Tag Archives: Maria Galens

Get To Know Us: What’s on our Walls

This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts showcases the art found in our homes. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


SARAH

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Green (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Show in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckle.

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Green (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Show in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckle.

Brad and I have what I think is the start of a really great art collection hanging on the walls of our home. Being the directors of an arts organization that hosts several exhibitions per year gives us the chance to see all types of work from new and familiar artists all the time. Sometimes we can’t let a piece of art leave the gallery unless it’s in our car and on its journey to our house. (Okay, maybe not sometimes…maybe often.)

We have many pieces in our collection that we’ve acquired from our Main Street Arts connections including work shown in exhibitions, work from our gallery shop artists, and pieces from former artists in residence.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Hanging in area of our stairwell is a drawing of our four-legged kids by July/August 2019 resident Geena Massaro that hangs below a Robert Marx painting that was included in his two-person exhibition in 2017. In another area, a painting of mushrooms by October/November 2018 resident Emily Tyman is paired with a painting by Jim Mott that was included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts in 2017 and a ceramic sculpture by Autumn Hasthor, a now RIT alum, who had her BFA show Sewn Solid on the second floor of the gallery in 2018. Also included in the grouping, a ceramic sculpture by Lane Chapman (a former resident at the Flower City Arts Center) and a RoCo 6×6 featuring an elegant little glass mushroom by Sage Churchill Foster whose work is regularly featured in the gallery shop at Main Street Arts… (Read Sarah’s full post here and see what else is on her walls!)


RACHEL

I moved into an apartment in the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester a few years ago with my son. It’s the best neighborhood I’ve lived in in my adult life—my goes to the School of the Arts and can walk there. We have picnics at the Eastman gardens. So, I do my best to make sure the interior feels like home, too.

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My favorite artist is Egon Schiele. I’ve got a few canvas prints in my living room that, in terms of form/gesture and color, make my living room feel light and airy.

I continue to learn about new artists through the exhibits (and even just the conversations I have with Brad, Sarah, and Maria) at Main Street Arts. I have loved the work produced by the artists in-residence but I actually purchased a few things from Lya Finston. I’m in love with these.

RachelPaintings

The rest of the art in my home is sentimental. My mother is a botanical artist—she has a knack for precise detail and color, particularly reds and pinks. In my opinion she’s extremely skilled and that’s probably because she puts endless hours into fine tuning her work. I have this orange fritillaria that she painted for my college graduation and the pomegranate above my stairs.

About a year ago I commissioned Beverly Rafferty to paint this image of the moon over the ocean. The silver in this painting glows at night and it has a completely different look than it does in the daytime. Her work is incredible and I particularly love this painting because I’m friends with her daughter. Plus it reminds me of living near the ocean. On the east coast, the full moon always rises on the ocean.

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Finally, when I moved back to New Jersey for a period of time, I kept in touch with my closest girl friends. Here I have a cork board full of stationary from them with the sweetest notes. I keep it in my reading nook.


MARIA

The "Art Wall" - a display of artwork made by my children

The “Art Wall” – a display of artwork made by my children

I love to put art on my walls. I have my own art, my children’s art and art from other artists all around my house. About a year ago I started the “art wall”, as we call it in my home, which proudly displays paintings, drawings, prints and collages made by my children. A few times a month new pieces go up and old pieces come down and the kids get really excited to have a new piece displayed. The art wall also adds color and energy to my living room and I like to just sit and stare at all of the beautiful pieces. There are piles and piles of drawings and paintings my children have made and I can’t display them all, but it is nice to have a fluid space, that from time to time exhibits an especially beautiful picture.

Emma Percy's "Ties that Bind" with my own embroidery and weaving

Emma Percy’s “Ties that Bind” with my own embroidery and weaving

Since working at Main Street Arts I have been able to collect a few pieces from various exhibits. I love bringing new art home and finding a place for it. Below is my latest purchase “Ties that Bind” by Emma Percy with 2 little glass sheep my daughter got my husband and I for Christmas last year, safe on top. I paired it with my own art—an embroidery and a weaving. It is a thoughtful little story in my living room and it brings me a sense of peace and joy to sit back and look at it or glance at it from the corner of my eye as I go about my day.

Angela Guest's felt collage and Penny's photo collage

Angela Guest’s felt collage and Penny’s photo collage

I acquired a piece by former artist in residence Angela Guest and absolutely love having it in my home and looking at it every day. This piece in particular brings me great joy and wonderment. I recently rearranged some of the art on my walls and decided to pair it with a photo collage made by my daughter, Penny, for the Ontario Pathways exhibition at Main Street Arts last year. I like how the colors and playfulness interact between the two.


BRAD

For me, living with original art is a personal requirement right after food and shelter. I know that my quality of life would suffer without the variety of art objects I interact with every day. Working from home during this pandemic has made this even more clear.

Morning coffee from a mug by Tom Jaszczak with Carl Chiarenza's "Tenaya Diptych" over my shoulder at the top of our staircase

Morning coffee from a mug by Tom Jaszczak with Carl Chiarenza’s “Tenaya Diptych” over my shoulder at the top of our staircase

As I make my way downstairs at the start of each day, I am greeted by so many thought-provoking paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and prints.

Any beverages I drink each day, from cups of coffee to glasses—or ceramic tea bowls—of wine, have been made by an artist I know or whose work I admire. I have favorite cups and mugs in our collection but I find such joy in using a different cup every day.

A painting by Lanna Pejovic is joined by two ceramic sculptures, the small masked figure at the top is by Carrianne Hendrickson and the handshake tile is by Bill Stewart.

From our livining room:A painting by Lanna Pejovic is joined by two ceramic sculptures, the small masked figure at the top is by Carrianne Hendrickson and the handshake tile is by Bill Stewart.

Where and how artwork is hung is important. I like to install the work in our home as I would in the gallery and enjoy bringing seemingly different kinds of art together in close proximity—this is an added benefit when you live in an old house. The walls of our own personal exhibition are always evolving. When something new is acquired, it finds its place next to pieces that we have already lived with for years.

Two paintings by Chad Grohman, which hang in our dining room

Two paintings by Chad Grohman, which hang in our dining room

Continuing to add new artwork to our walls will often present new ways to view the work and I will notice new things. A new way to perceive the composition, a color that stands out differently on a particular day, or a new personal meaning to the piece.

(Left) in the stairwell on the orange wall an astral painting by Rochester artist, Amy Vena who I met in grad school and a ceramic piece by former Flower City Arts Center artist in residence, Andrew Cho who I met when I worked there in 2011.

(Left) in the stairwell on the orange wall an astral painting by Rochester artist, Amy Vena who I met in grad school and a ceramic piece by former Flower City Arts Center artist in residence, Andrew Cho who I met when I worked there in 2011. (Right) A small drawing by Travis Hetman of Tom Waits with a quote from one of my favorite songs “Make it Rain”, this drawing greets me as I walk down the stairs to my basement studio.

I know that my tendency to like certain types of artwork is informed by my own aesthetics and motivations as a painter. I like the blurred lines between my roles as a curator, collector, and artist. Sarah’s interests and background as a graphic designer play an equal role in the art we collect and I love the way we continue to influence each other’s taste in art.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know how else we are spending our time—other than giving you great virtual arts content!

Get To Know Us: “What We’re Reading”

This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts focuses on what we’re reading. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


MARIA

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they've made

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they’ve made together

My mother-in-law recently lent my daughter and I a wonderful book called Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, and this is what I am reading right now. This book gives detailed techniques and tips for making one’s own felt wee folk with a wooden bead head, a pipe cleaner body and embroidered felt clothing. My daughter loves when I get this book out along with the craft supplies, and together we have made quite a few wee folk, that she absolutely cherishes!

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple CrochetLeft: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet by Erika Knight

I am also reading Simple Crochet by Erika Knight. I need to keep my hands busy and I have found crocheting to be a great activity to do when I have down time in my day. I recently learned a new pattern in Simple Crochet and a working on a blanket. I’m actually calling it my “Pandemic Blanket” and am using only the yarn I have hoarded over the years, since I’m not supposed to go to yarn stores currently!


RACHEL

You’ve probably heard of Karl Ove Knausgård–he’s a living Norwegian cannon and he’s widely known for his series My Struggle, translated by James Anderson and first published by Archipelago. He currently has a series of essays, The Seasons Quartet, published by Penguin. But you never hear about A Time for Everything. To date, I wouldn’t say that Knausgård is one of my favorite authors (like Krasznahorkai or Clarice Lispector) but A Time for Everything is one of my favorite novels. The premise is simple: a man named Antinous Bellori researches angels as a species. The narration cycles through Bellori’s perspective and also cites (and completely rewrites) stories from the bible in which angels are mentioned: Cain and Able, the Great Flood, and so on.

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

On June 5, 2014, I took a train from Rochester to McNally Jackson because I heard Knausgård was going to be at the launch event for the release of Book Three of his My Struggle series—and that it was going to be moderated by Zadie Smith. I got to Prince Street an hour early and the line was wrapped around the block. I was lucky because the line was cut off just a few people behind me due to fire code. That’s how many people wanted to see him. We were on top of each other on the bottom floor of McNally. I stood on a chair to see him and Zadie Smith the whole time.

Knausgård read from the Norwegian, Zadie Smith read in the English (and if you’ve never heard her read, you don’t really know what Poe meant when he said tragedy and melancholy are the height of beauty), and a Q&A followed. ( Read Rachel’s full post about Knausgård here)


SARAH

Sarah's night stand book stack

Sarah’s night stand book stack

I have a stack of books sitting on my night stand. I put them there thinking that it would encourage me to read before falling asleep or when I wake up in the morning. And it worked for a little while until it didn’t anymore.

The cover of "High School"

The cover of “High School”

At the bottom of the stack is High School, a memoir by musicians Tegan and Sara Quinn. A gift from my husband for my birthday, I read it through it in about three days. It’s still in the stack because I am planning to re-read it. In some ways it reflects experiences I had in high school, and in other ways it gave me a look into a high school experience for people who are very different from myself. From a graphic design perspective, the cover of this book is phenomenal. It captures my feelings about the book perfectly. Almost like a fun house mirror, in the cover you see your own reflection but it’s distorted just enough that you don’t recognize the person either.

Books from the middle of Sarah's book stack

Books from the middle of Sarah’s book stack

In the middle of the stack, you’ll find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This one is a bit self-helpy but who doesn’t need that from time to time? (Also, the title!) Also mid-stack is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, which I purchased from Sulfur Books. As an introvert, it appealed to me.

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

On the top of the stack is The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, an author recommendation to me by Rachel, our literary arts coordinator, and a book that I purchased at Sulfur Books. (I will admit that the teeth illustrations may have been one of the driving factors in the purchase of this book.) This is my most recent read, with a really fascinating story line, and one that I am so (so) close to finishing but haven’t had time. Maybe now is the perfect time to get back on track!


BRAD

I have never been a reader. In high school, I didn’t finish even one book—except Of Mice and Men, which was one of the assigned summer reading books. Otherwise I always skimmed the books and faked my way through! In college, I took a survey of english literature and then a class called women in literature and I started to enjoy reading. In grad school and afterwards, I would start many books—artist biographies, philosophy, books about strange occurrences—some of which I would finish, others are still left on a long list of “books to be read or finished”.

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

My favorite book is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski—he’s the brother of musician, Poe. Her album Haunted is the companion to House of Leaves—a novel about a house, time and space, and things that aren’t what they seem. This book is probably the thickest novel I’ve read and it has a lot of footnotes, stories within stories, and text you have to read in a mirror. Also, the word House always appears in blue.

Books that Brad means to read

Books that Brad means to read

I am currently meaning to read five books. One of them was started two years ago, one from earlier last year, and the others were started more recently. They range from non-fiction to short stories and one of them, the novella The Taiga Syndrome, is one of the April book club books at Sulfur Books. My brother-in-law got me a subscription to Sun Magazine (thank you Sylvia Taylor for introducing me to this!) for Christmas last year and I have enjoyed getting into reading that as well, although its no surprise to me that the issues to be read are piling up…


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what’s hanging on the walls in our homes!

Get To Know Us: Introductions

This is the first in a series of posts from the staff at Main Street Arts. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


 BRAD

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Hey! It’s Brad! I am the executive director and curator at Main Street Arts and I have been here since the gallery opened in 2013.

A meandering combination of work and school experiences brought me here. Oddly enough, I now work only 6 minutes from where I spent my first 23 years—I grew up on Clifton Street in Manchester. In high school I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at Monroe Community College. I also worked at a print shop in Canandaigua after graduating from high school and worked there while going to college and afterward, for a total of 7 years. After 2.5 years at MCC—I stayed an extra semester to build a stronger portfolio—I decided to shift gears and pursue art education at Nazareth College. It was here that I took my first college-level painting class with one of my favorite painters, Kathy Calderwood. In her class, I became a painter!

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

After my first art teaching job —teaching 4th–6th grade kids— was cut from the budget, I decided to get an MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology so that I could teach at the college level. It was there that I worked with Zerbe Sodervick in an assistantship at Gallery r—at the time, this was a student run gallery located on Park Ave. I taught as an adjunct professor at RIT and SUNY Brockport, worked at Genesee Center for the Arts (now Flower City Arts Center), and had various non-art jobs before finding Main Street Arts.

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Over the last 7 years at Main Street Arts, I have grown into my role here and appreciate its rewards and challenges. I feel lucky that I get to commute to work each day with my wife and that we share a tiny office together.


 SARAH

Sarah Butler the day she graduated from MICA

Sarah Butler, assistant director, the day she graduated from MICA

Hi, I’m Sarah, the assistant director of Main Street Arts.

I have been working here for just over three years — I started in January of 2017 — but I have been involved with the gallery in some fashion since it opened in 2013. I am married to Bradley, the executive director, and from the beginning I always volunteered to serve drinks at opening receptions, paint the gallery, and generally pitch in when needed.

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

During the first four years of the gallery’s existence, when I wasn’t working here, Brad and I would take our dogs for walks in the evenings and we talked about all of the possibilities for Main Street Arts. I have felt a part of Main Street Arts from the beginning, even just through these conversations we had each evening. I am incredibly fortunate to now work here as we continue those conversations together each day work.

Sarah's studio

Sarah’s studio

My background is in graphic design. I attended Monroe Community College and graduated with an AAS in graphic design before transferring to Rochester Institute of Technology. During both my time at MCC and RIT, I worked at a local shop called Mobile Graphics. I graduated from RIT with a BFA in graphic design and eventually changed jobs. In 2010, I began working as a graphic designer at Finger Lakes Community College for the advancement department and worked there for 6 years. In May 2014, I decided to pursue an MPS (masters in professional studies) in the business of art and design through the Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with my degree in mid-August 2015. Just one week after my graduation, I turned 30 and Brad and I took a great adventure down the California coast.

In addition to handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Main Street Arts, I also design all of our marketing materials, website, and exhibition catalogs. I approach the world through the lens of a graphic designer. I am hyper organized, love schedules, and appreciate all things good design.


MARIA

Hello, this is Maria Galens, gallery assistant at Main Street Arts. I help out with whatever is needed to make the gallery run smoothly from painting walls and printing tags to re-designing the retail shop and communicating with retail artists.

A student working on a project from Maria's Winter Art Saturday class

A student working on a project from Maria’s Winter Art Saturdays class

I am also an art educator and teach art to kids through our Art Saturdays program, as well as veterans at the VA in Canandaigua. I thoroughly enjoy thinking about and creating art lessons for the variety of students I teach. For my education, I received my B.F.A. from Pratt Institute and went on to earn my M.S.Ed in K-12 Art Education at Nazareth.

Maria Galens' daughters, Penelope and Josephine

Maria Galens’ daughters, Penelope and Josephine

I have 2 children, Penelope – age 6, and Josephine – age 3, who are little budding artists and love to draw. I always have paper and markers available around the house so they can draw anytime they feel the desire. My ambition to create my own artwork has ebbed and flowed since becoming a mother, due to time restrictions and exhaustion, but I have managed to work on smaller projects, like small paintings and embroideries.

A painting in progress by Maria

A painting in progress by Maria

I recently started a larger acrylic painting that I am excited about! My children enjoy watching me draw and paint and it is a real joy to be able to pass onto them the artistic skills and creative thinking of being an artist!


RACHEL

Hi, I’m Rachel! I am the literary arts coordinator at Main Street Arts and you can normally find me at Sulfur Books, the Main Street Arts owned bookstore.

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation whose books we carry at the store—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is, why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.


 

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what we’re all reading!