Bay Ridge Celebrates Gallery 364’s First Year
by Harold Egeln (firstname.lastname@example.org), published online 05-22-2008
Artworks and Photos Get Kudos from Civic And Business Leaders at Anniversary Show
By Harold EgelnBrooklyn Eagle
BAY RIDGE — A homegrown art gallery and studio, Bay Ridge’s first, is attracting a large artistic community around Bay Ridge through the vision of a photographer and her friends. The grassroots venue for that vision, Gallery 364, held its first anniversary celebration at a reception on Thursday evening in the historic house that it calls home.
“Bay Ridge needs more of this,” said state Senator Marty Golden upon his first visit to the gallery, located at 364 72nd Street and open to the public by appointment. “What Georgine Benvenuto is doing demonstrates a lot of potential for our community’s artistic resources. I’m very impressed with what she has created here.”
Bay Ridge resident Benvenuto, a staff photographer for the Brooklyn Eagle, is the founder and curator of the gallery, along with friends in the artistic community, and was in focus in Bay Ridge’s viewfinder of congratulations.
“This is fantastic!” said Shelia Brody, co-owner of The Spa and Wellness Center on Third Avenue, attending the gallery for the first time. “This is just what the community has needed for a long time.” What visitors see is a full first floor of gallery space with four open rooms that flow one into the other like the turning of a book’s pages. A bending hallway adds to the spacious sensation of exploration and inspiration.
“You’re in this wonderful art gallery that could be in any of the world’s art centers. And, then, you look out the back porch window and there’s our Bay Ridge with its backyard gardens. What a wonderful feeling!” said delighted student Alex Shamin about Gallery 364.
Shamin, a friend who helped create and build the space with Benvenuto, has watched and experienced Gallery 364’s first year. “For every show there are new people who attend and who are exhibited. More people get involved with each new show. I’m very glad that we have this here in our community.”
The first anniversary show, running through the end of May, features many of the artworks and photos that were best in shows and honorable mentions in the previous theme shows. They include “9/11,” “Timeless,” “Bridges,” “Seasons,” “Music,” “Skin” and “Windows,” with several of the artists and photographers at the reception.
Snapshots and Brushstrokes of Praise
Tony Denonno, a longtime photographer and award-winning film/video maker in Bay Ridge was glad for the venue. “It’s incredible to have this here and see all the work that goes into it. Here we have a wonderful art gallery in Bay Ridge, founded and run by a talented and down-to-earth person, our Georgine Benvenuto. There’s been a need for artists to come together and connect, and now we have it.”
“It’s fantastic having a place to exhibit the arts through this studio in Bay Ridge,” said photographer Gary Heller. “I like the opportunity to show my works right here.” Photographer Dave Foss, another Bay Ridge resident, agreed. “It’s a great place. This is exactly what we need in Bay Ridge.”
Enthused supporter of the arts and culture in Bay Ridge, attorney and newsman Charles Otey, marketing director of the Merchants of Third Avenue, is delighted about Gallery 364. “This is magnificent! Bay Ridge is opening its arms to the arts and we need more of this. I enjoy every show, and every time I came here I see new faces and new artists.”
“I have to say that I am very proud of what is being done here,” said Tom Kane, an Eagle writer and Brooklyn-One Theater executive director. “Georgine had a dream a year ago. Now it’s a reality for everyone who appreciates the arts.”
“I’m looking forward to the tenth anniversary,” said civic activist Peter Killen, a retired detective from the 68th Precinct. “Some of the paintings and artworks are and will be hanging in our home.”
An impressed John Qualione, Senator Golden’s media aide, also on his first visit to the gallery, said, “I didn’t know what to expect coming here. Now I see that this is very unique to the community. More people should come. It’s like bringing the art world of Manhattan into Brooklyn, but this is Brooklyn homegrown at its best.”
Figure Drawing Sessions and Camera Club Are Next at the Gallery.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” said Benvenuto, thanking all those who attended the celebration. “Now it’s time to take the next step with the community of artists we’ve created. We’re funded by friends, artists and myself.”
The next step includes classes at Gallery 364, starting with figure drawing sessions with instructor Richard Scott. The sessions will feature three-hour classes with a live model. A community camera club will soon follow.
“Gallery 364 is creating a sense of community for the arts and arts education,” said Scott. “Through the studio and classes we have an interactive venue to engage the community. There’s certainly a strong sense of community in Bay Ridge.”
The next show starting in mid-June is “Coney Island.” For more information about Gallery 364 shows, gallery visit-appointments and classes call (917) 767-3848.
© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008