Galleries : Cousen Rose celebrates 30 years
Cousen Rose: Say the name and anyone who knows the Vineyard will conjure an image of the eclectic art gallery and gathering place at 71 Circuit Avenue in downtown Oak Bluffs. The recognition is a testament to Zita Cousens, the radiant, energetic driving force behind Cousen Rose gallery.
Ms. Cousens has poured her heart and soul into her uniquely Vineyard enterprise for what will be 30 years this summer. Oak Bluffs resident Bob Hayden, a noted African-American historian and author, calls the gallery "an institution."
"I'm awed that people think of the gallery that way," Ms. Cousens says. "It's all I think about from June through early September. I live it, and it's just what I do."
Each summer she fills Cousen Rose with original art and one-of-a-kind jewelry, hosts book signings by both acclaimed and budding authors, and fosters a love for art in children through intimate classes in her courtyard.
The gallery, which started off as a partnership between Ms. Cousens and friend Stephen Rose, a landscape painter from Falmouth, has evolved into her singular vision. After three years of sharing the business, Mr. Rose left to focus his energies on his own painting.
"Running the gallery interfered too much with my artwork," Mr. Rose says with a chuckle, "and Zita was much more organized. But it was a wonderful connection - one that continues to this day." Ms. Cousens has represented Mr. Rose's work each summer since the gallery first opened.
While Ms. Cousens is loyal to her cadre of long-time artists, she keeps an eye out for the up-and-coming. This summer she will show paintings by two new artists. Opening on July 11 is a show featuring Donna Straw's precise yet somewhat abstract depictions of Campground cottages and more fluid Island landscapes. And starting August 1, Randy Coleman's bold geometric abstracts will be showcased.
The gallery will host Stephen L. Carter, the Yale University law professor, whose first novel, "The Emperor of Ocean Park," spent 11 weeks on The New York Times' bestseller list early in the decade. His fourth novel, "Jericho's Fall," is scheduled for release July 14, and he will be presenting for an informal evening at the gallery on August 15.