www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

Getting taste of Big Apple

From left, Alice Laputka, Tobi Balin Grossman, Anna Ostapiw, Georgiana Cray Bart and Mary Louis Steinberg, five local artists whose work will be exhibited in New York City.

PETE G. WILCOX/the times leader

Art by five local women that will be on display at the Broome Gallery in New York City.

submitted image

For five local women artists, the dream of showcasing their combined talents in the same neighborhood that has been an art hub in New York City for decades has come true.

Georgiana Cray Bart, Wilkes-Barre; Tobi Balin Grossman, Dallas; Alice Laputka, Conyngham; Anna Ostapiw, Courtdale; and Mary Louise Steinberg, Kingston, were recently awarded a space in The Broome Street Gallery. The artists’ work is the focal point of a new gallery show that runs for more than two weeks.

“Conversations: Images from an Artists’ Retreat” features art produced by the five women in a two-week span in 2007 at Soaring Gardens, an artist’s residency near Wyalusing.

Each artist incorporated ideas they brandished from and created at the retreat. Grossman worked with abstract found objects while Cray Bart, Laputka and Ostapiw focused on still life and trees. Steinberg worked with white-on-white collages.

The women were on hand Tuesday to supervise the installation of the gallery items, utilizing the provided space, making sure the layout suited their needs, Cray Bart said. There are 54 pieces being shown, with each accumulating between nine and 12 works.

Along with the usual Manhattan crowd, the group members say they are expecting out-of-towners from as far away as Oregon. “I am getting calls from friends who say they want to know when we will be there,” said Ostapiw. “It seems as though people want to be part of the scene we created.”

The gallery, located in the Soho neighborhood, admits artists on a competitive basis. The women had to submit a proposal and examples of their work to qualify and show.

“The gallery usually prefers group entries,” said Ostapiw. “After we collectively sent in our work over a year ago, we waited and were chosen.”

Soaring Gardens was built and first occupied by a California gold rusher who used the land as a farm. Gradually the equipment was sold off and, ultimately, so was the property. It was again useful to an out-of-town artist who occupied the lands until her death. Afterward it was converted into an artist retreat.

“We spent our time around the lands, watching our surroundings,” said Laputka. “It’s a very inspiring place.”

Though they have been acquainted with each other for 15 years, the group members met in 2005 at Cray Bart’s studio in Parsons in Wilkes-Barre during a workshop session presented by Ostapiw. Since then, the artists have monthly get-togethers to share their work and life interests.

“We are each other’s support system,” said Laputka. “You need people beside you to give you balance, and these people are mine.”

It is also an emotion support, something outside of just the work, said Steinberg.

This isn’t the first time these women were recognized for outstanding work in their respective field.

“There are grants and fellowships you apply for, like the Guggenheim, that you can’t even apply for until you’ve been serious artists for 20 years,” said Ostapiw.

Cray Bart has received more than 50 awards at national and regional exhibitions and has published her work. Grossman, former art gallery director at Misericordia University, has exhibited her work throughout the East.

Laputka has exhibited her work more than 100 times nationally and internationally. Ostapiw, along with her national and international showings, was awarded a scholarship to the Vermont Studio Center in 2004. Steinberg, a Wyoming Valley West art teacher for 35 years, has inspired generations of artists.

They have all been in and juried the Fine Arts Fiesta and other local art scene activities for many years.

Their showing runs Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Oct. 11.

The Broome Street Gallery is located at 498 Broome St., New York, NY.

As for the inspiration each receives from the rest, Steinberg attributes hers to her surroundings.

“We’re all committed to our work, so it’s important to be close to others who are just as committed. Just being with and working with other artists is magical.”

One thing is for sure: All of the dedication has paid off for the local artists. Steinberg traces their passions and innate gifts to the success of collective thought.

“You could say that our work being in this gallery is like being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Each artist’s work is also able to be viewed in the area. More information can be found online.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map