By Amanda Schreck
SC Staff Writer
On Saturday, November 15 in East Stroudsburg University’s Innovation Center, family, friends, and art aficionados gathered to reminisce and enjoy the Strauser Circle Gallery and selected works from the Robinson Family Collection.
The gallery featured works from Jack Savitsky, Victor Gatto, Joe Polinski, Justin McCarthy, Tom Fish, Charlie Dieter, Red Grooms, Nancy Hebard, and more.
As friends and family walked through the third floor of the innovation center gazing over each piece of art lining every wall and room, they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and music, and wrote their names down on the silent auction papers hoping to win a piece of history.
“My objective is to honor Sterling Strauser. It’s one thing to see an occasional piece of art or to see two or three pieces in an exhibit, but to see a body of work would assist in understanding the artist to a greater depth,” said Grey Carter, who founded the collection with his wife Linda.
Carter has been collecting art for over 55 years and became intrigued with art when he was a lieutenant in the Air Force stationed in Dover, Delaware.
He bought his first Sterling Strauser painting in 1964 and met Strauser and David Burliuk, another painter, a few weeks after. “They both encouraged me to look at self-taught artists and even gave me paintings and said, ‘Go sell them, and you’ll be able to make a little money to buy something’.”
Carter also said that he never feels as though he owns paintings. “I’m just its caretaker for a while,” he said. The future caretaker of the Strauser Collection will be the brand new Keystone Room that will be built on ESU’s campus hopefully in the next few years.
Hundreds, and hopefully, as the collection grows, even thousands of paintings will adorn the walls of the new building right on campus.
“I think [students] will gain the appreciation of what art contributes to their life. And not just a painting here or a sculpture there, or music or theater, but how art becomes an integral part of your life and a celebration of your life,” said Carter.
Andrew Worthington, president and CEO of Bushkill Group Inc., and member of ESU’s Sterling Strauser gallery committee, agrees that having a gallery so close to campus can not only benefit students but the community as well. “To see art that is so well done in a local setting and know these people came from here, it’s a little different than what you’ll see at most colleges,” said Worthington.
Worthington also added that he hopes in the future that art will be incorporated into the lives of students as a result of the gallery. “We hope that this art can be integrated in to the art curriculum and into the general curriculum. We hope they all leave with a better appreciation of the art here.”
As the night came to a close and everyone took one last look at the array of painting scattered throughout the gallery, Carter talked about how many people react to the beauty surrounding them every day.
“There’s an inner piece of our soul that loves beauty and nothing is more wonderful than the beauty of nature. We’re surrounded by it. There’s a part of our heart and soul that is tied up in this beauty. So, people keep trying to recreate it.”
The Strauser Circle and the collection hope to not only sell art but to add as many pieces to the group as they possibly can.
In the future, the Keystone Room will be built, and students will be able to enjoy the numerous works of many local artists and learn about artists close to home.
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