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Meet Hope Ricciardi of United South End Artists in South End

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hope Ricciardi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
United South End Artists was founded 31 years ago, with the mission to support artists in Boston’s South End and promote the annual Open Studio event in September. With over 200 members, we are the largest membership of artists in the city. Our members work (and often live) buildings throughout the South End, including the Boston Center for the Arts, addresses on Wareham and Waltham Streets and 450 Harrison Ave, the SoWa Art and Design District. Other USEA sponsored events include Boston exhibits for members and informational events in coordination with Arts Office of City Hall. USEA is volunteer-run 501-C3 non-profit organization and relies on the support of local businesses and sponsors. I am the Chair of the Board of directors of USEA and working Boston artist.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Helping artists to thrive in Boston is complicated work. Much of the available studio space has been lost to development. Thousands of artists have relocated to towns outside the city in search of housing and work space that is affordable. USEA has an increasingly more difficult time getting donations to support our members. Lack of funds may jeopardize this 31 year old tradition and, in turn, deplete the cultural base of Boston. Artists are the ones who began the gentrification of areas like the South End, which, many years ago, was not a safe part of the city. To paraphrase the Boston Globe article….Where have Boston’s artists gone?

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I became involved with USEA 6 years ago when I rented my first studio in the South End at 450 Harrison Ave. I have been the Chair of USEA for 3 years.
This year I have moved into a bigger studio where I offer Life-art classes twice a week, and make work in drawing, printmaking and oil painting.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a suburb of Boston, but spent a great deal of time in the city. My parents, both attorneys, had an office in the Financial District, so I learned how to navigate the T at an early age. Art was always in my life with frequent visits to the MFA, Gardner and other area museums. Although I have traveled around the world, I always am happy to return to Boston. As an artist, I have worked in many media; currently I am combining drawings, prints and oils onto large canvases. I recently sold my home in Franklin to move closer to my South End studio. Being part of the SoWa Art and Design community has been a powerful inspiration to my work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Paintings by Hope M Ricciardi
Cover of USEA Open Studio 2017

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