Michael and Denise Ulick have been collecting Outsider Art for several decades. When they left New York for the Berkshires, they knew the time had come to share their passion with others.

Among the first to appreciate the power and uniqueness of Outsider Art, the Ulicks have watched as galleries around the country and the Whitney Museum of American Art have caught up with them.

What Denise likes most about this self-taught art is that the artists create not because of their desire for fame or fortune but because they need to express their deepest feelings and visions. “While some of it might look childish, the emotional quality of the work is clearly adult. The work we feature possess great emotional content.”

Outsider artists remind Denise of the earliest artists – the cave painters – who, without any formal training or ideas about perspective, form, and shading, used lines and gestures to capture the animals who shared their world.

Many of the 83 artists the Ulicks showed when they opened the doors to Church Street Art Gallery in 2003 had never showed their work to anybody, and certainly never expected their work to appear in an art gallery.

According to Michael, “we offer a very unusual collection of folk art – art that emerges from the very spirit of our culture. This art takes many forms – paintings, carvings, masks, whirligigs, and all kinds of found objects.

“In 1942, Sidney Janis published an important book ‘They Taught Themselves: American Primitive Painters of the 20th Century.’ According to Janis, the self-taught artist embodied a centuries-old tradition of ‘art people.’ This phenomenon of human creativity has been a part of society throughout history. And this unique spirit of individuality and inventiveness is still having a significant effect throughout the art world. Denise and I have always wanted to do our part to popularize this important kind of art.

When you visit us at Church Street Art Gallery you will discover a world of unexpected and surprising freshness.”