Saturday, April 10, 2010

Delavan Art Gallery Media Coverage

Thanks so much to everyone for your love and support. See the links below for some of the media coverage announcing the gallery's closing:
(Article by Nancy Keefe Rhodes) Article



(Video and Article)

Syracuse New Times

Friday, April 09, 2010

Delavan Art Gallery Announces Plans to Close May 1

April 8, 2010

To: Artists, Friends, Patrons, Staff, and Supporters:

As Director it is my task to inform you that Delavan Art Gallery is closing at the end of our current exhibit, The Color of Spring, on Saturday, May 1, 2010. This culminates nearly seven years of operation, fifty-four major exhibits for the work of one hundred eighty-six area artists in individual shows, fifteen group and special shows for upwards of two hundred twenty artists, and seven shows of the elementary students from two of our neighborhood schools (Blodgett and Seymour Magnet). Through all of these exhibitions we have had the pleasure of hanging or displaying nearly ten thousand pieces of artwork.

For the future, we are planning to turn the gallery space into five smaller art related areas. Tentative names for the spaces are "The Art Shops at Delavan Center" or "The Art Shops on West Fayette St." While none of the plans are concrete, one of the spaces may be rented by current Gallery Manager, Caroline Szozda-McGowan, with the plan to be opening sometime during the summer or fall. In addition, one of the other newly-created spaces may serve as a general display space for special art displays and other art related events.

The decision to close Delavan Art Gallery has been long in coming and has been most difficult to make. While we are a for-profit gallery, we have been, in reality, a "double bottom line" enterprise. We have measured our success both by money and by the achievement of less quantifiable goals related to enhancing opportunities for area visual artists. Thus, from the onset, we stated that our mission was "to show and sell the fine art of area artists in the best possible setting". Thus, while economic considerations are certainly a part of the decision, they are by no means the only part. Nearly seven years of intensive effort in the arts is a long time. It is now time to explore new horizons.

To put it briefly in context, at the time I conceived the idea of creating a gallery in 2001, several existing art galleries in Syracuse had recently closed, or were about to do so. I also knew that there were many fine visual artists in the central New York area whose work should not only be seen, but also sold so that they could make more of their living at their art. Thus, in designing the gallery, having observed the art scene for three decades, I felt that a new approach should be tried. The gallery was designed both physically and operationally to achieve the above goals.

In reviewing the history I feel very good about what we were able to accomplish in our time of operation. We've provided a superior space for area artists to show their work-and we've sold a lot of it. This exposure and these sales have helped many area artists. In addition, from the beginning, the gallery became a meeting place for artists, their friends and supporters, and the larger community. The gallery has clearly enabled area residents, as well as visitors to the area, to see the high quality of art produced by our area artists. The various cultural events-including artist talks and presentations, music, poetry readings, and theater-brought many people into the gallery who might not otherwise have visited, as did the fundraisers, recognitions, parties, and weddings.

Each of the fifty-four exhibits has required a process of selection of theme, artists, and artwork; placement of the hanging panels; placement of art; hanging of the art work; labeling; lighting; openings with food and beverages; parking; staffing; selling; takedown; and return to the artist or delivery to a buyer. From the beginning the curatorial decisions were a joint effort performed by Caroline Szozda McGowan, Gallery Manager, and me. (We were also assisted in this task from time to time by the many able employees, volunteers, and interns we've had over the years.) As a result of our processes I can truly and honestly say that I have liked every show we put up. We have been continuously energized by so much: the area artists, their work, the patrons, and visitors-many of whom have become regulars, the elementary students, the concept shows such as the Fashion Fashion, the Wrapping Contest, Shadows, and the Wild Card area.

With a truly remarkable staff we did so much and, I hope and think, made a positive contribution to the visual arts and to the community. Each person will, of course, judge the outcomes from their own perspective and definition of success. Perhaps some will say that we should have done this or that differently. Fair enough, go for it.

However, the money side of things was more difficult. While we had many very loyal supporters, which we are most grateful for, and we sold a lot of work, the numbers still did not work out. In the long run that's got to sway things.

Speaking personally, it is hard, indeed painful, to close. One of my criteria from the beginning is that in working we must have fun or we can't do it. We did. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that the operation of the gallery has been exhilarating and educational - indeed inspiring - as we conceived each show, installed the work, and met the people. But now it's time to make a change. As the owner of Delavan Center I will continue to operate the building with its mixed uses of businesses and artists' studios. Over the course of time we have considered many good ideas for shows, some of which we were able to achieve. However, there are still many more "on the table" which beg to be done. I hope to be able to work on some of these ideas and be involved in area art activities in the future. In the words of AAAArnold, "I'll be baaaack."

Many, many thank you's are due:

To the artists of the area who have been so supportive of the gallery since opening in 2003 - through their participation in shows, attendance at openings, purchases of other artists' artwork, encouragement, suggestions, and creativity.

To the patrons, residents and visitors to this area who have enabled us to carry on through the years.

To my marvelous gallery staff over the years (in order of hiring):

Caroline Szozda-McGowan, Gallery Manager
Amy Bartell, PR Coordinator
Courtney Rile, PR & Marketing
Roslyn Esperon, Gallery Assistant
Amy Komar, Gallery Assistant
Gloria Romeo, PR Coordinator
Jessica Heckman, Marketing Coordinator
Kathy Simpson, Assistant Manager

To the building staff who have been so helpful in so many ways:

Terry Delavan for her help with openings
Debbie Durr for her advice and help with openings
Jerry Durr for his help at openings
Jerry Hill for his help in setting up panels
Reginald Sanford for all of the things he did to make the gallery sparkle

To some of the more recent volunteers who have helped with the openings and other events: Christine Chansamone, Cathy Craig, Holly Delavan, Debbie Durr, Jerry Durr, Katie Calak, Lacey McKinney, Megan Murad, Phil Parsons, Kathy Simpson, and Jojo Siu.

To the many interns and other volunteers who have been so helpful.

To the media, for helping us in the constant effort to increase knowledge of the arts in Central New York:

Syracuse Post-Standard
Syracuse Post-Standard - Stars and Neighbors section specifically
The Scotsman Pennysaver
The Eagle Newspapers
The Syracuse New Times

To our loyal artists and friends, who are so numerous that to attempt to list them, would be to omit many equally deserving people.

AND, a special thanks to my wife, Terry, for all of her efforts in helping with food purchases, staffing openings, and advice.

Yours most sincerely,

Bill Delavan, Gallery Director

**Note: To artists with work on exhibit or at the gallery - we will contact each of you directly to arrange for pick-up of your work. Thank you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Little Couture Show That Could

A dream…exuberance of young talent…risk taking…community support, and voila! You have couture designed by two energetic, self-taught early 20 year olds introduced in a show that they produced to benefit the peoples of far-away Haiti. Here’s how the story of the show unfolds. A few months before, Bilaya Jackson (age 21) and Me’lisa Matthews (age 22) were directed to stop in at the Delavan Art Gallery, across the way from the fabric store the pair often traded at. With their small portfolio of sketches in hand, they met gallery director Bill Delavan who was impressed with their work and encouraged them to continue.

Not very long after that first visit, the girls returned to the gallery and booked the venue for a show in which they would introduce their own unique couture. The show date was March 12, 2010, just two months away and leaving barely enough time to create and finish designs for models to wear. The heavy task had to be squeezed in between work at local nursing homes and numerous meetings of counseling on how to start and promote a special event, much less to tout the start of a new business.

The night of March 12 finally arrived (a little too soon for several of those involved in helping Bilaya and Me’lisa). The gallery itself was transformed into a professional runway as low white platforms were placed throughout gallery spaces under the capable hands of director Bill Delavan and manager Caroline Szodza-McGowan, each platform surrounded by group seating with tulle-netted mini refreshment tables centered among the groupings and proper lighting installed in the overhangs above.

Admission fee was $15 and family, friends and the public began filing in as soon as the door opened. Within minutes, gallery staff had to set up more chairs beyond the 75 already in place. And still, audience kept coming until the gallery was filled to capacity with many standing in the ‘aisles.’ At precisely 8:05 pm, the program got underway. Bill Delavan welcomed everyone, recognized co-chairs Van and Linda Robinson and introduced the evening’s MC, Maureen “Moe” Harrington who first introduced Joseph Slavik, President, Catholic Charities and Community Services and Diocesan Director, Haiti Relief Fund. Then “Moe” called Bilaya and Me’lisa to the podium to be recognized before each of the girl’s couture designs were unveiled.

In every bit of the showman style for which she is theatrically known, “Moe” began the runway show, starting with Bilaya’s first segment of Billie Dreams Couture titled, “A Soldier’s Story.” Then came Me’lisa’s first segment of JEMA Couture, “Glamrock.” Second show segments followed with Bilaya’s “Concrete Jungle” and Me’lisa’s “Everything That Glitters.” Gorgeous, tall models slowly strutted and pivoted the runway, giving an appreciative audience time to savor the unique colors, fabrics and designs.

Rewarding gratitude for the night’s success came in many forms. First, there was the experience of seeing the joy and pride of family members who brought bouquets of flowers, and the tears of an older brother who had come to cheer on the only male model in the show who designed the jeans he wore. All food was graciously donated, including luscious gourmet chocolate truffles, Irish Soda Bread, brownies, veggie dips, fruit, soda, coffee and an assortment of exotic teas. However, the crowning reward and gratitude came a few days later when Bishop Robert Cunningham recognized Bilaya’s and Me’lisa’s efforts at a press conference marking the presentation of a gift to the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Director of Catholic Relief Services. The check totaled $650,000, collected from diocesan parishioners and including the net proceeds of $1,020 raised by the ‘little couture show that could”… and did!
Gloria Romeo, Public Relations Coordinator                 
Photos provided by Adrienne DeWitt

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Review of Art: 2003 - 2009 by Katherine Rushworth

Delavan Art Gallery recently was reviewed by Katherine Rushworth. Please click on the link below to read it:
The Post-Standard - CNY Arts

Feel free to leave comments there or on this blog! We would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Don't Miss Our Seventh Annual Elementary School Benefit Exhibit

The art teachers of Blodgett and Seymour Elementary Schools re-enforce our thoughts about teachers as mentors, role models and "gardeners." These talented teachers not only help the students, who range from pre-K through grade 8, to express themselves, but are also instrumental to the installation of the show here at the gallery.

Viewing the children’s art gives clear evidence that the children’s talent is nurtured and encouraged to the child’s highest potential. Truly, the art reveals individual character and personality. For example, one young man created a self-portrait in pencil and the use of eraser. It is incredible. His art was the first to sell. As you can imagine, he was very proud, as were his parents when they joined us the afternoon of the opening.

Half of the purchase price of the art goes to the young artist and the other half goes to the art teacher toward future art supplies. Here is a prime example of the impact teachers have on our students and how our students, these budding young artists, learn that such a talent can be appreciated by many while benefiting to the source from which they were sprouted!

Out thanks go to our three art teachers involved in this exhibit, Kelly Moser-Volger of Seymour and Izzy Dugger and Stacy Griffin of Blodgett.

The show runs through Saturday, March 20, 2010. Please join us in supporting and celebrating these wonderful young artists!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thoughts on Art: 2003-2009

During this year that I’ve worked at the gallery, I’ve grown to know a large percentage of the artists, their particular style and chosen medium. As I would name an artist, an automatic image of their artwork would come to mind. However, it’s been a refreshing shake-up with the inventory these past weeks, preparing for this show. Lately, I’m finding that it’s a certain challenge re-associating art with its respective artist. The gallery supports over 200 artists while the show currently consists of nearly 70 of those fantastic artists who have shown here from 2003 to 2009. As a whole, the artists have remained consistent with their approach to their work while others have veered off into a slightly different direction.

For example, Laura Wellner had worked in a more subdued way, using pencil/watercolor, opaque gouache and graphite. Nature inspired, her small framed pieces were presented behind glass. Wellner’s new direction has taken her art to a more geometric route. She is now exploring the use of acrylic, monotype on Hosho Sumi paper that is then applied to canvas. She then continues to develop the piece from there. Her art is still relatively small while her color palette is more intense and vibrant.

Harry R. Freeman-Jones is another artist that made me do a swirl-around. I usually associate a two dimensional, color photograph, framed behind glass when I think of Harry. For this show, he not only submitted black and white photography but also a three dimensional piece! It is also inspired by nature but carved out of Italian Alabaster. I have a new appreciation of Harry now as a sculptor!

Linda Esterley was an artist in the gallery’s Fiber Art show last year. Her unique use of Australian Merino wool, silk and yak in her over-sized, form core mounted art are the pieces I think of when I think of Linda. She has turned a corner for this show by doing assemblage, not your typical sculpture or fiber piece. Her art is more playful, with her use of jewels, antique items and some text with photos. It’s fun to discover hidden details. All of Linda’s art seems to invite the viewer to touch.

Diana Godfrey, a mixed media artist, did large framed pieces behind glass. She hasn’t deviated from her signature style for this show. Her style consists of subtle, earthy color acrylics or pastel on paper, torn in pieces and layered, giving a true sense of texture. However, she approaches her art on a smaller scale, as miniatures!

Lastly, Kyle Mort is an artist newly introduced to me that I want to add to the list of refreshing art. He is a realist painter who uses watercolor as his medium. His subjects are inanimate objects which include candies, a granny apple, pears or a popsicle. Mort’s true to life colors, shadowing, and his choice of arrangement, gives these objects a humanistic value and a definite personality.

As I smile with a new appreciation of our artists, I ask those reading this blog and those who haven’t seen the show yet, please don’t take my word. Instead, come and see for yourself. Maybe you will spot an artist’s style evolving differently from what you know of them or an artist you want to know who strikes you as a breath of fresh air, as I do!

Kathy Simpson
Gallery Assistant

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Year, New Show

Art: 2003 - 2009

In creating Delavan Art Gallery’s January featured exhibition, director Bill Delavan draws from the gallery’s continuing art exhibition concept, paying tribute to a group of artists aligned with the gallery since its inception over six years ago.

“Art: 2003 – 2009” opened Thursday, January 21, Th3, with a reception that night from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. The gallery was packed with artists, families, friends and the public who viewed and enjoyed over 200 works of art displaying a roster of techniques from painting, drawing and photography to sculputer, galss and mixed media. The show has been extended March 27, 2010.

Both director Delavan and gallery manager Caroline Szozda-McGowan—who has managed the gallery since it opened—felt that a look back serves important dual purposes: an opportunity for further public awareness of these artists, while also giving a nod of thanks to them for their continued support of the art gallery and their contribution to the visual arts in Central New York. 

Going by the numbers, the exhibition celebrates the last six and a half years at Delavan Art Gallery, comprising 52 shows with over 200 exhibited, along with six years of elementary art shows, with the seventh year in progress. Both Delavan and Szozda-McGowan agree that this show “gives us another chance to view the artists who have shown with us since we opened, and how their styles have evolved.”

“Art: 2003 – 2009” runs the gamut of artistic endeavors. Among the artists currently included in the show are: Joan Applebaum, Jamie Ashlaw, Phil Austin, Christopher Baker, Thomas Barnes, Amy E. Bartell, Marna Bell, Lydia M. Benscher, Douglas Biklen, Arthur Brangman. Frank Calidonna. Robert Carroll, Tom Champion, Jennifer Colvin, Barbara Conte-Gaugel, Evelyn Dankovich, A. Brooks Decker, Jim Dieso, John Dowling, Patrice Downes Centore, Linda Esterley, Alison Fisher, Vincent Fitches,
Roscha Folger, Michael David Fox, Harry
R. Freeman-Jones, Chris Galin, Vivian Geiger, Robert Glisson, Diana Godfrey, Andrea Hall, Judith Hand, Wendy Harris, Rudy Hellmann, C.J. Hodge, Joyce Day Homan, R Jason Howard, Tom Hussey, Richard Karuzas, Mary Kester, Crystal LaPoint, Brian Lister, John (Jaws) McGrath, Diane Menzies, Kyle Mort, Stephen Perrone, Lauren Ritchie, Stephen Ryan, Kathleen Schneider, David B. Schultz, Richard Schultz, Eric W. Shute, Tim See, James Skvarch, C. Wilkinson Thomas, Yolanda Tooley, Tom Townsley, James R. Walker, Fred Wellner, Laura  Wellner and Ruth Wynn.