Tonawanda News

October 15, 2012

Three chances to see the arts in North Tonawanda

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — For art lovers in the Tonawandas, now is the time to soak it all up.

Three venues in North Tonawanda currently have — or will soon open — art shows, giving appreciators a chance to see a little bit of everything. From a two-person show of photographs and prints at the Carnegie Art Center, to a solo show at Partners in Art and a 14-person collection at Project 308, Lumber City is putting itself on the map this month as being the go-to place to get a big dose of culture in Western New York.

Carnegie Art Center

The Carnegie’s latest show is a solo exhibit awarded to photographer Paula Sciuk. Make that a two-person show ... she brought along a friend, printmaker Kathleen Sherin.

The two together formed “Elusive Forces,” a title Sciuk said seemed to fit both their styles.

Sciuk’s photography focuses on reflective surfaces, like water, and other elements like fire, air, earth, wood and metal. But it’s water that holds a special meaning for the Grand Island native who has grown up surrounded by the Niagara River.

“Water is so key to who I am. It speaks to me and it calls to me,” she said. I have always been drawn to water my entire life.”

She describes her style as abstract with a focus on linear and curvilinear forms, something she said she shares in common with Sherin.

While Sciuk especially loves bright colors in her work, though, Sherin is happy to work with neutrals and shades of black, white and grey. 

Sherin, a former nurse at Women and Childrens Hospital in Buffalo, said she finds inspiration in biological forms. She said her work ranges from “really complex, dense imagery” to more pared-down images. The prints on display at the Carnegie are reflective of her current interest in more simplified forms.

“I tend to want to develop imagery that is speaking about my experience as a human in a sort of distilled way,” she said. “I take my emotional and intellectual experience and distill them down to expression.”

“Elusive Forces” will be on hand at the Carnegie through Nov. 16.

The Gallery at

Partners in Art 

Currently up at Partners in Art is a solo show by Margarat Raab, an oil painter and charcoal artist who specializes in still lifes.

Butterflies, hummingbirds, lemons and flowers are the types of object Raabs finds inspiring and she wants her viewers to appreciate the same beauty she sees.

“I want to focus on a single item and just take a second to marvel at the beauty and color of the things all around us that we don’t pay attention to half the time cause we’re so busy,” she said. “I’d like people to take a second look at the beauty of the object, the colors.”

She describes her style as “very realistic” and aims to mimic the style of the old masters.

“My background was in art history and I studied in Italy so I’m in tune to Renaissance and late Renaissance artworks,” she said. “My goal would be to be capable of merging the style of the old masters with more contemp subject matter.”

Plainly put, the former art teacher simply wants to master her craft.

“I really want to be an excellent painter. I really love beautiful things. I thing people enjoy that and I hope they enjoy it in the show,” she said.

“I was exposed to extraordinarily great pieces of artwork and it’s something you spend a lifetime striving to get better at. I don’t even anticipate attaining the level of those artworks. It gives you a sense of desire to keep getting better.”

Raab’s show will be up at Partners in Art through Oct. 26.

Project 308 Gallery 

The second show for this brand new gallery on Oliver Street really puts the focus on North Tonawanda, proprietor Natalie Brown said. Featuring 14 artists from NT, the show’s name, “Must be Something in the Water: An NT Collection,” is certainly fitting.

“I went to high school with most of the artists (at NT High School) and one is actually our art teacher,” Brown said.

“I love to show local artists,” she added. “I feel like sometimes people don’t feel comfortable showing art or have never been asked, so it’s just a new opportunity for them.”

There’s no particular theme for the show; Brown described it as fun and free-flowing, giving artists the opportunity “to show their best.”

Three of Cindi O’Mara, former NTHS art teacher’s drawings will be featured in the show. She said she finds inspiration in organic forms, like grasses and other plant life. 

“I’ve been looking at the linear qualitites and the positive and negative spaces” of the plant forms she said.

“I’ve been looking at them more in an abstract way rather than a realistic manner or design.”

O’Mara said she was thrilled to receive a call about the show, and even more excited to join her former students. 

“This is a very talented group of students so it’s really fun to see how they’ve grown and how they’ve explored their artistic qualities,” she said, adding that many of them were part of her Advanced Placement class. And the gallery is run by a former student to boot.

“I think it’s really neat that North Tonawanda has another place in the arts that people can relate to, and maybe younger people can get involved. The arts are helping the community to become more involved and look better,” O’Mara said.

The collective show will be on display at Project 308 Gallery through Oct. 25.

IF YOU GO 'Elusive Forces' • WHEN: Through Nov. 16 • WHERE: Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St., North Tonawanda • MORE INFORMATION: Call 694-4400 'Natural Insight,' art by Margaret Raab • WHEN: Through Oct. 26 • WHERE: The Gallery at Partners in Art, 74 Webster St., North Tonawanda • MORE INFORMATION: Call 692-2141 'Must be Something in the Water: An NT Collection' • WHEN: Friday through Oct. 25 • WHERE: Project 308 Gallery, 308 Oliver St., North Tonawanda • MORE INFORMATION: Call 523-0068

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.