Sustainable design and limitless ambition are the hallmarks of a new gallery open to the public in Westport, Massachusetts. The Dedee Shattuck Gallery, one of many stops along the Farmcoast, is the area’s newest addition stunning visitors with its crisp, clean, inventive atmosphere. From the outside, the gallery resembles a modern version of the Friends Meeting House (a historic neighboring attraction). Inside, cascading flower bouquets, delicate piano keys and light hardwood floors mimic a New York, loft-style gallery. The showroom is set just behind the popular Partners Village Store, and stands modestly adjacent to roaming cows and lush forestry, a fitting placement given owner Dedee Shattuck’s grand and equally humble vision for the space.
The idea behind the large scale, countryside gallery was lovingly crafted over several years as Dedee Shattuck set out to fulfill her dream of bringing a love-of-art to the masses. The Dartmouth native spent her early career in New York, working as an interior designer before returning to New England to raise her two sons. “I love design…and making. It’s what’s ticking in my heart,” says Dedee, who’s husband and son are both active artists. Her goal was to create refined space that wouldn’t compete with the surrounding rural environment and likewise give the Farmcoast area a much-needed stomping ground for celebrating art and discovery. “An artist reflects and expresses what being human is, they are the translators of experience,” says Dedee. “I want people to experience art in a beautiful, rural environment. I want to highlight the beauty of art.”
On top of a wide appreciation for art and its makers, sustainability, land conservation, and “Yankee sensibilities about frugality” are also on the list for things Dedee holds close to her heart. These values guided her collaborative effort to create an environmentally friendly gallery space, a tribute to the land that is her home, and the key people that she feels are responsible for it’s integrity: the farmers. “These are my heroes,” Dedee says, pointing to a stark black and white photograph of a Dartmouth farmer on the first pages her recently published book. Farmers: Portraits in a Changing Landscape profiles the farmers of the south coast region with stunning photographs and personal details about their patient love for the land; Dedee grew up on Barney’s Joy Farm and feels forever indebted to the local farmer’s perseverance. Like the farmers featured in her book, Dedee hopes to spread the same message of support and appreciation for artists.
The Yankee-inspired, lover-of-farmers and design is filled with a refreshing sense of curiosity, and an abundantly youthful enthusiasm for the life art brings to a place. She now has a capable home for her passions and her most ambitious venture yet. “I’m totally in my element,” says Dedee. The gallery will feature “all works of art,” not only paintings and drawings. Currently exhibiting are purely local area artists to jumpstart the grassroots gallery. It includes works from family, friends, and admirable acquaintances.
Future exhibits plan to include artists from around the globe in addition to lectures, education, and workshops in an infinite variety of artistic pursuits. Plans to create a walking path in the acres of land behind the gallery are also in the works. The paths will showcase sculpture, and encourage visitors to spend time wandering the land.
The gallery represents the beginning of an era for Dedee. “My life’s work is in the arts…I want to make things happen,” she says. See for yourself what great things are happening at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, open at 1 Partners Lane in Westport, Tuesday-Saturday 10am- 6pm, and Sundays 12- 6pm. For more information, a full list of artists, and upcoming exhibits visit www.dedeeshattuckgallery.com.