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Popping with art

The Observer, December 10, 2015
By Jennifer Eyring

Northport just got another pop of color.

Thanks to the Northport Arts Coalition (NAC) and Firefly Artists, an empty storefront has been transformed into a Pop Up Gallery.

The gallery currently up at 180 Main Street, next to Firefly, features 19 artists. This is a second pop-up art gallery NAC and Firefly have teamed up to create.

NAC Executive Director Daniel Page said all of the artists who were on the wait list from the first pop-up gallery were given priority this time around. Jennifer Lau, one of the owners of Firefly, said these impromptu galleries are good for everyone involved. They give the artists a space to show their work, the landlord an opportunity to get more people in to see the vacant space and the community a colorful alternative to an empty storefront.

“It’s a win win, Ms. Lau said.

Firefly was first approached by NAC, Ms. Lau said because they needed help with the business-end of running a gallery. Ms. Lau said she and Kate Sydney, another owner of Firefly, were happy to help. However, this time around, they had to scramble to get everything in place for the grand opening.

“In June [for the first pop-up] we probably had about two weeks to pull everything together, which seemed ridiculously short,” Ms. Lau said. “But I think we had two or three days to pull it together here because we wanted everything up by Thanksgiving so when we opened up on Friday morning, we could open the door and start selling.”

Ms. Lau said they were able to pull off the quick turn around because the building was right next door to theirs and because the artists were very committed to have the work shown in the space.

“Kudos to all the artists because they came to play,” Ms. Lau said. “They came with their work framed and cards and enthusiasm. They really get a lot of credit for bringing to the table exactly what we needed to pull everything off.”

 

 

 

Although they have a large pool of artists to draw from at Firefly, Ms. Lau said they didn’t want to use any of their artists in the pop up gallery because they already have a place to display their work and they wanted to give new artists a chance.

NAC and Firefly both worked to put out a call to artists, telling anyone who was interested that there was a new space for them to show their talents.

Despite what may appear to be more competition for their gallery, Ms. Lau and Ms. Sydney agreed they would love to see an art gallery permanently open next door to them.

“Together, we’re so much stronger than individual artists,” Ms. Lau said. “I just love the philosophy of us all working together. It’s definitely not a feeling of competition. It’s a true cooperative.”

They said whenever they have visitors to one gallery, they send them next door to the other once they are done. Inf fact, Ms. Sydney said the more art galleries in Northport, the better.

“The more galleries we have, the more Northport becomes this epicenter for the arts,” Ms. Sydney said. “To get to be part of that and keep promoting art as we go along is just great.”

And for now, both artists agree that the temporary pop up galleries are an asset to the community.
“I think seeing empty windows on Main Street is never good.” Ms. Sydney said. “Having something as positive as having local artists able to display their work there is such a great thing. It’s such a draw for the community. I think that’s just a great thing in general.”

The pop up gallery is open Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit northportarts.org or thefireflyartists.com.