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Upon entering artist Pamela Wamala’s studio, one is immediately filled with a sense of calm. Idyllic nature scenes cover walls painted with soothing pastel colors. And then there’s Pamela herself, grinning ear-to-ear, her curious smile an invitation to connect. We asked Pamela about her artistic process and her connection to the community. 

Sage:
Can you talk about what inspires your work?

Pamela:
A lot of them are from travels. Some of them are from my imagination. I’ve been to so many marshlands now that some of them are just a composite in my head. There’s a place I go up to in Maine called Lang’s Island, it’s just beautiful there. I’ve done a lot of work from there. 

Sage:
How long have you been in the studio, and what brought you to this area? 

Pamela:
I’ve been in the studio for about 10 years but I came to Lowell in 1983 to attend art school at UMass, Lowell. I always thought since I was a kid that I would end up going to New York. But things here in Lowell got better for artists and creatives, so I just never left. 

Sage:
Can you talk about what community means to you?

Pamela:
That we can count on each other. That I can count on the community being there for me and they can count on me being there for them. Lowell is very much like that.

Sage:
Is there a sense of community among the artists here?

Pamela:
There’s a huge sense of community. If you have a problem, the people here will come together. Recently an artist that hadn’t been here very long, maybe like two years, passed away and the whole artistic community came out to support his memory. That wouldn’t happen in most places. But that’s what the community is like here.

Sage:
How has the community supported you directly? 

Pamela:
In 2009 I realized that I needed multiple streams of income, even if they’re around the hub of my art. So I worked up a proposal for doing these one-of-a-kind greeting cards. The Brush Art Gallery helped incubate the program and then the Lowell Cultural Council awarded me a grant. Now I’m independent with about 8 clients, but that was a huge, huge help in the beginning.

Sage:
Do you do anything to support the community? 

Pamela:
Through my outreach. Even when I get paid from nursing homes and assisted living centers it is still outreach.*  Also, just by the fact that our studio spaces are in a public setting—people come in to the studio and learn about our process. That’s a big part of what we all believe—part of what you accept as an artist here is being open with your work and sharing with the public.

Sage:
How do you like working with Sage Bank?

Pamela:
I love Sage Bank. They’ve been my bank for 5+ years. People tell me to go to the ATM and use the phone app, but I like to have the interaction with the tellers. I know it’s old-fashioned, but I really enjoy that. They’re so friendly, I’m in there several times a week, they know my name. And that’s nice to have—a neighborhood bank that knows your name.

If you haven’t checked out Pamela’s work, well, what are you waiting for? http://www.pamelawamala.com/

*Pamela leads art classes at nursing homes and assisted living centers in the Merrimack Valley.