Monday, May 26, 2014

SOMERVILLE ARTIST BRIDGET GALWAY: A Provincetown Artist Makes a Home in the Paris of New England

Artist Bridget Galway

By Doug Holder

  One of the first things I noticed while talking with Bridget Galway was the tattoo flowers that tangled their way up the sides of her expressive hands. And then there was the silver hoop earrings with yellow stones—in some ways she is a living piece of installation art. And no wonder… Bridget Galway has always been involved with the arts. In Provincetown, Mass. (where she grew up) her mom owned a sandal shop and was a model for the artist Hans Hoffman, and her father was a writer. And as a young artist Galway was intimately involved in the arts scene. Later she founded a free arts center in Holyoke, Mass. There she developed innovative art programs for city youth and others. She has designed book covers for a number of poets including Eating Grief at 3A.M. (Muddy River Books) by yours truly and the upcoming On the Wings of Song (Ibbetson Street Press) by Molly Lynn Watt, a memoir in verse that deals with the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. 

  Galway was the arts/editor for the Wilderness House Literary Review, an online journal, where she interviewed and featured the work of a number of locally and nationally known artists. She has had a number of her paintings featured on the front cover of the Pushcart-Prize winning journal Ibbetson Street.  Most notably her pensive woman in the “Red Beret”, and a haunting portrait of the Beat writer William Burroughs adorned the magazine. Recently the Small Press Review lauded her cover for Ibbetson Street 34, which was titled “Birds of a Feather.” This painting portrays a man and a woman shedding tears as black birds fly like bitter words from each other’s mouths.

 When Galway arrived in Somerville from P-Town she was unconnected and isolated. But one day she wandered into the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square for a Bagel Bard literary group meeting and slowly got her feet planted in the rich artistic soil here. Now she works under the direction of Lea Ruscio at the Arts Armory as an Education Programming Coordinator. One of her duties is to work with youth on art initiatives . One such program is titled: Youth, Arts, Arrive. According to Galway this program  “…provides multi-disciplinary art instruction to youth 11 to 19 years old, and incorporates peer leadership.” And Galway, an experienced grant writer will be working to find more funding sources. Galway is also working on a found objects project. This would have kids make art pieces out of objects that they might throw out like old toys or dolls, etc…, and turn them into permanent fixtures.

Galway who holds a degree in painting from U/Mass Amherst among others, recently had an exhibit at the Somerville Public Library that featured a selection of her work from the past thirty years. The opening for her exhibit included a poetry reading that featured many of the poets she met through the Bagel Bards. About her own art Galway told me: “A lot of my work is studies of people, portrayed in an intimate way”. According to Galway, through her renditions of people she processes her own thoughts about her relationships and the world. Galway said: “What I am feeling I express through a person I paint. You can feel it from the colors I use, from the environment, and the setting of the picture.”

Galway’s unique perspective and tireless advocacy of the arts is a welcomed presence in the Paris of New England.

To see more of Galway’s work go to:


  1. nice article on bridget. we get a better insight into who she is as an artist. thanks doug

  2. I'm a big fan of her work. It's distinctively beautiful.

  3. joseph modica8:44 AM

    Oh, she's O.K.
    FANTASTIC Artist, Writer, Poet, Person.
    Love you Bridg.

  4. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Oh, she's O.K.
    FANTASTIC Artist, Writer, Person
    Love You.