Saturday, Sep 13 – Tuesday, Sep 30



Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery

96 Bedford Street

Stamford, CT




STAMFORD, CT – September 9, 2014 – The Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery eagerly announces its upcoming exhibition, Overlooked, to open on Saturday, September 13th from 3 to 9pm, and a closing party with completed projects on Thursday, October 2nd from 6 to 9pm.

Overlooked explores a critical issue at stake in the Stamford community: the state of the Yerwood Center. A passion project of Gallery Director Fernando Luis Alvarez, the Yerwood Center is a 77-year old institution founded by one of the state’s first African-American female physicians. It was established as a place for the city’s minority community to express themselves, creatively, and commune together. In the last decade, the Center had been plagued by years of mismanagement and a political blind eye before Alvarez stepped in as Chairman of the Board in January 2013. Alvarez made a commitment to the organization to revive the legacy of Dr. Joyce Yerwood-the Center’s founder-and to restore the Center back to its once-prominent position in the community.

For decades, the Center has remained the crux of Stamford’s West Side, a sector of the city that has been long overlooked. Surrounding this diverse, multi-cultural neighborhood is a growing urban splay that beckons multi-million dollar developments and some of the world’s most prominent companies and deepest pockets. Yet, at the cross-section of Fairfield and Richmond Hill Avenues, the West Side is composed of dilapidated, multi-family houses and ramshackle storefronts that have not weathered the recent storm of industry well. City politicians are quick to appear when cameras are present, but now that the community’s cornerstone is in dire need of political leverage, they are silent. However, the West Side remains a historic neighborhood, and is one of the oldest sections in the state of Connecticut. It was the home of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The West Side is a diversity hub for the city, and the Yerwood Center is in the thick of it.

In an effort to bring the Center’s past, present, and future to the forefront of discussion in the city, Alvarez will curate an exhibition that shines a spotlight on the institution and its community. Twelve artists from the gallery’s annual Thank You, CT! exhibition, held this past August, were invited to participate in this unique show. Alvarez met with each artist and presented to them his current project with the Yerwood Center. He gave them an in-depth experience of exactly what the Center is going through politically, communally, and financially, and asked them to interpret that story through their work. The message, Alvarez says, is to “unearth the West Side community from the muck of bureaucracy and demonstrate the power of a unified artistic voice; that each artist can encapsulate years of history, and work through the issues the Center faces on their chosen canvas. Together, they become an exhibition.”

A subset of four artists invited to create pieces for Overlooked have the opportunity to create their own studios at Alvarez’s gallery, working on their projects directly from its storefront. “This is a tremendous advantage for the artist,” Alvarez says. “For one, it takes them out of their individual bubbles and puts them within walking distance of the community that they are meant to speak to and about. It can be a jolt to the system, having to create in a new and alien space. But that is the point: to take the experience of ‘otherness’—just as the West Side is ‘other’ to the politics of Stamford— and apply it to creating the work for this exhibition.” The eight remaining artists will be active in the community while constructing their individual projects, but will create works from their own studios.

For the purposes of the exhibition, community is being stripped down to one of its most rudimentary definitions, from the Latin communis, meaning “common, public, general, shared by all or many.” In this way, the Yerwood Center is used interchangeably with the West Side, as it is at the heart of the microcosm that has formed there, a space of shared experience, which draws from all corners of the community: elderly and young, affluent and impoverished, educated and illiterate, immigrant and native. “The motivation of this exhibition,” Alvarez says, “is to rouse the city to its feet and show to them how the Center is being overlooked, to both its and our collective detriment. It is to get answers from the city’s governing body as to why the Center does not appear to be a priority on their agenda. By curating together a group of artists that are independent of the gallery and putting them out there in the community, we are allowing for an authentic voice to emerge from each artist. A voice that, through an intense period of creative and critical involvement, will speak to, for, and about the West Side.”

CONTACT: Rebecca Hansen rhansen@flalvarezgallery.com

Artists Included in Overlooked

Granted Studio at the Gallery: Shelby Head (Madison), Ben Quesnel (Stamford), Ruben Marroquin (Venezuela/Bridgeport), Liz Squillace (Bridgeport). Working on Projects from their personal studios: Ron Lake (Westport), Ted Salmon (East Haven), Carl Boccicault (Stamford), Clinton Deckert (Southington), Heidi Lewis Coleman (Stamford), Jeanne Conte (Stamford), JaduDurrans (Greenwich), James Velgot (Weston).