Inside the massive and frankly intimidating Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, walk down a huge brick hallway flanked by cozy shops, salons, and bakeries. The juxtaposition of homey craftsmanship and industrial enormity is unmistakable. At the end of the imposing tunnel, on the right hand side, one encounters The Outsider Collective, a bright, white-walled space ornamented with countless colorful pieces of art: abstract paintings, wooden masks, a statue ostensibly constructed out of tightly wound rubber bands and disused pieces of plastic. As its name would imply, The Outsider Collective (OC) is a most unusual place.
“Our main mission is to provide a loving art space for individuals of any ability. The majority of our members have intellectual and developmental disabilities, but our main goal is to meet whoever wants to make art on their level: the unique ways [in which] they see the world and enhance that point of view. Anyone can join The OC.”
So speaks Carrie Hyde-Riley, who founded The Outsider Collective in October 2020 with her business partner, Jess Angelone. Rising from the rubble of the legendary and much-missed Resources For Human Development agency, The Outside Collective is built on the foundational belief that anyone can make art. It is a space in which creative people of all abilities, some of whom may not even consider themselves “artists,” can explore their expressive impulses without judgment. The OC also functions as a gallery for the artwork created within.
“Everybody has their own style. We don’t want to mold anybody into anything besides the best version of themselves, enhance what naturally comes from them, and then show it at our gallery,” Hyde-Riley says. “People are starting to get followings! That’s the beauty of outsider art: everybody has this intuitive voice that, if fostered correctly, comes out.”
The OC’s latest endeavor is 1000 Pieces Of Tiny Art where the walls of their headquarters are lined with hundreds of Post-it note-sized pieces of paper featuring illustrations, paintings, aphorisms, blots, blotches, and all manner of imagery. The aggregation seems to be spreading daily.
“We have about 50 different artists that we work with and everybody has a unique voice. It’s very easy to draw something within the confines of three inches by three inches. When it all comes together, it's a quilt of everybody’s voices,” says Hyde-Riley, who notes that 670 submissions were received within four months. “What we really want to do is have other people outside our community start to contribute. If there are people visiting the gallery, we try to be like, ‘You should add to this,’ because their voice is unique, too. You don’t need to have training to be considered an artist.”
1005 Main Street, Suite 2233, Pawtucket; TheOutsideCollective.org
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