CHESTERTOWN - Fine art has a new home in northern Warren County, and it's prompted some excitement.
Northern Warren County's new fine art gallery, "Art in Chestertown," was well received when it opened to the public July 15, featuring the work of local and regional artists.
Almost 100 people toured the new gallery, sponsored by the North Country Arts Center, which has been operating without a dedicated exhibit space for decades.
Artist Heidi Maxwell of Chestertown, who lives a mere two blocks away from the gallery, said it was a welcome addition to town. Maxwell has a large monochromatic pastel work on exhibit in the gallery.
"This turned out beautiful," she said, noting that for hundreds of years, artists have been a prominent element in the Adirondacks. "It's nice to have an exhibit space again for local artists' work, particularly in Chestertown."
Prominent in launching the new gallery was painter Fred Holman of Brant Lake, a board member of the arts center. Holman dreamed up the idea for the new gallery, NCAC board member Jon Segan of Fort Edward said. Segan has works on exhibit in the gallery - novel shadowbox artwork that combines architectural artifacts combined with paintings of women that resemble Renaissance portraits.
"Fred thought, 'Why not get art back into the North Country,' and we said, 'See what you can do,' and the outcome is amazing," Segan said.
Holman and NCAC board president Linda Buerkley arranged the initial exhibit last week, setting the works along the floor of the gallery walls, while some curious passersby walked into the gallery to observe, Holman said.
"Usually, exhibit openings attract primarily relatives and friends of the artists," he said. "But here today, we had people coming in from off the streets and neighboring communities."
Buerkley, who has monotypes on display, said she enjoyed her role in arranging the exhibit.
"The artwork was so inspiring, it was easy to put together," she said. "This gallery now offers a great opportunity for area artists - there's so much talent up here."
Photographer Kim Ladd of Thurman said she was impressed by the work presented.
"It's good to have an outlet for artwork here - a place where people can exchange their ideas," she said.
Artist Ann Rohe of Thurman also said the gallery would add a needed element to the town. She has two paintings on display at the gallery.
"This gallery is a good idea for Chestertown," she said.
Wildlife Artist Joyce Cleveland of Bolton Landing, who has her works on display, said the gallery, located in the former Harness Shop, has already made waves among artists and art enthusiasts
"People are excited there's a gallery here again," she said.
The shop will be open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will offer dozens of paintings and sculpture for sale - and browsers are welcome, Holman said.
Mary Jane Dower, chairwoman of the Chestertown Main Street Enhancement Committee, welcomed the news of the gallery's opening.
"This is a wonderful addition to our downtown and I wish the gallery continued success," she said.
Barbara Wilson, an artist from Chestertown who's on the Arts Center board added her kudos.
"This gallery is certainly a boost to what was becoming a ghost town," she said.
Last Thursday, with the number of visitors to the gallery, downtown Chester didn't resemble a ghost town, however.
That evening, Terry Wyant sat in an Adirondack chair and greeted pedestrians walking down Main Street. Wyant created birch bark and stick frames containing the photographs of her husband Ed that are on display.
"It's so nice to have exhibit space up here in this community," she said, enjoying conversations with passersby.