EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is part of a series prepared on behalf of the tourism agency of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. The new tourism guide was recently published and is available at the chamber's office and will soon be available at other tourism locations. The guide is also available for download from the official tourism site for Genesee County, VisitGeneseeNY.com.
At a time when institutions across New York are cutting back on arts program, Genesee Community College built a new, modern art gallery.
The Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery is one of several forward-looking initiatives taken by GCC over the years that attracted Shirley Tokash Verrico to a job at the college.
Verrico teaches art history and is director of the gallery.
"It speaks a lot to the commitment of the college to education and the arts," Verrico said. "The college has had the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Genesee County Symphony in the arts center. They've done a wonderful job of balancing a commitment to both regional and community arts."
The Steiner gallery opened in the Spring of 2011. The 1,700-square-foot gallery is located inside the Center for the Arts on the Batavia campus of GCC. The gallery is named in honor of a tireless and strong supporter of the arts -- the late wife of longtime college President Stuart Steiner, now retired.
The combination of its soft white walls and lighting, ample natural light, gleaming wooden floors and uncluttered displays, makes for a space that is peaceful, roomy and well-designed, a formula that can only enhance the visitor's experience.
"The gallery space works really well for both multimedia and traditional art forms," Verrico said. "Those white walls can accommodate big paintings, but it's also a good space for sculpture."
The gallery is open to the public and admission is free, but Verrico said she is really trying to bring in shows that also provide teaching opportunities for students across disciplines.
With more than 15 years experience as an artist, cultural critic and educator in Western New York, Verrico is an expert in the regional arts scene. She holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, master's degree in Arts and Humanities and is a NYS certified art teacher.
Artists selected for showings at the gallery come from throughout the region, from Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo as well as Genesee County and the neighboring rural counties.
The media of the shows are as wide ranging as the artists selected, from ceramics, glassworks, metal sculptures, abstract modern art, portraiture, watercolors and traditional oil paintings, and a wide array of pen-and-ink and charcoal drawings, along with interactive and multimedia displays.
Shows change every five weeks.
"Our gallery offers an excellent opportunity to see professional work in a state-of-the-art facility," Verrico said.
The spring showings feature the works of GCC students.
The grand opening, for example, featured large-scale sculpture and traditional paintings on canvas. Both worked very well in the gallery space.
When Verrico is in the gallery, she's generally available, and enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge about the work on display.
Currently, the gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours may vary during college breaks, including the summer sessions. Groups interested in visiting the gallery on weekends should contact Verrico in advance to make special arrangements.
The campus is at 1 College Road in the Town of Batavia. Once you arrive, park in the main lot, walk toward the main entrance, and on your left you'll see the "Stuart Steiner Theatre." Enter it, turn right, and the gallery is straight ahead.
Check out the website or contact the gallery to see what's on exhibit and the line-up of special events. Plus, you might get a chance to meet the artists, experience live music, or take in a performance at the Center for the Arts. Maybe you'll find a unique piece of art for sale that you simply must have!
Here's contact information:
(585) 343-0055, ext. 6490