Cold Spring Arts’ Barbara Galazzo takes next step
By Alison Rooney
With the recent opening of Gallery 66 New York, Main Street now has two full-fledged, full-time art galleries to call its own. (Marina Gallery is the other one.) For owner Barbara Galazzo, this marks a quick progression from co-founding Cold Spring Arts, organizing the past two Open Studio events, to conceiving and carrying out the ArtFull Living Designer Show House, which recently concluded its 4-month-long run, and now a return to something she did long ago in New York City: owning a gallery.
The many lives of the three-room space at 66 Main include long stretches as a bookstore, first Salmagundi and then Merritt. The large, multi-windowed front room lends itself to the display of sculpture and bigger pieces, and the two other, smaller rooms can be self-containing (or not) as needed.
It was during the first Open Studios event, in October 2011, that people started telling Galazzo she should open a gallery. Unsure at first whether it was something she wanted to take on, the suggestions continued during the Designer Show House’s run, and she finally decided to take the plunge after “the perfect space — one of the few in town I would have considered for a gallery,” opened up at just the right juncture. The property allows Galazzo to live above the gallery, which is handy for her, and to maintain a separate studio for her own art. She is a fine glass artist, working with kilns giving off fumes, which doesn’t mix well with a living space.
Gallery 66 New York will not focus on any particular style, and the aim is to show not only regional artists but also those farther afield, the hope being that a broad mix will lure non-locals to this area, where they can then sample many other attractions here. This is something Galazzo experienced firsthand through the very popular Open Studios weekends, which brought new visitors to the area who not only purchased quite a bit of the artworks, but “helped all the way around.”
Exhibitions rotating monthly will combine works submitted by a membership with works of invited guest artists. In terms of recommendations on artists to exhibit, Galazzo is relying on her city network, as well as advice from local experts such as Carinda Swann from Garrison Art Center and Martee Levi from Marina Gallery, as well as contacts from Art Along the Hudson, which she was also involved with in the past.
Many special events are envisioned for the gallery, ranging from initiating First Friday opening receptions in tandem with Marina Gallery (not yet beginning in November); a fashion show on Nov. 9; a juried exhibition of the works of high school students; and a December jewelry exhibition in the back of the space, with proceeds to benefit the Haldane sophomore trip. (Galazzo’s daughter is a 10th-grader at the school.) Galazzo is open to “just about anything that ties in with the gallery” and is looking forward to multi-Main Street business collaborations, saying, “I like bringing other people in — ideas start to happen.”
Galazzo wasn’t one of those people who found their calling at an early age. Born and raised near New Orleans, she came to New York City in her teens as a ballet dancer in training with American Ballet Theater, and danced throughout her 20s. After a knee injury at age 32 removed her from that profession, she looked around for something else to do. A stint in a law office wasn’t that something, and she turned instead to a longstanding hobby, ceramics. From ceramics she drifted to jewelry making, which she had been exposed to from an uncle who did metal, handcrafted jewelry. A class in glass beadmaking gave her an “instantaneous” new focus, and she moved into glassmaking and design, opening up her New York City gallery concurrently with that.
Outgrowing her confines in the city, needing to relocate to an area with more space for her studio, Galazzo drew a circle with a 60-mile radius and vowed to find something inside it. It was a simple matter of “let’s go check out this town,” which led her to Cold Spring. “I liked this town right away,” she said. “Maybe it was the colors — coming from New Orleans everything here was so colorful; it’s a beautiful place to live.”
Galazzo has now been here for 17 years and has fostered a career for herself in large, glass installations, one recent work being a 75-foot wall entrance to Kaiser Permanente in Washington, D.C. For most of that time she was so busy with her own work she didn’t connect with many other local artists. Holding an Open Studio day for her own work, she discovered that nearby painter Susan English had done the same thing the week prior. Expressing to an artist friend, Carla Goldberg, that “it was a shame — it would have been great to coordinate,” Goldberg suggested starting an Open Studio event with some local artists. After sending out a few emails, an astounding 33 signed on the first year, with 39 participating this past October. Galazzo feels that in part it is because there are “older, accomplished artists working here. They often keep to themselves, but are discovering it’s really nice to get to know each other. At that point I had lived here 14 years, and no one knew what I did.”
Galazzo’s organization of the Open Studios event spurred her on to an even more involved project, the ArtFull Living Designer Show House. Galazzo explained, “After Open Studios, the artists wanted to do a pop-up gallery. I thought, ‘What if we used a house instead?’ because I wanted it to be something where people would envision art in their own home, not in a mansion like most of the show houses. The idea was to show art in a house, but to have interior designers put it together.” Galazzo said the result was, as far as she knows, the first time that a designer showcase was centered around art, and also, for many of the interior designers, the first time, too, that they designed rooms around the art. Steady attendance resulted in the extension of the exhibition beyond its original September closing date.