Roost Studios Practices Community with Member Exhibit

Upon entering Roost Studios, one feels a deep sense of calm and community. Light floods the quaint, lovely gallery, bouncing off sparkling wooden floors and illuminating beautiful works of art. Currently, as a part of the gallery’s Member Artist Group Show, these art pieces are the creations of 22 of Roost Studios’ dues-paying members, a deeply dedicated bunch who promote a space for community engagement through art at 69 Main St.

Roost Studios is a nonprofit created in April 2016 by Marcy Bernstein with the assistance of several corporate sponsors from the New Paltz area. She and two of the member artists, Betsy Gelvin and Barbara Holt, were thrilled to talk about the current exhibition, which contains work from all of them. 

Gelvin has been with Bernstein, Roost’s founder, from the beginning. They met 25 years ago at a conference for art teachers. Gelvin draws much of the inspiration for her work from the past; she describes her work in this exhibition as “like running into an old lover.” 

“I was inspired by the events in my life, as I just retired,” Gelvin said with a smile. “I wanted to synthesize life and change with my art.” 

Her works in the exhibition are a combination of old oil paintings and slides she found, combined digitally; they look much like oil paintings, but with deep, incredible color. They are a lovely fusion of new and old, past and present. When asked what this exhibition means to her, she said that “it means that I get to be with people I have something in common with. It has been a way to be a part of something that was started by a very old friend of mine, while also meeting new people.” 

Holt joined the gallery in June 2017, and this is her first group show. She focuses primarily on oil painting and pastels, and her pieces in the show include a pastel landscape and portrait. 

“Even though I joined the gallery only a few months ago, I feel like I’ve been an equal among all of these people,” Holt said. “I’m meeting new people constantly. Artists need community, we need feedback, we need to have our work seen by others.” 

She draws her primary inspiration from the figure.

“I can draw the figure without pulling much out of myself; it is very restful and relaxing,” she said. “In future shows I’d love to break out of my mold a bit more.” 

The Member Artist Show includes an incredibly diverse range of mediums, from oil and acrylic paintings, pastels and photography to more obscure mediums, such as linocuts, mixed media, print on glass with silver ink and even casein painting, which is derived from milk products. Each work is truly unique and seems to leap off the wall towards the lucky viewer. Roost Studios holds these member exhibitions approximately twice a year, as well as community exhibitions. 

Roost Studios hosts a wide array of events, including dance classes, tai chi, poetry nights and youth groups. The Member Artist Group Show runs until Nov. 26. The gallery will also be accepting art for its upcoming holiday community show from Nov. 16-19.