Recently vacated storefronts in a business district are a sad reminder of our tough economy. The empty windows once filled with eye-catching merchandise now showcase an empty and barren room – one that looks surprisingly smaller than it did when it was bustling with shop-life. We walk by, hoping that the business-owner just moved on to something bigger and better; but the reality is that we’re probably looking at the site of the loss of someone’s hopes and dreams for their future, and we can only wish better luck for the next shopowner.
In the meantime, that empty storefront isn’t so great for the other businesses around it, either, making the entire street less inviting for shoppers as a viable destination. One solution to that problem is to allow someone to come along and use the space temporarily to attract visitors to the area while a new tenant for the space is lined up.
Pop-up galleries that spring up overnight in a disused commercial space and remain in operation for a limited time have increasingly been…well, popping up for just this reason. But in bringing a burst of activity to the empty storefront, a pop-up gallery also allows passersby the pleasure of discovering art unexpectedly, and brings a sense of something happening to the street. A pop-up gallery doesn’t take the resources to open that are normally associated with the opening of a permanent gallery, and as a combination quick-fix-and-street-happening, it’s pretty much a win/win all around.
In High Falls, a vacant storefront once the site of Spruce Design and Décor is going to house a pop-up gallery featuring a retrospective exhibit of the art of Astrid Fitzgerald on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14. An opening reception catered by John Novi of the DePuy Canal House (reopening for the season that weekend) will be held on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m., with an Open House at Catherine Gerry Interiors upstairs during the reception. The pop-up gallery will be open both days from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The show is curated by the Wired Gallery, which promotes work by contemporary artists and artisans from the Rondout Valley. Located at 1415 Route 213 in High Falls, it’s open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Gallery director Sevan Melikyan says that he’s happy to expand the boundaries of his gallery space to include this pop-up show, saying that it’s an example of many success stories that have happened “where art and real estate have come together to rejuvenate a vacant space, or even an entire neighborhood.”
Swiss-born Astrid Fitzgerald divides her time between New York and her studio in Kerhonkson. The retrospective exhibit will highlight the body of work that she has produced in geometric abstraction. For the last 25 years, she has built a successful career exploring the philosophical geometry of the Platonic Solids (3-D shapes where each face is the same regular polygon and the same number of polygons meet at each vertex) and the Golden Mean Ratio (a pleasing-to-the-eye relation of 1:1.618 that occurs naturally in nature and has been utilized consciously throughout history by everyone from the Egyptian pyramid-builders to Leonardo da Vinci). Fitzgerald’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and is represented in many corporate, museum and private collections.
Nate and Sandy Rand, the owners of the empty storefront, said that they invited the Wired Gallery to showcase the available space with art. “It pains us to see yet another empty storefront in High Falls. This space presents an ideal spot to display local talent and creativity, and to further explore an economic vision for the High Falls community.”
Geometric art of Astrid Fitzgerald, opening reception, Saturday, April 13, 5–7 p.m., open Saturday/Sunday, April 13-14, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., pop-up gallery at 104 Main Street (Route 213/Mohonk Road), High Falls; (845) 564-5613, www.thewiredgallery.com.