by Dave Warner

Think Local Little Falls is hosting the Third Thursday Art Walk in Little Falls. It will take place on June 20, 2019, and the featured artists will be John Stehnach at the Berkshire Bank and Robert Willman at The Inn at Stone Mill.

The Art Walk will begin at the Little Falls Public Library, located at the corner of East Main and Waverly Streets, continue along Main Street to the American Legion, 100 West Main Street, and then proceed on to Canal Place.

It’s at Canal Place that an interesting development is taking place. Art Door Gallery is a new establishment that Artist Elias Saifan has opened. His current plan is to be open by appointment at 518-779-2863 for the last days of May, then have a Grand Opening on Saturday, July 6th.

But the fact that there is a new gallery opening at Canal Place is still not the big story…it’s the artists that will be coming up from New York City and the Catskills to mix with local artists to show during the Art Walk at Art Door Gallery.

One of those artists, Esther MacRae, has already visited Little Falls and after that visit, she has decided to do a summer residency here. My Little Falls had a chance to sit down with her and ask her why?

MacRae was born in Orange County California and grew up in a very religious family. From there “I kind of broke free from that and became a little bit more spiritually independent and moved to New York when I was 25,” stated MacRae.

She worked at several different jobs in New York City before becoming a full-time artist. “I was working in retail for Apple for ten years doing visual merchandising for them.”

MacRae feels like that was a precursor to her technical, fine art and visual arts career. She also worked in the restaurant industry and became a cheesemonger in the  City.

“From there, I started working on what I was passionate about and a little less on making other people’s dreams come true,” she said.

She’s a self-taught artist who started with illustrations that were taken from meditation journals that she was doing. She was doing stories about how we all experience and share love, but from there, she started painting.

“It was more along the lines of black and white abstract expressionistic types of things and I think the last couple of years taking myself seriously as a full-time fine artist I just fell into this category of visual arts because I’ve moved into sculpture, outside work and things like that. I think those are all vessels that allow me to express this formlessness that I see that lies beyond what’s in front of us,” stated MacRae.

“I’m always happy to share that with people who get it. I’m also always into putting my work into spaces where I feel connected to in some way. This is one of those things that has been kind of like a happy little surprise and I’m just excited to grow it and help you guys see what happens,” she said. “As a painter, this is my life. Painting is my emotional life and so it’s automatically personal…me sharing it.”

MacRae has shared space with Saifan in the past in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. “That’s how we met and became friends.”

She did group exhibitions in the City throughout Brooklyn and she had really been wanting to work outside the state. A year ago, she got a residency to work in Tasmania to do a permanent outside sculpture.

And for her, it’s just about making and producing more of the ideas in her head and having a platform for them. Even though she has been a professional artist for several years, she doesn’t feel like she’s anywhere near her peak. “I have two hand-fulls of shows under my CV so I feel like I’m a pretty successful collaborator in that sense.”

MacRae feels that people in Little Falls are really interested in the Arts and Culture side of things. “I think that’s very attractive to people who are expressing themselves with their art. It’s really nice to put your art somewhere where it is really going to be appreciated, and of course, sold. That’s important too.”

She believes that the artists that she brings up from Brooklyn will have the same experience and feeling that she does about Little Falls. “I think it brings the City to a different level when it comes to artwork and what kind of art you are looking at and the type that we are bringing,” she said. “It’s going to be a really cool relationship.”

MacRae says the group of artists that they are collecting to show here is going to have a strong online presence and that they are already planning to go international with their presence here. “I can only imagine the people we’re going to bring here from other countries to have them experience this part of New York. They haven’t experienced upstate before. I can attest to the fact that they are going to love it.”

“What I’ve felt in just the first week that I’ve been here is that everybody is just so welcoming and wanting people to come here, which is not how I feel in most places. I find it so refreshing.”

“There is a very palpable cadence to this place. It’s in the architecture and the scenery. I’m lucky because it’s spring and I’m experiencing it for the first time and everything is literally blooming in front of my eyes. It feels like I’m going to be here for generations and I’m just excited to meet everyone. I feel like the relationships I’m making are going to be real,” said MacRae. “Little Falls is a breath of fresh air.”

Artists of Art Door Gallery that will be showing June 20, 2019

ELIAS SAIFAN – Painting, Little Falls NY
ESTHER MACRAE – Multidisciplinary, Brooklyn NY
KUMI HIROSE – Painting, Brooklyn NY
OSCAR STIVALA – Painting, Little Falls NY
ALEXANDRE SAZONOV – Painting, Catskills NY
LUTZ SHERNCK – Painting, Dolgeville NY
ZURA BUSHERVILI – Painting, Brooklyn NY
SOPHIA ANGELAKIS – Painting, Brooklyn NY
ESPARTACO ALBORNOZ – Painting, Brooklyn NY