Interview: Meet Board member and gallery owner, Richard Rossello

Richard Rossello

Richard Rossello

 

1. What is your history with Studio Incamminati?


I became aware of SI through my friendship with Nelson Shanks. We were kindred spirits in many ways, especially when it came to our views of the art world. We had long conversations about the evolution of art in our culture and the important role it plays in every aspect of life. Nelson’s commitment to his beliefs can be seen today in the school that he and Leona founded.

 

2. How long have you been associated with the school, and in what roles?


I joined the Board a number of years ago at Nelson’s request. Perhaps 10 years – maybe more!? In addition to the responsibilities that go with Board membership, I have given lectures at the school on the role galleries play in advancing artists’ careers and ways in which artists can form better working partnerships with galleries to enhance their chances of success.

 

3. In your opinion, how does Incamminati's teachings make an impact in the modern art world?


Nelson put it best when he told me that our mission as participants in the art world was to “defend beauty”. I believe that his vision was to ensure the essential rigor that must be demanded from artists by their schools and by themselves was being lost in many modern day art education programs. SI was created to address that erosion of exacting standards and has done so with great success.

4. What is the Board's vision for the school's future?


My own hope for the future is that SI gains greater recognition for the unique quality of its educational program through an expanding network of alumni. This ever-expanding circle of “influencers” can help us to gain traction for the idea that great art transcends the fads and gimmicks that often overtake contemporary art. Additionally, I hope we expand the public profile for the school’s outreach into the community. That will make the relevance of SI’s mission obvious in a time when so little emphasis is given to the arts in public education.

 

5. You are a pivotal supporter for our incredible art classes with homelessness non-profit Project HOME. How did you get involved with the organization?


Close friends introduced me to Project HOME and the organization’s Founder, Sister Mary Scullion, many years ago. Those friends have made it part of their personal mission to eliminate homelessness in Philadelphia and have helped Sister Mary to make enormous progress toward that end. We attended a fundraising event that featured some of the programs being developed for members of the PH community and thought that adding a strong art program would benefit both the folks at PH and SI. The faculty and students at SI have pitched in over the years and the results have been truly amazing. It has been such a pleasure to see this program take root and we are hoping it will continue to expand over time.

 

6. How do you think SI’s art classes benefit the Project HOME students?


The program is founded on one critical idea – the expectations we have for the PH students are as high as they are for any other incoming art student. It would be profoundly disrespectful to have any other attitude. The results speak for themselves. Their progress and achievements are consistently impressive, and the students recognize that. In one student’s words, the program proved, “…that I can still learn. I had given up the idea that I could.” Another young woman who grew up in terrible circumstances told us that she struggled with learning to draw because it wouldn’t come out the way she wanted. In her life, the only way she could feel safe was to have everything that she could control be perfect, but her drawings were not fitting into that need. Her instructor told her that she had an eraser to help her work toward making it more perfect and that it was a “work in progress”. The young woman said that once she really understood that idea, she concluded that she, herself, was a work in progress. She explained that it filled her with hope. I don’t see how proof of the program’s effectiveness could be articulated any better.

 

7. Besides your roles with SI and PH, you also own Avery Galleries. How has it been running a gallery and continuing to support local artists during the pandemic?


Like any business, the gallery has taken a hit. We routinely do several major shows during the year in New York, Palm Beach, Boston and Philadelphia. These large events are great ways to meet new potential clients and to reconnect with existing clients who don’t live close enough to visit the gallery. Naturally, all of those shows were cancelled this year and those scheduled for the first part of 2021 are announcing cancellations as well. In light of that we have focused more on reaching out on-line and have had some success with sales across the country. Since so many of us are spending significantly more time at home, there has been an uptick in calls from collectors who have time to visit our website and want to see works on approval in their homes. Needless to say, our FedEx bills have gone up substantially!

Curious about our programs or how technical realist art training can aide in your career as an artist? Attend our Virtual Open House on February 6 from 12 – 2pm. Register here.

For any questions or to schedule a tour, contact our Operations Manager, Dan Mahlman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (215) 592-7910.