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Nyack Sketch Log: Vincent’s Ear

by Bill Batson

Until recently, painters in Nyack were second-class artisans. Nyack’s musicians could fine-tune their instruments at Long Island Drum Center. Local writers could always haunt the stacks at Pickwick Book Shop. Our thespians were able to find an audience at Elmwood Playhouse. But Edward Hopper, were he alive today, could not have purchased a paintbrush in his hometown. Tracy Kachtick-Anders appreciated this irony when she came to Nyack four years ago, so she opened Vincent’s Ear.

Vincent’s Ear, located at 85 South Broadway, sells art supplies, offers workshops and exhibits art. The angst that is associated with Vincent Van Gogh’s life is limited to the name of the store. The space is animated by bright light from a large picture window and the warm yellow, green and orange walls are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings.

The multi-purpose mandate of the space is immediately apparent. You enter a room that could be a gallery, a well-stocked artist’s studio, or the art room at summer camp. Artists can find a variety of the tools of the trade at competitive prices. Many of the supplies that are available are appropriate for and even packaged to appeal to children.

Since the grand opening in September 2011, Vincent’s Ear has become an important hub for local visual artists.  During her daily interactions with the painters and sculptors that populate our village, Tracy began to sense the need for a formal association for artists. “Folks kept coming into my store saying they wished there was a way for local artists to get together, so I started gathering names,” Kachtick-Anders said.

FirstFridayShort201306From that list, the Nyack Art Collective was born. According to a press statement drafted by Sandy Levine, a painter, the founding meeting of the Nyack Art Collective was held on Jan. 2, 2013.  The founding members who attended that meeting at the Nyack Library were Jessica Butler, Leigh-Anne Eagerton, Jamie Gaviola, Tracy Kachtick-Anders, Ray Lagstein, Natalie O’Donnell, Cynthia Shaw and Donna Davies Timm.

First Fridays is the first project from the Nyack Art Collective. On July 5, from 5-8p, local businesses and artists pair up for art exhibitions throughout Nyack. On the First Friday of each month, downtown Nyack will be bustling with art openings in over 39 businesses, interactive “happenings”, body and face painting, music, jugglers and more scattered throughout the village.

The Nyack Art Collective seeks to:

  • AFFIRM the importance of art & creativity in individuals & the community
  • CREATE a visible and recognizable unified body of local visual artists
  • FOSTER UNITY & INTERACTION among artists and the community
  • PROVIDE networking opportunities
  • ENCOURAGE one another’s artistic pursuits and goals
  • SUPPORT individual and community growth & awareness thru the arts
  • PROMOTE the marketing and sale of our work
  • INSPIRE each other and the community of Nyack, as a whole

There will be a Nyack Act Collective group show opening on July 5th at Vincent’s Ear. The show will be on exhibit for a month. Kachtick-Anders normally suggests that exhibiting artists contribute a portion of their profits to charity. For this show, she is collecting a 10% commission on all sales and donating the money to the collective.

Directing proceeds from art sales to a worthy cause is not just a fundraising technique for Tracy, but a way of life. She is the founder of the Open Arms Campaign, a non-profit that promotes adoption of children from foster homes and champions the rights of the LGBT community to adopt.

There are approximately 600,000 children in our country who are currently living in foster care. There were six more before Tracy decided to adopt.

LAI_Vincent's Ear_Family Portrait

Tracy with Savana, Archie, Wyatt, Atrayue and Andres

If you conducted a survey, most people walking down the streets of Nyack are involved in the arts or activism in one way or another. Many are involved in both. “I always loved community building and have been involved in various non-profits, some of which had to do with art,” said Kachtick-Anders in describing the origins of Vincent’s Ear and the Nyack Art Collective.

If you visit Vincent’s Ear or one of the 39 shops and restaurants that are participating on First Friday this July 5th, and support a local artist or small business, you will experience the joy that Tracy has found when you combine community building and art loving.

Portions of this Nyack Sketch Log were originally published on January 10, 2012

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Vincent’s Ear” © 2013 Bill Batson  

The Nyack Sketch Log is sponsored by The Corner Frame Shop at 40 South Franklin Street in Nyack, NY.

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