Tucked away in the quiet hamlet of Amity in the Town of Warwick is a modest little building. Now known as the Amity Gallery, this space has had many lives. At one time it served as a carriage house for horses which gives it interesting structural and architectural features. Later it functioned as a mechanic’s repair shop. Among various incarnations, its role as a children’s nursery from the early 1970s into the 80s especially stands out. For nearly 10 years in the 90s, the artist David Walter turned it into an art studio and gallery. For a long while after the building was mostly unused and fell into disrepair. Then a few forward-thinking individuals, members of the Gurdjieff group in Warwick, decided it was time to breathe new life into the small building with such a rich history. A committee formed and group members proceeded to make structural and aesthetic repairs. In 2014, the building re-emerged as a renovated gallery and performance center — its mission to provide a venue for an array of artistic and cultural events in the larger community.
Since its inception the gallery has hosted art exhibits from April through December — often solo shows, but also group shows by local artists and invited guests. At the same time, there have been readings by local poets, performances by area singers and musicians, workshops, even films.
One of the gallery’s most popular events is the evening of storytelling known as PECHAKUCHA, which is held four times a year. A Japanese word, PechaKucha, roughly translates to “chit chat” but it turns out to be much more than that. The format is quite specific. Presenters, usually six in an evening, are given just six minutes to show 20 PowerPoint images, each for exactly 20 seconds. Verbal descriptions accompany the images. These storytelling evenings always packed the house.
Regardless of the events – exhibits, musical performances, poetry readings or evenings of storytelling — the community has invariably shown enthusiastic support. Though the gallery lights have been dimmed over this past year, stay tuned: they will shine brightly again in the near future.
Flavia BacarellaThe Amity Gallery Steering Committee