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New Allentown gallery to mix local, out-of-town artists

The cozy, art-friendly spot at 497 Franklin St. that formerly housed David Vitrano’s TGW@497 Gallery has been reopened by artists Laura Borneman and Michael Pijanowski as the Paper Moon Gallery.

The public will have its first official peek at the new space, now featuring a five-artist group show, from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Borneman is a SUNY Buffalo State and University at Buffalo graduate and middle school art teacher who returned to Buffalo two years ago with hopes of launching an art school. Pijanowski, an oil painter and writer who is participating in the gallery as a way to renew his commitment to painting and the local arts scene, owned the former Bistro Europa on Elmwood Avenue.

The exhibition schedule for the gallery, named after the famous Harold Arlen tune, has been largely planned through May 2017 and will feature a mix of area artists and those Bonerman came into contact with while living in Philadelphia and Maryland.

The co-owners settled on Paper Moon for the gallery’s name because of its evocative imagery and the way it seemed to parallel their mission.

“The idea behind the song was sort of like similar to how you could think about art: that it’s real if you believe in it, if you let your imagination take hold of it,” Borneman said.

The inaugural exhibition, which opened April 1, features paintings by Pijanowski, Barbara Buckman, Peter Fowler and Jody Selin and sculpture by Richard Rockford. Borneman said the mix for the opening show is purposely eclectic and features both long-established and lesser-known artists.

“It’s different in terms of its style and subject matter, but I knew it would look good together and that there were some formal similarities,” she said of the work in the exhibition. “I wanted to have a range of things that people might not see all the time and things that people were more familiar with.

In May, the gallery will feature a solo exhibition of drawings by retired Buffalo State professor Richard Gubernick, whom Borneman credits with inspiring her to stick with art as a career goal.

“He rarely shows in Buffalo. It’s kind of important and exciting for me to get him, because he’s one of the reasons I’ve persisted at painting,” she said. Her own drawings and paintings, which are likely to appear in the gallery, oscillate between representation and abstraction and contains architectural references.

In addition to the small main gallery, there also is a space in the basement where Borneman plans to host workshops and classes for adults and children.

Future solo exhibitions will feature work by Richard Rockford, Martin Campos, Brian Dennis, Ashley Lathe, Florina Altshiler, Joseph Lozano and Joyce Hill.

The gallery will be open from Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for more information.


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