Tonawanda News


November 19, 2009

ART: The NACC presents Holiday Extravaganza, "Artists and Friends"

Rachel Schiff was hanging her jewel-toned paintings in the Garden Gallery, admiring the soft light coming in from the giant windows and the beautiful marble floors.

“I love this gallery,” said Schiff, who was preparing for her one-woman show as part of the “Holiday Extravaganza” Saturday at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls.

“It’s so elegant,” she said of the NACC gallery. “Usually there’s no place like this to exhibit unless you are famous.”

Schiff, who recently rented a studio in the NACC with two other artists, came to the area five years ago from Florida. She sees the NACC as having the potential to launch a full-blown recovery of the city, led by creative steam. “From my perspective, this is a good launching pad for the renaissance.”

That’s what planners of this weekend’s Holiday Extravaganza have been working toward since the day they began converting the old high school into an artist center, which has a growing reputation in the arts industry, particularly in New York state.

The second annual Holiday Extravaganza will be bigger and better than last year and will include the opening of a juried art show — “Artists and Friends” in the Main Gallery.

Karl Heerdt, a Buffalo watercolorist who is also a new tenant at the NACC, has submitted several of his paintings to the show, and lauds the NACC’s location as an artist community.

“When you see other people creating, it spurs you on,” said Heerdt, who recently won a prize for best landscape in an Oil Painters of America eastern region competition and now has several galleries representing him in the country.

Beyond the juried art show and Schiff’s show in the Garden Gallery, the extravaganza will feature open studios and galleries as well as music, food and other entertainment, including: The MacKenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums; the Niagara Experience Players; and the Jaclyn Carol Dance Academy on the stage in the Grand Theater. Guests also will be able to meet the Western Door Playhouse actors on the set of “Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies” in the Woodbox Theater, while those in the Main Gallery will be able to enjoy the music of Niagara Falls’ own “Minister of Music,” Diana M. Reeves.

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