Renovated “Service Station” showcases Woodstock Artist
As summer comes to the Catskills, makeshift signs advertising yard sales, farm stands, and art galleries lure in visitors traveling along Route 28 – the region’s main artery from Kingston to Oneonta. In preparation for a grand-reopening on June 19th, local artist Jonah Meyer remodeled a 1950’s service station on Route 28 in Glenford into a showroom for his creations and those of other artists. The gallery is only a fifteen-minute drive from his studio in Kingston where he conveniently neighbors a large artistic paint supply company. Meyer says his goals for the showroom are to “raise awareness of the burgeoning art scene in the Catskills and foster a place to display our works.
Meyer and fellow artist Tara Delisio opened the “Glenford Service Station” – as it reads above the doorway – in June 2003 and have held poetry readings, live music, and a night of comedic short films to compliment the art openings. A native of Williamsport, PA, Meyer came to the area for its rural character, proximity to urban markets and the legion of renowned artists and craftspeople already inhabiting the region. Meyer intends to use the space to maintain a continued interest in cultivating a local environment for area artists. “The density of galleries on (Route)28”, referring to neighbors like Steve Heller of Fabulous Furniture in Boiceville and the recent opening of Noble Tree Gallery in West Hurley, Meyer says, “really helps attract attention to the area.” His pieces are featured in publications such as American Style, Furniture Style, and the Catskill Region Guide Artist Feature Section on Woodworkers. In addition, the renowned sculptor Martin Puryear selected several of Meyer’s paintings and sculptures for an exhibit titled, Out of the Studio: Hudson Valley Artists 2003 held at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY. A visual catalog of Meyer’s creations and other information are on display at his new web site, www.jonahmeyer.com.
Through Meyer’s versatility and flair for working in different mediums, he is able to carve a larger niche for himself in the world of art and design. After returning from India, he began to create furniture and designs reminiscent of monumental ritual sculptures found throughout the Hindu temples. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Meyer also creates contemporary, eclectic furniture and large, hand-hewn sculptures out of locally-harvested wood. Meyer enjoys working with twisted and burled logs often too defective or too large for conventional uses. His mammoth woodcarvings are often installed on private residences throughout the region, evoking awe and amazement in a sort of Catskill version of Stonehenge.
For his sculptures, Meyer acquires low-grade oak, maple, and cherry almost exclusively from the Catskills. He networks with area loggers and tree service companies – like The Arbor Barber in Woodstock – to make sure that he is given an opportunity to inspect and find a use for an “unmerchantable” tree before it is cut for firewood. His ability to use locally grown and harvested timber that may otherwise be wasted enabled him to receive a federal Economic Action Program grant from the Watershed Agricultural Council’s (WAC) Forestry Program and the USDA Forest Service. The grant program assists eligible secondary, value-added forest products businesses in the New York City Watershed regions East and West of the Hudson River with the goal of promoting healthy forests to protect the drinking water supply for 9 million metropolitan New Yorkers. By using low-grade wood for his projects, Meyer indirectly assists overall forest health by encouraging removal of defective or inferior stems. A portion of Meyer’s grant award is being used to improve the facilities at the Service Station with the installation of a new heating system. The remainder of the awarded funds will allow him to upgrade some of the old machinery in his studio. With this grant, Meyer joins a group of Catskill woodworkers such as Steve Heller (mentioned above), rustic designer Judd Weisberg, and the late Oscar Newman of Bounding Warrior that have benefited from WAC Forestry grants.
If you attend the Grand Re-opening of the Service Station- expect find one-of-a-kind, handmade objects and gifts like hand-blown glass, soaps, elegant leather bags and steel candelabras in a variety of styles ranging from rustic-folk to modern/minimal. The Service Station hours are Thursdays, Noon-5, Fridays and Saturdays, Noon-6 and Sundays 11- 4. For more information or to make an appointment with Jonah Meyer, call (845) 657-9788. For more information on economic assistance available to the wood-based economy of the region, please call Collin Miller, Forestry Program Specialist at the Watershed Agricultural Council, (607) 865-7790, x 112.