In a bustling nook in Larchmont-Mamaroneck, Mamaroneck Artists Guild (MAG) has provided a gallery space and creative home for more than 150 local artists for more than a decade. This past year, that very same nook became desolate when the group had to close its gallery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges that came with this decision, MAG will open a new location this month and is poised to continue serving its community.
Gallery Director Tatyana Polyak recalls that “the gallery’s sales and attendance were in decline” once the pandemic began. “An extremely painful decision was made by the Board of Directors to temporarily close the physical gallery and transition to online exhibits and programs.”
However, when lockdown restrictions were lifted in New York and the Guild attempted to return to on-site arts shows, Polyak says that “public confidence and appetite for the arts were at their low point.” In August 2020, MAG, one of the oldest artist co-operatives in Westchester, ultimately vacated its physical location.
According to Polyak, though MAG and its member artists persisted in making art and exhibiting works online, there was an essential component of personal connection missing from its programming. She clarifies that virtual platforms did not grant the same lively interactions that the art gallery provided among the artists and the public. This sentiment, along with the overall improvement in public health, encouraged the Guild’s Board of Directors to renew its efforts in finding an appropriate space for the Guild. Finally, MAG found a new gallery location in Larchmont at 1987 Palmer Avenue.
In this new lively spot, only about two blocks from the old location, MAG will officially open the doors of its gallery space on September 1. The new gallery is situated in an arts-centered area of the town, next to a historic movie theater and other local artisanal shops and boutiques. It also has more wall space, which will enable the group to exhibit more artworks and include a more diverse roster of artists.
MAG, which has been an integral part of the Larchmont village since the mid-1990s, hopes to continue playing a leading role in the Southern Westchester art scene from its new location. Polyak explains: “We plan to continue representing an ever-growing roster of member artists, and nurture the creativity of student artists…[We also intend to] respond to community needs by recognizing its history and cultural heritage, and build a close connection to the arts in Larchmont and throughout Westchester.”
The first show at the new space will be a group show, ReNEW, which will display new works by the MAG’s artist members. Exhibiting artworks, which will be on view through September 18, will explore the timely theme of reopening and reemergence, as well as the perseverance of society during the pandemic last year. A grand reopening reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on September 10.
A version of this article first appeared in the September issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.
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