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Creating Beautiful Connections

Artist and Gallery 31 owner Sherry Rhyno delivers moments of light and life to others through art.

Variety is the spice of life, and for artist and gallery owner Sherry Rhyno, her days have been seasoned with notes of joy, curiosity, celebration, and appreciation. A spectrum of influences and experiences have developed in Rhyno a keen ability in making connections through her own art, and through the work of the artists she represents at Gallery 31.

The artwork adorning the walls of the gallery located on Main Street Square where Route 6A and Main Street meet in Orleans has been carefully curated by Rhyno. It presents an impressive tableau of moments captured expertly in multiple mediums by many artists—painted in oil, pastel, watercolor, and alcohol ink—her own paintings included. Voted Best Fine Arts Gallery on the Lower Cape by Cape Cod LIFE readers for many years, Gallery 31 is the premiere place for exhibition of paintings in soft pastel on Cape Cod. While an image alone captures a customer’s attention, it is Rhyno that connects them with an artist whose work acts as a keepsake of a memory, not just as decoration for their wall.  

“I think the visual world creates associations in people. If I look at a still life of a bunch of veggies and a copper pot on the stove, it reminds me of Sundays after church as a young kid,” says Rhyno. “And it’s the sea that lures people back to our shores the most. A lot of people want to bring home a memory, because they come to the Cape to get away from it all. And so they want that sense of calmness, peacefulness, and solitude that they feel when they see waves breaking on the shore.”

Rhyno grew up in the Bristol County town of Attleboro, where her artistic journey began. She was a curious and creative child who could be found up in her room committing the scenes outside her window to drawings, or settled in her aunt’s art studio where she dabbled with the pastels and oil paints her aunt worked with. In cahoots with her older brother Ned, they convinced their parents they needed a darkroom in their basement for black and white photography. She dove into developing her understanding of the craft, even demonstrating the photographic printing process as a school project. She credits this early work as foundational in her ongoing exploration of value and tone, saying, “I think learning to see as an artist is a lifelong continual process, an awareness.”

The in-depth exploration of a process speaks to Rhyno’s curious nature, and she is not one to be restrained by a singular focus. In high school, she dove into studying the written word by helping form a literary arts magazine. She pursued these skills further by majoring in English as an undergraduate at Lasell College and the University of Massachusetts (UMass), where she also served as editor of the college newspapers. She did her graduate work at UMass and Boston University.

These endeavors in the literary and visual arts refined in Rhyno an acute skill as a communicator who harnessed the best facets of each creative practice as a means to create meaningful connections. Her combination of curiosity, communication skills, and creativity saw Rhyno through a career with UMass at the Boston campus that spanned 30 years. As marketing director, she developed multiple campaigns coordinating print, radio, and television with billboards on the MBTA and Boston’s Southeast Expressway, produced alongside other recruitment materials, mailings, videos, events, and campus guides for the university. A decidedly high-point of her career as marketing director was in the work leading up to the first presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. As dean of students, among her cherished responsibilities were overseeing leadership programs and the student art gallery, roles that would serve her down the road when she took on ownership of Gallery 31 on Cape Cod. 

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