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13Forest Gallery reopens on Mass. Ave. May 21

13Forest Gallery

13Forest Gallery reopened at 167A Mass. Ave. on Saturday, May 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., after it was displaced by a fire next door last August.

Marc Gurton, the owner, wrote in a newsletter that he was "proud and excited: to present "Thinking of Summer in Winter," which continues through July 15.

Last Aug. 28, a fire broke out in the Thrive Juice Café, next to the gallery. "We were lucky to sustain little damage to our building and to the artwork on display, but repairs were slow and would take several months to complete," Gurton wrote.

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13Forest, at Food Link, holds holiday show

13Forest Gallery

UPDATED Dec. 11: 13Forest Gallery, at 167A Mass. Ave., was exhibiting One of One: Four Approaches to Monoprints," until an Aug. 28 fire next door, at Thrive Juice Cafe. Meanwhile, the gallery has popped up at 108 Summer St., at the hub for Food Link, while repairs are being made to the gallery space on Mass. Ave.

Owner Marc Gurton further updates the public about its 14th holiday exhibition -- "Plenty 2021."

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Brazilian music workshop held at Morningside

Morningside Music logoA workshop on Brazilian music -- covering basic rhythms, styles and history -- was held Saturday, Dec. 18, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Morningside Music Studio, 13A Medford St., Arlington.

Leading the workshop is David Rumpler, a pianist, cavaquinhista and Brazilian music expert. The goal of this 11/2-hour workshop is to introduce listeners and performers to the principle Brazilian rhythms, the styles associated with them, as well as providing some background about where, when and how these styles evolved.

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ON A ROLL: This art program comes to you

artmobile 300 41018"We are always creating new options to keep things fresh": Co-owner Suchi Mumford of Arlington

Arlington has a number of arts programs that ask you to "come on down." What about a regional option that comes to you?

The Artmobile Boston does that.

Owned by Suchi Mumford of Arlington and Andrea Crowley of Lexington, the new business brings creativity your way on four wheels.

Crowley, the founder, is a former art teacher and art therapist. She got the truck rolling in 2014 where she designed the crafts/activities and developed the lessons she leads.

Mumford has been instrumental in developing the business side of the Artmobile as well as leading the lessons.

Mumford is the former owner of Indigo Fire, an arts center in Belmont, where she ran all the operations and taught classes. At Artmobile, she develops the business and helps with lessons. 

The mobile art studio is outfitted with tables, chairs, windows, heating, air-conditioning and music. The owners drive the truck to a location, park and guests get on board. While the truck is parked, its staff lead guests through a creative art project. They typically book for one-hour events.

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Wearable art to pop up in Capitol Square after postponement

Style Stories Boutique to make Arlington debut after virus threat

UPDATED, March 13: Wearable art for every day, with an emphasis on sustainable fashion, will be the focus of a new pop-up boutique at Artbeat was to start Sunday, March 15.  But it has been postponed in the light of the coronavirus.

Queen Allotey-PappoeQueenAllotey-Pappoe

Award-winning fashion designer Queen Allotey-Pappoe has a unique approach to color, style and sustainable fashion based on African textiles. The boutique will feature her Queen Adeline brand of dresses, tops and accessories, along with personal styling service and a series of hands-on workshops. 

Queen is originally from Accra, Ghana, where her richly patterned, one-of-a-kind fabrics are designed and made from 100-percent cotton. When she first came to the United States, Queen lived in East Arlington, and started her family here before moving to Littleton.

Now the mother of three, Queen works from her studio/showroom in the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell.

Her clothing is sewn in small batches here and in Ghana, and rendered in timeless silhouettes in order to reduce waste in the production process and in her customers’ closets. 

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Arlington author highlights diverse classics for children

Would you like to dance through the streets of Harlem with Langston Hughes? Shout “Land HO!” with the crew of Melville’s ship?

Sheila CordnerSheila Cordner

Or perhaps you’re eager to climb the hills of Sui Sin Far’s San Francisco to a Dragon Boat Festival.

Children will be able to experience all of these adventures when Arlington author Sheila Cordner’s Who’s Hiding in This Book? Meet 10 Famous Authors arrives in bookstores and on Amazon on Nov. 15.

Preorders are available through

In creating this book, Cordner, a published Boston University literature professor, says she means to extend her love of the classics to children.

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A TOWN GALLERY FIRST: 13Forest holds pop-up in P-town

13Forest logo

13Forest Gallery moves out of East Arlington temporarily for its first pop-up exhibit, at 444 in Provincetown, from Sept. 6 through 12. 

For 10 years 13FOREST has been working with some of the finest artists in the Boston area to bring recognition to their work and to link them directly with the public. When the opportunity arose to present a late-summer exhibition at Gallery 444 on Commercial St., Provincetown, the managers saw it as a way to extend its 10th anniversary while continuing to introduce unique artists to new audiences.

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How the serendipitous dream of 13Forest grew

Marc Gurton, left, and Jim Kiley at 13Forest.Marc Gurton, left, and Jim Kiely at 13Forest in East Arlington.

A 'pop-and-pop-run business' thrives

Marc Gurton, co-owner, of 13Forest Gallery at 167A Mass. Ave., Capitol Square in East Arlington, met me between snowstorms. He and his husband, Jim Kiely, share ownership of 13Forest. His cozy gallery is just a block walk from the Capitol Theater; all items are made by hand.

I wanted to know how 13Forest had grown from its original location in Medford Square to East Arlington.

"Building relationships with artists" and being a "family business" are what fulfill Gurton. It’s a "pop-and-pop-run business," he says, as the co-owners collaborate in all respects.

Following a successful 20-year career in corporate accounting, Gurton felt his enthusiasm for his job wane, and a need for a change was inevitable. In 2006, the New York native was fortunate to have the time and finances to visit friends in England, France, Ireland, Italy and Tunisia.

Gurton planned the February trip that year to coincide with the three-day St. Agatha festival in Catania in Sicily, near Mount Aetna. Standing up for her faith to the Romans, St. Agatha is known as “the patron saint” of breast-cancer survivors and firefighters. He vividly recalls the 2006 festival, as men in white tunics and black hats led a procession of hundreds of thousands through the streets.

After his immersion in other cultures, at home with Kiely in West Medford, Gurton found the effect of the trip "serendipitous." He found a job posting on the Medford listserv for an accountant in a Medford art gallery, and Kiely encouraged him. He soon became the accountant for Lisa Tang Liu, a computer programmer-turned-wedding photographer.

How gallery got its name

13Forest Street was the address of the tiny wedding photography gallery in Medford Square called Pigmentia Studio. Gurton shared with Lisa his ideas for drawing more people to the gallery in the confusing streets of Medford Square by organizing events called "Third Thursdays."

With these and other successful events bringing more people to the gallery, they began showing local artists' work. Fortuitously, a "big corporate client" came onboard. Kiely helped him curate shows. When Liu decided to focus on expanding her photography, she "literally gave me the keys" to the gallery, says Gurton, who had no experience in art-gallery ownership. He decided to take the leap. Gurton "has a thing for prime numbers," so the name and address of the gallery felt serendipitous to him.

Gurton had been surrounded by artists and art throughout his life. His mother and cousin are visual artists. He and Kiely, who has an art history and philosophy degree, are art collectors. His mother and cousin joined him at open studios and art shows, where his experience in retail inspired him to learn more about hand-made jewelry. Soon, his brother found the current gallery location on Craigslist.

Good fit with Capitol Square shops

In late 2007, the kind of shops in the neighborhood around the Capitol Theater -- such as Monroe Saltworks, Artbeat and Maxima, many featuring hand-made items and encouraging creativity -- seemed a perfect fit for 13Forest. With his "good eye for art and decorating," Gurton worked with carpenters to transform the new site, and 13Forest in East Arlington opened in February 2008.

The business owners of East Arlington met, and with the leadership of Artbeat owner Jan Whitted, shared ideas to draw more potential customers to the neighborhood. Naming the area "Capitol Square" and ideas for yearly special events were born.

In June, the square celebrates the Feast of the East and in December, the holiday shopping event First Lights. While some businesses have left the area, Gurton and other Capitol Square business owners are welcoming the opening of Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens, the popular store in Arlington Center, in the space formerly occupied by Wings Over Arlington.

13Forest is a curated art space, not an open studio. The owners are approachable and knowledgeable about the art in the gallery which includes fine art, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass and jewelry. Staff members include a full-time gallery manager, Maggie Jensen, who "helps run the place for us," Gurton says.

'Finishing school'

Through the years, interns attending art school have worked at 13Forest. He says his gallery has become a "finishing school" for those excited to work in the field.

"I’ve been in the corporate life so long, I teach my employees things they’d never learn otherwise," he says. One manager went onto a job at Sotheby’s. Sarah Buyer, a previous manager is now marketing and outreach coordinator for the nearby Arlington Center for the Arts.

What's happening?

Periodic events spice 13Forest's schedule. On Feb. 6 an artist talk and reception for the current exhibit, "Likely Stories," drew about 20 people. The paintings of Bulgarian artist Boriana Kantcheva draw "on memories and imagination to create compelling narrative imagery in print and gouache."

As part of Romancing the Square on Friday, Feb. 13, 13Forest is hosting an adult-oriented event, "After Hours" featuring "Opera on Tap" from 7 to 9 p.m. "Opera on Tap" is a nonprofit organization of professional singers that brings opera to more relaxed setting in local bars, restaurants and arts institutions.

Short sets will begin at 7:30 and 8:15 p.m. Gurton promises this event "will be a bit bawdy."

This story was published Wednesday, Feb.  11, 2015. The author, Susie Goldman, is a volunteer feature writer for YourArlington.

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