History of the Gallery
The JP Art Market Gallery and Studio opened in 1991 as the private working studio of community activist, musician, visual artist and New York native Patti Hudson. For the previous 40 years the space had been used as storage by an elderly Boston antique dealer. When he retired, he left behind little evidence of the floor to ceiling treasures that had once filled the space. All that remained was an old Mexican cowboy hat, a tiny jade elephant, and a crumbling 1846 abolitionist manuscript--and, a super dusty 14' X 40' linoleum floored, paneled walled, water stained, peeling-ceilinged room.
In the early 1990's, Jamaica Plain housing was still very much affordable to young artists, musicians, environmentalists and political/social activists, many of whom urged Hudson to open up a store-front gallery similar to the one she'd had during the 1980's in New York's East Village.
That space, nicknamed the Butcher Shop, or Cafe Always, or just "6th Street" was inspired by the energy, camaraderie and openness of two things: The Times Square show which Hudson stopped by every day on her way to and from work as a Manhattan Plaza Lifeguard, and the duo of Lisa Wells & Jerry Teel, Hudson's loft mates at the time. Jerry doing paste up and lay out for Rolling Stone magazine and Lisa doing lights for theatrical stages, both had an energized, passionate intelligence that attracted artists, musicians, writers, designers, film makers, and philosophizers to the loft and would make their bands SnoCap, Honeymoon Killers and Little Porkchop post punk favorites.
After surviving the "anarchy to affluence" roller coaster ride that the Downtown NY Art scene was, this next time around Hudson was more inclined to borrowing themes from the VT based Bread and Puppet Theater's 1984 Why Cheap Art Manifesto: paraphrased here: "People have been thinking too long that art is a privilege of the museums and the rich. Art is not a privilege, art is not a business. It belongs to everyday people as much as it belongs to the banks and big investors. Art is food, you can't eat it, (well sometimes you can) but it feeds you. It needs to be everywhere because it is The Inside of the World. Art soothes pain, wakes up sleepers, fights against war, fights against ignorance, is for kitchens, and is like good bread, old trees, burnt out buildings, mangos, orange juice, ocean storms and rusty tin cans. Art sings".
After six months of hands-on work sanding floors, installing sheetrock, and removing old fluorescent lights, the JP Art Market was ready to showcase local work to friends and neighbors as well as the larger community.
The first group show, "Love Needs Propaganda," opened on Valentine's Day 1992. Some of the artists and art lovers who showed at the gallery or signed the guest book in those early years included: Toni Wolf, Michael Westfall, Ellen Gallagher, Elisabeth Subrin, Sadie Benning, Thalia Zedek, Lisa King, Debbie Renee Nadolney, Melissa Burgess, Patrick Clarke, Jean McAdam, Fulani Butler, Paola Savarino, Stephan Gorkii, Sheila Pepe, Luanne Witkowski, Edie Nadelhaft, Chris Belew, Babette Meyers, Laurel Sparx, Maria Magdalena Campos, Danica Chipman, Nancy Hudson, Jerry Hart, Jennifer Harris, Liz Linder, Michael Carroll, Hilken Mancini, and Nancy Jo Haselbacher.
Designed to serve as the studio of a working artist concurrently with being a community weekend art gallery, there were times during 1996-2000 when the gallery's hours were by appointment and chance only while Hudson worked in the service of another art forms. During those years Hudson traveled the world assisting filmmakers, rock bands, poets, mothers and grandmothers too.
From 2000 on, the JP Art Market settled back into its regular routines and schedule, fueled by the energy of a demographically changed, but still vibrant, Jamaica Plain community. As often happens, Jamaica Plain's increase in popularity sent many of the original artists in search of more affordable towns in Massachusetts and in other states. But with those surviving the changes together with new arrivals into the area, the history of the JP Art Market is still being written.