RiverWinds Gallery: Its 16-Year Journey
RiverWinds Gallery was voted best Art Gallery two years in a row!!
In November 2002, Mary Ann Glass, a photographer, and Kelly Newkirk, a fiber artist, peered into the windows at 172 Main Street, Beacon, NY, and agreed it would be a great space for a store. It had been a farm supply place, the office of Dentist Sam Kahn, Julia’s Beauty Parlor and who knows what else, and yes there are rumors. The two artists had just done a one-month lease at a gallery on the East End of Beacon’s Main Street and had been able to pay the rent and make some money so they decided that maybe they should open a store in Beacon.
Mary Ann was living in Beacon and saw a jewelry gallery Concentric and Highland Studios next to 172 Main Street. She just had a feeling that part of town was about to blossom especially given that Dia:Beacon was going to open in May 2003! In the spring of 2003, the space at 172 Main St, came up for rent. So Mary Ann called Kelly Newkirk and then Linda Hubbard a fellow photographer who then called Virginia Donovan, a painter, and then called Paola Bari, a porcelain painter. The five artists formed a partnership and the rest is history.
Lady Barbara who lived in the apartment above Mary Ann came up with the name for the Gallery suggesting the name RiverWinds. The Hudson River and its winds are the strength, the focus, the muse from which RiverWinds Gallery draws. The Gallery is inspired by the Hudson River which is a uniting force that has sustained life, growth, and hope in our valley's history. It has provided the lifeblood and backbone to our industry and trade, and now our arts and culture, our past and our future.
The Winds represent constant change, the force that propels us, uplifts us, commands us to create art. They feed the artists souls with the need to connect, comfort and sometimes challenge. These winds blow warm and cool, hot and cold, from all directions, and sometimes not at all. Through these changes, the artists’ work evolves, and grows. The River and the Winds give the courage, inspiration and vision to open RiverWinds Gallery and to celebrate all the artisans have been called to create.
Kathleen Laucius who ran the then Lo River Arts Gallery and who was an excellent graphic designer and a friend, designed the logo.
Mary Madden owned the 172 Main Street building and had hired Ron Sauer to renovate it. We negotiated the lease and signed it in May 2003! We had wanted to get into the space in June, but Mary Madden had let Martee Levi hang her work there for a month, as a pop up gallery. But on July 1 we got a key and opened in 11 days! Who knew we would still be here, thirteen years later. My, how time has flown.
We all had a love of the arts – paintings and photographs – but also admired the many craft artists in the Hudson Valley. We created a mission statement for the gallery that has remained for thirteen years:
RiverWinds is a gallery store featuring high-quality, contemporary work from the finest artisans in the Hudson Valley region and beyond.
Customers discover what the Valley has to offer and purchase fine art, handmade wearables, decor for the home and office, and gifts.
The gallery store provides a retail showcase of selected artists including fiber artists, ceramicists, potters, jewelers, glass artists, photographers, painters and other talented artists. The work is juried to fit the store's image and targeted customer base.
Periodically, RiverWinds features artists and special events.
On July 11, 2003, the then Beacon Mayor Clara Lou Gould cut the ribbon for our opening. We had paintings by Virginia Donovan, Alexis Lynch and Neela Pushjpara, pottery by Virginia Pizza and Marilyn Price, scarves and shawls by Janet Jappen and Kelly Newkirk, photographs by Mary Ann Glass and Linda Hubbard, painted porcelain sculptures and tiles by Paola Bari, and glass by Rosanna Stokes plus jewelry and cards by various artists.
And the rest is history… more than 250 artists and 120 featured artists…plus RiverWinds has curated shows at Chill, Gallery@Overlook Pointe, The Green Olive, Mauro’s, The Brass Anchor Restaurant and Wells Fargo Advisors, in Rhinebeck, New York. The gallery also in January for many years framed and featured Beacon High School Art Students. We were delighted to present such amazing young talent. Today there are over 50 artists in the gallery and it has been voted best Art Gallery in the Hudson Valley two years in a row.
The current co-owners are all artists: Virginia Donovan is a painter; Mary Ann Glass is a photographer and teaches classes in phone apps for cell phones. Karl LaLonde is both a painter and a photographer - Karl teaches intro painting workshops -- and Kathy LaLonde is a jeweler and polarity energy therapist who runs classes on spiritual development.
Oh and yes, RiverWinds is also known as the “gallery with the hole in the wall”. In September 2014, a car crashed through the brick wall (3 layers of brick)! With the wonderful help of the Beacon Fire Department our wall was shored up. And we are so thankful for all the artists and neighbors that helped shovel out the brick from the gallery floor. What a mess! But we recovered.
Do come and visit RiverWinds Gallery at 172 Main Street in Beacon and
support the wonderful artists in the Hudson Valley.