For art's sake

Platt and Zimbicki
Platt and Zimbicki

When something unusually special and unexpected happens in the community, it's not a bad idea to call attention to it. So, here's a salute to the "East of Eastside Art Gallery" that debuted Sunday, January 19, at the Franklin Centre in Forest Hills.


About 100 artists and arts people forsook the NFL AFC championship game and gathered for the Sunday afternoon event in the gallery’s new space in the handsome old schoolhouse at 4240 Greensburg Pike that’s been renovated into a business center.

East of Eastside Gallery describes itself as a fine art gallery hosting openings throughout the year. Artwork can be viewed by appointment between openings, and always on-line. Patrons are urged to call or write for information about individual works or to explore purchase.


The process is simple. Openings are held several times during the year. You can view works directly on display during these events or browse through the offerings on the gallery’s website, http://www.eastside-gallery.com.


Sunday’s event featured works by Jane Ogren, Mark Panza and Kurt Shaw as well as those by the five local artists who operate the new gallery. They are Adrienne Heinrich, Debra Platt, Susan Laansma Pollins, Phiris Kathryn Sickels and Kathleen Zimbicki.


Zimbicki is a spokesperson for the new enterprise. She is the founder and longtime CEO of Studio Z on East Carson Street. She later became a principal in the original Eastside Gallery, an artist cooperative formerly located at 6343 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Eastside (near the old Nabisco factory).


The “East of Eastside” name plays on the notion that the new Forest Hills gallery is a reincarnation, of sorts, of that now-defunct East Liberty cooperative.


What makes the new gallery unusual and unusually welcome is that the eastern suburbs are considered by many to be an art desert. Some have said once you pass Concept Art Gallery on South Braddock Avenue in Regent Square there’s not much art to be had until you reach Ligonier, 35 miles east.


That might be an exaggeration, but still, that part of Forest Hills where the new gallery is located boasts few amenities beyond a Subway shop and Bob’s Lounge, a little way down the road toward East Pittsburgh.

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