Into the limelight
Panepinto Galleries open on the waterfront
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Dec 03, 2017 | 1591 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Stefania Panepinto, who has become a fixture in the Powerhouse Arts District, opened her new gallery space along the Exchange Place waterfront this month with a remarkably broad range of art work. The show called “Through the Eyes of an Artist” features 56 artists from Jersey City, Hoboken, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and will have an extended run until May 1.

“Normally we do not do a show for this long,” she said, during a VIP and holiday reception on Nov. 28. “But we want people to get used to our new location.”

The show, presented in collaboration with real estate investment company Spear Street Capital, provides a glimpse of the creative process and its aftermath in a stunning new setting far different from the previous space, which was more funky than upscale.

The Panepinto Galleries new location at 70 Hudson St. has large windows that look out onto the New York skyline, and commuters coming and going from the nearby ferries can get a glimpse of the array of work inside.

“We wanted to present a show that allows people to see the world as an artist sees it,” Panepinto said, as guests poured through the doors to take a glimpse at what might become the premier gallery space in Jersey City.

“The intimate subject matter articulates a narrative on the world we live in today as seen through the artist’s eyes,” Panepinto said in a release regarding the opening. “This eclectic body of work creates a meaningful experience to visitors, comprised of a range of mediums from figurative oil painting to abstract acrylics to works on paper, photography and mixed media sculpture.”

Works include delicately detailed drawings of Dina Brodsky with hard-lined geometric compositions by Ryan Roa, interspersed with life-like sculptures of Will Kurtz, realist paintings by Peter Drake, and the abstract oil paintings of Stephen Cimini.

Each is a unique look at the world

The works were selected by the curators in order to fit the “eyes of the artist” theme of the show, Panepinto said.

“But when we sell a work, we replace it with another work by the artist in order to have them fully represented,” she said

The visions were as dramatically different from each other as the materials with which each work was created. One shows a dramatic ocean scene, another a woman’s face in paint smeared slightly as if a photograph blurred by motion. There were moody works such as a stone wall cast in a haunting fog, while another depicted long-necked egret, and still more traditional works such as a painting of tulips.

Crowds moved around the displays, often pausing before one or more of the 70 works, although in some ways, the gallery itself has become an attraction, drawing some of the most prominent citizens of Jersey City.

Sue Henderson, president of New Jersey City University, attended the opening, admiring both the public space and the array of art.

“Jersey City has become an arts city,” she said.

Giving new meaning to the concept of “artist in residence,” Sophia Kayafas, a West Virginia native who currently resides in Brooklyn, painted a still life of fruit during the reception. She is currently working on a new body of narrative work that hopes to explore the vibrant and emotional qualities of paint.

Daryl Rand, of Harrison Rand and former chair of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, said she came to show support for the new gallery and her support of the arts.

“Art like this is in the interest of the community,” she said, noting that the art community has taken a leadership role. “We all have a stake in this, and this has all the right stuff, and this is important to Jersey City.”

Cheryl Gross, a Brooklyn native who currently lives in Jersey City, has two pieces on display in the show.

“I’ve been an artist all my life,” she said, although noted that she also teaches arts and other subjects at Pratt University and Bloomfield College. A member of Pro Arts in Jersey City, she has seen her work displayed in other shows in Jersey City and elsewhere.

A local institution

In 2011, Panepinto and Kara Rooney founded the gallery in the Powerhouse Arts District, curating and co-directing and a times bringing in guest curators, as a collective space to host gallery exhibitions, photo shoots, and film screenings. Since then her gallery has been a vital player in Jersey City’s growing art scene.

She also became an art advisor, helping to create “Art as Inspiration” for luxury hotels, residential and office buildings, hospitals, as well as homes. She recently held several very successful popup shows in Hoboken and in Jersey City and is currently working with the Jersey City Medical Center on possible art displays here.

The previous gallery space seemed to reflect the trials and tribulations of the artist community. She could not hold shows in the warehouse space during extreme heat or cold. So she curated at the gallery when weather permitted. While she likes creating art, she said she finds joy in every aspect, from showing and selling to the creative process.

The new upscale setting will allow her to host shows regularly and the current show is open weekly from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional showings are available by appointment.

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Al Sullivan may be reached at

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