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The Firefly Artists ask for public support, prepare for transition to new location

Business by: Chrissy Ruggeri, August 15, 2022

The Firefly Artists current location on Main Street in Northport Village; the gallery is looking for community support as circumstances have caused them to leave the existing address and move to 90 Main Street.

On September 30, The Firefly Artists will be closing their door at 162 Main Street and opening another one just down the road. It’s an opportunity for the gallery, in business for eleven years, to expand its space and offerings. But the road to get there hasn’t been easy, which is why Firefly is reaching out to the public for support.

The gallery – a collaborative space where artists can meet other artists, and display and sell their creations – was voted the “Bethpage Best Art Gallery” 2022 and received the honor of a NYS Art Teachers Association “Special Citation for a Business” for its service to teachers and students in 2021.

In a statement made on their website and social media pages, leaders at Firefly explained that after a dispute with their landlord, they were forced to hire an attorney to protect their gallery and artists. “Our landlords decided to challenge the lease that they themselves had originally written,” they wrote. “Firefly’s mission for the past 11 years has been to support our Long Island artists and give back to our community. Our goal has always been to give as much of our sales back to our exhibiting artists. Unfortunately, we have exhausted all of our reserve funds in order to pay our legal fees.”

As a result, the Fireflies have decided to leave their existing place and move to 90 Main Street in Northport Village, location of the former Haven Gallery (and neighbrohood hardware store before that). However, they added, the move comes with a price. “The transition is incredibly expensive, and we must grow to fit the potential new space. Your support will ensure [our] success,” the artists wrote.

A GoFundMe with a $20,000 goal is currently circulating on social media. The purpose of the fundraiser is to not only keep the community gallery going, but to expand and nurture generations of creators to come.

“Over the years, Firefly has helped over 450 local artists with all our initiatives sell their work and share their visions with our community. Beyond sharing our work with the visitors of Northport, we have donated scholarships to local art students. We have hosted exhibitions of student work without any charge to the students. We are a gold sponsor of the community theater and active members of the Northport Chamber of Commerce,” they wrote on their GoFundMe page.

Katheryn Laible, an artist and managing partner at the gallery, told the Journal that the community of artists is overwhelmed by the circumstance, but so grateful for the support the gallery has received from the community. “That’s what’s giving us the faith to sign this lease,” she said of the new space at 90 Main Street. “We’re going to have to straddle two spaces for a month and a half, and need many new artists.”

If you’re an art or craftsperson interested in joining the Fireflies, you can submit a request here. The gallery is also hosting a juried exhibition called “pARTy til the cows come home” on Saturday, September 10. The exhibition will celebrate and complement the Great Cow Harbor Day Weekend that’s annually held in historic downtown Northport. Works featuring cows, and other farm life, as well as those honoring the Cow Harbor Race and festival, will be considered.

If you’d like to support The Firefly Artists Gallery, you can find their GoFundMe page here. Donors of $75 will receive two custom art note cards (one of thanks, another to give away), donors of $150 or more will also earn a Gold Star emblazoned with your name and/or words that you choose, which will be on view in the new Gallery through 2022. And people who donate $250 or more will receive an original hand-signed limited edition relief print created by Beth Atkinson. All donors will also be entered to win prizes generously offered by local artists.