Some Hudson Valley artist communities thrive on legacy. Woodstock, say, or Hudson in recent years. They have established art markets, galleries and dealers, as well as bodies of artist works reaching back a century or much longer, in some cases.
Other art scenes build like a wave, over time, as artists cluster around a town’s living situations and then start to build gallery scenes. Or create public art that draws attention to what they know is happening amongst themselves, culturally. Phoenicia has been like that, as has Beacon and the High Falls/Stone Ridge area.
Saugerties has been knocking at the door of recognition as an arts center for some time. It’s sustained good galleries for decades. The town’s artist studio tour is well-known, as is its sculpture festival. Shows of regional artists often feature a large contingent of Sawyer artists.
Now comes “Exit 20: An Exhibition of Work by Saugerties Artists” at Emerge Gallery, opening Saturday February 2 and running through Sunday, February 27 with opening and closing receptions as bookends.
The show draws together 20 Saugerties-based artists working in a wide range of two-dimensional media and styles: Loel Barr, Jennifer Lewis Bennett, Nancy Campbell, Rosa Lee Charpentier, Shelley Davis, Nancy deFlon, Josepha Gutelius, Jeffrey Helmuth, Anne Marie Hoffstatter, Katie Hoffstatter, Debra Joyce, Barbara Tepper Levy, Yvette Lewis, Marjorie Magid, Ann Morris, Andrea Walcutt Perez, Tina Piccolo, Tad Richards, Prudence See, Elizabeth Shafer, Margaret G. Still, Hank Vanderbeck and Leonardo Vatkin. The exhibit is curated by Emerge Gallery director Robert Langdon.
Augmenting the watercolors, drawings, photography painting and mixed-media pieces will be a community sculpture created from donated plastic bottles, corks, netting and other materials by the communal group Shout Out Saugerties over three weekends. Among those involved in Shout Out Saugerties have been Michele Aisenstadt, Margarita Asian, Edith Bolt, Christy Rupp, Rae Stang, and Joanne Weber. The depiction of a dragon named Flotsam & Jetsam will continue over the life of the exhibition. Community members and gallery visitors can add colored pieces of paper with wishes written on them to the evolving piece.
Since Langdon, a former book world marketer and longtime art lover, opened his gallery in the center of Saugerties’ business district, his shows have featured a mix of emerging and established artists in popularly-themed mixes. Now that he’s the last gallery on the block, as it were, the art he’s representing from his adopted community has deepened.
As has become traditional with Saugerties exhibits, there will be an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, February 2 followed by a closing reception from 2 to 4 on Sunday, February 27. Expect fun affairs filled with artists, art lovers and – of course – plenty of proud Saugerties residents.
Expect to end up at a dinner along the town’s thriving main streets afterwards. It’s the new, artsy Sawyer-way.
Emerge Gallery is now located at 222 Main Street in Saugerties after years on Partition Street. For information, call 247-7515 or look them up on all forms of social media.