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Blanche Ames Gallery

UUCF's Art Gallery is currently open for IN-PERSON viewing or by appointment.

"Angry Women Done Swallowing Our Words"

Blanche Ames Gallery invites you to meet Kristan Ryan. Her unique show opens Sunday, March 5 from 11:45-1:45 with a reception and artist talk. The show will run through April 30. Enjoy this remarkable show that truly highlights Women's History Month.

Our gallery shows are available for viewing in person on Sundays from 10-2:00 or on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, mornings from 10-12:00 or by appointment at other times for individuals or small groups. To request an appointment, email us at with your name, phone# and date/time of desired appointment.

Kristan Ryan, a self-taught artist, has an interesting personal story about her path to becoming an artist. She first realized she wanted to become an artit at the age of five when her dad showed her how to draw cartoons. "I was fascinated by how he drew people in what he called cartoon shapes. I would pick up a pencil and try to draw what he had drawn."

She was from a military family living in Casablanca,Morocco. The Moroccans mesmerized her with the design and color of their buidings, and she often was able to see Moroccan female friends and their mothers and adult female relatives without their face coverings. But she understood the restrictions this custom placed on females. She also understood that American women suffered from a lack of rights. Unpunished wife beatings were frequent among military families, including her own mother. She often had to hold her mother's hand and help her with translation so she could get on the bus to go to the hospital. Her mother did not speak other languages and because her eyes were often damaged by punches it was hard for her to see.

"I watched all the females (women and girls) in my life - happpy or suffering - and undertood that it was my job, even at a young age, to paint portraits of them as I saw them. I tried to teach myself how to do that."

When Kristan was 10 she, her brother and her mother moved back to the States. She tried drawing people and places but never had art lessons because her mother believed she should pursue a writing career and become an English teacher. No one paid any attention to her drawing so she began to draw less and began to create artsy things out of whatever she could find like paper, cloth, crayons, and crocheted items.

"I had no idea what to do with my art besides just expressing myself as I needed to do. I ony knew I wanted to be recognized for drawing and painting people the way they REALLY felt, not just smiling pictures of them doing whatever they were doing and always smiling, unless the person I was painting was truly happy."

"The women I paint are angry about many things - the loss of people they love, the sadness of illness, the sorrow of accidents, the loss of jobs and more that makes us angry."

"So Much Anger in Me About My Friend's Cancer" 10"X10" Acrylic on Canvas in a white frame

For artists: Are you wondering how to Exhibit in our Gallery?

We invite artists working in any media that can be wall hung to inquire about an exhibit with us. The Blanche Ames Gallery features over 100 linear feet of art exhibition space in two light-filled hallways within the UUCF building. Sorry, our space does not lend itself to displays of pottery, jewelry, or three-dimensional work that is free standing.

Artists interested in showing their work should submit a completed application and digital images by email or USMail to the office at UUCF . Please download the Proposal Form. Blanche Ames Gallery's email address is gallery@frederickuu dot org.

The Visual Arts Committee plans, schedules and executes all art exhibits at UUCF. We schedule six art shows (two months each) during the year, with an art reception and artist's talk on the first Sunday of each show. Here are a few examples of artists' shows at our Gallery:

Click here for a history of Gallery Exhibits since 2016.

Who was Blanche Ames? Why her name?

Blanche Ames (1878-1969) was an exceptional woman and a member of her Unitarian Congregation in Massachusetts. She was a leader who serves as an inspiration to us today.

With her minutely observed drawings and etchings she illustrated her husband's 7-volume treatise on orchids. Ames' talent extended well beyond art. She was a feminist, a suffragist, a leader in civic and charitable affairs, an inventor, an engineer and an author.

A more extensive biographical sketch can be found by clicking on Blanche Ames. After her death, the Ames family homestead, including the mansion with her studio, became a Massachusetts state park with more than 1800 acres of recreational space. https://www.mass.gov/locations/borderland-state-park

A new documentary film - "Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames"- was released in 2020. Go to https://www.borderlandthedocumentary.com to watch the trailer and find out how schedule a private viewing or sign up for a community event at which the film will be shown.

The Gallery Has a Facebook Page

Click here to "Like" Us

(The short link to this page is frederickuu.org/gallery).