Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Sarah Westlake (b.1928-2003) began her formal art training in 1950 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, MI. There she studied painting with Wallace Mitchell, drawing with Clifford West and metal-smithing with Richard Thomas. At Cranbrook Westlake met her husband, Merle Westlake, with whom she raised their two children, Ted and Carol. During these years, Westlake was an art teacher and head of the art department at the Harrisburg Academy in Pennsylvania. Later, in 1964, she continued her studies with Mitchell Spiporn at Brandeis University, and the next year with Julia Phelps at the Radcliffe Seminar Program at Harvard University. In 1971 she was a fellow at the Ossabaw Island Project in Savannah, Georgia.
In 1971 she founded Studio 32, the Children’s Workshop in Lexington, MA. She also worked as a staff mentor in the DeCordova Museum’s apprenticeship program and, in 1985, served as visiting artist at the Maynard High School. In addition to the visual arts, Westlake was also interested in poetry, music, and dance. Pursuing her interest in movement and dance, she worked with dancer Joan Blackmer and made an early series of gestural drawings that investigated the figure as a linear form in space.
Westlake had solo exhibitions with the Victoria Munroe Gallery in N.Y., the Impressions Gallery in Boston, the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, MA, the Ticknor Library at Harvard University and the Seymour Swetzoff Gallery in Cambridge. She was also included in three traveling group exhibitions:
Westlake participated in numerous group exhibitions at galleries including the Gay Head Gallery in Martha’s Vineyard; the Frick Gallery in Belfast, Maine; the Rubiner Gallery in Detroit; the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland; the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston; the gallery at Salem State College; the Cohen Arts Center at Tufts University; and the Boston Visual Artists’ Union Gallery. Her work is represented in many collections including the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Chemical Bank of New York. She also received screen commissions from the firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe in Washington D.C.
She traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia, Europe, Iran, India, Spain, and Japan.