Entertainment » Highlights » Volume 49

Nine Dot Gallery is thinking outside the box

By Samuel Schonning

When John Vo thinks about Nine Dot Gallery, he sees a community.

“I want Nine Dot Gallery to be a community space where artists can cultivate their craft and elevate the status of the city,” Vo said.

Vo opened the private fine arts gallery at 763 Main St., Worcester, last summer. Along with being a place for local artists, Vo also envisions the gallery becoming an important destination for international artists to present their work. Vo said that despite the many creative individuals who inhabit the city, Worcester does not receive the credit it deserves as a cultural hot spot. Nine Dot Gallery is not only looking to benefit artists but also the communities in which they live.

Vo himself is a Lowell-born, Worcester-raised artist. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, where he studied art and philosophy. In 2010, he received a grant to travel to Vietnam and study art in the country of his heritage. Looking at his current work, there is no doubt that this voyage was transformative and inspirational to him in many ways.

“It was the first time in my life that art has taken me anywhere, and with Nine Dot Gallery, art has taken me home,” Vo said on the gallery’s website. Upon returning from Vietnam, Vo said he realized the importance of building something special and lasting in one’s hometown.

Vo not only wants to inhabit the space of Nine Dot Gallery with visual arts but also with live performances in the company of friends and community members. Right now, he’s planning a poetry night on every third Thursday of the month, as well as open mic nights and live musical house shows.

But visual arts are still at the forefront of Nine Dot Gallery’s mission. The months of October and November featured a collaborative exhibit called “Re:Imagine” by Amanda Stone Lohnes, Erica Chick and Erica Silvestri. These three artists challenged and played with the idea of human perception through drawing and photography in their own unique styles, but they came together to create a one unified experience.

In December, Nine Dot Gallery presented an entirely new exhibit from local photographer and street artist Hank VonHellion, “Sanctioned Communication.” In stark contrast to “Re:Imagine,” which depicted perceptions and memories of human beings in both negative and positive lights, “Sanctioned Communications” appeared to represent the grounded reality of street culture for what it is: edgy and unapologetic. It is the diversity in the art that makes Nine Dot Gallery a special place for all voices to be heard.

Nine Dot Gallery’s environment can only be described as welcoming and collaborative. For artists and musicians, Nine Dot Gallery wants to hear from you about presenting your work. For art-lovers who feel their brains are craving creativity and nourishment, Nine Dot Gallery invites you to stop in.

Nine Dot Gallery, 763 Main St., Worcester, is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, visit ninedotgallery.com.

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