Volume 80, Number 45 | April 7 - 13, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Comfort art comes to Chelsea: At the April 4 opening of The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC.

New gallery champions the art of quilting

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

Some guests drank wine, nibbled on cheese and chatted amiably. Others lingered in front of a particular work of art — marveling at its beauty and contemplating its meaning. That could be an apt description of any given springtime night on the gallery scene.

But even by Chelsea standards, this event was unique. All of the art on display was from a medium most of us associate with hobbyists, peaceful sleepers and comfort-minded lounge lizards.

Quilt artist Daphne Taylor’s “Line Drawings” is the inaugural exhibit at The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC — which, as of the April 4 opening, immediately established itself as the only commercial gallery in New York focused on contemporary art quilts.

That this endeavor exists at all represents several leaps of faith on the part of The City Quilter’s co-owners Cathy Izzo and Dale Riehl. They finally decided to establish the gallery after dreaming about it for decades. “We’ve long lamented the fact that the art world hasn’t given quilting its due as an art form,” said Izzo.  “We believe our gallery will serve a need, showcasing the extraordinary range of quilt art and demonstrating how compelling quilts can be.” 

Both Izzo and Riehl also believe that although we’ve not yet fully recovered from the recession, there is enough interest and demand to sustain the gallery — which adjoins their happily robust business, The City Quilter. A gathering point for both hobbyists and professional quilters, it’s long been a destination for international tourists and locals. On-site classes, at around $10-$12 an hour, make it one of the most unique and affordable nights out anywhere in town.

Asked about the wisdom of starting a new business at this particular point in time, Riehl told Chelsea Now that the urbanite’s interest in quilting has been underestimated before. “A lawyer friend of ours, when we started The City Quilter 14 years ago, said he could think of easier ways to burn our money — and we’ve never let him live that down. We keep growing because we’re serving a need, and not at Manhattan prices.” He believes the gallery will mimic the store’s appeal, speculating, “Everybody who works on quilts, no matter their skill level, is delighted to see accomplished work. People in the store will see work in the gallery as something to aspire to.”

The first show, Daphne Taylor’s “Line Drawings,” runs through May 28.  It will be followed by Noriko Endo — whose “Impressionist Quilts” will be featured from June 16 through August 6. The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC is located at 133 W. 25th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Gallery hours: Tues. to Sat., 11am-6pm. Sun. & Mon. by appointment only. Visit artquiltgallerynyc.com. For info on The City Quilter, visit cityquilter.com.

 

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