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Local Women Paint 'Childhood' For March Exhibit In Wyckoff

Ruth Bauer Neustadter will be displaying the mixed-media "Birthday Girl" in the March show. Photo Credit: Ruth Bauer Neustadter
This acrylic painting, entitled "Rocking Chair," was created by Harriet Sobie Goldstein. Photo Credit: Kris Pepper

WYCKOFF, N.J. – March is Women's History Month, and the public is welcome to come celebrate at the Wyckoff Family YMCA as it hosts the new exhibit "Childhood" and its opening reception next Thursday evening, March 9.

The show will feature works that highlight the experience of childhood, created by members of Salute to Women in the Arts, a community of artists who work and live in Bergen County.

It will be on display from Tuesday, March 7, until the end of the month.

"Women's History Month is a very rich topic: women's processes and their contributions to our community," said Colleen Gallagher, curator of the YMCA's Gallery691.

So it seemed quite appropriate to display art from Salute, she said.

"Salute artists have connected to their inner child to create artwork expressive of childhood," the group noted. The works will be varied and include images of children, toys and memories of childhood.

Ruth Bauer Neustadter, a Paramus native now living in Hackensack, is one of the artists who will be displaying her work in the March exhibit.

"'Birthday Girl' is a piece that has evolved over time: I just kept working on it and working on it," Neustadter told Daily Voice. "It looks like a child that is kind of overwhelmed with what is going on around her."

She described how, with all the people and presents and everything, "some children want to go hide."

A lot of Neustadter's work is very abstract, and she describes herself as largely a mixed-media painter.

"This is a good example of that particular style," she said. "It's a painting of found objects: her eyes are made out of nuts and bolts, her arms are made out of antique clothespins ... ."

She just closed out a show in Fair Lawn, and she has a solo exhibit called "Go Figure" opening this Tuesday in New York City's Ceres Gallery. It has a March 2 opening reception and will run through March 25. Click here for more details.

"I was an artist on day one." She was a professional dancer, performing modern dance into her 30s, and she even had her own company, she said.

But she could never get art to fully pay the bills: it's almost impossible, she added ruefully. So she's also had "day jobs" of being a reporter for WBAI Radio and teaching special education for years.

In addition to being a member of Salute, Neustadter is on the board of the Center for Modern Dance Education, in Hackensack. To view more of Neustadter's work, click here.

Gallager said Salute has had perhaps four or five exhibits at the YMCA over the last decade, but this is the first since its gallery was renamed this past fall. The gallery is just one aspect of Y Arts in the Community, with its mission of bringing the visual arts, music and theater to Bergen County, she added.

Refreshments will be served at the reception, and Salute members will be on hand. All artwork in the exhibit will be for sale, and a portion of the sales will go to Wyckoff Y Cares.

That fund provides scholarships and financial assistance for individuals and families with children, Gallagher explained – "especially those overburdened with medical costs or other life-changing experiences."

Gallagher added that all of the artists who exhibit at the Y and sell their work donate a percentage of those sales.

The opening reception will be from 6-8 p.m. The YMCA is located at 691 Wyckoff Ave.

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