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'An amazing addition': Skaneateles jewelry store owner opens art gallery with own collection

SKANEATELES — Steve Moore said his jewelry store now looks more like a jewelry store.

That's because his jewelry store, S.J. Moore Jewelers at 5 E. Genesee St. in the village of Skaneateles, no longer contains his collection of paintings that he both displayed and sold alongside the rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets at the 33-year-old business.

Instead, the art collection now hangs properly along the walls of the space behind the jewelry store that was once storage space that Moore rented and has now been transformed into an art gallery — S.J. Moore Fine Art Gallery.

"We've got some great artists, local for the most part and regional anyway," Moore said Wednesday, giving a tour of his new space during a Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting event. "I've been collecting art for over 30 years, and it just got to be the point where we wanted a dedicated  space for it."

He said the gallery will be open during First Friday events as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons and by appointment. For the most part, he said, all of the paintings are for sale.

The only modern piece on the wall is an acrylic on canvas painting that Moore did himself called "Autumn Number 4 Road." Otherwise, the collection reflects more classical artwork and represents such local renowned Hudson Valley School artists as Frank Barney, George Clough and Skaneateles' own John Barrow.

Other artists feature in Moore's collection in the gallery include Aldro Hibbard, Carl Peters, Jane Peterson and Emile Gruppe, many of whom Moore noted had ties to central New York during their artistic careers.

There are also paintings by Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo denoting the elephant and the dove, the nicknames by which the husband-and-wife painters were known. Moore noted that The Elephant and The Dove is the name of the Mexican restaurant that Adam and Kim Weitsman plan to open down the street from the jewelry store and art gallery.

"I just like looking at them," Moore said, adding that he grew up visiting the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica to see the art collections in that museum. "They're fun to have."

The Weitsmans' restaurant and Moore's art gallery actually received their critical impact permits from the Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees on the same night in the last step of the approval process for each business.

"Everything was good," Moore said of getting the proper permits and plans in place for his new business. "It went really nice. ... This is a wonderful little space."

He pointed that the art gallery is a "totally separate" business from the store, and in fact it is physically separate — there is no door connecting the gallery and the store and one must walk through the municipal parking lot in order to find the art gallery.

For the ribbon-cutting event, Moore stood at the door and welcomed friends and visitors to his gallery as if he were an artist hosting a reception of his own work. And that is what his new business evokes through the collection that Moore himself has been building over a few decades.

As is tradition with the chamber, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tara Lynn presented Moore with a plaque commemorating his new business, and members of the welcoming committee each held one end of the ceremonial ribbon that Moore cut in half to hark the gallery's opening.

"What an amazing addition to an already wonderful community," Lynn said, noting Moore has already been in business for 33 years. "We're lucky to have you."

Journal Editor Jonathan Monfiletto can be reached at jonathan.monfiletto@lee.net or (315) 283-1615. Follow him on Twitter @WOC_Monfiletto.

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