CHESTERTOWN - The North Country Arts Center's new gallery on Main St. has expanded its plans due to a remarkable public response that has surpassed expectations, Gallery organizer Fred Holman told the membership of the North Warren Chamber of Commerce at a social event held Sept. 1.
Holman told the Chamber gathering that the number of people both visiting the gallery and purchasing the artwork this summer has been substantial, and the attendance at the Aug. 28 Family art Day was robust.
We've had excellent public response - it's been exciting," Holman said Monday, noting that artists have spread the word about the new venue to show their art, and more and more people are stopping in to see the growing collection. "It has been real positive for everybody."
While the gallery was launched with 25 artists exhibiting, a total of 46 were showing their work by the time the first exhibit was taken down last week, he said. Virtually all the gallery's available exhibit space was filled, he said.
Another exhibit will be going up soon showing a bumper crop of work from local artists, Arts Center President Linda Buerkley said Monday. Both this fall exhibit, and a holiday exhibit to follow, will feature more jewelry, pottery, and fabrics to boost the public's holiday shopping opportunities, she said.
The seven-week exhibit, the debut effort for the Art in Chestertown gallery, resulted in a large number of pieces being sold, she said.
"The gallery has energized the art community," she said. "Apparently the Arts Center has ignited a flame up north."
Through the gallery, artists in northern Warren County have emerged to not only have their work viewed by the public, but they've also networked, Holman said. Not only were artists connecting with other artists and prospective students, but the public was reaping rewards as well.
"Local residents are learning about the talents of their neighbors," he said. "It's been a great ride."
In response to this enthusiastic response, the Glens Falls-based North Country Arts Center has made arrangements to keep the Chestertown gallery open through the beginning of January, Buerkley said.
The gallery's fall show will open on Thursday Sept.16, with an artists reception set for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept 17. The show runs through Oct. 30. The holiday show is set to open Nov. 11 and run through January 8. The gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is located in the former Harness Shop at 6378 state Rte. 9.
The gallery is now inviting artists to submit up to three hanging works or large sculptural pieces and up to ten 10 smaller table items for potential exhibit. For details, contact Fred Holman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 803-4034. The works are to be received at the gallery on Sept. 10, 11 and 12.
The Family Art Day that the gallery held Aug. 28 demonstrated the enthusiastic response of the community, Holman said. As many as 75 or more visited the gallery, and while adults perused the exhibition, children engaged in face painting, henna body art and sketched their favorite artworks on exhibit. In the daytime hours, the public watched six Plein Air artists outside painting streetscapes or landscapes, and during the evening, local residents and visitors mingled with the exhibiting artists at a gallery reception, Holman said.
"It was a super turnout," he said. "We were active all day."
Holman said and others involved with the Art in Chestertown gallery were excited to be boosting activity downtown, which has until recently undergone a noted decline in visitors and pedestrian traffic.
"We're excited to be working with the community to expand the role art has in the revitalization of Chestertown," he said.