Winter is here, which means that snow and long days cooped up inside with nothing to do are, too. To help stave off the grumpiness of this season, chilly temperatures, and cabin fever, we’re starting “Beyond the Brush,” a series of profiles introducing you to the many unique art galleries around New Hampshire.
For our latest profile, check out Jackson Art Studio & Gallery in Jackson. We spoke to owner Melanie Levitt to learn more about the working studio and gallery that display the work of over 20 local artists, most from Mt. Washington Valley. Read on to learn all about their eclectic mix of contemporary, cutting age work that includes a different take on our local landscape with thought-provoking color and innovative compositions.
Tell us about the history of your gallery.
Melanie: “Jackson Art Studio & Gallery officially opened in 2010 after there was a fire caused by a bottle of linseed oil breaking and needing to be cleaned up with a rag. After that the studio was rebuilt and the gallery created.”
What makes your gallery special or different?
Melanie: “We have over 30 local artists. About half of the artists work at the gallery on weekends and create their art while they work. People can come in and view the artwork in the gallery and watch the artists create. The work in the gallery is eclectic, modern and colorful with a good variety. We have oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, mixed media, woodblock prints, photography, mosaics, jewelry, wood turning, hand blown glass and more.”
What’s the story behind the name of your gallery?
Melanie: “The gallery is in the town of Jackson, hence the name Jackson Art Studio & Gallery. It is not just a gallery but also a studio. Top artists from all over the country come to teach so it is also an art school. We also plan on doing art and wellness retreats in the future.”
What are you best known for?
Melanie: “I think we are best known for both our artwork and classes. We are off the beaten path and people always comment that we are a hidden treasure and one the best galleries they have been to. We have a lot of local scenes and landscape paintings.”
Tell us about your artists. What styles of art do you feature? Any particular disciplines?
Melanie: “I would say we feature modern and colorful work. Most of the artists are from right here in the valley and a few from Maine and southern New Hampshire. We have oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, mixed media, woodblock prints, photography, mosaics, jewelry, wood turning, hand blown glass and more.”
Do you have any exciting exhibits planned for 2022? Any other events?
Melanie: “We will be open every day February vacation week for our winter art show. We also have some pop up shows in the works.”
What keeps you passionate about the arts?
Melanie: “I am a plein air painter and I am very passionate about painting. I set up my easel outside and paint the local landscape. I also teach landscape painting classes both outdoors, in the studio and remotely. My passion is teaching people how to paint and also bringing people together. I love having a space for artists to demonstrate on weekends and for people to come in and enjoy the art.”
How can people best support you right now?
Melanie: “Spread the word about the studio and gallery. I am trying hard to advertise and get the word out about our upcoming classes and the gallery with amazing local art. Since we are not right in the downtown a lot of people don’t know we are here!”
Melanie Barash Levitt graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990. She currently lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and is the owner of Jackson Art Studio & Gallery. Melanie is an award-winning artist who paints in a loose, impressionistic style with a brush or a palette knife in oils. As a plein air artist, Levitt paints on location braving the elements to capture the mood of the scene. Her favorite subjects are the mountains, rivers and the small farms of New Hampshire and the rugged coasts of Maine. Her artwork resides is in the home of many collectors through the United States, Canada and Europe. She exhibits her work in galleries and shows throughout the Northeast and has been featured in Boston Chronicle (WCBV TV, ABC), NH Chronicle (WMUR 9), and has been published in various newspapers and magazines. She also has received awards for her paintings in regional shows and juried events.