Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD Overwhelming melancholy, deeply rooted passion or immense happiness can provide prodigious inspiration for any contemporary artist's masterpiece. But when the walls of the most trendy metropolitan galleries and museums are adorned with the creations of yesterday's masterpieces, where do today's artists hang their work?
The Tea Pot Gallery on Elm Street is aiming to bridge the gap between artists, gallery walls and their audiences by providing a much-needed space for local artisans to exhibit their creations. "Two Hundred For Under $200" is the first collective art exhibition since this unique caf and gallery was opened in August. The show features approximately 120 pieces by over 20 artists from metal and wood sculptors to painters, jewelers and photographers.
Several years ago, Gerald Eugene Tracy, photographer and owner of the Tea Pot Gallery, said he was unable to find a gallery to show his work, which prompted him to create one of his own. Tracy added that his space is aimed at uniting the community and providing an outlet for people to express themselves freely through various mediums. Since the gallery's opening he said retired artists have been encouraged to return to their crafts while others have been delighted by the community's support for their work.
Tracy said over a dozen pieces have already been sold since the exhibition's opening during the beginning of December.
Irene Scanlon of Agawam has already sold one of her pieces and hopes to sell more by the exhibition's closure at the end of January. As a master of her craft, Scanlon has been sewing for the past 65 years. She has been making clothes for herself and others all of her life but it was not until last year that she had her latest artistic brainchild. She said she decided that men's silk ties could make an excellent skirt.
For over a year Scanlon said she's turned her idea of the silk tie multicolored skirt into small handbags. The average sizes of the purses are eight inches by 10 inches at a cost of $60 each. She added that being asked to participate in the show at the Tea Pot Gallery is a compliment and a testament to local artists' creativity.
Tracy said his aim for this exhibition was not only to bring a variety of artists and mediums together but also to provide accessible artwork for the community at affordable prices. Each of the pieces are priced at approximately $200 or less.
Jacobus Weimann said he has been working with glass for over 35 years and strives to make beautiful as well as functional art. He specializes in the creation of windows and mirrors from pressed glass dishes.
Weimann said he is less concerned about whether or not his pieces are sold at the Tea Pot Gallery and more interested in other's appreciation for his art. He described his work as "totally unique and different," which is almost the motto of the Tea Pot Gallery itself, with its ornately painted ceilings, brightly painted exterior and homelike coziness inside.
The Tea Pot Gallery creates an ambiance of warmth and energy for all those who choose to relax within its walls. Tracy said he built the space for art and music to flourish. Nightly musical performances as well as open mic nights allow others to express themselves through music rather than art.
Tracy said he has already prepared his preliminary schedule of community events for the coming year, including a meet-and-greet with the artists of the "200 For Under $200" exhibition on Jan. 19. A silent auction will also begin that evening to raise funds for the Jasper Rhand Art Museum and the Westfield Arts on the Green. Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to the artists, 20 percent to the Jasper Rhand Art Museum and 10 percent to Westfield Arts on the Green.
Tracy said he is also seeking artists for a high-end art show in February as well as child artists. He added that he is also hoping to fill the additional upstairs classroom space with art, music and dance classes for those in the community. He added that he is looking for teachers and students willing to share, learn and enhance their talents.
The Tea Pot Gallery's winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information about the Tea Pot Gallery go to its Web site at www.teapot-gallery.com.