courtesy kate albright
Joe LaMattina stands in front of his painting ‘Dancing with Hippos’ at the panel at the Montclair Public Library on Wednesday, Nov. 6. COURTESY KATE ALBRIGHT


Studio Montclair, with Keller
Williams Realty-NJ Metro Group

Montclair Public Library Gallery, 50 South Fullerton Ave.

Through Nov. 29

Participating Artists:
Angela Beekers-Uberoi, Howard Berelson, Janet Boltax, Ronaldo Byrd, Serban Chelariu, Meredith Elder, Donna Grande, Michelle Harpster, Jeannine Hunter Lazzaro, Miriam Jacobs, Maya Just Maya, Joe LaMattina, Carlos Mateu, Jennifer Anne Moses, Arthur Paxton, John Piccoli, Amy Puccio, Natasha Rabin, Bonita Reed, Marisol Ross, Linda Steinhardt Majzner, Onnie Strother, Helaine Zwibel

For Montclair Local

If you want to go “Dancing with the Hippos”, have a “Date with an Angel” or gaze at a “Miracle of Lights,” the Montclair Library may be your destination: it is displaying Studio Montclair’s “Celebrate!” art exhibit through Nov. 29 in its gallery at 50 South Fullerton Ave.

“Celebrate” is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Studio Montclair, a non-profit member based organization for visual artists.

It is also, according to curator Mary Z. Scotti’s statement in a release,  “inspired by the range of life’s many triumphs, large and small, and other more personal or uncommon and unique commemoratives,.”

Twenty-three artists have work in the exhibit in a variety of media, portraying many different subjects.

Artist/curator Mary Z. Scotti, owner of 73 See Gallery, who curated the exhibit, said in a phone interview, “Studio Montclair reached out to me months ago and asked if I’d like to curate this event. They knew they wanted it to be around the idea of celebration so we put together a call for entries and we received probably close to sixty pieces. I curated from those.”

Criteria for selection included use of the celebration theme, quality of the work and, because the work would be shown in a public library, kid friendliness, Scotti said: “This is a public space, and you can’t really just take for granted that you have that opportunity. It’s just wonderful that the library is willing to do that. Some of the public might not normally be going to galleries or museums so it’s a real opportunity for them to experience art.”

Amy Becker, Studio Montclair’s communication coordinator, said, “It’s our 20th anniversary and I wanted to do an exhibit

Carlos Mateu stands with “The Garden of Julie Ann series: Date with an Angel,” at the library, on Wednesday, Nov. 6. COURTESY KATE ALBRIGHT

here that was about celebrating, but not just about the big anniversaries like a 20th anniversary and a wedding and things like that, but smaller celebrations in our lives, the private ones for accomplishments and hitting milestones. That’s what this is supposed to be about.

“There’s going to be another opportunity to use this exhibit in another space because after this show ends. It’s getting moved to our new gallery space at 127 Bloomfield Ave. We get to celebrate the holidays; we get to celebrate our new space; we get to celebrate life and our 20th anniversary, and we’re doing it in our brand new gallery space. So it seems like the appropriate thing to open with.” Studio Montclair’s grand opening will be Dec. 3, 3 to 6 p.m.

Scotti moderated a panel discussion at the library on Nov 6, composed of four of the exhibitors, Carlos Mateu, Miriam Jacobs, Natasha Rabin and Joe LaMattina, who shared their backgrounds, processes and inspirations.

“Dancing with the Hippos,” LaMattina told the audience, was inspired by “a house party. It was a great party with dancing and in the background on one of the walls they were projecting “Fantasia.” I was watching the shadows as everyone was moving around and they were really cool against the background. So I started taking pictures and put them together as a collaboration.”

RitaMarie Cimini, president of Studio Montclair said in an interview, “I like that we do the shows in the library because that means it’s available to everybody in the community. A lot of people come to use the library.

“So they have access to the work where they might feel intimidated to come into a gallery, which they should not. This is not as intimidating. Then they can see this beautiful work that’s very diverse and very interesting. There’s something here for everybody.”