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Gallery Helps Showcase Works From Local Artists

Pictured are some of the works on display inside the art gallery.

The Chautauqua Art Gallery is celebrating its grand reopening at a new location.

The gallery opened on Chautauqua Avenue in Lakewood in January 2018. In April of this year, it moved to its new location at 318 N. Main St. in Jamestown.

“I started Chautauqua Art Gallery in 2018 in Lakewood to create a small art studio for myself and a place to display my paintings,” Leslie Calimeri said. “I was happy to be able to welcome a few other artists to display their work at the gallery as well. Over time, I’ve been fortunate to develop wonderful relationships with artists in the Chautauqua region. It quickly became clear that in order for the gallery to flourish, we would need a larger space to work and display artwork these incredible artists were creating.

“In our new space we’ve been able to expand the number of artworks we host as well as the variety. Chautauqua regional artists and artists from our surrounding area have a distinct perspective and beautiful aesthetic, largely influenced by the unique landscape around us. I’m thrilled to be able to showcase their work at the gallery.”

The gallery is home to a variety of regional artwork by local artists that often encompass local attractions or local wildlife. Items include paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, hand-bound notebooks and notecards.

The Chautauqua Art Gallery is pictured at its new location on North Main Street in Jamestown. The gallery first opened in Lakewood in 2018. P-J photos by Sara Holthouse

The reopening event will take place today beginning at 11 a.m. There will be an art-filled basket raffle the entire day, a ribbon cutting by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce at 4:30 p.m. and a reception following that from 5-7 p.m. including drinks, snacks and talking about art.

For Calimeri, the Chautauqua Art Gallery is an important addition to Jamestown because of the ability to showcase local artists.

“We might be one of the only places that does this in the immediate area,” Calimeri said. “It’s a great way to just showcase all of the local artists that want to display their work here. There’s a lot of talent in our area and it’s nice to be able to experience it all together in one place.”

Some items on display in the gallery are also available for purchase.

Additionally, Chautauqua Art Gallery also provides another small business to bring more interested people into the Jamestown area.

“It is a place that people can gather and view artwork that is informed by the area we live in, but it is also one more place for interested people to come visit, especially during this small business resurgence,” Calimeri said. “Jamestown is a great place to be a part of, and it’s a very welcoming community.”

Throughout the moving process, Calimeri said there have been many helpers and visitors around the community.

“Dan Gates, from the Frame and Glass Shop just across the street pointed me in the direction of this building when we were searching for a space to purchase,” Calimeri said. “The previous building owner, Tom Mason, took wonderful care of the space. My husband Joe and I live in Jamestown with our family and are excited to continue the work Tom did in keeping this old building in beautiful condition and preserving our hometown. The building still has lovely tin ceilings, original tile and hardwood floors as well as beautiful built-in displays that were used in Nords women’s clothing store, which I believe closed in 1983. Many people have come in and told me they remember shopping at Nords.”

Additionally, Calimeri has received help from corporations as well.

“As we began updating the building, we were fortunate to receive a matching construction grant through the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation,” Calimeri said. “Frank Besse walked through the grant process with us and was exceptionally helpful as we worked to ready the building for our gallery. We’ve received a warm welcome from other small business owners, the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce as well as festival and event organizers planning events near the gallery. We are really excited to help build the community they’ve been creating here.”

For people who are interested but might not be able to make it out to the gallery, Calimeri said that all works are available for both purchase and viewing on the website, www.chautauquaartgallery.com, though Calimeri said she is still getting newer artwork on there.

“I’m also looking forward to providing a watercolor class in the future,” Calimeri said. “And if any local artists are interested in displaying or having items here for people to buy they can contact me by email.”

Calimeri can be contacted at leslie@chautauquaartgallery.com.

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