I have to be honest. Thinking back across 10 years is a taxing exercise after the grinding, Groundhog’s Day-esque suspended animation of the past 12 months. But this is an anniversary issue, after all, and Artscope is not the only one celebrating in 2021.
Founded by artists Marie Craig and Cheryl (Cherie) Clinton 10 years ago in 2011, the Fountain Street Fine Art gallery in Framingham’s Bancroft Building brought an unexpected variety of exhibits and artists into an area known more for industrial parks than the art market. With a focus on emerging and mid-career artists, the membership gallery quickly grew to anchor the sprawling, circa-1910 warehouse building which already housed over 30 artist studios, a birdseed store, and secondhand furniture and appliance showrooms just west of the Framingham Center train station.
On April 6, 2017, the very day an exhibition was slated to open, the Fountain Street community was stunned by an abrupt shutdown per orders of the Framingham Fire Marshall. The city closed the building to the general public, citing fire hazards due to exposed combustibles, blocked corridors and an out of permit sprinkler system, among other offenses. The harsh edict came in the aftermath of the devastating Oakland, California, Ghost Ship warehouse fire of December 2016. That fatal conflagration prompted firemarshals across the country to crack down on independent art spaces that heretofore had slid by under the radar of local officials.