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APL Partners with Opalka Gallery for Art Exhibitions

May 31, 2019 | Adult Services

Albany Public Library announced a new partnership with Opalka Gallery to curate two art exhibitions each year as part of the Art at APL program.

Art at APL is a curated fine arts exhibition program at the Pine Hills Branch showcasing the work of contemporary artists connected to the Capital Region. The program, which began in 2013, integrates professional artwork into public spaces within the library, enriches the library experience, and gives visitors something interesting and educational to look at while they browse the collections. The program is funded in part by the Albany Public Library Foundation.

“Albany Public Library is thrilled to elevate the Art at APL program through our new partnership with Opalka Gallery,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL executive director. “We welcome the Opalka curators into our beautiful library to enrich the public spaces with engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking pieces created by gifted local artists.”

Starting with the “Picture This” exhibition, Art at APL is organized by professional curators Amy Griffin and Judie Gilmore from the Sage College of Albany’s Opalka Gallery. Gilmore, Opalka’s director, curated exhibitions at APL from 2013-2014 as an independent curator.

“We are so excited to partner with Albany Public Library and the staff at the Pine Hills Branch to enliven their space with work from regional artists,” Gilmore said. “It is a rewarding program—it is a beautiful building to showcase art, library patrons love the exhibitions, and artists love to have another venue to showcase their work!”

APL celebrates “Picture This” with an opening reception on Friday, June 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Pine Hills Branch (517 Western Ave.). The opening reception is free and open to the public, and includes light refreshments and live music. The exhibition can be viewed during library hours and continues through November 2, 2019.

“Picture This” is an exhibition of regional artists whose work has a whimsical or fantastic quality, suggesting larger stories for readers or viewers to fill in with their imaginations. Some of the exhibited artists are book illustrators and writers, and some are painters whose work is not created primarily for books. But these artists all share a similar studio practice—creating pictures that tell a story, introducing viewers to new places and characters.

  •         Brian Cirmo (Albany, NY) illustrates quirky scenes of him hanging out with some of his favorite artists, authors, filmmakers, as well as animal portraits.
  •         Darcie Abbatiello (Albany, NY) provides whimsical drawings and paintings of female magicians and other women of distinction from history and her own life.
  •         Jeff Mack (Northhampton, MA) is the author and illustrator of children’s books including Clueless McGee and Hippo and Rabbit. Exhibited are a series of his charming animal portraits.
  •         Matthew McElligott (Glenmont, NY) is the author and illustrator of children’s books, including the Mad Scientist Academy series and Even Aliens Need Snacks. Exhibited are illustrations from a variety of his books.
  •         Giselle Potter (Kingston, NY) is the author and illustrator of children’s books, including the Tell Me What to Dream About and This is My Dollhouse. Exhibited are watercolor scenes from some of her books.
  •         Stacey Robinson’s (Albany-born, now lives in Champaign, IL) work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as decolonized spaces of peace. As part of the collaborative team “Black Kirby” with artist John Jennings, he creates graphic novels. Exhibited are prints of famous black artists and icons.
  •         Ann Wolf (Rensselaerville, NY) paints colorful garden scenes influenced by the landscape and lore of  the Hudson Valley, where she has lived for many years.
  •         Elizabeth Zunon (Albany, NY) the author and illustrator of children’s books, including the Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, From Farm to Family. Her work is influenced by the people, places, and things from her childhood on West Africa’s Ivory Coast.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is APL's public information officer, and manages the library's communications, public relations, and marketing efforts. No, she isn't a librarian, but feels as if she's among her people here at the library.