Riverside Industries Holds Exhibit in Grubbs Gallery


Students at the Riverside gallery opening. Credit: Shirley Zhou.

Art is a unique way of expression that builds communication and connections among people. Here on display at Williston is a special exhibition strengthening the bonds between the school and Riverside Industries, a local corporation that empowers people with disabilities.

Located at 1 Cottage Street, Riverside serves individuals with perceived limitations and typical ambitions. In its 48th year, Riverside offers services combining life skill development, rehabilitation, and employment options for more than 230 adults with developmental disabilities from 33 towns in the tri-county region.

One major component of Riverside is its arts program, which provides participants with an in-depth, perhaps first time, opportunity to make art and exhibit their work in the community. All the art pieces currently hanging in the Grubbs Gallery are from adults enrolled in this program.

The Riverside-Williston show was put up on March 1 and will be open until the end of March.  Showcasing 28 pieces of artworks from 15 artists, the exhibition includes colored pencil drawings, crayon drawings, oil paintings, as well as photographs.

The show was curated by senior Shirley Zhou and received support from both the Community Service Club and the Arts Department.

On Saturday, March 24, five artists from Riverside Industries attended the artist reception held in the Grubbs Gallery, along with Ms. Halley Philips, the Art Therapist from Riverside.

One of the artists, Adam Joseph Goodwin, explained the inspiration for his art piece, which was a split face he titled Universal Face. “I think everyone has two personalities, two different selves,” he said. “I paint what represents people’s personalities on the portraits.” He mentioned that he had been drawing since high school.

Britanie Acurio ’19 attended the artist reception. She said: “Talking with the artists, I found myself connecting with them as I myself love to draw.” She continued: “Being with them reminded me that despite our differences, art has allowed us to depict and change our perspective of the world. From a more realistic landscape painting to the abstract, art has a way of being much more intimate than one would expect.”

Natania Hume, the Head of Williston’s Arts Department, was also present. “The show was really impressive because the artworks are so good, so different, and so individual for each artist,” she said. “It expresses a lot about the artists’ experiences and emotions.”

“It is also impressive that Riverside put so much effort and resources into helping the clients there make art pieces that are very well-developed,” Hume added.

Riverside Industries is 10-minutes-walk away from Williston’s campus. The Community Service Club has organized several trips to Riverside before.

Katherine Garrity, the Faculty Advisor of the Community Service Club, said: “Williston has had a close connection with Riverside Industries for years!  The community service club tries to get down there a few times a year to help clean, send mailings, volunteer at their annual auction, or whatever else they need.”

She continued: “Last year we were excited to donate a portion of the StuBop proceeds to Riverside, which led to their directors coming to speak at assembly.  I thought it was a great moment for the rest of our community to learn about the important work that they do.”

“I hope that many students were able to see the gallery and appreciate all the hard work that went into making it possible!” Garrity said. “It really opened our eyes to different ways that our students could ‘serve’ the local community…a good reminder that serving a community normally starts with getting to know its people.”