A Letter from Owner Tom Tipton

For over 20 years, Out of the Blue Too has been a space for local artists, musicians, poets, writers, and performers who represent diverse backgrounds and abilities. The Gallery evolved into a place for creative expression, from those performing or showing art for the first time to seasoned professionals, to express their hearts and souls, to learn, and to teach, and for the community at large to gather and enjoy these efforts.

Two years ago the Gallery had to move from 500 sq., feet and landed into nearly 6,000 sq. feet at the proverbial location location location. The Gallery expanded quickly from a tiny room, barely able to contain itself, to a massive space that not only includes a wider variety of art and performance space, but also acts as a home for a number of micro businesses, artist spaces, and vendors: handmade African clothing and gifts, vintage records, junktiques, Ethiopian coffee ceremonies, Solstice ceremonies, workshops, and more.

The Gallery is an eclectic space that has been built on the experiences of those who work and bring their art form here and the people who support them. In the face of various challenges, both negative and positive, the Gallery continues to learn, grow, adapt, and become an even more inclusive space for the entire community of not only Cambridge but the entire metropolitan area.

I like to say, tongue in cheek, that the Gallery sells things that people don’t need. Rocks, old bottles, art. Define need. Art, no matter which form it takes, is something that is unique to each person whether they are creating it or appreciating. It is something that comes from the heart and soul and cannot be weighed, measured, or quantified in some manner. It is who we are and who we want to be. It is an interpretation of life. From something that is just plain pretty and makes you smile to that classic soul searching gut wrenching masterpiece of humanity. In a world that is becoming more and more barcoded, standardized, and wrapped in plastic, Out of the Blue Too offers something that is human and comes from the heart and soul of other humans.

What began as a series of “art parties” in Boston’s Chinatown ended up in a small storefront on Cambridge’s Brookline street. It seemed a natural mix of various disciplines and people involved. Artists go to art shows, poets go to poetry readings, and musicians go to music shows. It didn’t take long for them to interact and cross-pollinate creative ideas and paths and discover new ways to grow and expand their individual efforts. The public in general also responded in a very positive way. Surrounded by art both visually and audibly, people opened up to the same creative and very human energy. Something I have always said: it is not about the art. It is about people. Art is just the best excuse because it comes from our individual heart and soul and is unique to each of us.

OOTB quickly became known for making it easy and accepting to display art or have some kind of show, especially for those that are not able to find opportunities in the usual venues available for art and music. The Gallery has worked with everybody from children as young as 4 years old to seniors. There is as likely to be artwork hanging by someone who is challenged in any manners of ways to someone who makes a living through their efforts. Either one is just as likely to sell as the other or be enjoyed as a performance. The Gallery is well-known for offering opportunities to all in a way that gives the artist or performer as much creative license as they need, keeping the process as simple and affordable as possible.

One aspect of the Gallery that grew after moving was being able to obtain a full entertainment license. The Gallery is now able to host wider variety of shows. For two years we have been presenting local and nationally touring music and in several cases internationally touring musicians. Though much of this has been music from the younger generation, it also includes a wide variety of cultural performances including dance, poetry and storytelling, book readings, and fund raising for various causes. For over ten years the Gallery has been the home for three long-running weekly literary events. The Story Space, established by Brother Blue (25 yrs.) Stone Soup Poets, established by the well known Jack Powers (45 yrs.) and The Dire Series, established by Timothy Gager (16 yrs.) All of these activities have been presented in an alcohol-free, all-ages venue that is accessible to all members of our Cambridge community.

Since moving to its present location, the Gallery has been able to better reach out those who are disabled, and of those of various cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Community members not only of Cambridge, but in the wider metropolitan area as well. Out of the Blue Too Gallery exists for everyone’s creative efforts and enjoyment. Thank you.

Tom Tipton
Founder of Out of the Blue Too Gallery