Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD After several years of tireless renovations the Tea Pot Gallery on Elm Street is finally ready to open its doors to Westfield on Aug. 31, providing a home for artists in the community in conjunction with this year's Westfield Arts on the Green.
The Tea Pot Gallery is the brainchild and a labor-of-love for owner and photographer Gerald Eugene Tracy, who told Reminder Publications that this venue will be not only a home for artists but a place for members of the community to come together and express themselves.
When Tracy decided to dedicate all of his attention to photography in 1999, he stated that he could not find a gallery willing to show his work so he decided to create one of his own.
"I thought that if they were going to close the door on my foot I would build my own door," Tracy said.
The two-story venue will be exhibiting one-dimensional artwork for the month of September. The work will consist of Tracy's photographs and the month of October will feature sculptors.
However Tracy stated that as the Tea Pot Gallery expands there will be six flat screen televisions displaying six different artists. The televisions will have DVDs on each of the artists featuring their biographies, medium of expression, theory on art and a slideshow of their work.
Currently the venue is a "mix of the old and new," Tracy said. Not only is the venue historical in nature with it's dated woodwork and fixtures but Tracy has added many features within the space to create a new-age feel.
Not only does the Tea Pot Gallery exhibit artwork but it is also an eatery with holistic foods including wraps, smoothies, coffee, cappuccinos, ice cream and various pastries.
But the menu is not restricted to Tracy's likes alone. He told Reminder Publications that people are allowed to bring in their favorites recipes from home to be featured on the Specials Menu and by the end of the year he would like to have enough recipes for a Westfield Cookbook.
"The Tea Pot Gallery has really raised the bar for restaurants in Westfield," Chris Lindquist, director of the Westfield Athenaeum, and clerk of Westfield on Weekends said after viewing the space. "The inside is a beautiful place not only to go and eat but to listen to music and view art. I am certainly going to be there all of the time."
The second floor of the venue includes balcony seating and a classroom for rent. Tracy stated that he hopes to fill the classroom with all different types of classes such as yoga, Pilates and watercolor.
"It's kind of like a Grand Central Station for anything you want to know about Westfield," Tracy said about the Tea Pot Gallery.
The space will also have various themed nights, Tracy added, including an open mic night, a poetry night and a philosophy night.
In addition to owning and operating the Tea Pot Gallery with his wife, Tracy is also hosting the Westfield Arts on the Green this year in conjunction with his grand opening.
Formally sponsored by Westfield on Weekends, Arts on the Green is an end-of-the-summer event over Labor Day weekend that brings numerous artists together to display their work and educate others about the importance of art within the community.
Tracy has brought together many local artists for the weekend-long event in addition to bands that will be playing music from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sept 1 -2.
Edward Champigny, a painter participating in this year's Arts on the Green and longtime friend of Tracy's, stated that he believes this event is "a positive thing for the community and for children to see all different types of art."
Champigny, described his paintings as works of women and koi ponds reflect the 15th century styles of Michelangelo's vibrant oil paintings.
"It's like looking through an old window at a new sun," he said.
Another painter exhibiting her works at the Westfield Arts on the Green is Kim Gillies, who categorizes her work as "representational portraits."
"I think that it's a great experience to be a part of Arts on the Green," Gilles said. "I'm glad that Gerry and Suzy are bringing the arts into Westfield."
According to Lindquist, Arts on the Green has had a great track record for attracting talented artists from all over the Westfield area.
"The quality of the art is really good," Lindquist said of this year's artwork currently on display at the Rhand Art Museum in the Westfield Athenaeum. "Gerry is including a diverse group of people, young and old. The music and food [at Arts on the Green] will be very representative of Westfield with all of its ethnic groups."
For more information on the Tea Pot Gallery or on its sponsorship of this year's Westfield Arts on the Green call the Tea Pot Gallery at 562-6966.