The third Friday of every month is Art Night Schenectady. Here are just a few of the highlights from our visit last week.
We started at the jewel in Schenectady’s crown, Proctor’s Theatre, which was like a small city in itself with nine separate shows and exhibits. In the atrium, students from Tech Valley High unveiled a futuristic model of “The Solar System;” upstairs, Leevi Ernits exhibited “Off The Picture Plane,” a series of paintings created from mixed media on jute that cracked apart in unpredictable ways; and over another stairwell hung an intricate chandelier made out of chenille stems (better known as pipe cleaners) by Ginger Ertz.
Next door at 400 State Street, a one-night only group show was exhibiting work by Noelle MacGonigle, Tina Mathieu, Dave Ozmon, James Pickett, Don Rittner, Kayla Sergio, Tony Thompson and Jacqueline Watski in the lobby, and the feast of art continued a few doors further down at Working Gallery/Studio, where we had a behind-the-scenes peek at the studios of Catherine Wagner Minnery and Chris Averill-Green.
Then we wandered over to Jay Street. The bad news is that on this night, it was almost a ghost town. The restaurants were open (mmmm crepes…) but almost half the stores were closed. We realize that January is a slow time but come on, people, make an effort! It’s Arts Night!
Happily, there’s good news as well, with a variety of grass-roots efforts working to jump-start the arts scene.
Don Rittner is spearheading Art Attack, a showcase that aims to bring 1000 artists to Schenectady on the weekend of March 20-21st. Details are still sketchy, but you can email him for more information.
The Jay Street Gallery, recently re-located from its old (now demolished) location across the street, had a group show of new work which attracted a steady stream of visitors. The energy at this place, a coop gallery and studio, is palpable, with Vicki and Albie Von Schaaf and Natalie Boburka showing us their studios and enthusiastically explaining the future plans for the gallery.
And Tony Iadicicco, another of the co-founders of The Jay Street Gallery, has also started 3rd Friday Schenectady, an effort to bring art to even more alternative spaces. “Here in Body” a one-night show at 137 State Street, was positively jumping, with new work from Iadicicco as well as Samantha DeTillio, Kaitlyn Dollard, Lynn Rossini, Michael Swint, Steve Condon and Jax Gleckman. We especially liked Dollard’s atmospheric photo transfers and Iadicicco’s bold, geometric paintings.
And music? Oh yes there was music, with Kyle Miller performing vintage folk at Signatures Wine Bar, The Steve Lambert Sextet celebrating his new CD, “May” at Robb Alley and Jared Funari serving up hypnotic loops in the 440 Arts Center lobby.