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The Harts Gallery

by Joseph Montebello

As documentary filmmakers Evan Abramson and his wife and collaborator Carmen Lopez Abramson focused on bringing to light the stories of people faced with environmental issues around the globe. The couple has garnered numerous awards for their work, including over two dozen film festival awards for their 2011 documentary Carbon for Water.

Having moved from Brooklyn to Bridgewater and started a family, the couple is now focusing on entering a new phase of their lives with the opening of The Harts Gallery in New Milford. The name evokes the old Harts department store that was originally in the space.

“We wanted to do something that was about where we lived and wanted to be part of making the community more robust and intellectually and artistically more diverse,” said Abramson. “The space in New Milford became available and we thought that a pop-up art gallery was the first step in that direction.”

But the pop-up vision grew into a more permanent concept. Since its inception in August 2015, The Harts Gallery has mounted several thought-provoking exhibitions: “Love and Sacrifice,” “She’s a Changeling,” and “Transgeneration.”

“With the shows we hang,” said Abramson, “we try to offer subject matter that is not generally seen in this area. Our latest show is “Unsettled Nostalgia” and the work is by a Syrian artist. There is no Syrian artwork around here or, for that matter, in many places in this country.”

The Harts Gallery is also supportive of local artists who have not been seen frequently, such as Gary Komarin who is a very popular local artist but has not had many shows in this area. About a third of the gallery’s shows have been of local artists. The Abramsons seek out artists they would like to show, but also view portfolios that are dropped off. They are also trying to form alliances with other galleries so that some of their artists might get some additional venues.

Because of the large space the gallery affords them, the Abramsons are planning to add other areas of interest to complement the exhibitions.

“This community space is a great place for people of all ages to gather,” said Lopez-Abramson. “There are a lot of talented people around here who are eager to help. We cover subjects from women’s empowerment to Tarot card readings. We have art workshops for kids as well as a class taught by Pilobolus dancers.”

While the art gallery is the main driving force, the Abramsons realize that everyone who walks in is not going to buy a piece of art. But the idea is to attract those who appreciate what is hanging on the walls and will perhaps partake of what other things are being offered. They hope to provide a space for the community to gather and experience not only thought-provoking art, but also live performances, music events and outdoor installations.

“In addition to the workshops, there would be a boutique downstairs curated by an interior designer and the design community, running parallel to the exhibit upstairs,” said Abramson. “Creating an interior space so that people can visualize the art in their own home.”

Now that the Abramsons are a family of four, they have settled into their new community and are excited to present a creative environment that offers something for everyone.

Now showing: Unsettled Nostalgia: Mohamad Hafez