Sketching for Twenty-Five Years

By Sharon Santillo

When committees make decisions on the dispersal of grant money, there is always the hope that this little bit of money will lead to some greater good for the community. Who could ever have predicted that a little grant given to the Malden Sketch Group 25 years ago would have led to one of the longest lasting drawing groups in the whole Boston area?

Nunzio Luca was there at the very beginning. Fred Seager, also one of the founders remembers, “He was a much admired head of the Malden High School Art Department for years, and was a wonderful artist, mentor, and good friend.”

Nunzio and Seager decided to get a life drawing group together and they set out to find a space. “We were fortunate also to have the early support of the Malden Arts Council in the grant process. Niecie Degan and Nana Goldberg were facilitators of the cultural center building, an old fire station on Pearl Street. It housed elderly day care during the day and was open for rental at night.”

Rod Peterson joined the group in their new space. Even though he was a landscape painter, Rod knew that life drawing, traditional training for the great masters, is still good training for artists today. Eva Cincotta was teaching art classes in the basement of John’s Antiques and she was persuaded to join. Duker Bower, George Hansen and Judy Greulich were three more early important members.

Sketch Group has had four locations over the 25 years moving to the basement of a parking garage when the cultural center on Pearl St. was given to the Malden Redevelopment Authority. Their next home was Oak Grove Community Center and then Preotle Lane & Associates saved the day offering a meeting place in the basement of Commerce Place.

But through all, the group has thrived. Even during this time of Covid, the Malden Sketch Group is holding their annual visual art exhibit at Commerce Place, 350 Main St, Malden, from Sept.1 until Oct. 30, open 9-5 Monday through Friday. Wear your mask and take a walk through the lobby and first floor and enjoy the diversity of this amazing group of artists.

“I thought it would only last as long as the initial grant, but look what that seed money has done!” said Fred Seager. The group’s weekly meetings are limited for now, but Malden Sketch Group will open up again. In the meantime, the group encourages everyone to set aside some time for your own creative practice whatever it is. Take an online course, awaken your senses with a walk in nature, and as writer Anne Lamott advises, “Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”

For info contact [email protected],781-245-2337.

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