Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



February 2017

“How would you like to sell your artwork here?”


Roberta Boria, French Twist Boutique, 1098 Pleasant Street, Tatnuck Square, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Alternative Venues for Artists and Poets

Dear Reader,

When we poets and artists labor over our work, we do so in a state of creative energy. We poke and prod the stanzas or compositions and finally arrive at “This is done.” Now what?

After finishing a poem, we may decide that the time is right to test it in public. Poets sign up for open mics, arrange readings at libraries, bookstores, and go anywhere a group might gather to listen to poetry. We submit work to journals. After several years, a critical mass of poetry grows and a manuscript might seem realistic. So begins the work of revision and organization, followed by publication and, you guessed it, finding venues to read and sell books.

“The Perfect Venue,” a chapter from my book, The little O, the earth: Travel Journals, Art & Poems, explores the idea of traditional and alternative places to show artwork. “Artists need to exhibit work in many different locations: my résumé lists group and solo shows in galleries, museums, bookstores, colleges, libraries, cultural and community centers, historical sites, store fronts, a television station, restaurants, a delivery truck converted into an art gallery on wheels, and on my webite”

Last month, I added a new alternative venue: a clothing boutique. One of my favorite places to shop in Worcester is the French Twist Boutique at 1098 Pleasant Street, Tatnuck Square in Worcester, Massachusetts. It ranks high on my list because sisters Roberta and Carolyn Boria know how to attract customers who want to dress in a non-mass market style. The clothes they sell are well-made, with unusual fabrics and stylish cuts that make a statement. When I get out of my workday attire (sweats), I don’t want to look like everyone else.

As proof of Roberta’s expertise as a buyer, I was waiting for my husband, John Gaumond, to line up a photograph in Place de la Concorde in Paris. A group of people visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie walked by, and two women broke out of line, pointed at my jacket/dress and said “Formidable, madam!” I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Roberta and Carolyn.

One day, when I was finishing my holiday shopping at French Twist, Roberta’s face lit up: “How would you like to sell your artwork here?” I returned with samples to show her, and we discussed the details of our new relationship. On December 20th John and I hung 24 pieces of my artwork in the main room of my favorite clothing store!