Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Area artists aim to impress at Elisa

By James Palmer
Enrique Ortiz, ‘Untitled,’ on view at Elisa Contemporary Art.
Rhynna Santos‘ ‘The Calm Before the Storm.'
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Nancy Quigley's sculpture ‘Basis I, 2013.’
Photo by Ed Marshal
Opening Reception of Curate NYC at Elisa Contemporary Art on Oct. 29.
James Burger, ‘Lost in Space.’
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Elsie Kagan, ‘The Vasty Deep, 2013,’ oil on canvas.

The Elisa Contemporary Art gallery on Mosholu Avenue in Riverdale is representing the Bronx in the third annual Curate NYC — an ongoing, month-long, citywide event that features the work of local artists in all five boroughs.

The gallery is exhibiting 23 artists, including five from Riverdale — Donna Diamond, Glen Fischer, Robert Presciutti, Barnabas Quigley and Nancy Quigley. Bronx photographer Jonathon Alonso is also represented in the current show.

Brian Tate and Danny Simmons said they founded Curate NYC in 2011 as a means to heighten exposure for artists and build communities among them, art patrons, gallery owners and curators throughout the city.

Mr. Tate, 53, a marketing strategist who owns a consulting firm called the Tate Group, and Mr. Simmons, 60, a visual artist and writer, became familiar with the Riverdale gallery when its owner Lisa Cooper contributed to the online version of their project during its inception three years earlier.

“We chose Lisa to host the exhibit in the Bronx this year because the proposal she put together was the strongest, without question,” Mr. Simmons said.  “It was dynamite.”

During the opening night ceremony last month, scores of visitors crammed into the diminutive gallery and people were spilling out onto the street.

Ms. Cooper marked her gallery’s fifth anniversary in September, but said she is still toiling to promote it in the area.  “It’s frustrating that often people don’t realize the gallery is actually in their own backyard,” she said.

Even assembling local artists is sometimes challenging for Ms. Cooper. “Riverdale is a strong arts community, but it takes a lot of work to pull it together and to let people know what’s going on,” she said. 

Still, Ms. Cooper has made the effort because she says of her gallery space, “I want this to be the place in Riverdale and the Bronx where painters, sculptors and writers come to meet.”

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