My First Gallery Opening, by Kaya Wren-Keller

If you asked me, even a month ago, what I spent my Saturday evenings doing, my answer would definitely not have been erasing pencil marks off the walls of a small storefront on Broadway, in preparation for a gallery opening. (It probably would have been watching Netflix.) And yet there I was, doing just that. The pencil was there to mark a set of measurements used to hang the paintings. Although I watched the whole process, and even helped by drawing lines where people told me, I still don’t understand how any of it worked. It did work thought, and when we were done the place really did look like an art gallery. The paintings, done by Kingston High School graduate, Rosie Gironda, were arranged into four groups of four paintings each. One large, with three small ones by its side. The large paintings were of these big, light, almost pastel colored streaks, some with charcoal lines drawn across. They were landscapes, I think, and had a calming, almost dreamlike quality. The smaller ones had thicker, deeper colors, and appeared very textured.

We hung the art the Friday before, and when I arrived the next afternoon, it seemed like all that was left to do was erase the remaining pencil off the wall. That of course, was not true. We also moved space heaters, set out food, changed lightbulbs, washed windows, and even bleached a chair. Still, I didn’t quite get what we were doing until the people started to arrive. They came in slowly, and then all at once. By 5:30, the place was packed.

 It was amazing to see how many people came out to see the art, and even better knowing that I had part in making the gallery happen. One of those people, Kelli Sillik, a PUGG Alunmi artist, took the PUGG group to an opening at Ferrovia Studios. We walked from studio to studio, and saw a variety of different art. There were eagles made from antlers, iPhone cases with crystals on them, and a staircase down to a basement we were told to avoid.  After that, we went to ARTBAR, which had a totally different atmosphere. There's a bar in the front, which, since I'm only 17, I sadly cannot review, and a gallery space in the back. There were lots of different paintings, photographs, and collages, all part of an exhibition called ''self'' done by SUNY New Paltz students. 

After a while in ARTBAR, we headed back to our own gallery opening. There were still so many people you could hardly walk, and by now a lot of the food had been eaten. We spent the rest of the evening talking to people and admiring the art, until around 7:45, when people started to leave. By 8:00, they were all gone. After a bit of clean up, we left too, and the night was over. The gallery was closed. I left with an extra bottle of sparkling apple cider, and a great experience. Although I still have no idea how to run a gallery, I'm excited to learn.


Kaya Wren Keller

One of the newest members of PUGG