Current Exhibit

The BRT Art Gallery is an ongoing initiative to have the work of local visual artists combine with BRT's performing arts programming to enhance the audience's total experience and expose them to the many talented artists that live and work nearby. Exhibits generally change every 5 or 6 weeks between mid-September and May. Artwork is viewable two hours before scheduled theater events and is often for sale.


Blackstone River Theatre's Art Gallery will host an exhibition and sale of pastels and paintings by KAROLE NICHOLSON from October 14 through November 25 viewable two hours before and during scheduled theatre events, in the upper and lower lobby of the Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St., Cumberland, RI. The BRT Art Gallery is an ongoing initiative to have the work of local visual artists combine with BRT's performing arts programming to enhance the audience's total experience.

For more than 40 years, Karole has explored various expressive mediums including ceramics, collage, watercolor, acrylics, oils and hanging sculpture. In 2002, she took her first pastel class and discovered the medium that would speak to her like no other. 
Karole is an active member of the Pastel Society of Cape Cod, the Connecticut Pastel Society, the Pastel Society of New Hampshire, Providence Art Club, Attleboro Arts Museum and the Foxboro Art Association. She is a juried associate member of the Pastel Society of America. Her pastels have been shown in international competitions and national/regional shows throughout New England where she has won best of show and first place awards. 

Karole attended Rhode Island School of Design studying graphic and advertising design. She has studied pastel technique from internationally acclaimed artists in workshops throughout the country and abroad and her award-winning work has appeared in many solo and group shows throughout New England. In 2008 she traveled to Peru with the Art Ambassadors Project and in 2011 to Italy to experience and paint the Umbrian/Tuscan landscape. In 2016 she traveled to The Ring of Kerry to discover and paint Ireland’s untouched coastal lands. Karole returns to Tuscany in October 2017 to paint in the vineyards surrounding Siena.

An appreciation and concern for the disappearing green spaces in the local environment are at the center of her painting focus. She chooses to capture intimate scenes of Southeastern New England, bringing the viewer to a place of identification and memory. Often the scenes are not unique and frequently overlooked … streams, fields, farms, paths. These subjects come into play when suddenly trees are downed, land is excavated and what was once a tender resting spot for the senses is now a development of oversized houses. The landscape was once a subject that attracted her because of her appreciation of nature and all things green, but it now takes on new importance. She feels compelled to document the changing landscape, to reconnect her audience to the earth with which they coexist. 

My art combines my life experiences with my need to connect to nature and to the influences of daily life. Capturing the intimate landscape of the local environment, I interpret these scenes primarily using pastels, but often employ other mediums. This body of work welcomes discovery and a deep appreciation for subjects that beg for preservation.

I am drawn to compositions with strong negative and positive space; the relationship between the two is so clear that it invites me in. Although I enjoy experimenting with various mediums, I truly value the reliability of my most chosen tools: pastel on sand paper. Each painting starts with a loose vine charcoal sketch to conceptualize the composition followed by an oil wash to lay down the values. Once this is complete, I am ready to select my pastel palette. With over 1,200 pastel sticks to choose from, it is a skillful, yet playful process. The layering of crystallized color creates mood, develops contrast and accentuates the focal point. My excitement builds until the painting asks for a signature.

The evolution of my landscape work demonstrates my concern for the rapidly disappearing open space in our communities. In the blink of an eye it is being replaced by residential and commercial growth. There is little breathing space left. By defining these “forgotten” sanctuaries it is my hope the viewer will adopt a renewed appreciation and perspective for the remaining undeveloped land in Southeastern New England. In stimulating positive responses I aim to influence recognition and support for the conservation and preservation of local green spaces.

My art experiences are directly related to my life experiences. Significant relationships are at the center of my art; the unwavering support of my husband, my family and my friends. Depicting scenes that will stimulate memory and create mood serves as a tool of communication and a source of challenge. What I create is not only a reflection of who I am today; it is the sum of many parts that is tethered by the struggle and the joy.