Call to Presenters

Call to Presenters

Featured image above is of the monthly improvisational Singing Circle hosted at Portal.

Proud as we are of our exceptional mineral display, the Portal Crystal Gallery has always been more than a gem shop. Our aesthetic is clean, white, and bright – it’s a beautiful space to be in – and we’ve hosted eclectic and wonderful events from the very start. We hope you’ll choose Portal for your next event!

You’ll see in this Blog thread – we have an independent Call to Artists as well – who present and consider a whole different set of variables when it comes to putting together a Show.

Fortunately, our space lends itself to the hosting of a variety of different types of events. All have access to a bathroom – it’s not officially handicap accessible – but it’s on the ground level, and the store is not entered with stairs. We have a full sized refrigerator; some kitchen amenities (hot plate, pitchers, a Brita), and some rolling shelves/working surfaces.

Our primary Wellness Space is called the Gallery / Class space. It has 20 chairs (here showing 2 presenters seats and 8 guest chairs). Its fourth wall is open and perfect for slide projection.

The Art pictured on the walls is that of Lidia Kenig-Scher (incidentally)…

Next, we have the (yellow) Sun Room, located downstairs on our “basement level”:

The Sun Room has those two lovely chairs – but across from them is a standard sized (and set up) massage table that can be taken down if need be (you bring your own linens if needed). We do shoes-off on this entire lower level, and the carpet space allows for 6-8 people to sit comfortably in a circle (more if the table is taken out).

Behind the Sun Room is the Back Stage room. You have to walk through the Sun Room to get to it, but they both have non-locking doors that close. The Back Stage room is where we most often host our Sound Healings. It holds 10 comfortably (as you can see below). This photo is an early event capture – we’ve added some design elements to warm it up since – but you get a sense of how it works and how it’s split up. In brightening it up, the main floor lamp seems blinding, but it was truly low light at the time. All rooms have a low light option.

Last but not least, we have the upstairs (blue) Sky Room, which is really just for two people (perfect for therapy, consultations, and Readings):

The Sky Room above is lit brightly from above, but has a table and floor lamp that can instead give it a more intimate feel. We also have a desk in there (just to the right of the scope of this image), which makes for a great a solo work space (if that’s what you’re needing). We do have Wi-Fi.

Historically, we’ve asked prospective presenters to fill out the SurveyMonkey located here (, which we still recommend. It can assist you in honing your thoughts regarding what you’d like to do at our space. First question many people ask is, what are your rates?

SPACE RENTAL OPTIONS                                                                                                                           Gallery/Class space: $65 per hour.                                                                                                                             Sun or Back Stage rooms: $45 per hour.                                                                                                                            Sky room: $25 per hour.

We understand there may be cheaper or shared spaces  out there, which compete with these rates. To reward repeat renters and regulars, we often drop the hourly price if we can, to support what you’re doing.

Especially when we first opened – and some lucky folks have been grandfathered into this – we offered our space (and promotion!) for merely a percentage-of-the-door commission. If your event is during business hours – we don’t have to come in (or hire someone) specifically to be there during your event – which is helpful (including for your bottom line).

These prices are all for space only, for which we’d want you to prepay (non-refundably) upon booking. We learned some early lessons from people holding the space with no money down, and then cancelling. If you think there’s a chance you may need to reschedule (even if last minute, due to an emergency), we can discuss the possibility of making an accommodation for that contingency. If it’s far off, and you want to split payments, let us know,and we’ll see what we can do). Otherwise, the terms above will definitely apply.

We charge in hour increments, generally with a two hour minimum, which includes setup and breakdown time. We do this because we have to be there for you. And we want you to be realistic (and accountable) for the extra time it always takes to deliver programs. Fifteen minutes is not that realistic for a pre-and-post time buffer. Think “meet-and-greet” at the beginning, with conversational mingling afterwards.

Separately from our Space Rental offerings, we have some substantial Promotional Support we can lend to your event, if you like.

PROMOTIONAL PACKAGES                                                                                                                            Here are 20 things we deliver through our Portal Promotional Package.

GRAPHIC DEVELOPMENT                                                                                                                                  1) we create a custom graphic for Facebook (they have particular, and sometimes changing design specs we have to follow)…for this we need 2+ images up front: a photo of you – and/or a logo or a photo that represents the event:                                                                                                                                                                     2) we create a custom graphic for the Portal newsletter calendar (different size, less photographic, more of a horizontal banner)…for this we need 2+ images: a photo of you and/or a logo and/or photo that represents the event (could be same);

EVENT PAGE CREATION                                                                                                                                     3) we create a Facebook Event Page through our Portal Facebook Page (780 Likes + 831 Follows, as of Jan. 2019)…for this we need verbiage from you, as an event description, which we can craft together into final language;                                                                                                                                                               4) we create a Portal Website event page with a unique and descriptive URL for your date(s);                                                                                                                                                                   5) we generate a Payment/Registration link, so people can sign up in advance, online (through us).

VIDEO (optional, but recommended)                                                                                                                     6) we will discuss with you and schedule a short video session of you talking about your work for folks interested in attending…videos are single take, not edited, and taken on my iPhone (as have been all our Portal promotional videos);                                                                                                                                              7) we will upload your video to the Portal Facebook Page (sharing that link with you);                                     8) we will add subtitles to your video on Facebook (and verify/edit for accuracy);                                          9) we will upload your video to the Portal Crystal Gallery YouTube channel.

PROMOTION                                                                                                                                                      10) we publish your event page onto Facebook & the Portal site ASAP upon contracting, for all booked dates;                                                                                                                                                                   11) we email you all event page links, as well as images created…so you can share them with your network, maybe invite people on Facebook;                                                                                                       12) I and our Social Media person (yes we have one on staff, to serve us and our presenters) integrate your events into our Social Media posting schedule for our various Pages & Profile, potentially reaching thousands of Followers;                                                                                                                                       13) we MAY invite people we think may be interested, through Facebook Messenger;                                14) we MAY send out private (or Gmail batch) Messages where appropriate;                                                15) we integrate your horizontal event banner into our newsletter;                                                               16) our newsletters go out to over 1200 Portal Subscribers (as of Jan. 2019) every week or so and routinely ASLO to our Crystal Concentrics metro-Boston list);                                                                                                                                                                         17) your event would appear in our newsletter’s “upcoming events” listing at least 2 weeks before your event;                                                                                                                                                                  18) your full image (promotional banner) would be included in at least 1 newsletter prior to the event;      19) we will hand-write your event onto our in-store sandwich board, which lists upcoming events (for visitors to see)…the sandwich board is by our front door now, and it’s readable from our side/front window after hours;                                                                                                                                                                   20) if you print a flyer, we’ll post it on our front shelves & bulletin board (used only for co-promotions now).

As you can imagine – all the above, including outsourced labor (our virtual assistants and tech people, as well as the cost of our platforms) – will cost us hundreds of dollars (and weeks) to implement. Think video, graphic, and social media chops…never mind the breadth of our own contacts and network…how can one easily put a price tag on all that? With our experience and expertise, the above could arguably be valued at a thousand dollars plus!

If we decide to work together, we wouldn’t charge you that full amount, because we want some ‘skin in the game’ ourselves, and we want to support your presence at Portal.

But I hope through enumerating all the steps above – that you can appreciate our painstakingly developed on-boarding process – and that you can easily understand why there would need for us to charge for our Promotional Services (quite independent of our Rental fees).

BONUS: FACEBOOK ADVERTISING                                                                                                                 We have years’ experience advertising on Facebook. It does not provide reliable outcomes, in terms of attendance, nor can any of our efforts be warranted to do so – but Facebook does supply reliable exposure for whatever it is you’re offering. We generally require our incoming Presenters to buy into this option, spending at least $20-50 per event to “get the word out there.” Our “cost per click” is generally below the standard $1-per-click in the industry, and in a recent promotion cost 66 cents per click to Boost an Event (and just a few cents “per view” on Video promotions!). This is something you’ll appreciate having booked into your budget.

PROPOSAL                                                                                                                                                           In conclusion – I would like to suggest whatever the rental fee is – that that be matched (at least) by a comparable amount to be invested in our Services. In other words – if your Rental fee is $130 (for just 2 hours in the big room) – you should consider (independently from your Facebook budget) paying us at least $150-250 (a very discounted rate, for example) for our additional Services. Remember, while the space rental could be for just a few hours, the Service provision is the same for a 10 hour event as it would be for a 1 hour event. We’ll look at your situation uniquely, and make an offer that seems fair to cover our costs. We want this experience to be affordable for you, particularly if you decide to work with us in an ongoing capacity.

Thanks so much for your consideration – again, here’s the Presenters’ Survey Link ( – feel free to email or If you don’t hear back quickly, definitely write again, or call the shop line at 781-859-5397 and ask for Kyle.

Looking forward to connecting (and hosting your event at Portal)!

Sincerely, Kyle Russell                                                                                                                                          co-founder of Portal Crystal Gallery

Call to Artists: Exhibit at Portal Art Gallery!

Call to Artists: Exhibit at Portal Art Gallery!

[Art featured is from our very first exhibit, with Lidia Kenig-Scher]

Please read through ALL this information. By filling in and submitting the SurveyMonkey Questionnaire (scroll down for that link), we’ll hope you understand and agree to the terms listed. Any modification or additional explanations and logistics, we can arrange for independently.

Rapid and thorough Communication are key to building any successful relationship – so as soon as you hear from us – please respond. Likewise – if you don’t hear back from us – feel free to follow up and let us know you’re hoping to hear back from us. Everybody gets busy, we understand, but nobody wants to be “ghosted.”

We use to organize our dialog with Artists & Renters, but you can also reach out to for a quicker Reply.

First some background information. Portal Crystal Gallery (aka Portal Gallery and Portal Art Gallery) hosts an extensive display of high quality minerals ($ to $$), as well as a number of classes. Since opening in late 2017, various Artists have exhibited for our first 12 months or so, according to the usual commission arrangement. Exhibits ranged in length from 4 to 12 weeks. Artists received 65-70% of each Sale’s gross, with only some minor Advertising, Reception, and payment processing fees pitted against that.

For a number of reasons, specifically because hosting Artists can be complicated – and our overhead and efforts have not historically been covered – we’ve changed our business model.

Starting in 2019, our Gallery space will only be available on a Rental/ServiceFee vs. Commission basis. In other words, you’ll pay an agreed-upon “reserve” up front – either for Rent alone, or for additional promotional Services we’ll provide as well – which will then be pitted against your commission. Whichever is greater, that’s what the Gallery will hold onto.

For example, if you paid $10 Rental and $10 for Services – or $20 total (up front) – that would be counted against our traditional 35%. So if you sold $100 of items, you’d pay $35 to us, or rather we’d pay you $65 after those Sales transactions were processed (and the funds became available). If you sold only $10 in items, you’d only pay the initially furnished $20.

We have much to offer. Read on if this is an arrangement you would like to consider. We look forward to hosting you and your Art, if the time is right.

18 ESSENTIAL OFFERINGS of PLAN A (Rental / Space available)


It seems silly to draw attention to this, but in fact dialoguing with potential and engaged Artists is a huge part of what goes into putting on an exhibit. Our communications may involve meeting, speaking on the phone, and emails mounting up into the hundreds…potentially spanning months (quite apart from the actual exhibit time)…which is a pretty strong pull on our attention, given our other clients, customers, and obligations.


Our Gallery space consists of nearly 40 feet of exhibit space: 3 walls in a U shaped alcove – accessible but separated towards the back – and with a large sign over it designating it as Gallery / Class space). It measures 12’ (to the left); 13’ across the back; and 14’ to the right. This may be dedicated exclusively to your work, or shared, if a Co-op show is put together (perhaps one Artist per wall). We do not allow nailing, rolling walls, partitions, or other additional exhibiting surfaces into the space.


To the right of the 3 Gallery walls, is a 4th wall we have and put nothing on. It’s blank, perfect for slide presentations (we do not have a projector). We do have a contoured gray table – and often one of our collapsible 6’ tables additionally – both of which may be used during your opening, but must be clear of your product and literature at other times, as we use it regularly as a work surface, and need for it to be removable on occasion (to make room for more chairs).


We do not have track spotlights in place, but we have replaced all previous ceiling light fixtures with square and bright LED panels that illuminate the artwork on all walls. We’ve found these do not impede faithful reproduction of the Art in digital photographs.


We’ve purchased white tracks which run the length of each wall from the It comes with 20 metal cables and matching hooks (that go up and down easily). The hooks snap over the artwork’s own horizontal hanging cables and require an easy pinch to disengage. We discourage large, glass-faced, and heavy pieces, and do not take responsibility if they over-tax the system (and fall). You can hang 2 pieces, one atop the other, but we still have just 20 hooks.


We have a beautiful, tall two-paned and recessed glass entryway storefront. It’s prominently visible, right in Arlington Center, at #489 on Massachusetts Avenue. Massachusetts Avenue is one of the longest and most known (and prestigious) streets in Massachusetts, particularly in the metro-Boston area. Arlington Center is an up-and-coming trendy area – with both urban and suburban qualities – and it’s recently been designated a Historical District. It is also well-known as a dining destination, with a large number of international and gourmet eating spots.


Although Arlington is one of the central towns of metro-Boston – bordering Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford – it’s not one of the worst congested or hard-to-find parking spots. There’s ample on-street parking, and a large municipal lot right behind the shop. We’re glad to add that parking fees are also lower than adjoining towns.

  1. VENUE.

We have invested over $50,000 in a complete makeover of the space we occupy – including the Art Gallery – which involved laying Pergo floors, replacing ALL ceiling light fixtures and damaged drop ceiling panels – as well as installing floor and ceiling molding (which had not previously existed). The drop ceiling cross bars were black! They, and where necessary – all other ceiling details – were painted, as have been all walls. Our color choices were straight white and a subtle lavender gray American colonial. Stucco and peg board were replaced with smooth wall, and although no structural changes were made, drywall and other cosmetic changes abound. The list goes on – the bathroom was completely redone – you get the picture (lots of TLC!).


Although we have designated the Art Gallery space as such – and the front window features the vinyl words Art and Gallery – it is important to note that we are primarily a showcase for quality minerals, which is our bread and butter. This will expose your Art to an eclectic and different audience then you may be used to, which is always a good thing. We have put a lot of energy into a clean and sparse presentation style, that contrasts with the often dark and cluttered look of most rock and metaphysical shops. We believe this likewise complements the presence of Art in our midst. We host classes and events – in our back & downstairs session rooms – but also in the Art Gallery space itself (where people can enjoy your work as a backdrop to their experience). While there may be people and chairs filling the room, we have not had any damage to the Art itself from this shared use of the space.


As mentioned, we have the words Art and Gallery on our windows, and our windows themselves are an attractive draw. We had the foundation ledge expanded and turned the area below it into low sliding door cabinets, above which are airy aluminum pole-supported shelves with gorgeous Crystals on them. It’s a lot of glass, and a lot of visibility into the store. The sun rises to the left of the store shines gorgeously in through the right at sun set. We can allot a shelf to accommodate your 14” by 18” foam core poster, which is yours to design, but we just have to approve all signage. Be sure to get back to me to confirm those dimensions (we’ll double check).


With us, the public has 7 days a week they can walk in to see your Art, barring holidays and unforeseen circumstances (snow storms or whatnot). We’re generally staffed by a single employee, with me “in the back” and on call. Open 12-5pm daily, that’s 35 hours a week that you don’t have to mind your exhibit, or pay someone to be there. Me or my staff will be on duty. We make an effort to invite every visitor to check out the Art Gallery. The more you educated us about your work, the more we can explain to folks about it.


We accept all credit cards, cash, and checks – which we deposit immediately – and, once cleared…we pass along any funds (your commission) to you via check…if any is due. We pay any Credit Card processing fees ourselves. We also collect & passing along to the State any Sales Tax collected, which is another headache you don’t have to concern yourself with.


We are happy to host your Opening Reception over 2-3 hours on a Saturday afternoon during store hours. Though it may be an additional cost, we could also expand that, or choose some other, mutually agreed-upon time span (including after or before store hours). We can even talk about a Closing Reception, if you’re up for it (though that may incur some additional costs too). While we’d rather you served no alcohol – wine or champagne are preferable to beer or cider – as we’ve had bad experiences with spilled drinks (which damage the flooring).


Drinks referenced above would be purchased by you. We have a history of providing the food – hummus and guacamole, along with gluten free chips, and vegetable sticks – which we can purchase and lay out for you – if you pre-pay (and/or reimburse us) for the actual grocery cost.


We have a full refrigerator – the above mentioned tables – and also a rolling 4’ by 18” chopping block wood counter with 3 shelves/surfaces. We have an electrical hot plate and Brita water filter, as well as serving platters. We ask that you bring all paper plates, cutlery, and plastic glasses. We also ask that you clean up after your event, and take out all trash/recycling for disposal at your home.


While we no longer want to use our side tables in the Gallery to house any smaller merchandise or literature, we are open to having (and perhaps eventually purchasing for the shop) a postcard rack for your and/or others’ work, including our forthcoming Crystal gift and greeting cards. We do have an additional, small triangular free standing table-top fixture to hold your mailing list and literature (which must be limited to that surface, unless we can find adequate wall space for a description of the exhibit). This small table may be cleared for use by other events, but we’ll put your items back onto it afterwards. Also, if and where appropriate, we may elect to represent your merchandise in other parts of the shop.


We’ve had removable decals naming your exhibit high on the walls, but mostly, people just have little paper plaque descriptions beside each of their works, listing item names, price, etc. No nails or adhesives that will damage the walls please. Despite best intentions and gentle technologies, the walls have still been damaged slightly by previous Artists’ signage. We do not necessarily scrape or repaint these spots, you may have to live with these small blemishes. Eventually (and periodically), we will refurbish the wall finish, but it looks quite presentable as is.


Over the course of your exhibit time (or in association with your Opening/Closing reception), you have the option of hosting a class in the Portal Gallery / Class space. Additional terms and fees may apply, but you will receive preferential pricing and terms, should you elect to take advantage of this opportunity.


$300 per week, 4 week minimum, or $1200 (prepaid)…unless otherwise agreed to.

30 THINGS WE PROVIDE in the DELUXE PLAN (B): Rental / Space + Services Available

ALL THE ABOVE (18 ITEMS), PLUS 12 MORE (Services Available) BELOW


Soon after we agree to work together, we ask that you provide a press release, but we are happy to work with you to create a mutually agreed upon email-able version. While attachments (PDF) are optional, we prefer to have them them text only (with inline images) to avoid attachments, as we’ve found people don’t tend to appreciate having to go that extra mile to open attachments.


If you do not have proper images of yourself, we’ll be happy to take them casually, with our iPhone, for inclusion in the Press Release and other press materials. By signing on with us, you agree to let us use your image(s) and video footage promotionally, and in an ongoing fashion, with regards to your having exhibited at our Gallery. Also, once your Art is up in the gallery, it’s public domain: people may or may not photograph, video, or publicize what they capture visually, we cannot police or keep them from doing so.

B3. WEBSITE PLACEMENT part #1 (Artists’ Blog).

We create a Blog entry on the Portal website, in a section dedicated to Art Exhibit announcements and information. That’s where our agreed-upon promotional information will reside indefinitely – so long as we continue to offer Art at our location – which provides lasting promotional value. It’s also good to be in the context and community of all the other Artists we’ve hosted.


We create images to accompany the press release, including banners for Facebook events, and our horizontal newsletter banner format. If you don’t like what we come up with, or we can’t tweak it easily within the confines of our design sense and software resources, you’re welcome to submit correctly formatted images for us to use instead (but they have to be consistent and compatible with previous exhibits’ promotional imagery, according to gallery owner Kyle).

B5. WEBSITE PLACEMENT part #2 (Portal Event Page).

We create an event page on the Portal site (see to get a look at how this appears for our other events). Your press release and image(s) will be featured, and there will be a way for people to sign up (free) for your opening, who don’t otherwise drop in (as it’s a free event)…we forward you any emails & contact information collected.


We create an official Facebook Event on our Portal Crystal Gallery Facebook page – we make you and make you an Admin and Co-host of the page – so you can Invite your Friends and publicize it through your own network. There will be a signup or Ticket link on this page, leading either to the Portal Event Page, or the actual signup form. Again, any sign ups will be shared.


We’ll create at least one 2-4 minute video of you (on our iPhone) at your earliest convenience – and/or after the hanging of the show – and post it natively to the Portal Crystal Gallery page (as well as the actual Facebook event page). We additionally add subtitles to the Facebook video and personally go through and make sure they’re accurate and correct. We’ll post this video as well to the Portal Crystal Gallery YouTube channel, and share all URL’s with you.


We’ll post about your Exhibit at least 10 times across our Facebook Profiles and Pages – using our exhibit graphics, pertinent text, and/or the video footage we’ve captured – and our various Facebook presences alone have attracted about 100,000 Followers in total.


We’ve just begun one-to-one consulting with a Facebook Advertising Rep (an actual Facebook employee), based on our long history of advertising with them, and we’ll be happy to put what we know (and our custom built audience targets) to work for you – but you’ll have to provide any advertising budget independently from our selected package price(s). We recommend you put $40-100+ behind any such advertising.


Independent of creating and running (and paying for) any Facebook Advertising for you, we’ll report back as we go, or afterwards…on the progress of the Ad…exposure and clicks, etc. (which can be done during the course of the lead up to the Opening and thereafter).


We mail out semi-weekly (every 7-14 days) to our Portal list of just under 1000 people, and increasingly to our regional Crystal Concentrics list of another 700+ people. We promise at least 1 mention in the email Subject; at least 2 appearances of your banner in the newsletters (regarding your Opening); and at least 3 appearances in our month-at-a-glance listing. Additionally, there will be information about your exhibit at the bottom of each newsletter going out during the course of your exhibition.


We have a list of Community Art and Press Targets, which we will email, if not individually, in a batch Gmail or through a dedicated broadcast through our digital newsletter delivery service. This list is only as strong as the contacts you share – as we haven’t found these groups and individuals automatically responsive – still, we’ve had coverage in the Arlington Advocate, and would welcome collaborating with you to expand our network of exposure (in the service of your Art).

COST FOR SERVICE / PLAN B (independent of the cost of Plan A): $1200 (prepaid).

FLEXIBILITY on PRICING: we’re open to discussion, but the costs listed are a fair value for what we bring to the table. We recognize that $2400 is a lot of money to put out in one month (try renting a storefront on Mass. Ave.!) – so we’re happy to learn more about your circumstances, and see if we can make any Special Arrangements to accommodate you. The key is that you understand and accept the fact that it costs us money to be able to host you, and that it’s a fair and reasonable wish for us to receive cost coverage from you, to make it all possible.

ELIGIBILITY, APPLICATION DEADLINE & FEE: applications are being accepted (at no charge) on an ongoing basis, for current and future shows. Though we ask that you not apply unless you are open to all the above mentioned arrangements. Artists must be able to hand-deliver and install their own work without our help (though we’re happy to show you how it’s done), during store hours, unless otherwise agreed to.

ART SELECTION: before we finally agree to proceed with the exhibit, we request a graphic mockup of the actual display (and that the works to be exhibited are already complete, photos to be provided). While we embrace your artistic freedom, the Gallery owner (Kyle Russell) is authorized to nix certain pieces in favor of others, to make sure the exhibit is a harmonious complement to the Gallery and in keeping with the type of work previously featured. This process is done in consultation with you, the Artist, so that all a mutually satisfied with the ultimate selections.

INSURANCE: we will take the utmost care in the handling of all artwork; however, artists are encouraged to carry their own insurance from the time of delivery to Portal Gallery until the close of the exhibit, as Portal Gallery does not carry insurance for non-owned artwork. By showcasing your art at Portal, you agree to hold the Gallery harmless from any liability for theft or damage of your work. Artists may be asked to sign an insurance waiver upon delivery. We are also happy to sign an inventory listing for you as well, so we all know what’s on hand.

PRICING: we have no problem charging higher rates for your Art, please consult with us in advance regarding your price ranges. Ultimately, our goal is to get your pieces into the hands of your buyers, so making them financially accessible is smart. We’ve sold items $200-$1600 in value.

ACTUAL ARTIST APPLICATION, please proceed to the following SurveyMonkey Questionnaire:

EMAIL US ONCE YOU’VE COMPLETED THE APPLICATION:, or, to follow up (especially if you don’t hear right back).


Art Exhibit with Karen McCarthy (2/17 till 5/6/18)

Art Exhibit with Karen McCarthy (2/17 till 5/6/18)

We are proud to present the work of artist Karen L. McCarthy in the Portal Art Gallery. She has made available a selection of her superb and labor- intensive mixed media collage constructions, each of which is printed and composed to create unique visual and emotional responses. Included in this show are several of the artist’s most recent works which are taking McCarthy in new directions. Please read her Artist Statement below, and plan to join us between 3 and 5pm on the afternoon of Saturday, February 17th, 2018. The show runs until April 4th.

As a collage and fiber artist I revel in taking similar or disparate parts and melding them into something new, encountering how individual elements are transformed when combined with others. I explore the subtleties and complexities of color, light, and movement with constant fascination.

I frequently juxtapose ordered, compartmentalized images with those which are indistinct, amorphous, and obscured. Sometimes the elements have obvious connections, sometimes more surprising ones. With a subtle use of detailing, I often employ layering to create an interplay between what is revealed and what is concealed.

There are often references to the landscape and other natural forms in my work, while inspiration derives from a range of influences. From the engaging details of Italian Renaissance masters’ panel paintings, to otherworldly rock formations I have encountered in the American Southwest, to the abiding dualities of nature and cityscape that I observe on daily walks, I draw from a pool of varied sources.

Very recent pieces reference window-like forms in a contemplative manner, exploring dreamlike experiences, the notion of inside/outside, and the all too often unsung beauty of a quiet gesture.

I fabricate my own collage materials, implementing painting and printmaking methods (paste paper printing, gelatin plate printing, stenciling, etc.) which allow for a gradual and incremental buildup of imagery. I choose techniques which can result in a wide range of textural effects and moods with varying degrees of transparency and depth. In the final stage I machine stitch the constructions, utilizing the stitched line as a design element while celebrating my passion for textiles.

I hope to create some sense of reprieve from the bombardment of images which confront us from day to day…it is an attempt to find an antidote…a breathing space…and a personal respite from some of the chaos and hectic pace of life we collectively experience.

Karen L. McCarthy

Entry is always without charge, except for special events. See the full list of upcoming Portal Events here.  The Gallery is open at least 5 hours a day – 7 days a week – but call to make sure we’re open: 781-859-5397.

Newly opened in Arlington Center, the Portal Crystal Gallery devotes an entire section of its gallery space to showcasing outstanding paintings and photography, with new Artists exhibiting every other monthly.

Visit our site and sign up for our updates – we’ll be having Openings like this semi-monthly – here’s how to get onto the mailing list:

If you or someone you know would like to exhibit in the future, please fill out the Call to Artists’ survey here:

Any questions, please email, and visit the site: