Jessica Bregoli joined the Groundwork team as gallery director in the spring of 2018 and hit the ground running with a beautiful solo show by Tracy Barbosa. She has continually raised the bar since, each show seemingly more ambitious. Although her shows have been incredibly varied, a trademark curatorial style is starting to emerge– bold, colorful, and daring.
Jess is a longtime mover and shaker in the New Bedford arts scene. She spearheaded the Seaport Art Walk, which means you can thank her for last year’s controversial “Seagull Cinderella” and this year’s playful “Madame President.”
Jess’s next show, slated to open on October 20, brings two Rhode Island heavyweights together for the first time in 20 years. Umberto Crenca, founder of Providence’s AS220, will show alongside William Shaft, founder of Fort Foreclosure in Warren.
What led you to here? Give us a short summary of your life journey up to this point.
Well, to make a long story short, I finally graduated college in 2015 with a BFA in Sculpture. During my last two years in school I started working on public art projects and I have not stopped since. With the continued success year after year of the Seaport Art Walk, I discovered that I actually love running art shows more than being in them– I had found new career path in the art world! Being a gallery director is amazing. I love bringing all these artists together, especially since many of them have never met.
You’ve worked in New Bedford for some time, but you have also lived in other cities, including Atlanta GA. What makes New Bedford unique?
NB is a great “little” city. I have watched it grow over many years. Every time I would come home for a visit from Atlanta I would discover new places that opened. The art and culture scene here is unlike anyplace else. It is wonderful to see how all these different artists support each other in many ways. I see a great potential in this city and I am happy to be a part of the growth.
What excites you and motivates you about working with artists?
Getting the public to see art is what motivates me. The idea that a visual image can provide an experience to the viewer is fascinating to me. Whether it’s an educational or emotional experience, art provokes a reaction. I am lucky to get to know the artists firsthand and get inside on their artistic processes. I will say that an ultimate goal of mine for years has been to get artists paid for the work they do, so a gallery is the best setting for that.
What have been your favorite artists or shows so far at Groundwork?
I would say I loved the show with Joan Wyand and Mary Jane Andreozzi. They were two artists who had never seen each other’s work and they both were a pleasure to work with. Even though their art was different in many ways, it just blended and felt right to have them show together. The colors where inspiring.
What’s inspiring you right now? What are you listening to, watching or reading?
I am a diehard fan of PJ Harvey and David Bowie. Besides them, I like music that makes me feel like I’m in the mountains! I’m currently watching a silly dark comedy called Love Bites but I am generally into zombie flicks and sci-fi.
What’s coming up in the Groundwork gallery?
I am very excited to have William Schaff (founder of Fort Foreclosure) and Umberto Crenca (founder of AS220) show together for the first time in 20 years! The opening is Oct 20th from 6-9pm at Groundwork. And right after is another artist that I been following for a few years now, Rob Johnson, the opening for that show is 12/15 at 6pm! I am very excited to have these three amazing artists here in New Bedford!