Business: Addison Art Gallery In Orleans Celebrates Anniversary With Donations

By: Debra Lawless

Topics: Business , Arts

The Addison Art Gallery in Orleans is celebrating its 25th anniversary. COURTESY PHOTO

The Addison Art Gallery in Orleans is celebrating its 25th anniversary this November with an unusual twist: For one month it is donating to the nonprofits its clients choose when they buy an artwork.

“Since the pandemic started, for months, we chose various nonprofits as recipients of the donations,” says gallery owner Helen Addison. “As I was trying to decide on the organizations to receive funds during November —the month of gratitude as well as our anniversary — I thought the collectors might want to choose.”

The gallery is donating 10 percent of the selling price of each piece of art. “This does not affect the payments made to the artists, so it works out to 20 percent of the gallery’s portion,” Addison says.

Collectors have been surprised when Addison explains the donation to them, and appreciative when she asks them where they would like the funds to go. “I sense the collectors are far more grateful knowing their collecting is helping a worthy organization than if I sent them something for themselves,” she says. “We have wonderful collectors and their hearts are generous.”

So far, the collectors have favored local charities and directed their contributions to the Lower Cape Outreach Council (which has received multiple donations), the Center for Coastal Studies (which has also received multiple donations), the Animal Rescue League of Boston in Brewster, the Cape Wellness Collaborative and the Humane Society of the United States.

In 1995 Addison opened her gallery when “I was asked by a friend, a well-known Provincetown artist, to start a gallery; she felt she needed more marketing support than she was getting at the time,” she recalls.

She bought the building at 43 South Orleans Rd., which is a reproduction of a traditional half Cape, for her advertising and PR agency, Addison & Associates. For a time, she ran both the gallery and the agency in the building. (Eventually she sold the agency but she still does consulting work.) Interestingly, the building’s interior boards and beams were reclaimed from a remodeling of Faneuil Hall in Boston.

The Eastham painter Paul Schulenburg has been represented by the gallery now for 20 years, almost from the beginning.

“I started showing my paintings as a sideline to my full-time job as a commercial illustrator,” Schulenburg says. “Within one year I put aside my illustration work and worked only on paintings for the gallery. There has been no looking back.

“Helen Addison is a tireless promoter and consummate professional, yet the gallery is a place where people can relax and feel at home while viewing beautiful artwork.”

During a pre-pandemic year, Schulenburg noted, the gallery hosts many interesting shows and special events.

One ongoing event is “After Hopper.” Edward Hopper died in 1967, but 53 years later, a younger generation of artists continues to be inspired by his work, especially on Cape Cod, where he spent a part of each year in Truro. The paintings in “After Hopper” celebrate today’s artists who “continue to pursue Hopper’s path in their own unique ways,” according to the Addison website.

Schulenburg’s painting “Sanctuary” nods to Hopper’s painting “High Noon,” in which a woman emerges from a doorway to experience the full warmth of the sun. Schulenburg painted “Sanctuary” when he and his wife were staying at the Provincetown dune shack “Euphoria.”

Planned events in 2021 include an April 21 benefit for the Orleans Conservation Trust in celebration of Earth Day. The trust has preserved over 650 acres of land in Orleans.

On June 26, “Art and the Gardens” will showcase fresh paintings from that morning’s garden tour and incorporate a group show of new works by gallery artists.

And on Aug. 7, the Olivier Suire Verley One Man Show will open. The Addison Gallery is the sole gallery to show the works of Verley, who lives on an island off the west coast of France whose “charms, for those who know, could be confused with those of Cape Cod,” Verley says in an artist’s statement. Verley has been associated with the gallery since 2005 and this will be his ninth show.

Addison was born in New York, but has now lived on Cape Cod for about 40 years, with the last 20 years in Truro.

“More than a gallery space, Addison Art is a social gathering place for friends and neighbors. A busy part of the community,” Schulenburg says. “Many people have expressed their gratitude, and I am proud to be part of the effort to give back to our friends and neighbors.”

Due to the pandemic, festivities to commemorate the gallery’s 25th anniversary have been tamped down.

“As we are careful of everyone’s health, we are not having any parties this season,” Addison says. “Instead, we have cases of non-alcoholic bubbly and fine wine to send home with collectors for their own celebrations.

“This is an unusual time. I realize it is a gift and a privilege to be part of a community that honors the work of others — be it artists or those stocking food pantries, protecting our environment, or ensuring families are not evicted for lack of rent payments,” Addison says.

For more information and to view available artworks, visit