Somerville as Muse

Hear from artists that are inspired by the city of Somerville in their studio practice. The city’s architecture, history, or construction show up in artwork’s colors, textures, and content.

This video series is part of a series, “Somerville as Muse” — scripted and produced by Debra Olin, past Community Curator for “The Art of Observation.” 

Cara Foster Karim

Gary Duehr

Mark Luiggi

Pier Gustafson

The Art of Observation: A Retrospective of David Campbell’s Work

Community Curator, Debra Olin | November 2020 – extended through May 22, 2021

We know you’ve been patiently waiting to see our current exhibit, The Art of Observation. Now is your chance! As of April 5th, 2021, The City of Somerville is allowing some cultural centers to reopen with limited capacity. The Museum will be reopen to the public on Thursday, April 8th. Our current exhibit, The Art of Observation, will be extended through Saturday, May 22, 2021. 

HOURS: Thursdays 2-7pm | Fridays 2-5pm | Saturdays 12-5pm

ADMISSION: $5* for Non-Members; Members enjoy free admission. All tickets must be reserved ahead of time via Eventbrite. Want to become a member? Join today!

*taxes and fees may apply

Curated by Community Curator, Debra Olin, The Art of Observation will be a major retrospective of the work of David Campbell, one of Somerville’s most beloved artists. This show will explore Campbell’s long-standing fascination with the streets and buildings of Somerville itself. Programming for this exciting exhibition will also introduce a number of other artists for whom Somerville has been a primary inspiration. We are engaged in ongoing discussions on how to safely re-open the Museum to our members and visitors.  All related events will be virtual. Stay tuned for more information.

Read about The Art of Observation in the news!

Related Programming:

Somerville Streets Trivia: Weekly Online Event

Draw What You Know: Virtual Exhibit

This program has evolved into a collaboration with Emily Alcott’s 6th grade art class at the East Somerville Community School. These students have been invited to draw everyday scenes and objects of interests to them in and around their home. This will be a virtual exhibit on our website.

Curator Talk + Studio Tour | December 2020

The video features a conversation between Community Curator, Debra Olin and beloved Somerville Artist David Campbell.

Recorded in collaboration with the Somerville Media Center.

Home is Where the Art is | January 2021

This program invites Jessica Howard’s Somerville High School’s portfolio class to draw what is visually interesting or meaningful to them in their immediate environment. Their creations will be showcased at the Museum and on our website as a virtual exhibit.

New TV Interview

Jay from New TV talks with David Campell, Debra Olin, and Alison Drasner about the current retrospective exhibition entitled The Art of Observation, featuring David’s fifty-plus years of paintings capturing different landscape and cityscape views Somerville.

Watch interview

About Artist + Curator

Debra Olin and David Campbell pose with Campbell’s artwork; image credit: Bill Kipp

David Campbell, Artist

David Campbell is a painter living and working in the Brickbottom Artists Building in Somerville, MA. He studied at the Art Students League of New York in the 1950s. He lived and worked as a plein air landscape painter in Italy for 7 years. Then he returned to the US for his native landscape, painting in Gloucester, Somerville (30 years) and Maine. His work is in many private and public collections: Metropolitan Museum of New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library. He has received grants from the Somerville Arts Council, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation. He had a 2-month residence at the McDowell Colony in NH and at the Delaware River Watergap with the Artists for the Environment Foundation.

Debra Olin, Community Curator

Debra Olin is a printmaker, living and working in Somerville, MA. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1980. Olin has shown in exhibitions across the U.S., Canada, France, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, and Cuba. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Boston Public Library, Temple Israel, Brookline, MA, YIVO Institute, NYC, The DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. In 2004 Debra was awarded the Rappaport Prize, the largest public annual award to an individual artist in New England. In 2018 Olin received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Award and a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Artist Resource Trust. Olin is a founding member of the Brickbottom Artist Building and the Gallery Coordinator of the Brickbottom Gallery.