COLONIE– Art Associates Gallery Inc., in conjunction with curator Mike Sacca, will host “The Art of Photography,” a special exhibition highlighting 24 of Capital District’s finest photographers with work ranging from landscape, portrait, wildlife, street scenes, live music, astrophotography, and sports, beginning Friday, March 3.
Sacca was responsible in the setup and curation of The Art of Photography. In addition to Sacca, Colonie photographer, Michael A. Panzarino, will be exhibiting 22 other area photographers. Their passion for their craft, the sharing of other creative’s work to the public, along with their dedication of assisting a gallery they call home, are the main reasons for having the exhibition.
Art Associates Gallery Inc., located on 21 Railroad Ave in Albany, is a frame shop and art gallery ran by owner, Attila Zalavary. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, Zalavary learned about the art of framing in his home country before moving to New York City in the mid 1960’s to work for a large framing manufacturer in New York State. He also worked alongside his father in the business, J. Zalavary Ltd., where the father and son did work for renowned artists as Salvadore Dali, famous musicians, and actors at their Upper East-Side Manhattan location.
In 1988, Attila and wife, Kinga, moved to Albany and started their framing business and art gallery, Plaza Poster Gallery, inside the Empire State Plaza. The business stayed in the plaza for 14 years until Attila teamed up with Geraldine Walsh, the previous owner of Art Associates Gallery Inc. to help manage the store. Zalavary, now owner, has managed the store for over 20 plus years.
Art Associates Gallery Inc. remains a hidden gem to discover in Colonie for most artists looking for a location to frame and conserve their art, as well as for displaying and selling purposes. Located at an industrial park in an industrial building, the gallery has monthly exhibition shows, celebrating everything from Women’s History Month, Black History Month, groups as the Upstate Artist Guild, and the ever-popular photography exhibition, Dino and Friends. Dino and Friends was the first ever exhibition, let alone, a photography exhibit, to set a record for most visited exhibition on opening day and most viewed exhibit in a month back in January 2020.
As with all for-profit small businesses, Art Associates Gallery Inc. wasn’t immune to the effects of the pandemic and other additional setbacks. The pandemic caused havoc to the business. The ownership of the building where the business resides changed ownership and the new rent price remains uncertain. Two of three renters pulled out from renting their gallery spaces out at the gallery, and Attila was out of commission in the hospital for six weeks for knee surgery.
In come Panzarino and Sacca to the rescue to help Attila out for an excellent cause.
“I put this together to curate an exhibit for photographers. I am a photographer. I know an awful lot of photographer friends, for the sole purpose to help the gallery out. Covid really wreaked havoc on a lot of small businesses. It got to the point where nobody was coming around. We’re way past covid and it’s still been struggling, and I wanted to help here. And from a previous exhibit with Dino (Petrocelli), I realized that I could do one much larger in this much new larger space and that was the idea behind it. I’d been running with it ever since. Attila’s helped me out with quite a few artist’s contacts, as well as mine, and it’s put together 24 of some of the area’s finest photographers. A lot are well-known, and we hope to make it annual. Next year, we’re gonna use the entire space, not just this room, and will go from 24 to hopefully, 40, which we could easily put in here. It’s just to bring recognition, and it is a benefit. Each one of the artists contributed $50.00 a head to be in here. That was the crux of the whole idea and I think it’s gonna be quite the event. When you go from three partners down to just him, the rent is a lot more. It’s much more of a burden,” said Sacca.
Sacca and Panzarino aren’t just the only photographers taking part in The Art of Photography. Other featured photographers include Peggy Becker, David Brickman, Natalie Cartz, Linda Conley, Chris DeMarco, Michael Gallitelli, Trish Hennessy, Jay Keebler, Rodney LaPage, Rudy Lu, Fred Neudoerffer, Lance Nevard, Vinnie Otto, Dino Petrocelli, David Ryan, Anthony Salamone, Kemo, Jon Selow, Rick Sheill, Margo Singer, Yan Wang, and Cheri Warren. The Art of Photography will run concurrently with Art by Women of the Capital District, featuring the creative works made by the area’s women artists. The exhibition openings will be held March 3, 6 p.m.-midnight, and will be on view through March 31.
Sacca and Panzarino are excited for opening night and look forward to meeting the other photographers who will join them on opening night. They’re excited to observe patrons coming into the gallery to view their creations. Both photographers have some things they’re looking forward to within this special exhibit.
“I’m meeting people that I never knew were here and hopefully that carries on with the stranger that walks into the show and comes in to see all this. We’re gonna have a 14-year-old kid who photographs. He makes these figurines, and he photographs them in hand-made landscapes and backgrounds, and he’s gonna be coming with Linda (Conley) and I can’t wait to see his stuff. That’s just a taste of the variety. You’re gonna have portrait, landscape, wildlife. Some photographers were in Germany, Africa, and Utah, so you’re gonna see all kinds of stuff here and that’s a nice slice of what Albany has to offer. Luckily, we have a home for it.”
“Hopefully, we’ll continue to have a home and that’s the purpose of having this show; to bring the money in, to get the artists in here, and to help the gallery out with internal help, and in turn, it’s gonna help out the whole area. People want to see it; they want a place to see it. Hopefully, this will be here for Attila in the future so that’s my goal. I don’t care if I sell a single print. I don’t care, just as long as we have a place to hang it,” said Sacca.
“I really want people to come in, not just talk to me because you know me, talk to people. A lot of these photographers I don’t even know. And I’m gonna love, now, bumping elbows with them for the two days that we’re going to be setting up, and then the night of the show, to learn more about them, also. That’s why I’m really looking forward to the show. It’s going to be just incredible.” Added Panzarino.
Sacca hopes to have The Art of Photography to be an annual exhibit. He wants to double the number of exhibiting photographers from 24 to 40, and have the exhibit take place in April so that both the small and large gallery spaces of Art Associates Gallery Inc. will be used. If the local business remains open and more patrons discover its existence, more photographers can use the gallery as an exhibition space and Attila can continue his framing work.
“Going back to the last one we had, Attila and Kinga had never seen that many people come to an opening, because they were coming to see the eight artists that were here that time. The photographers all had different stuff. Every section of the wall that you looked at was a totally different genre of photos. And it was so much fun seeing people come up and appreciate your art. It just wants to make you do more. I had friends telling me oh this is good, this is good, this is good, and I appreciate all their input and everything, but when a total stranger comes through and is in awe by one of your photos, it’s just incredible what it does for your insides.”