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James LaMantia returns to Northport to unveil latest collection

People by: Chrissy Ruggeri, October 24, 2022

James LaMantia opened LaMantia Gallery in Northport Village 33 years ago and will return to the space this weekend to unveil his newest collection of paintings and drawings. Photo via

Most Northporters have walked by (and perhaps inside) LaMantia Gallery on Main Street countless times. The space has been a staple in the Village for 33 years, but who’s behind the name? James LaMantia opened his gallery at age 26 and, while building his business, has been involved in several community projects and organizations. Over time, he has never lost touch of his passion for painting, which brought him into the art space originally; his abstract works will be on display at LaMantia Gallery this weekend, during a “meet the artist” event that’s open to the public.

Inspired by his own family of artists and musicians, James studied painting at SUNY New Paltz and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After college, he was immediately part of three exhibitions, from New York City to the east end of the island. At the time, he was managing gallery Amber Palette on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, where he spent five years. James proved to be a successful manager – during his tenure, the gallery was voted “The #1 Gallery in the Nation for Retail Excellence” by Decor Magazine. He found representing artists very gratifying and decided to open his own space in Northport Village. He continued to paint during his years as a gallerist, while getting more and more involved in the community and charitable organizations.

In the early 1990s, James sat on the Architectural and Historical Review Board in Northport Village and later became a member of the Northport Rotary Club, where he served two terms as president. He is currently the chairman for Gift of Life Long Island, an organization committed to bringing hope to children with heart disease around the world by funding pediatric cardiac surgery, catheterization and aftercare programs.

These days, James spends most of his time in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he and his business partner, Sharmila Amico, opened another LaMantia Gallery location. This weekend, though, he is returning to Northport to unveil his newest collection of original paintings and drawings. There will be two opportunities to meet James and view his works on Friday and Saturday evenings. James encourages viewers to “look past the surface” of his work to discover what’s hidden underneath. “I like to get immersed in the textures and the history of my work,” he told the Journal; “I will often create a painting that will literally be used as a base for a future work. In doing so, I allow the previous painting to make appearances throughout the new work.”

James said that during his decades as a gallerist, he has honed in on the style that will be presented at his exhibit. His inspiration has always come from the “New York School” of abstract expressionists, as well as classical cubism. “I enjoy flattening the spaces of my subjects. For this exhibition, I will be showing works focused on shapes and textures, as well as music and wine,” he explained.

In line with his history of philanthropy, a percentage of show sales will be donated to various Long Island-based breast cancer outreach programs and charities. Last year, Sharmila fought a battle with breast cancer, undergoing a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. “My body is recovering, and my heart and mind are finally at ease as well,” she told the Journal. “I couldn't have survived and recovered without the massive support of my husband and family, my partner and my friends,” Shamila explained. Her journey, and it being breast cancer awareness month, inspired the business partners to donate to local charities like Pink Aid, A World of Pink and Huntington Hospital, which offer support to women during the course of their disease.

James and his latest collection will be at LaMantia Gallery at 127 Main Street in Northport Village on Friday, October 28 from 5:30-7:30pm (RSVP required) and Saturday, October 29 from 3-5pm. To RSVP or find more information, click here.

In his new collection, LaMantia encourages viewers to “look past the surface” of his work to discover what’s hidden underneath. Image via