Schenectady

On Exhibit: The Blooming Artist in Rexford offers gallery, classroom spaces

The front desk area at The Blooming Artist in Rexford.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The front desk area at The Blooming Artist in Rexford.

A few years ago, Rexford artist and teacher Cynthia Romano wanted to open a studio space to paint, make pottery and maybe display a few pieces.

That bud of an idea has blossomed into something much more.

Romano recently opened The Blooming Artist, an art center, complete with a gallery, as well as classroom spaces in Rexford Landing on Grooms Road. The space is bright, with high ceilings. A chandelier hangs near the front desk, which is decorated for the season with wreaths.

The gallery walls feature paintings and sculptures by established local artists as part of “The Celebration,” the second exhibit the art center has featured since opening in October.

“So far it’s gone well,” Romano said.

She’s lived in the Capital Region for the last 17 years and worked on her paintings and sculptures at home wherever she could find room. It wasn’t an ideal set-up so when her husband, Bob Romano of Riverview Construction Associates in Clifton Park, began working on Rexford Landing a few years ago, it seemed like the perfect place to have a studio. She originally planned to open The Blooming Artist in mid-2020.

“I wanted to open around the beginning of COVID and it just put a hold on everything,” Romano said. For a time, she debated opening altogether but with encouragement from family, decided that with how depressing things are, people could use more opportunities to see and make visual art.

That sentiment seems to be shared by community members too, considering more than 300 people came to the opening reception for the first exhibit, according to Romano.

“I didn’t even advertise [it]; I just put a sign on the road. I was really shocked,” Romano said.

She plans to switch out the exhibits fairly frequently, around every month and a half. Each show will include works by local artists, many of whom are well known in the community, and there may also be some up-and-coming artists.

“The Celebration,” which runs through Jan. 15, features sweeping landscapes like Nancy J. Hunt’s “Pastoral Symphony,” with a vivid green landscape in the foreground and wispy mountains in the background, and Linda Starr’s “Ocean Light,” a transportive work with rich blue rolling clouds.

There are also peaceful watercolor landscapes from Karen Cooper and a heartwarming piece by Corey Pitkin, depicting a young girl in pink flipping through a book. Called “An Introduction to Degas,” the piece is a celebration of youth and inspiration.

Sculptures like Phyllis Kulmatiski’s poignant “Reunited” are also on display. Nothing in the show is given short shrift and each piece seems to have room to breathe.

“I have to say, the gallery does feel good. Usually, there’s so many kids and parents here . . . I get such a good feeling. That’s an important part of this,” Romano said.

That energy in part comes from the classes that Romano and other professional artists teach just behind the gallery space. In one classroom, there’s a kiln and pottery wheel and in another, a painting studio with a still life set up.

On the schedule, there are weekly classes for homeschooled students, as well as guided studio sessions, seasonal landscape classes, wheel throwing passes and other classes for adults. They’re taught by Romano and artists like Donald Glennon, who runs Dragonfly Pottery in Schenectady, and Karen Woodin.

“Every teacher that’s here is exceptional,” Romano said.

The Blooming Artist is located at 675 Grooms Road. The gallery is open from 12-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information visit thebloomingartist.gallery.

Categories: Art, Life and Arts

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