ADAMS -- The storefront of 93 Summer St. has displayed many items over the years -- everything from ladies’ gloves to musical instruments to pool toys -- but Greylock Arts is now celebrating five years of showcasing the work of artists from near and far behind that glass.
The "Greylock Arts: Five" exhibition commemorates the gallery’s anniversary and features the work of 35 artists from past shows.
"At Friday’s opening, we had kids, people in their 20s and people in their 80s," Marianne Petit said over the weekend of the kick-off event to open the exhibition.
Petit operates the gallery with her partner, Matthew Belanger, who was unavailable for comment Sunday due to illness. Belanger and Petit live above the gallery space and split their time between Adams and New York City, where Petit is a professor at New York University and Belanger is an adjunct professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College as well as a freelance web developer.
Serendipity started the series of events that led the pair to this milestone.
"We ended up in Adams by mistake on the way to North Adams, and we were completely charmed," Petit said. "Matthew found this building empty. Summer Street is really special and has a long history, and we didn’t want another empty space. We wanted to have something special in the windows "
Petit said opening the gallery was a gamble, but the community has been welcoming over
"We really didn’t know what we were doing and were making it up as we went along. A lot of people showed up and were very enthusiastic," she said of the gallery’s first show. "This is a really warm and friendly community of people."
While some might think of sales and commission when it comes to running a gallery, Petit said Greylock Arts is not a venture of profit and the gallery is supported by the pair’s work in New York.
"When we opened, neither of us had an interest in being gallerists," she said. "Neither of us had an interest in making commission and making this financial. This is a labor of love. We don’t make any money here."
The current show, on display through Sept. 2, gathers artists from the gallery’s history, all the way back to Gregory Shakar, the focus of the space’s first exhibition in 2007.
"It was a lot of going through each show and reaching out to people to see if they were available and to see if they had something new or something they had previously shown," Petit said of the exhibition’s genesis. "It gave us an opportunity to reach back and work with people we had previously enjoyed working with."
Petit said each show at Greylock Arts -- the gallery hosts four to six a year -- starts with a theme and she was surprised that despite the number of artists, "Greylock Arts: Five" was able to maintain a sense of unity.
"That was an interesting thing about coming up with the five-year anniversary show: You would think that would be disparate, but because [the artworks] came from themed shows, we were able to group them so it wasn’t disparate and confusing."
While Petit and Belanger don’t have any major changes planned for the gallery, she said they are both happy to be operating on Summer Street and plan to remain there.
"This is definitely our home. There’s no question about that. We love it here," she said.
Follow Michael J. Foster on Twitter: @NAT_DigitalMike.