Gallery North Celebrates Local Art at Wet Paint Festival

Annual event honors late artist with exhibition, on-location painters, and auction.

Gallery North in East Setauket hosted their sixth annual Wet Paint Festival this past weekend, and hundreds of art lovers gathered at the nonprofit gallery to view and bid on freshly painted local art.

On Friday and Saturday, the Gallery housed an exhibition of late local artist Joseph Reboli, whose memory the festival honors. While that was going on, artists painted from several Old Field and Stony Brook locations. Once completed, the new paintings were put on display – replacing Reboli's.

Then, on Sunday came the auction.

"The Wet Paint Festival is pressure," said Doug Reina, one of the 63 participating artists. His piece, "Ponies," completed in just a day and a half, started at a minimum bid of $850 in the silent auction.

There were 59 paintings submitted this year; 10 were selected for a live auction while the rest were silently auctioned.

"I wish it was a little livelier. Bidding seems a little slower than last year," said festival musician, Craig Becker. "You've got to think the economy has something to do with it."

Yet, festival turnout was high. "The air conditioning couldn't even accommodate the amount of people coming in and out today," said Thea Macker, assistant to the director at Gallery North.

"It's been absolutely crazy. Crazy in a good way though," said Gallery staff member, Jackie Redko. "It's a lot of work putting on two shows in three days."

Most of the artists were in attendance for Sunday's auction, but very few believed that their paintings would sell.

"One artist called during the day to ask if she should come in to pick up her painting," said Macker. "That's art lingo for 'did it sell?'"