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Four galleries taking part in gallery walk

July 25, 2012
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The Route 394 Art Corridor Gallery Walk will be held Friday, July 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Four local galleries will participate to encourage art awareness and exposure to residents and tourists. The Art Loft, Patterson Library's Octagon Gallery, Portage Hill Gallery and Reno Pottery will open their doors simultaneously for those three hours. Refreshments will be served at each gallery free of charge for this event.

Nancy N. Ensign, curator of the Octagon Gallery, feels that each gallery has something unique to offer.

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The Portage Hill Gallery in Westfield will open its doors Friday, July 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., for the Art Corridor Gallery Walk.

"This is a great opportunity to engage with people around art," she said. "Hopefully this event will build excitement and peak the interest of those who would not ordinarily walk into a gallery."

The Art Loft is located at 4994 West Lake Road, or Route 394, in Mayville. Opened in 2008, it is a one-of-a-kind, seasonal art gallery and gift shop located 1/4 mile north of the historic Chautauqua Institution, in Chautauqua. Built in 1899, it was originally used as a storage facility for coal and feed. In the early 1900's it was converted into a lumber mill, then later used as a facility for teaching art classes to students in the area. The spacious open floor plan, 40 foot loft ceiling and rustic appearance, make for a perfect setting to house all styles of art. The Art Loft represents works by over 100 artists, exhibiting jewelry, sculpture, pottery, fine art, wearable art and more. It is owned and operated by Bonnie Beyer, a 33-year veteran as an independent artisan. Beyer, a jeweler who specializes in the unique handcrafting of Swedish horseshoe nails, has worked art festivals for over three decades, and has sold her work in galleries and museums throughout the country.

The Octagon Gallery at Patterson Library, at 40 South Portage Street in Westfield, officially opened in 1972 at the guidance of its first art director, Joseph Koshute. Forty years later, this regional gallery enhances the cultural and intellectual life of the community and its surrounding region by offering exhibitions, art classes and lectures. The Octagon Gallery exists to provide art exposure to area residents, to attract visitors to the community and to support local artists. It shows 12 exhibits annually consisting of solo, group, themed, juried and historical. Ensign has been with the Octagon Gallery since 2002 and can be contacted at 326-2154 or for interest in exhibition.

Portage Hill Art Gallery, located at 6439 Portage Road in Westfield, was first opened in 1982 as a venue to showcase the regional artwork of Chautauqua County. Audrey Kay Dowling, a native of the county, returned after living for 10 years in New York City and the Hudson Valley. While there she realized the importance of a year round professional gallery for regional artists. Dowling, a professional artist, also has used this house and outbuildings for her clay studio and multi-media studio. Over the past 30 years, the Dowlings have grown the gallery to represent the regional and national work of artists in three rooms of the house, including a dedicated gallery space added in 1995. As a value-added service to customers, Donald Dowling, after retiring as a local English teacher, attended Larson-Juhl framing school so he could add archival framing services to the gallery in 2001. Another additional service offered by the gallery is private art lessons. Visit the historic Chautauqua County Greek Revival house and discover a hidden treasure filled with top quality juried art created by regionally and nationally known artists in all media, including paintings, sculpture, quilted wall pieces, ceramics, glass, jewelry, wooden work and photography.

Reno Pottery, located at 6007 Centralia Hartfield Road in Mayville, has been manufacturing handmade porcelain dinnerware and one of a kind pieces featuring drawings of crabs, fish, dragonflies and now chickens since 1974. Each piece is individually made with drawings featuring whimsical zoomorphic designs. Exhibiting their work at hundreds of art and craft festivals over the years, their pottery has found its way into homes and collections throughout the world.



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