Art for the Soul Gallery
Two friends, Stella Butler and Rosemary Tracy Woods, both passionate art advocates, decided to open a gallery at the site of the former Classical High School. The fabulously refurbished residential condominium served as the original home for Art for the Soul Gallery. A second gallery location was opened in downtown Springfield at Tower Square in late 2015.
From these two locations, Rosemary Tracy Woods, Executive Director, and William "Billy" Myers, Artistic Director and Chief Curator, have brought some of this country’s most renowned artists of color to the attention of Springfield’s art loving community. Historically, artists of color and particularly African American artists have been missing from America’s museums and galleries. “Among the 18 major US art museums, 85% of the artists are white and 87% are men.”*
Ms. Woods’ specializes in contemporary African American art and the art of the Harlem Renaissance; recent exhibits at Art for the Soul Gallery include the work of Frank Frazier, Larry “Poncho” Brown, Paul Goodnight, Dane Tilghman, and Richard Roy.
Art for the Soul Gallery strives to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of diverse artists as they exist throughout the world; through exhibits, programs and activities that illustrate historical, political and social passage through present day.
Ms. Woods believes art has real power. One of her signature achievements was an exhibition by Dr. Imo Nse Imeh (November 6, 2015–January 16, 2016), entitled Ten Little N***** Girls: A Works-in-Progress, Open Studio Exhibition and the ensuing community conversations about race. Record-breaking attendance and the collaboration of area college and university art departments as well as the Healing Racism Institute of the Pioneer Valley underscored her belief and proved the truth of her vision.
William "Billy" Myers, Artistic Director and Chief curator is an expert in conservation and installation of fine art. He has worked for Smith College Museum of Fine Art and Springfield Museum of Fine Art. He has taught conservation programs in Florence for the University of Florence in Italy. Myers is also the founder of Frameworks Gallery, a Massachusetts based gallery that specializes in European and American frames from the 15th century through the present; as well as representing works by emerging New England artists. As Chief Preparator for the SCMA, he has also run the Frame Conservation Program, a volunteer opportunity for students to combine an introduction to conservation theory and practice with hands-on experience in the conservation and reproduction of historic frames.
*Results from a recent study conducted by a group of statisticians, mathematicians and art historians from Williams College.