By Catherine Graffam on July 19, 2018

For six weeks each summer our gallery space is transformed into a working studio during our Artist Residency Program. They hustle to create new work and put on a short exhibition as summer draws to a close.

During the first open critique event to discuss the residents’ work-in-progress, a solid twenty minutes was spent energetically creating holes in a Gallery 263-shaped piece of paper using a range of different sized punchers (they make those). The participants were asked to document any object or sensory experience in the space using these tools. What resulted was a variety of responses to the open-ended prompt and limited tool range; from representing the placement of people in the room, to the lights on the ceiling, or something as abstract as the noise of the air conditioner. It was a grounding activity that drove the participants to react to the here-and-now, and with each other in the physical space.

Graham Yeager during our first open critique

You also find that you learn about the choices you make in these moments, even if it as removed as simply putting some holes in paper. Is it art, a performance, or a game? Regardless, it’s fun.

This is the goal for Graham Yeager’s project; to create a proactive and engaging experience between him and the audience, and between the audience members themselves. The act of collaboratively creating something in the moment is a vehicle for the interaction it facilitates. That interaction, he says, is the “salsa” of the piece. 

While in the past the work has been focused on a one-on-one between the artist and participant, Yeager’s plan is to open up the format to be more group focused with his current project.

A source of inspiration for this interactive work was Yeager’s own struggle to be present in his life, a difficult achievement living in age full of distractions at your fingertips. With a professional background in product design as well as ceramics, building something which sparked discovery and rewarded curiosity has always driven him to create.

Another surprising influence is his recently found passion for Dungeons & Dragons. While seemingly unconnected, Yeager sees it as a performance not all too different than what he is creating now. Both have a set of rules, a problem to solve, and an end result in creating something new with others.

Yeager asks “Do you want to be a better human with me?”

You’ll be able to be part of the My Neighborhood Constellation Project event on Saturday, August 4 from 3-5PM

And don’t forget to come to the residency showcase reception on August 10, 7-9PM

His work can be found at


Putnam & Pearl is Gallery 263’s new journal covering events, exhibition reviews, and artist profiles both here at the gallery and wherever cool stuff is happening in the Greater Boston Area.

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