Tonawanda News — “We get art. We get the artists’ psyche,” she said. “It’s where people can come in and be part of a community and grow. There are a lot of professionals who have been growing their careers for years and have a lot of advice to offer ... and young ones coming in with new visionary ideas. I’m trying to promote the idea that there’s a community here.”
Toward that end, Langer said she’s been focusing on a high-level staff for the gallery, including O’Mara and graphic designer and illustrator Carolyn Perillo. She wants the gallery to be a place for artists to not only display their work, but to develop their professionalism.
“Our goal is to improve and grow our artists’ opportunities,” she said. “We’re not a warehouse. I don’t want to be a warehouse for people to leave their art and walk away.
“We’ve been working with artists for many, many years. We know the methods that are used, worldwide. We’re very much on top of that ... and if there’s something they need to know, we’re going to get them what they need to know, or get them to the right place.”
Langer has further plans, including increased programming and classes that relate to artists, and relationships with other venues. The gallery already has a close relationship with the Carnegie Art Center, where Langer and O’Mara are on the board.
“This is just the beginning,” she said. “This is just one aspect of it.”
The connections are already starting.
Perillo, who grew up in the Tonawandas, was one of O’Mara’s students during her years teaching at North Tonawanda High School and received assistance with her art portfolio from Pencil on the River. After attending Ringling College of Art in Design in Florida, she returned to NT, where she works at the gallery and currently has three pieces of art on display in the members’ exhibition.
“It’s great to still be connected,” she said.IF YOU GO • WHAT: Members' exhibition • WHEN: Opening reception will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. today. The exhibit runs through Feb. 15. There will be a closing reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15. • WHERE: The River Art Gallery and Gifts, 82 Main St., North Tonawanda • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 260-1497 or visit www.riverartgalleryandgifts.com.