A group of artists is banking on the old New Milford Train Station to boost business.
Gallery 25’s doors just officially reopened and its prominent new home is nestled inside the historic railroad depot.
Located at 11 Railroad St., in the town’s bustling historic district, this fine art gallery cooperative for professional and emerging artists of northwestern Connecticut is now in the center of the action.
The move, from 25 Church St. to its new location, was over a year in the making and both properties are town-owned.
Diane Dubreuil, gallery director and former chairman of the Commission on the Arts, credits the Commission, the gallery’s sponsor, along with Mayor David Gronbach and economic development director Kevin Bielmeier, for helping to make the move a reality.
“We approached the Commission and Gallery last year about a move to a more central location downtown,” Dubreuil said. “One of the members suggested the railroad station space and we became very excited about the possibilities.”
“The railroad station is in such a central location that it would bring much more foot traffic into the Gallery, while attracting new people to the shops and restaurants on Bank and Railroad streets,” said Gronbach.
Added Dubreuil, a New Milford resident, “I think everyone involved in this project loves the idea that a historic building is being repurposed for use as an art gallery.”
Back in the day, the 1,800-square-foot station building was built by the Housatonic Railroad Co. in 1886 and it served passengers until 1970. The new gallery occupies 1,300 of the square feet and the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce occupies the remaining 500 square feet.
“With wood paneling and floors, high vaulted ceilings, large and numerous windows, and spot lighting, you would think the Railroad Station was made for art,” said Gronbach. Moving the Gallery there allows the space to be used more frequently and to better effect as a reprisal of its original role, a hub for social and economic activity.”
Gallery 25 artists Adele Moros and Steven Tanenbaum said they are impressed with the new space because the traffic has already improved a lot and the building offers much character, which better highlights their artwork.
On display are beautiful collections by artists who specialize in oil, pastel, watercolor, water media, collage, graphics, jewelry, pottery, fused glass, fine art photography, sculpture, woodturning and woodcarving.
Established in October 2013, Gallery 25 is run by 18 artists who all volunteer time to keep the gallery open for business. “We need 25 artists to make it comfortably functioning,” said Moros, a Bethel resident who has several of her acrylic, watercolor, ink and pastel paintings of still-lifes, landscapes and animals on display.
Moros values Gallery 25 because it helps her to “continue to create,” which motivates her to “paint more to keep filling the walls of the gallery.”
Tanenbaum, who has many abstract acrylics on display in the new space, said, “the gallery gives me a chance to show my art in my hometown. It has given me a platform to do shows, like charities and the hospice show.”
As an added benefit, Dubreuil said the Gallery will also serve as an unofficial information center for visitors. “The space will be open many hours over many weeks for people who live here and for people visiting New Milford. Our gallery artists are happy to speak with gallery visitors and share information about what is going on throughout the area,” she said.
Gallery 25 is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For details, call 860-355-6009.
Articles and photos are by Alicia Sakal. This feature originally appeared online in the Arts and on the Accent front page in the May 5, 2017 edition of Republican-American, a regional daily newspaper in Connecticut.
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