HONESDALE, PA — Artists and admirers gathered Saturday evening on Maude Alley for the grand opening of the Wayne County Arts Alliance (WCAA) Gallery at 1023 Main St.
The exhibit, called “Members 1026,” featured 30 artists and 47 pieces of work, ranging from oil, acrylic, ceramics, wood and more.
The WCAA is all about enhancing the arts in Wayne County. “We’re just trying to make it a more artistic, vibrant place,” said WCAA Board President Paul Ludick.
“We are an organization designed to promote the arts and this is one of our ways to support our members,” said WCAA board member Joe Kluck. “It’s a way for people who are artists to display their work, and… for members to come and see the work that’s here.” He added that WCAA “is not just for painters and ceramists, jewelers, and woodworkers. It’s for all forms of art” including music, writing, dancing, acting and more.
Natasha Gordiets of Lake Ariel couldn’t resist playfully scratching the head of a wagging tail sculpture named “Yella.” The bright yellow dog, an aqua resin medium, was coaxed to life under the sculpting talents of Pauline Glykokokalos. Admiring the piece, Mrs. Gordiets was there in support of her husband Eugene, who had intricate oil paintings on display.
“I started when I was three years old. I’m now 61. That’s 58 years,” he said with a smile. “It’s my life. I cannot imagine not painting for one day.”
A sunset landscape titled “Fire and Ice” hung nearby, an oil painting by Joan Polishook of Hemlock Farms. “Basically, I’m a plein air painter, meaning to be painting out of doors in the air,” she said with a friendly laugh. “It’s wonderful. You commune with nature. You get an opportunity to interpret what you see,” Polishook said.
Carla Strozzieri of Lake Ariel, who was showing an oil on panel titled “Val d’Orcia” (Tuscany), said she was honored to show her work at the reception. “I make art to be seen. So, when it’s hanging, it’s fulfilling its function. That’s very satisfying.”
As to the future direction of the WCAA, Ludick said, “Our mission right now is we really want to start developing public art, getting the art out there, to expose people to it.”
In February, WCAA plans to feature a student exhibition in conjunction with Rachel’s Challenge, a program created to combat bullying and negativity with compassion and kindness. Students in grades K through 12 in Wallenpaupack, Western Wayne, Wayne Highlands and Forest City school districts will be invited to create artwork for an exhibition titled “Kindness all around.”
Kluck, who fully supports the idea, says it’s a great way for kids to share what’s on their minds and in their hearts. “Kids are wondering, ‘Is there somebody out there who’s like I am?’” he said based on his 33 years of teaching. “People are sharing the same kinds of feelings. And they’re putting those feelings down in the (art) medium,” Kluck said. “It will allow someone to reach out to them, to connect with them on a clearer basis and to say: ‘Let’s work together to solve this issue,’” he said.
WCAA joins five other businesses on Maude Alley, including Milkweek, Tania’s Bliss Salon, Moody Road Studios bookstore and two new additions: Alley Whey Cheese Shoppe and The Joy of Art, a fine art framing and restoration business.
The WCAA Gallery’s hours are Thursdays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
For more about WCAA, visit WayneCountyArtsAlliance.org.