Ron Fortier



March 20, 2023

IN-FOCUS ARTICLE: Where Artists Show & Sell

My wife Paula is from Detroit. I like to call it the littlest big city in America. The community at large supports the creative community in a way that I’ve never experienced before. It seems that every time we visit MoTown, we meet folks who are either visual, performing, or literary artists or, art consumers, collectors, and buyers.

There’s something called the Spirit of Detroit. It’s more of a community vibe than just a statue. Somehow, I ran across something called the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club. I looked it up. And this is what I found in The Detroit Free Press.

“It started as a casual conversation about art at a local coney island, two friends chatting over coffee and eggs. Now nine years in [it started in 2009], the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club has transformed into a weekly, standing-room-only affair at Noni’s Sherwood Grille on Livernois Avenue between 7 and 8 Mile.”

The article continues to describe the genius, simplicity, and recipe for the DFABC’s (Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club). “The club’s recipe for success lies in the simplicity of its ingredients. While the gathering has gained special resonance in the African-American community, all walks of artists are welcome to sign up and show two pieces in front of a captive audience that’s made up of the city’s creative class — a rotating cast of art collectors, gallery owners, and figureheads. As artists peel back the layers behind the work, attendees respond with questions, critiques, and even bids.”

I spoke with local artists Rhonda Fazio and Kat Knutsen about it. They were both excited and supportive of the idea. Then, while waiting for a New Bedford Light Zoom meeting to get going, I was chatting with the Light’s Founding Editor, Barbara Roessner about the DFABC and how I thought it would be a great addition to the South Coast’s creative community. She immediately embraced the idea and assembled a team to give it legs. And so, just about a year ago, The New Bedford Light Fine Arts Club was launched!

Under the steady hand and watchful eye of the Light’s Chief Administrative and Strategy Officer, Lean Camara the fledgling “side child” of the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club has continued to present and sell local fine artists’ drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and textiles. Lean took the club on the road to help spread the news and pollinate the creative community. So far, for 2023, The New Bedford Light Fine Arts Club will be meeting every other month (May, July, September, and November) during Aha! Nights, which are presented on the second Thursday of every month.

The club is an opportunity for South Coast artists to be introduced by the moderators and to present and sell two pieces of their work to the art buyers and collectors in the audience. So, whether you’re a local fine artist (emerging, mid-career, or established), a beginning art buyer, or an established art collector, make it a point to attend the next scheduled meeting of The New Bedford Light Fine Arts Club and add a new drawing, painting, or print to your collection.

Local artists Taylor Hickey and Devin “Nived” McLaughlin and the club’s moderators will guide you through the 50 minutes of the show and sell presentations. A  30-minute “Afterglow” directly follows the artist presentations allowing for casual interactions between the attendees, artists, and buyers.

The Artists Index is a partner collaborator of the Club and I am just the evangelist who helped spread the DFABC’s founders, Henry Harper, and Harold Bragg’s wonderful concept. Buyers will have a chance to ask questions of each artist during the meeting. After an artist finishes presenting, buyers will use the contact info provided during the meeting and on New Bedford Light’s website to set up a private transaction to purchase art.

Buyers are encouraged to stay and take part in the “Afterglow,” a 30-minute open-ended art discussion afterward. Back before the Pandemic, the DFABC attracted an average of 100 people per week and had around 300 members in the Detroit metro. 

I joined the DFABC during the Pandemic when Henry and Harold offered meetings on Zoom, which allowed me to join and attend the Monday evening meetings. It gave me an opportunity to introduce myself, present my work and make many friends and acquaintances. Yes, I sold a few paintings as well. Henry has become a good friend.

I visit him whenever we’re in Detroit. He’s excited that we’ve launched our own version of the DFABC in the South Coast. As he says, “You’re not just buying a piece of artwork, you’re helping a young person both financially and (with) their confidence.” I’m writing this article because I believe that, as with Henry and Harold’s Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club, the New Bedford Light Fine Arts Club meeting is a wonderful opportunity for new, emerging, and established artists to receive encouragement, and discuss their art.

The participation of the audience stimulates exchanges about techniques, business tips, and branding. At the January Fine Arts Club meeting at the New Bedford Art Museum, thirteen-year-old Chloe Costa (her podcast will be coming up in a couple of weeks) presented her artwork in public for the first time and sold two pieces, and scored a commission as well! She was so excited and inspired and has been in two other exhibits as well.

The New Bedford Light FineArts Club 2023 Schedule

Thursday, May 18 –  Gallery X
Thursday, July 20Co-Creative Center
Thursday, Sept. 21Unitarian Church
Thursday, Nov. 16Dartmouth Cultural Center

All meetings are from 6-7:30 p.m. Submit your work for the May 18 meeting here!


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