“Boston Does Boston 2008”

Amy Julian

On a mild January night, hundreds of people gather in the intimate and bustling confines of one of Boston’s newest art galleries, Proof Gallery. On display are works of art from local artists, ranging in style from abstract to portrait, in a variety of media. The two-hour event held on January 12 marked the opening of Proof Gallery’s newest show, “Boston Does Boston,” which runs through February 23. The show combines amateur artists with those who have displayed their work on numerous occasions across the country. While there is a vast amount of art galleries and museums in Boston, Proof Gallery, in its infancy, stands out as a gallery that integrates its own artists in the selection process for “Boston Does Boston.”

The idea to put together the show came from Director Julia Hechtman, who was looking to survey local talent and view a wide array of artists’ work. “As newcomers to Boston, Proof was eager to get an introduction to local artists,” Hechtman explained. “We invited four local artists to introduce [the community] to other artists in Boston.”

To do this, Hechtman and co-director Kara Braciale looked for four local artists with impressive résumés. The artists were asked to choose a piece of work from another artist they knew. “Since the idea of the show was to gain some exposure to Boston-area artists whom we did not yet know, we decided to let the original selected artists [do] some deciding for us,” Hechtman added. Once the four artists selected a piece to show, Hechtman and Proof Gallery invited these artists to also include a piece of their own original artwork. By doing this, the community is able to get a multi-dimensional look at some of the area’s talent, and savor the diversity that makes Boston such a magnificent Mecca for the arts.

The artists involved in “Boston Does Boston” are looking forward to showcasing not only their work, but encouraging the people of Boston to appreciate the arts of the city. “This is the show many in Boston have been waiting for,” says Hannah Cole, whose piece “Daydream#1” is one of the showcased pieces. “The art scene in Boston doesn’t do enough to support its own artists.”

Artist Matthew Rich (“Diamonds”), adds, the “show is all about getting the word out about art, getting people into the space and getting them interested in local art.” Both Cole and Rich are excited to be a part of such a diverse group of work, which Rich describes as an “interesting mix of art…that is transparent and gives the viewer a way of comparing works [of different artists and styles], and finding connections.” Indeed, viewers can look forward to seeing a wide variety of media and styles.

“Boston Does Boston” also features work from local artists, which includes Kevin Driscoll, Nikolaus Gulcsik, Mary Hughes, David Ording, Andrea Raynor and Ellen Rich. The exhibit is located in The Distillery, the parent gallery of newcomer Proof, in South Boston. Hechtman and all of the artists involved in the show hope that the “Boston Does Boston” series will become an annual event, and encourage students to submit any work for consideration. “Proof is always happy to look at the work of any artist.” The gallery’s website (www.proof-gallery.com) explains the procedure for artists who are interested in showcasing their work at the gallery.

Be sure to check out the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 23. For more information, be sure to visit the website. And if you are interested in becoming part of an upcoming show at Proof Gallery, Cole advises that you “don’t sit around and wait for things to come to you-make them happen yourself.” Indeed, the Proof is in the pudding.