Graphic Eye Gallery to close after 44 years

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The Graphic Eye Gallery in Port Washington, which will be closing at the end of October. (Courtesy of Harvey Fishman)

After 44 years in Port Washington, the Graphic Eye art gallery will close its doors at the end of October.

“The beauty of its exhibits will be sorely missed by residents of Port who have supported the Graphic Eye over these decades,” said Harvey Fishman, who wrote the news release announcing the gallery’s closure.

The Graphic Eye was the first graphic art cooperative on Long Island when it was founded in 1974. The gallery was established in the home of Aida Whedon, a Port-based printmaker and teacher. Whedon ran the Whedon School of Art with her husband, and her work is in collections around the world. She established the gallery with 26 of her students who wanted a gallery that was run by, and was for, them.

“And the rest, as they say, is history,” Fishman wrote.

Whedon died in 1994, but the gallery continued for another quarter-century. Originally focused on printmaking — Whedon’s specialty — the gallery expanded to include paintings, sculpture, drawing and mixed media. Work was displayed in solo and group shows each month.

In the more than four decades the gallery operated in Port, it received numerous awards for its shows. As the gallery’s reputation grew, so did its need for space. Originally operating out of a space on 96 Main St., the Graphic Eye jumped to 111 Main St., then 301 Main St. before finally settling at its current location at 402 Main St. in 2004.

The Graphic Eye often teamed up with the Art Guild of Port Washington to put on shows.

“It was a very popular gallery and beneficial to us, to bring new people and have them come through the space,” said Diane Bares, the former executive of the Art Guild of Port Washington.

Bares said Port Washington would be hurt by the loss of the gallery.

“It’s a shame that they are closing,” she said. “[Port is] losing another venue for artists to exhibit their work and a venue where people can go and visit a gallery space … it was a real asset to the community.”

Fishman wrote that a lack of new, younger members made maintenance and upkeep of the gallery increasingly difficult over the years. Eventually, the current members decided to close the gallery. A final showing of the members’ work will be held throughout October.

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at ltorrance@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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