Work Of Art

Chautauqua Art Gallery Celebrates Grand Opening

Chautauqua Art Gallery opened its doors to the public for the first time Saturday with an opening reception and ribbon cutting ceremony held at its new home, 104 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood. Submitted photo

LAKEWOOD — A new art gallery opened its doors to the public for the first time last weekend, and was paid a visit by several elected officials to commemorate the occasion.

Chautauqua Art Gallery, located 104 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood, held an opening reception and ribbon cutting Saturday, and was joined by members of the Lakewood Village Trustees, Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri, state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, state Sen. Cathy Young and a representative from Tom Reed’s office in welcoming the new business.

Local proprietors Leslie and Joe Calimeri conceived of the gallery as a place to create and showcase the former’s original artwork and prints. After growing up in Cassadaga, Leslie received a degree in art from the Rochester Institute of Technology and worked in Northern Virginia as a print-web designer and freelance artist for six years. Upon returning to Chautauqua County, she was fortunate to be employed as Chautauqua Institution’s digital communications manager for nearly seven years before opening Chautauqua Art Gallery.

“(The opening reception) was really tremendous and I’m very flattered by the amount of community support we’ve received,” Leslie said. “This has always been a lifelong goal of mine ever since I attended art school. I was also fortunate to have worked in the marketing department at Chautauqua Institution, so it was a bit of a leap but the timing was right and we were able to do it.”

“There’s a lot of great art and artists in Chautauqua County, and I think it would help to have more people highlighting that,” she continued. “One of my goals is to paint the places we see every day but don’t often think twice about. There are a lot of things that we take for granted or don’t give much thought to and we don’t realize how lucky we are to have them.”

In addition to Leslie’s paintings of local landscapes the gallery is also displaying prints by photojournalist David Munch, handcrafted jewelry by Karen Schiavone and handmade knits by Lindsay Porter. A portion of the proceeds from Porter’s knits are donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation or the National Parkinson Foundation.

Chautauqua Art Gallery’s regular winter hours are Monday and Thursday-Saturday from noon-6 p.m., or by appointment.

More information about Chautauqua Art Gallery is available on their website at or by phone at 753-6296.