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What you need to know for 01/18/2018

Schenectady Art Society to open its new gallery in the Katbird Shop

Schenectady Art Society to open its new gallery in the Katbird Shop

Deb Carpenter agrees that not everyone may have the talent to be a successful and popular artist, bu
Schenectady Art Society to open its new gallery in the Katbird Shop
Kathy Fitzmaurice, owner of the Katbird Shop on Liberty Street in Schenectady, points out one of the more than 30 paintings on display in her store as part of the Schenectady Art Society's new gallery space. (Bill Buell/Gazette reporter)

Deb Carpenter agrees that not everyone may have the talent to be a successful and popular artist, but that shouldn’t stop them from picking up a brush and giving it a try.

“I think everything has merit, and after all art is subjective,” said Carpenter, president of the Schenectady Art Society. “We have a couple of new members that are just starting out, and I look at their work and I’m like, ‘wow.’ Even if something looks a little funky, there’s something that will grab the viewer’s eye. It may be hard to believe, but I haven’t seen anything that I didn’t like.”

Art lovers can look for themselves at 6 Friday night when the Schenectady Art Society will hold a reception for the grand opening of its new gallery space in the Katbird Shop at 425 Liberty St. in Schenectady. More than 30 paintings will be exhibited, all created by members of the SAS, which formed back in 1967.

“Our mission is to help each other grow as an artist, to teach one another what we know, and I think more importantly to expose the community to the wonderful world of art,” said Carpenter. “We also want to get more students involved and exposed to the arts. It’s a very positive thing for any community. It makes good cultural sense.”

‘Schenectady Art Society Gallery Grand Opening’

WHERE: Katbird Shop, 425 Liberty St., Schenectady

WHEN: 6:30-9 p.m. Friday



Membership in the SAS is $30 for adults and $15 for students. The group has six regular meetings each year, on the second Thursday of each month from January through April and in September and October at the First Reformed Church in Schenectady. There are also occasional workshops and exhibitions scheduled.

“We’ve been getting quite a few people at our meetings lately, around 18 to 20 people, and we’re wondering if we’re going to need a bigger room in the church,” said Carpenter. “Our youngest member is 19 or 20, and we do have some grandmothers and others who have long since retired. We have a wide range of people.”

Carpenter is one of those grandmothers. She rekindled an interest in art about a decade ago and joined the SAS five years ago.

“I had done some sketching when I was much younger, but then I started painting again, and when I did I started looking for a group to get involved with,” she said.

“I fell in love with painting, and I was thrilled to find this local community to join. They are wonderful people, and they can’t help but put a smile on your face.”

The club has had gallery space at a number of different venues over the years, most recently at the Moon and River Cafe in the Stockade section of Schenectady. Carpenter is hoping the SAS will have a long and friendly relationship with the Katbird Shop and its owner, Kathy Fitzmaurice.

“It’s a wonderful place, and we were so happy when Kathy approached us with this idea,” said Carpenter. “It’s great that she was willing to incorporate the work of local artists into her store, and we see this as a permanent gallery space for our members. It’s a great example of a local business working with the artistic community.”

Open to public

The SAS gallery will be in the rear of the Katbird Shop and will be open to the public during regular store hours.

“We’re hoping more people will see our work and maybe want to join themselves,” said Carpenter. “It seems like we’re getting a little trendy. We apparently have to increase the service on our website because a lot of people are looking at it. It’s been crashing because of all the activity, and we can’t have that.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or

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