by Amanda Loviza
HURLEYVILLE – Earth Day will last about five weeks at Gallery 222, with the opening of a new environmental-themed fine art exhibit.
“Wild and Balanced” opened on Saturday, April 22, and will continue Saturdays through the end of May. The exhibit was curated by Connecticut-based Six Summit Gallery director Leo Feroleto and conservation-minded artists who hope to encourage dialogue about environmental issues through thought-provoking art.
“Wild and Balanced” is the latest installment of the Hurleyville Arts Centre’s efforts to bring “art with a purpose” to Hurleyville. The creative portrayals of animals and the environment in the various art pieces, including a sculpture of a fawn topped with a pieced-together child’s face, inspires viewers to pay attention to wildlife and nature in ways they wouldn’t normally expect, said Ellyane Hutchinson, web and media coordinator for the arts center. The Arts Centre operates Gallery 222.
There was a great turnout at opening night, which also featured a reception with several of the artists, Ms. Hutchinson said. People were impressed to see art of that level, with that type of message, in the Catskills.
“Quite a few people were like, ‘I can’t believe this is in Hurleyville,’” Ms. Hutchinson said.
It was a wonderful opportunity to speak to the artists, many of whom are conservationists themselves, and learn from them, said Erin Dudley, art programs coordinator for the arts center.
Six Summit Gallery has made a point to work with conservationist artists and to host fine art exhibits that promote messages of environmentalism and conservation, due to the history of its location in Ivoryton, CT. Ivoryton was ground zero for ivory manufacturing at the turn of the 20th century, Mr. Feroleto said, indirectly causing the slaughter of thousands of elephants for the production of piano keys, billiard balls and other items.
On May 13, after another reception with the “Wild and Balanced” artists, Hurleyville Arts Centre will host a screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary, “The Ivory Game.” Leaders of African Wildlife Foundation, including its president, Kaddu Sebunya, will host a panel discussion about ivory trafficking and the poaching of African elephants.
Hurleyville Arts Centre is continuing to build a schedule that blends art with activism, politics and culture. Its line-up included a February screening of the Josh Fox documentary “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change” and a discussion with the director, and in late May it will feature a screening of the documentary, “They Shall Not Perish” with an introduction by writer/director George Billard, a Sullivan County resident.