New type of ‘museum’ opens in Gloversville

Tibetan Art expressing the nation’s Buddhist heritage is on display at Twelve Green Petals Yoga Studio at 33 N. Main St. in Gloversville featured as part of the Gloversville Art Museum that includes art and artifacts at multiple downtown locations. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — A sprawling new museum featuring art and artifacts on display at multiple downtown locations has been organized to connect area residents with objects that Director David Aust hopes will spark joy as people come across the showcases while making their way through the city.

The Gloversville Art Museum features pieces from around the globe dating back to ancient times through today focused on the diversity of human nature and social change on display along the city’s main thoroughfares in storefront windows and along the Rail Trail at Trail Station Park.

“Keeping the items before the public, both on the park as well as downtown, has allowed a much broader audience to experience the displays, which are intended to spark both joy and reflection,” Aust said.

Currently on display at Twelve Green Pedals Yoga Studio at 33 N. Main St. are pieces of Tibetan Art expressing the nation’s Buddhist heritage, at the Argersinger Building at 73 N. Main St. several musical instruments from the early colonial period in West Africa can be seen and along the section of the Rail Trail running through Trail Station Park an iron figure composed of post-industrial debris of the 19th and 20th centuries from Cleveland crafted by Mike Kaplan can be observed.

Aust, who moved to the city in March, said the idea for the museum developed through partnership with community members who provided support, donated exhibit space in shop windows or volunteered their time helping set up the displays.

“There have been many people who have contributed to getting this underway. Some, such as [John] Nellis and [Bob] Galinsky, helped transport and carry items from storage to the display locations. Others, such as [Jim] Schlesier and [Debbie] Zalondek, provided display spaces in their windows. Local author Richard Nilsen created the tags for the displays,” Aust said.

This sense of community was part of what drove Aust to relocate to Gloversville earlier this year after he became interested in the history of the city and its current potential after discovering it online last year.

“It is a place where people can be a part of something and each person can make a difference,” Aust said. “The mountains and the river, the architecture and the affordability, along with the new leadership, the size and it’s traditional downtown, all attracted me.”

Originally from New Jersey, Aust spent many years in the Pacific-Northwest in a professional career that spanned the gamut of wilderness guide, writer and editor, restoration construction and real estate and rare book dealing. More recently he became involved in the art collection.

“I’ve always been interested in social and cultural history, and in recent years began to collect antiques and artifacts,” Aust said. “By viewing art and artifacts from past times and distant cultures we can expand our own views of the world and our place within it.”

Through the display of the collected pieces downtown, Aust is hoping to expand the view of area residents both in a broad sense and as it relates more specifically to the city.

“The idea for the GAM evolved gradually, as something to help raise the spirit of the town, and help it live up to it’s vision as a small city,” Aust said. “By displaying art in multiple locations, most especially in empty or underutilized storefronts on North Main Street, the entire downtown seems more vibrant and storefronts look more active.”

Aust plans to expand the museum further at 17 N. Main St. adjacent to the Fulton County Barber Shop where owner Michael Medina has offered the storefront as the future home of the museum’s fourth display window.

“I will be looking for additional locations,” Aust added. “There are many more items that might be displayed.”

For more information about the Gloversville Art Museum contact David Aust by email at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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