Grand Circle Gallery Opens to the Public
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Grand Circle Gallery Opens to the Public

Free gallery of vintage travel posters and photography is the latest addition to culturally thriving Fort Point neighborhood

In the early 19th century, the Fort Point area of Boston didn't even exist. Grand Circle's current home was nothing more than swampland and tidal marshes—until the Boston Wharf Company realized the area's potential and began filling in the land. From refineries and distilleries to textile mills and confectionaries, Fort Point became a bustling industrial center. Later, the area became a haven for an eclectic community of artists.

In 1985, it was during this artsy phase that Alan and Harriet Lewis moved Grand Circle Travel to 347 Congress St. In terms of being eclectic, the company certainly fit right in, but it wasn't exactly artistic … until now. On July 23, Alan and Harriet will open a free gallery at company headquarters, featuring vintage travel posters and other travel-related artwork and photography.

"We welcome our fellow Bostonians and visitors to view our collection," say Alan and Harriet. "We have really enjoyed working in the Fort Point Channel District for the past 25 years and seeing it evolve into a thriving cultural destination, so we're particularly pleased to be able to offer another reason to visit the neighborhood."

Alan and Harriet began collecting posters at about the same time they moved to the area. They focused on pieces that celebrated their shared passion for travel—specifically, the so-called "Golden Age of Travel" from the turn of the 20th century to World War II. "This was the time when adventurers discovered the joy of traveling simply for pleasure," says Harriet Lewis. "We love the romance of this era—when travelers dressed for the occasion and the luxury of the journey itself rivaled the discoveries to be made on arrival."

In addition to the posters, the gallery will include several stunning, aerial shots of the late explorer, cartographer, and long-time friend of Grand Circle Foundation, Bradford Washburn; as well as works from other artists and photographers. Among these will be vintage images of Europe by photographer George Daniell; the dramatic portrayals of the Civil Rights Movement captured by photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon; and black-and-white photographs of the 1960s by Elliot Erwitt, including a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy at her husband's funeral.

The Grand Circle Gallery joins a revitalized Fort Point neighborhood that has become a sought-after cultural destination—while remaining as artistic and eclectic as ever. "If you have the time, I highly recommend you make a day of it," says Harriet. Just a ten-minute walk from South Station with parking available across the street, the gallery is within walking distance of the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Fort Point Community Gallery. Within one block, hungry visitors will find renowned restaurateur Barbara Lynch's Sportello, Drink, and Menton; as well as Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery and the funky, family-owned Yada Yada.

Gallery hours are Wednesday and Friday, 11:00am-2:00pm; Thursday, 11:00am-7:00pm; and Saturday, 11:00am-3:00pm. Admission is free, and the gallery is handicapped accessible. For more information or to arrange a gallery or group tour, please contact Mark Schianca, Grand Circle Gallery director, at (617) 346-6294.

For more information about the Grand Circle Gallery, visit Grand Circle Travel's website.

Photo credit, above left: Copyright Bradford Washburn, courtesy Decaneas Archive, Boston, MA