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Life returns to former gallery

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Matei Denes and William Haskas of the architectural firm plusFarm talk with visitors at the Adams Art Gallery Doors Open event July 21.

When we arrived, we hung around the sidewalk because there was no clear entry as the building was shrouded. William Haskas appeared and in whirling dervish removed all the stakes and barriers for entry and begged us to be patient for a few more minutes. He later told us that when an event is set for 8 p.m. in Brooklyn, their home turf, people don’t show up until 9 p.m.! I think we gave him another lesson about our community.

In front of a semi-formed new entry, they appeared with their crew in white overalls, indicating they worked up to the last minute. With a warm welcome from both sides they ushered us in.

Joyful and disheartening were the feelings I believe everyone felt about the former Adams Art Gallery. The building was finally on life support and William and Matei Denes with their friends and interns finally were able to get to the point when electricity and water would exist once again in the building.

But oh, the physical trauma. The bones of the building were exposed, waiting to be dried from the constant moisture that seeped through a neglected roof. The one salvaged and intact part of the building was the original mural that was part of the building before it became an arts center.

A unique art installation greeted us as well created by their interns who have been with them for most of the summer so far. It served as a harbinger of things to come as well as a barrier for the rest of the building.

After socializing for a bit, William and Matei addressed the group expressing their appreciation, financial goals, and short term and long term expectations for the building.

I was impressed with their sincerity, hard working ethic and their willingness to learn as they go through the ins and outs of not for profit organizations. In my mind, our community members should help them however they can whether it be knowledge, administration or financial aid. They are idealistic which is a good thing in this hostile political environment which has little room for the arts.

Marcia Merrins is a Fredonia resident.

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