“As an artist I have immersed myself in the philosophy that in artmaking, the meaning matters. This I learned from my wonderful art mentor, Kate Ransohoff. To this extent my paintings in tempera and acrylics depict stories and insights relevant to us and the natural world we live in.” Wise words from one of our beloved art donors, Renu O’Connell.
Although Renu has been a donating artist with The Art Connection since early 2014, her artwork has recently become a hot commodity with total of six placements in Boston agencies including Spectrum Adult Day Health, Pine Street Inn, BEST Corp, and Project Hope. The art hangs in common areas, hallways and classrooms of these agencies committed to helping those in need find support, resources, and opportunities to grow.
“With great fortune, I found The Art Connection,” Renu exclaims, “it was a dream that I have always had to use my art in service of a diverse, widespread population. My experience working with The Art Connection’s social service agencies is that the staff and clients identify very strongly with the images of people, vessels, and bridges that are in contact with the water. These are symbols in our lives for renewal, journey, and hope.”
There have been many comments made by selection committee members during placement visits about the tranquil and calming nature of Renu’s paintings. Having artwork of this tone in spaces where people are looking for support is crucial to creating an ambiance of warmth and security. Often the excitement expressed by staff or clients on the agency selection committee follows them as they meet with artists or collectors to pick up the artwork in their studios or homes.
“When each representative from an agency comes to visit my studio, they eloquently describe the services they provide. It moves me so much to know of the tremendous good work and dedication of these agencies The Art Connection serves that is making such a difference in our Greater Boston community,” says Renu.
Renu’s love for engaging with people has led her painting skills to jump from the small scale canvas into new terrain of murals in other parts of Massachusetts, Maine, and Tennessee. She believes that this type of work has expanded her “heart and awareness to the great deal of suffering that so many endure in this country on a daily basis and how a neighborhood mural could lift spirits and inspire confidence.” One such project was her series of paintings about the Anishinabe tribe’s blessings for the Great Lakes water in 2011. In addition to receiving consent from the founding chief and commissioner of the Women’s Water Commission, Josephine Mandamin, completing the paintings involved walking the lakes’ perimeter of 11,525 miles and took seven years to accomplish.
Currently, Renu splits her time between acting as a painter in Maine’s ARRT (Artists Rapid Response Team), the Musketequid Banner Project in Concord, and coaching weekly at Turtle studios in Newton MA.
To find out more about Renu and her artwork, check out her website at www.renuartist.com