Tonawanda News

November 19, 2012

Gallery, museum events selling works by local artists, authors

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

— hat do you get for the person who has everything this holiday season? Or what about the just tough-to-buy-for?

How about something so unique, they’re practically guaranteed not to have one just like it at home? 

Purchasing locally made products is always an option for holiday gifts, whether buying for out-of-town friends and family who might enjoy a little taste of Buffalo, or for locals who might appreciate a little something from home. 

Glenna Sternin, of Partners in Art Gallery in North Tonawanda, said the Webster Street’s 15th annual Holiday Art Show and Sale, for example, is the perfect opportunity to bring a little art into your loved one’s home for not a lot of money.

The show is “a chance for the artists to get their things out for people to see,” she said. “Right from the beginning ... we (decided to) keep the prices under $300 so that it’s affordable. People like to buy from local artists ... people like to buy smaller paintings.”

The show, which is up until Dec. 27, features artworks and crafts from some 20 area artists, including paintings, paintbrush cases made of fabric, notecards, plaque-mounted prints and ornaments. 

One artist, City of Tonawanda resident Penny Ferguson, will have a few small oil paintings on hand for the show.

Ferguson said she’s been taking oil painting classes from Partners in Art for about 10 years now and this is her second year participating in the holiday show. She says she mostly likes to paint fish and underwater scenes based on photographs she takes while scuba diving, though the pieces on hand for the holiday show will be Christmas-themed or landscapes. 

“I think (the show is) a wonderful opportunity for people who might be looking for something different and unusual” for a holiday gift, Ferguson said. “Anybody could fit a small piece in their hall or even the bathroom,” pointing out that her works are about 8 by 10 inches in size.

And of course, if you’re still not sure if you’ll find something your loved one will like, there’s always art classes through the gallery.

Ferguson said she had no idea she had any sort of artistic talent before signing up for her first class all those years ago, but she’s glad she gave it a try.

“I always tell all my friends, just take some lessons because a teacher will stand over your shoulder and she’ll help you so of course you’re really going to do a good job,” she said. “If you have any interest at all just try it.”

For those on your gift-buying list who might be more interested in the written word or local history, the Buffalo History Museum is holding a local author book signing Saturday. Some 46 authors will take over much of the first floor of the museum, selling and signing copies of novels, history and picture books.

Visitors can bring their own copies of books for signatures, but a portion of the sales of all books will go toward museum fundraising, said Mary Louise Stanley, director of retail operations.

“They can meet the authors, they can have the book signed, they can do holiday shopping and our gift shop has all sorts of Buffalo merchandise,” she said, adding that admission to the museum is free for those coming to the signing event. “It’s a great event plus it makes some money for the museum.”

Kenmore authors John Percy, Town of Tonawanda historian, and Graham Millar, trustee of the Tonawanda-Kenmore Historical Society, will be on hand at the event, signing their co-authored 1999 book “Images of America: Kenmore, New York.”

Millar said the book was reprinted a couple years ago and he’s hoping the signing event will draw some new interest in the pictorial.

Mostly, he said, it’s about “getting the word out that there is a place called Kenmore and it does have a history.” 

“I’m convinced of the significance of local history,” the former Niagara County Community College history professor said.

The book contains images spanning from before the village was a village, up until shortly before the volume was published in 1999. 

“Your community is local to you and in Western New York, where people tend to stay, it’s essential to listen to what your local history tells you,” he added.

Stanley said coinciding with this year’s local author event is the museum’s 150th anniversary. As part of the landmark celebration, “unique and special” artifacts not normally on display — like the gun that shot and killed President William McKinley — will be on view. 

So fire up that Christmas or Hanukkah gift list, check out some local artists and give the local economy a hand while you’re at it.

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Holiday art show and sale

• WHEN: Now through Dec. 27

• WHERE: Partners in Art Gallery, 74 Webster St., North Tonawanda

• MORE INFORMATION: Call 692-2141

•••

• WHAT: Local author book signing

• WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m., Nov. 24

• WHERE: Buffalo History Museum, One Museum Court, Buffalo

• MORE INFORMATION: Call 873-9644, or visit: www.buffalohistory.org

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