Walking on Cloud Blue
By Sara Wailgum
Located in the Ball Square section of Somerville, Massachusetts, the Blue Cloud Gallery features a variety of handcrafted works of art and gifts made by local artisans in the Boston area. New owner Betsy Lenora, a fine arts photographer, invites the community to come and check out the creations of over one hundred featured artists at the gallery.
As a child, Lenora was always drawing, and her favorite classes throughout her schooling were always art classes. On her sixteenth birthday, Lenora received a camera as a present. She used the camera for five years, but says that one shot of an autumnal reflection in a pond really got her hooked on photography. It was the one picture that finally captured beauty as she saw it. Soon after, Lenora began saving up for a good SLR camera.
Although she has taken classes throughout her life, Lenora considers herself to be a self-taught artist. “Every picture I took was an education, as I taught myself the ins and outs of photography to get the results I wanted,” she said. “Photography is my media, but I love it all.”
Lenora has had multiple solo exhibits and has had pieces accepted in the Danforth Museum’s photographers’ show as well. In addition, Lenora has also worked at the award-winning Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative in Harvard Square, where she helped to select, display, and sell the works of over two hundred artists.
Following her work at the Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative, a friend and previous owner of the Blue Cloud Gallery offered her a job working there once a week. After a year, the owner considered closing the gallery, and she asked Lenora if she would be interested in taking it over. Years before, Lenora had dreamed about owning her own gallery after visiting a photo gallery in Rockport, Massachusetts, and she was pleased to be given such a perfect opportunity.
“I am looking forward to incorporating all the knowledge I gathered working for so many fine craftspeople,” said Lenora about her new ownership. “I strongly believe in promoting local artisans and bringing their talents to the attention of my customers.”
In addition, Lenora also believes that Somerville is the perfect location for the Blue Cloud Gallery. “Somerville is filled with all kinds of artists and people who appreciate the arts,” said Lenora. “The mayor, Joe Curtatone, is a strong supporter and has been instrumental in working with the City Council and the Somerville Arts Council to create an engaging and exciting variety of events.”
Featured art pieces at the Blue Cloud Gallery include ceramics, unique jewelry, fiber, hand-blown glass, oil paintings, paper, handmade cards, leather, and graphics. Lenora said that when looking for new works to be featured in the gallery, she specifically looks for “quality of workmanship, uniqueness, and salability.” Lenora also stressed the importance of carrying local artists in her gallery. “When a customer buys a gift from my store, they are supporting a local business, but they are also supporting the artists in their own community,”said Lenora.
In terms of her future plans for the Blue Cloud Gallery, Lenora would like to continue and add to the events and featured artists. She also hopes to move someday into a larger space, where she can support even more artists.
The Blue Cloud Gallery works primarily with artists from the Boston area but also features artists from other parts of New England. Artists interested in having their work displayed can contact Betsy Lenora at (617) 776-2700 to make an appointment.