Art of business is on display in Sunnyside

By Juan Soto

Sunnyside has become a magnet for the arts.

In June, a new gallery opened its doors, and the owner, Garry O’Callaghan, as his first order of business, invited local emerging artists to display and sell their collections at this eclectic spot.

“I think this is going to work here,” said O’Callaghan, a carpenter who has designed several bars and restaurants throughout New York City. His work includes the restoration of the Fraunces Tavern, a historic building in downtown Manhattan erected in 1719.

The Apollonia Gallery and Emporium, at 48-14 Skillman Ave., will have a formal inauguration party. Although the business already operates on a regular basis, its grand opening is scheduled for July 13. The gallery’s art manager is Ann O’Connor.

“A lot of artists live around here,” said Damian Lee, a partner in the business. “There are two more galleries in the neighborhood, and that’s always good.”

Aside from the paintings and collections that already hang from the gallery’s walls, the new place features custom-made furniture by O’Callaghan. The owner of Apollonia also restores tables, chairs, closets and other amenities. The professional carpenter is in the midst of completing the restoration of a prewar ceramic bathtub, which is on display at the shop.

But the operation is not limited to viewing. O’Callaghan plans to hold art and photography classes at the gallery. The lessons will be taught after business hours, which are Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“When we close the gallery we will have the evening classes for adults,” explained the owner of Apollonia, named after his dog Apollo, who died a few years ago.

Neighborhood youngsters will also be able to attend art classes. On Saturdays, one instructor will be on hand for an hour-long class to show the younger artists the fascinating world of painting.

“Parents can drop off their kids for an hour and run some errands in the meantime,” said O’Callaghan. “But if they don’t want to leave their kids, they can just sit and wait in the gallery. We will set up a table so they can enjoy themselves while the kids are in painting class.”

O’Callaghan said the gallery has already been successful and sold some works. One of them had a price tag of $1,800. For every piece sold at Apollonia, the owners will get a commission.

“We have a lot of paintings,” added O’Callaghan. “But right now, we are just putting up the ones that match the decoration of the gallery.”

Neighbors received the opening of the gallery with open arms.

“Some people are just dropping by and saying hello,” said O’Callaghan.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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