Supporters and members of the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) know that the past two years have not been easy.
They have been filled with ongoing fundraising initiatives in order to make the 5,000 square foot building home and get bathrooms so they can get a city permit in order to install a gallery and complete studio space. They did all of this in hopes of becoming a full-time community center.
The death of Solomon “Sol” Levy, a beloved friend and mentor of the organization who died last April, was an especially sad event at MAAG.
“Whenever we had problem or ran into a wall or a door was closed to us, Sol would open the door for us, said co-founder Linda Slodki. “Sol actually found our space at 11 W. Mt. Airy Ave. so he is extremely near and dear to our hearts.”
She said the building was “open trenches with no lights” that had not been used for more than 20 years when Levy helped develop and implement the idea of it one day being a hub of activity for artists and art lovers complete with art markets, classes and possibly a library.
Slodki said that when she and co-founder Arleen Olshan learned about Levy’s passing, it was a no brainer to name the gallery after him because he was a part of the foundation. He served as MAAG’s vice president and founding board member.
The Mt. Airy resident was a photographer widely known for his landscape pieces who worked with multiple community organizations such as Weaver’s Way, Habitat for Humanity, Mt. Airy Learning Tree, Project Learn and much more.
To celebrate his life, MAAG will be hosting a reception and dedication to their permanent gallery, named in Levy’s honor this Friday, April 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
During the event, attendees will be able to view Levy’s work at the “Travels Through Life” art exhibit that features a wide range of his photography from his early landscape pieces to his most recent abstract pieces. It will be open until May 20.
While Levy was instrumental in the center’s progress, they would not have achieved as much without the support of the community who helped them raise $85,000 for the build out.
“I am so deeply moved and touched that the community has embraced us, supports us and shares our vision, which is what we hoped for from the very beginning,” said Slodki.
She said that the exhibit will be a perfect time for people to get to know the center.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to mtairyartgarage.org.