Former computer programmer’s new exhibit reveals the healing power of art in Little Neck

Courtesy of Richard Goodbody


She picked her passion over programming.

It seems a lot of people are feeling anxious these days and searching for ways to cope with their fears and insecurities. Accidental artist Galina Galmer found her own escape route through the healing power of art. 

“I find a safe place for my thoughts and experiences on my canvases,” she explained.

You wouldn’t think someone who’s into no-nonsense computer programming, would have a creative bone in their body. But that wasn’t the case with this passionate grandmother of six, who re-discovered herself as a painter after 28 years of working with computers at Queens College. 

And her life hasn’t been the same since.

For the Moscow native who emigrated to the U.S after leaving the former Soviet Union in 1981 with her husband and young daughter, changing gears was quite spontaneous, as if a light bulb went on one day.

Now, art lovers can enjoy the fruits of her epiphany by viewing her 15 acrylic and oil paintings – now on display through Jan. 31, 2020, in Little Neck. The dynamic exhibition is presented by Commonpoint Queens’ Sam Field Center, located at 58-20 Little Neck Pkwy.

Turns out there is a connection between programming and creating art.

“Both utilize logic and imagination. It is a healthy marriage of the two,” according to the artist.

And, it’s well known that art can be therapeutic. For a self-described introvert like Galmer – who realized she could quite literally paint her anxiety and troubles away – it was wonderfully cathartic, as well. Fueled by raw emotion, each creation became a portrait of her soul; a self-portrait. But most importantly, she had finally found her voice.

“If person has a tragedy, he expressed himself through crying. If she experienced happiness, she is smiling. But how does one express these feelings on a canvas using colors? That was my philosophical question,” Galmer shared.

“I started to listen to my feelings and spend time releasing my energy on canvas. That is how my art was born. It is my poetry!”

Growing up, a young Galmer was surrounded by music and art. Her mom was a professional violin player at a musical theater in Moscow and her beloved grandfather was a painter — he died when she was a child. Today, Galmer said she still finds solace and constant inspiration, thanks to his guidance, for he continues to serve as her muse – even if only in spirit.

“When I was a child, on weekends my father was taking me to visit my grandparents. My grandpa was always painting. In the summertime you can see him in a garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers,” she recalled. “I remember sitting next to him and trying to copy him. I loved colors.” 

Later, it was Galmer’s artist/sculptor husband who would inspire her. Michael Izrael Galmer’s pieces have been exhibited in several museums in New York and across the United States.

Galina Galmer’s artwork probably says more about her than she can say about herself. 

“Sometimes, it can be difficult to express my feelings. Using paint brush, I was able to express my deepest feelings, fears and insecurities on canvas,” she explained. “Life has become more interesting and is more colorful now for me.”

“Now, when my paintings are on view at Sam Field, so many people can see them, and I hope it will touch their hearts and soul,” she added. 

Working in her tiny home studio in Jamaica, Galmer says she feels freer and more spontaneous than ever before.

“But the most productive spot is definitely my kitchen,” she said. “So many things are happening there at the same time: Dinner is cooking, my dog is next to me barking or sleeping, somebody is calling, I can see what is going on outside in my garden. So, life is continuing and gives me more positive emotions. And I am painting!”

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