Swimming Upstream

How is an artist like a salmon? Well, they are both used to swimming upstream. Artists work hard to get their work out there, building a following and an impressive resume so that people get comfortable with their track record.  Perhaps the public’s theory is that if an artist is “known,” he/she must be good.  That brings me to the Upstream Gallery in Dobbs Ferry, where I recently visited a 20th anniversary celebration that showed the work of some 50 artists, mostly from Westchester.  Half of the 50 are present members of the cooperative gallery; the other half are alums.  The name of the gallery references some of the off-beat and unconventional art that is shown there, according to Mitch Goldberg of Scarsdale, an artist who is President of the art gallery.  “It also references our closeness to the Hudson River and the idea that we are north of New York City,” he says.  And then he threw in a line along the lines of what I was thinking, which was, “It’s about artists swimming against the tide…like the salmon.”  Goldberg swims against the tide in his own work.  His interest in glass and transparency drew him to work with plastic resin, mentored by artist Luis Perelman of Yonkers, who introduced Goldberg to the gallery.

Over the past 20 years, Upstream Gallery (www.upstreamgallery.com), which started in Hastings and later moved to Main Street in Dobbs Ferry, has introduced us to artists who have become important names in Westchester County and beyond…Alan Hart, Arline Simon, Paul Greco, the late Herb Youner, and of course, Lanny Lasky, who passed away this year.  I actually knew Lasky long before I came to Westchester, at a time when we were both being mentored as artists by Leo Manso in his studio on West 16th Street.  It was a “crit” class in which I would bring in my huge rolled-up canvases and Lanny would tote her Cornell-esque boxes filled with treasures she had retrieved (frankly) from what was other people’s (politely said) discards.  There was something about Lanny’s oeuvre that enabled her to transform all that detritus into beauty.  But that is another story.  This story is about a gallery that nurtured the work of Lanny and others, a place sadly of which there are too few.  Yet, there are some we give a shout out to for what they do to boost artists’ careers by showing their work in a professional setting with the simple goal of giving artists the opportunity to be seen.  Just to name a few, check out the Blue Door Art Association based in Yonkers (www.artswestchester.org/cultural-organizations/profile/blue-door-gallery/), the Croton Cortland Center for the Arts (www.cccarts.org), the Flat Iron Gallery in Peekskill (www.flatiron.qpg.com), the Hammond Museum in North Salem (www.artswestchester.org/cultural-organizations/profile/hammond-museum-japanese-stroll-garden/), the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill (www.artswestchester.org/cultural-organizations/profile/paramount-center-for-the-arts/), the Rye Arts Center (www.artswestchester.org/cultural-organizations/profile/the-rye-arts-center/), and the Pelham Art Center (www.artswestchester.org/cultural-organizations/profile/pelham-art-center/).

In addition to these venues, artist opportunities are frequently announced on our website. The city of Peekskill is currently calling all artists throughout the Hudson Valley for a series of exhibitions that will be curated at Peekskill’s City Hall. And an exciting new gallery in Croton Falls called A.R.T.S. (Artists Ready to Sell) (www.arts6gallery.com) is currently accepting calls for entries. To learn more about these and other artist opportunities, register for free at www.ArtsWestchester.org. After doing so, you can also post your work on our site by creating an artist profile (also free). To register, click here.

Image credit: Mitchell Goldberg, Bird Walking Mouse, Glass Fusion

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