Two put the ‘art’ in Dartmouth with first, second place wins

May 15, 2024

Driving through the South Coast, it might be easy to overlook the iconic triple decker apartments that are seemingly copied and pasted down streets — even as a resident of one. 

However, for Dartmouth artist Robert Abele, each of these homes have something unique to them and it's been his mission to pretty much paint his own neighborhood. 

Every new discovery is like “breaking gold,” he said, adding how he wanted to capture something people weren’t paying attention to. He said through his art he believes he’s able to get people to look a little deeper.

Abele added, “I love the dialogue it creates between me and the viewer, and I love the stories that they carry.”

“The South Coast is changing very quickly,” Abele said. “I see a lot of development happening, and these were the iconic homes that built our country — these were immigrant houses. My wife is Azorean Portuguese so her family has lived in them.”

Well Abele, it’s safe to say attention has been captured as the artist’s oil painting, “Hustle and Bustle,” recently received first place in the South Coast Artists’ exhibit at the Bristol Art Museum. 

The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, May 25 at the museum, located at 10 Wardwell Street in Bristol, Rhode Island, Thursdays through Sundays from 1 p.m. to  4 p.m. Museum admission is $5.00. All artworks can also be viewed and purchased online. Purchased artworks will be available for pickup at the museum on Sunday, May 26, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., or Monday, May 27, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The second place winner just so happened to be the organization's Board chair, Heather Stivison, who also happens to be a resident of Dartmouth. 

Stivison’s piece “Asking Questions” was painted using an acrylic that was mixed with a clear medium to give the paint the transparency necessary to mimic the ocean. 

Stivision said the painting integrates a colleague’s notes from a previous project on ocean chemistry and the ocean itself using a sort of “swirling” effect.

She said getting recognized was “lovely.”

“It's nice to be acknowledged for your work, but especially it's nice to be acknowledged in front of your peers,” she said. “It’s a great group and we support each other all the time and I could feel that support when I won too.”