An invitational artistic challenge: Big Eye Gallery launches the Cool Stuff Show

— Photo from Hope Konecny

The Big Eye Gallery is located at the corner of routes 401 and 405 in South Westerlo.

SOUTH WESTERLO — Fourteen artists have donated their time and talents to create art from a kit with the exact same materials: five clear cabochons, three types of metal, wire, a round ball, a little can, a piece of canvas, and a piece of paper.

“Everybody gets the same bag of stuff,” said Hope Konecny, after naming the items she assembled. Konecny is a sculptor, a painter, and a jeweler, and she also teaches yoga and fencing. She owns and runs The Big Eye Gallery in South Westerlo.

“I’ve been wanting to do this forever,” she said, and hopes to host more Cool Stuff shows.

“They could cut it, glue it, whatever they want,” she said of the materials she handed out. “It could be a table piece; it could be a hanging; it could be on the wall.”

“I hand chose the people,” she said, noting the artists range in age from 16 to 86. Some of the artists are painters; others are sculptors or craftsmen.

“Artists have cool stuff around their homes,” Konecny said, referencing the name of the show. “We live with art. Doing art is basically aesthetic problem-solving.”

Konecny is enthused about the works that have been submitted so far. “Oh, my goodness,” she said. “The results have been amazing … It makes you think in a different way. I’m kind of thinking we’ll do one twice a year.”

Each artist wrote a short biography and also submitted pictures of the work in progress with a brief narrative, all of which will be displayed with the artwork.

One of the artists is a motorcycle racer, Rick Snyder, who rebuilds Indian Motorcycles. “He did one with meaning,” Konecny said.

Another contributing artist, Marypat Wagner, is a sculptor, whom Konecny termed “just amazing.”

The pieces will be on display for a few weeks at the Big Eye Gallery, located at the corner of routes 401 and 405, and then auctioned off at a closing event.

Money raised from the auction of the donated artwork will raise funds for upcoming workshops and exhibits, and for a high school art student scholarship. Konecny believes it is important for high school students to learn about art.

“I have a friend who works at a refugee school in Albany,” said Konecny. “Art transcends languages.”

The opening for the Cool Stuff Show will be on Sunday, Nov. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. The artists will be on hand and hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served.

Bidding for the silent auction will begin at the opening and close on Nov. 30. During this time, gallery visitors may vote for a “People’s Choice” winner, who will receive a prize. The gallery shop will also be open with a variety of antiques, hand-crafted farm products, photographs, jewelry, and gifts.

“The big excitement is including the community in this event, being able to gain insight into the artistic process and see what ‘cool stuff’ artists come up with,” said Konecny. “The ultimate mission of the Big Eye is to host interesting programs in the area and increase exposure to all kinds of art.” 

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Big Eye Gallery hours are Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments for additional times and private viewings are available by phone at 518-966-5833 or at . Ongoing exhibits are posted on the gallery’s website: https://bigeyegallery56.wixsite.com/sowesterlo.

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