The Tonawanda News had a very nice article about the Emerging Artists Exhibit at River Art Gallery.

The River Art Gallery is hosting a special exhibition with a goal of introducing the Tonawandas to some of Western New York’s most talented up-and-coming artists.

The first Emerging Artists Show, which is expected to become annual or biannual, will run through November at the Webster Street gallery. Eight local artists of differing experience and media, were selected to participate in this display.

“This show is for artists who are just getting started as professionals or those who haven’t shown (in galleries) a lot,” said Cindi O’Mara, director of the River Gallery. “It’s an opportunity to have their work spotlighted.”

Lisa Langer, left, talks with Rex Ellis and Ken Demich during the Emerging Artists show at River Art Gallery. Photo by Karen Gioia

Lisa Langer, left, talks with Rex Ellis and Ken Demich during the Emerging Artists show at River Art Gallery. Photo by Karen Gioia

The eight artists who are participating in this show are Ken Demich, Lauren Fratantonio, Kristin Fundalinski, Kelsey Merkle, Ian McCrohan, Ryan McDaniel, Carolyn Perillo and Sarah Westphal.

Each artist embraces a different style and use different media ranging from paint to clay to photography. O’Mara said the artists are from all walks of life — some are fresh out of art school, some have retired after a long career in a different field and some are just switching their artistic direction.

Fundalinski, for example, is no stranger to the art world. Having grown up with parents who were both photographers, she picked up a knack for the creative early on. For most of her career she has worked as a graphic designer, but this will be her first time publicly displaying her photography.

“A different version of my photo of the bridges was in the Noco Corportate Calendar, I worked there as a graphic designer and photographer,” Fundalinski said. “It reminded me that I’m OK at this.”

While she has spent many years in the industry, Fundalinski says this show is a great opportunity for those just now getting their start in the local art scene. She thinks this presents them with a great opportunity to get their names out there and get some exposure for their work.

McDaniel, for example, earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art last year from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He moved back to North Tonawanda after graduation to get a start on his career in his hometown. “I did lots of shows in Cleveland, that’s one thing they’re good at, they have lots of small galleries where new artists can show their work,” he said. “It’s nice to see that here too, this is what will keep the art scene around here strong.”

Since he was out of the state for a while, he feels that this show will be a good way to network and help kick things off back at home. He’s looking forward not only to meeting other artists but to find influence in them as well.

Each artist will exhibit four to six pieces of work, all of which will be for sale. Prices for the pieces range from $20 to $1,500. The Emerging Artists exhibit will be on display through Nov. 15 at the River Art Gallery, 83 Webster St., North Tonawanda.

“We want them to get the experience,” O’Mara said of the artists. “The experience of preparing their work for shows. And we want them to get feedback, from the public and from each other.”

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