ALBANY — The Albany Area Arts Council was a flurry of activity Thursday night.
The building was packed for the opening of the “Set in Stone” exhibition featuring artists Kirby Gregory and Madye Carter, who are both based in Albany, and Arts Council board members flitted around as attendees began purchasing numerous pieces of Gregory’s handmade pottery.
Arts Council Director Nicole Williams said she could not have been more happy with the crowd at the opening reception.
“It just feels really good to see this many people enjoying one another and enjoying our hard work and enjoying the experience of seeing art work,” Williams said.
Williams was equally excited about seeing so many attendees purchase pieces of artwork as well.
“This is a great show for getting a piece of art because pottery is a wonderful way to have a handmade work,” Williams said. “It’s affordable. You can buy something that’s really, really unique and interesting and for Kirby — and this is important to Kirby — all of his stuff is really utilitarian. It is a piece of art, but it’s also something that integrates really well into your everyday life.
“I want to create … a real sense of community around the artists and around the artwork and around people that are interested in being a part of that. I really feel like that we’re making strides in the correct direction.”
Gregory’s portion of the exhibit features his handmade mugs, platters and other stoneware items. Carter’s portion shows her interpretation of different rocks and minerals she photographed using extreme macro photography.
“Kirby and Madye’s personalities mesh really well together,” Williams said. “But the stoneware and the medium that Kirby works in and what Madye is painting, these images of stones and rocks, the two are just very symbiotic. They really go with one another in their approach.”
The idea for the show began with the Arts Council wanting to thank Gregory for his contribution to the annual Empty Bowls event, which is put on through a partnership with the Arts Council and the SOWEGA Council on Aging to raise awareness about senior hunger.
“Giving him this kind of outlet for his work and this experience is a way that we can thank him for all the help he gives us with Empty Bowls, and the way we can thank him for all the help that he gives us with everything,” Williams said.
Once Gregory was offered the opportunity to exhibit his work, he asked Carter to show off her paintings alongside his pottery.
The show will run until Aug. 22. The Arts Council is located at 215 N. Jackson St. in downtown Albany. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and from noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays.