Area artists aim to impress at Elisa


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.”

Wife and husband sculptors Nancy and Barnabas Quigley have resided in Riverdale for three decades and are familiar with Ms. Cooper’s gallery space — they used it back in the 1980s when it was pottery workshop called “Artists and Craftsmen.”

Today, Ms. Quigley continues to work in Riverdale and regularly visits the gallery to observe the  pieces on display and meet other artists.

“Riverdale is a beautiful and inspiring setting,” said Ms. Quigley, 71, who described her work as traditional and functional pottery and abstract three-dimensional sculpted pieces.

The area has also provided an ideal setting for Ms. Diamond, who is currently exhibiting a drawing at Elisa’s. Ms. Diamond has lived here for 22 years.

“Riverdale is very metropolitan, but also a calm and thoughtful place,” said Ms. Diamond, who is a three-time recipient of the Bronx Recognizes its Own (BRiO) award given by the Bronx Council on the Arts. “And we’re still close enough to engage the arts scenes in other boroughs.”



ll of the work in the Elisa Contemporary Art gallery is for sale. Ms. Cooper donates a portion of sales to charities including Free Arts NYC and the Art Therapy Outreach Center, which provides therapy through art to traumatized children and veterans.

The Curate NYC exhibit at the Elisa Contemporary Art gallery runs through Nov. 23. The closing reception is Saturday Nov. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The Elisa Contemporary Gallery is located at 5622 Mosholu Ave. The gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment.  For more information, call 212-729-4974, e-mail Ms. Cooper at or visit