PORT JERVIS—The UpFront Exhibition Space in Port Jervis went through a changing of the guard with its Fall Artist Reception on Oct. 10.
Photographs, oils on canvas, black and white pencil, and woodwork were just a few of the mediums on display at the art space with styles ranging from the traditional to the avant-garde.
They try to showcase local artists as much as possible, said co-owner Gordon Graff, but they have displayed art from as far away as the Bangladesh, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Debbie Raia, the other owner of UpFront, said she doesn’t do much to curate the space because it is more about giving artists a place to show, and hopefully sell, their work in the community.
“I’ve got artists here who have stayed here since I opened in 2008 and they love it here, and they make friends, meet other artists, they hang out,” she said. “So it’s just a good space.”
Hillary Gillinder, a semi-professional photographer who grew up in the area and now lives in Rhode Island, said it was exciting to see her art alongside so many others. This was her first time showing at UpFront, although a second for her family—her parents had an exhibit there for their glass factory, Gillinder Glass, years ago..
Also at the reception was Craig Smedley, who is probably best known in the city for his colorful replica of the Empire State building decorated with tissue paper that displayed at the Fall Foliage Festival last month. Originally from Britain, Smedley has been part of the Port Jervis community since May and he says he is excited about the up-and-coming art scene in the city.
“I love what’s beginning to happen in Port Jervis, there’s a lot of regeneration,” he said.
Richard Weber, who used to teach middle school art in Warwick before he retired, had several works on display. He said both the space and the receptions are a great way for artists to meet and see the creativity in the area.
“You don’t find that everywhere—where you can just come in and be part of a group of artists. And they’re a very congenial group of friendly people,” said Weber.
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