The vibe was easy; the night was young. A community of artists and art lovers came together in mid-July to celebrate the grand opening of a gallery and its first exhibit, Artrageous. A project of the Valley Arts Council, the new “E” Street Gallery is at 35 Elizabeth Street in Derby.
The council and fellow artists celebrated with food, dancing, drama, and, of course, art. There were paintings, mixed media, pottery, painted chairs, reception boxes, and other works on display.
Thomas Rudne displayed his digital photograph titled There’s No Place like Homeless, featuring a colorful homeless man near his pitched tent and bike, where he had found ways to decorate his makeshift lifestyle.
Rudne said he photographed the man in New York, and he likes the photograph because it shows the homeless man making the best of his situation. The frame is as much art as the print: It is painted green and decorated with metal letters and a string of electric lights, mini blinking red Solo cups.
Dawn Kraemer’s collage depicts a man’s head towering over men sitting on a large rock; she titled it Rock of Gibraltar. Kraemer created it with pieces of print and illustration. She said she had found the print depicting the men on the rock in an 1880 German book; she kept the book for 30 years before finding a use for that image.
Tangelene Ramsay manages the gallery. She is also an artist, and her pottery is on display. Tangelene’s art piece titled Freak Face Yarn Bowl fits its description. It is a grotesque but intriguing face with yarn hanging from its nostrils and would be a useful tool for a knitter.
Ramsay has been a member of the Valley Arts Council for a year. She said her passion for pottery started around 15 years ago because she decided she needed a creative outlet and wanted something that was just for herself. Ramsay is a full-time home-schooling mother, so art is a way of recharging her batteries. She also finds time to edit a monthly community newspaper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called the Chebucto News, which promotes positive events in Chebucto.
Ramsay and Rich DiCarlo, president of the Valley Arts Council, said Gallery E was created when the gallery next door, Gallery 37, was closed temporarily. DiCarlo said the Gallery 37 space will be under construction for the next few months.
Gallery E is an artists cooperative with about 200 members, and each must volunteer time at the gallery where 45 works are on display in the Artrageous show.
The Valley Arts Council supports the two art galleries. Some members who attended the grand opening include DiCarlo, Vice President Stephen DiRienzo, and treasurer Joe Villers and his wife, Patricia Villers. Patty Villers is also a photographer and prolific writer.
DiRienzo teaches art at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Derby. He is also a freelance graphic artist and web designer. He displayed a graphite sketch titled Man with No Name, which was a depiction of Clint Eastwood.
Betsy Chorney-Rosenberg showed a painting and reception box. Reception boxes are tastefully decorated foam boxes used to collect cards at weddings. Her reception box titled White House — Portland Headlight is made of foam, poster board, and embellished fabric. Chorney-Rosenberg said the gallery opening was her first art show. She has been a member of the Valley Arts Council for three months. She also displayed an acrylic painting titled Blue Line Sky; it depicts the Boston skyline.
Gallery E is open to all artists who wish to join. Ramsay encourages visitors. She said that the artist members are fabulous and visitors will always meet one of them displaying their work.
“It’s not beyond the reach of most people,” Ramsay said. “You will understand the work, and we really are a gallery by the people and for the people.”
The gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 8, Saturdays noon to 8, Sundays noon to 6 or by appointment. Hours are subject to change. Archie Moore’s Bar & Restaurant is a few doors down. Downtown Derby offers visitors a nice night of a meal and art stroll.
Gallery E may be be opened by request; email Tangeleneat37@gmail.com. The Valley Arts Council website is valleyartscouncil.org.