Almanac Weekly: Wired Gallery in High Falls

Sevan Melikyan’s Wired Gallery in High Falls champions local artists

Lynn Woods on October 24, 2013 // From Almanac Weekly

Wired Gallery is located in a single wood-paneled room, formerly an office for a realtor and an energy company, in an unprepossessing building off Route 213 in High Falls. It’s a modest setting at best, yet the Gallery has become one of Ulster County’s most high-profile, prolific sources of quality art exhibitions.

Since opening in May 2012, the Gallery’s 17 group shows and single solo exhibition have represented the work of 65 local artists. Gallery director Sevan Melikyan also has organized three pop-up shows, each devoted to the work of a single artist – two of them, located in Stone Ridge and Rosendale, collectively raised $2,400 for local charities – and two “art forays” at Mohonk Mountain House, which consisted of massive group shows with art priced affordably (no work was priced over $250 and many pieces went for less than $100).

“I have a special relationship with Mohonk Mountain House that allows me to have a presence there during their Community Week, which happens in December and March,” Melikyan said. Besides organizing the upcoming Art Foray on December 10, he organized the Hudson Valley Expo Event in September, and will put together a show for Mohonk’s Locavore Festival in February. On November 30 and December 1, he’ll host another Art Foray at Wired.

A proponent of education, Melikyan also organized a student art show for the Rondout Valley Central School District, has presented lectures – including one just last week at the Jewish Museum in New York City focusing on the time that Marc Chagall spent in High Falls – and has hosted a chamber music concert at Wired Gallery.

It’s an incredibly productive tenure, considering that Melikyan was a complete newcomer to the local art scene when he moved to High Falls with his wife and child in 2009. A visual artist himself, Melikyan is no stranger to the world of art – nor of nonprofits, which he said are the model for his various ventures. He takes a measly 25 percent commission (30 percent when the show entails renting a tent) and to a large extent relies on donations. He has successfully reached out to local restaurants, including Anatolia, the DePuy Canal House, Big Cheese, the Yum Yum Noodle Bar, Bistro to Go and Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits to provide the comestibles and beverages at his popular openings; in some cases, the artists themselves contribute to the cost of mounting the shows.