BAC Community Spotlight: Rob Daves

January 2019


Rob Daves

Brookline Resident and Arts Supporter


How did you arrive at the Brookline Arts Center?

When we first moved to Brookline 20 years ago, my son, who was in 5th grade, won a BAC Gadsby award for a free BAC art class. He loved it.


Tell us about your background. How did you become interested in art?  

As a carpenter who does historic restoration, I have a natural love of fine handwork in all forms. While I have the opportunity to express myself in my craft, I have also played with a variety of art media such as photography, drawing and metal sculpture. My limitations have made me very appreciative of fine art and of those who are lifelong artists. 
What passions do you bring to the BAC community?

I am interested in the power of art to break down racial barriers. For nearly two years I and others in Brookline have been working to tell the story of local artist John Wilson and we have raised $100,000 to install his inspiring bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr in our town hall where it will serve as an expression of our town’s commitment to racial equity. At an early age John was supported by his teachers at his local community art classes (like BAC). That spark gave him the the opportunity and the confidence to pursue a professional career as an artist at a time when few thought it possible. 


What do you enjoy most about the BAC? 

The BAC offers everyone a chance to experience the transformative power of art. It’s a place where you can express yourself personally and you can connect socially as neighbors over art. 


What was your favorite childhood art project?

When I was very young my parents ran a dry cleaners and a wonderful artist (with a goatee) named Henry had a sign painting shop next door. He would sketch silly caricatures and I loved watching him paint crisp letters with his mahl stick. He was very patient and let me use his materials to create my own projects.


Who are some of your art heroes? 

They change constantly. I love the story of photographer Alfred Stieglitz and painter Georgia O’Keefe. Last week I was mesmerized by an Early Renaissance painting by Fra Angelico at the Gardner Museum. And at the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury, I was recently enamored by a collection of hand bags and jewelry boxes made from cigarette wrappers and postage stamps by inmates in American prisons.


Do you have anything exciting coming up? 

On January 27th, at 3:00pm at Brookline Town Hall, there will be a ceremony to unveil and dedicate John Wilson’s magnificent bronze sculpture of MLK. We will have music, inspiring remarks and the sculpture will be unveiled by members of Wilson’s family. And on March 24, at the Brookline Village Library, my committee and the Brookline Historical Society will be hosting a special lecture about John Wilson by Edmund Barry Gaither, Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. Both events are free.