Monthly open houses expand in second year
NBNY Art Seen, an initiative to draw visitors to Newburgh’s galleries that is now in its second year, is simple but effective: On the last Saturday of the month, from April through October, each space hosts an afternoon exhibit and the Newburgh Arts & Cultural Commission publishes a walking map.
The galleries participating in 2023 are ADS Gallery, Ann Street Gallery, CMA Gallery at Mount Saint Mary College, Elijah Wheat Showroom, Grit Works Gallery, Holland Tunnel, Mindy Ross Gallery at SUNY-Orange Newburgh, Strongroom and Visitor Center.
James Jackson, who took over this year as facilitator, says he has already learned from the April and May events.
The first Art Seen was “very successful, with quite a reasonable turnout,” he says. But the second, held over Memorial Day weekend, was less so. “We realized that if it’s held on a public holiday, nobody attends,” he says. “It’s so quiet, with nobody around.”
The inaugural year of Art Seen in 2022 “proved it could be of value to the galleries by giving the Newburgh art scene more publicity,” Jackson says. “We have a large artist community here with a lot of exciting young artists and gallery owners. Together, we’re all trying to create more special events to draw both visitors and residents.”
Jackson said he hopes to create a video featuring interviews with gallery owners and artists that could be posted online before each walk. He also is working to partner with universities and colleges, which benefit from Newburgh being known for its up-and-coming art scene, and reaching out to “non-dedicated gallery spaces,” such as coffee shops and libraries.
“We proved we could do it last year, and now we’re trying to be more professional in promotion,” he says. “Last year, we tried to do something more complex, with opening parties hosted by a different gallery each month. It didn’t really click. Now, we’re trying to coordinate openings so they don’t overlap. For example, next month, SUNY Orange and Visitor Center have openings on the same day. After conversations with both, one will host theirs from 2 to 4 p.m., while the other will be doing an evening presentation.”
Gallery owners express satisfaction with the effort to bring visitors to their doorsteps. Eva Zanardi, proprietor of Visitor Center, says Art Seen has been “an amazing experience so far” and David Lionheart of Grit Works Gallery notes that “every gallery has something special to offer, and we are all rotating our shows.”
The next Art Seen is scheduled for June 24. See newburghart.org/nbny-artseen for the walking map.
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