, so it seemed natural to incorporate local artists in the experience of Girard. The idea of incorporating a program of rotating gallery spaces, with works of art from contemporary artist enclaves throughout the city, developed from those ideas, and really took off.”

How are the artists chosen to showcase their work?

“We wanted to identify artists doing a range of work – including two and three dimensional work, photography, sculpture, graphic and textile design, and other kinds of high quality craft – from a wide range of venues in Boston. Thus, we set out to identify the venues within the city that might be represented, and then networked to identify individual artists within those venues that were excited at the prospect of participating. The goals were to select an interesting and diverse set of offerings that would creatively stimulate our residents and their guests, with the owner and developer of Girard, New Atlantic, leading the effort.”

Do you think this will be the new trend in luxury urban living?

“Art has always been a part of residential and hospitality environments, though for the most part one tends to see a permanent collection that grows stale over time. What’s unique at Girard is the commitment to an ever-changing, dynamic program of art work on display. It’s not an insignificant commitment, and will likely be undertaken only in residential communities that are serious about engaging residents, on a continuing basis, with local contemporary art.”

How long will each artist’s collection be on view?

“For now, the initial commitment is for each artist to populate their gallery space for one year, though the Girard team will be rotating the work within the building every 12 weeks in order to maximize exposure within the building for the artists (which they love!) and especially to create a more dynamic experience for our residents. We anticipate that we will begin to rotate new artists into the Girard gallery program after nine months.”

While on display at Girard, each artist’s work will rotate throughout the building on a bi-monthly basis, allowing residents the opportunity to experience new artwork at their doorstep throughout the year. The program also provides the artists a chance to discuss their work with residents and their guests at gallery talks over wine and hors d’ouevres in the property’s shared penthouse. The galleries will be refreshed annually with an updated collection from new artists.

The complete list of artists to be featured at Girard includes:

  • Clif Stoltze/Stoltze Design
    • Graphic design firm at Midway Artist Studios in Fort Point
  • Santiago Hernandez
    • Cuban-born artist and musician, working in mixed media; his studio is at the Bates Art Center in the South End.
  • Liang Guo
    • Painter and art educator with a studio at the Bates Art Center in the South End – urban landscapes and other work in oil on canvas
  • Robert Baart
    • Fenway-based artist, abstract landscapes
  • Christine Vailliancourt
    • Fort Point- based artist working in acrylic on paper and canvas
  • Charyl Weissbach
    • Boston artist with a SOWA studio, working in paint and encaustic techniques on canvas and metal
  • Elena DuPlessis
    • South End artist, abstract expressionist work on canvas, paper
  • Michelle Brown
    • South End artist, works on canvas (currently exhibiting in Newton main library)
  • Jesus Matheus
    • South End artist, originally from Caracas, works on canvas, paper
  • Greg Norstrom
    • South End artist working in photography and digital graphics
  • Jeffrey Heyne
    • Fort Point artist working in photography and digital graphics
  • Carole Allen
    • Graphic designer at Westinghouse Lofts in Hyde Park

Girard is located at 600 Harrison Avenue in Boston.