Renovated by a design team led by renowned architect Peter Bohlin, the historic Hawley Silk Mill is a masterpiece three years in the making. After welcoming tenants including Lackawanna College, Lake Region Fitness, Maternal Family Health Services and Lock Data to its halls, the next logical move, investors decided, was to fill the remaining space with masterpieces of fine art.
"It was a very innovative and creative idea to take this work of art and put art in it. And the Genzlinger family has made it happen," curator Rocky Pinciotti praised at a red carpet gala opening for Art on the Edge last week.
Grant Genzlinger, executive chef at The Settlers Inn and his son, Justin, of Actualize financial consultants are two in a group of four local investors (with John Shuman and attorney Anthony Waldron) comprising Hawley Silk Mill LLC. Grant Genzlingler also operates the freestanding Cocoon coffeehouse, just outside the Mill. Formerly the Bellemonte Silk Mill, the massive bluestone building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Discussions for Art on the Edge began last November. The principals forged ahead with their vision despite the fact the space was still under construction and warnings that there wasn’t enough time.
"We had this harebrained idea to pull off an art show here in Hawley … to have the most cutting edge, contemporary art show that Northeast Pennsylvania has ever seen, which was a bit of a stretch considering we’d never done one before," Justin Genzlinger reflected in his opening remarks Saturday evening.
A portion of the proceeds from the $200 tickets benefitted the Wayne County Arts Alliance, which was instrumental in bringing the exhibition together. It was the WCAA’s Tamara Murray who brought Pinciotti on board. A New York-based neon sculptor, Pinciotti is the gallery director at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance gallery in Narrowsburg, N.Y.
"The building is on the edge of the gorge for Lake Wallenpaupack. So the building is on the edge and we wanted art that was ‘on the edge’," the curator explained regarding the exhibition’s criteria. He reached out to the 11 counties surrounding Hawley in New York and Pennsylvania, often personally recruiting sculpture, photography, painting and mixed media work by 60 artists.
One of the curator’s greatest challenges was to install the exhibit with a "museum feel" as the space continued to evolve from a large open expanse into smaller and smaller glassed-in units. The partitions on which works now hang were salvaged from temporary dry wall dividers used during construction, Pinciotti explained.
Featured artists Michael Hardesty of Rileyville and Christopher Ries were solicited for large scale works that could serve as a focal attraction. "Slice," and "Wish" by Hardesty, and Ries’s "Invictus" greet guests upon entry to the lobby, providing a portal to the exhibition space.
Art on the Edge opens to the public with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and remains on display through Labor Day weekend. Organizers intend to hold happy hour events during the summer with art and live music every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit www.hawleysilkmill.com for more information.