Glynis Berry, Art Sites Gallery founder and director, trusts her unconscious mind to such an extent that one morning she awoke and decided she had to open an art gallery. “After this dream I had, I was fixed on finding a space,” Berry laughs. The next day she and her husband Hideaki Ariizumi, both well-respected architects, sought out a space and eventually opened their first gallery in Greenport in 2000. “It was a small space but it was a place where we could display meaningful work that confronted difficult themes, the big questions.”
In 2005, they transitioned over to Riverhead into a larger space with the idea of expanding this vision of bringing challenging art into the community. After seven years of expert showings, accruing a collection of esteemed international artists, and garnering the attention of major press, Berry has ceased to rest. “We just pick art we like and we’ve been fortunate with the generosity that artists have shown us. It seems one artist just leads to another, as you develop real relationships within the community.”
Now in 2012 her vision has not only shifted some, but it’s magnified as well. She’s focusing much of her efforts on how the environment and art relate to one another. “I think artists nowadays are more aware of how art can be integrated into a public workspace. I want to work with artists that understand the space around them, the importance and beauty of nature, and my hope is that we can help increase this awareness and build better communities.”
This keenness for nature derives from her upbringing; Berry was raised in the small factory town, Hopedale, Massachusetts. The community was centered on a loom manufacturing plant where most of Berry’s family worked. “This company and town put a lot of effort into how they laid out the village, how they treated nature and their workers. Housing was well built, too. There was something inherently good about the whole project, and that idea has been with me since the beginning.”
Berry has not only brought this environmentally conscious sensibility into her gallery, but she’s also incorporated it into her architectural business, Studio A/B Architects, where they’ve been persistent with their environmental advocacy efforts. Berry is now LEED certified, affiliated with the US Green Building Council and has recently founded the not-for-profit Peconic Green Growth Inc. whose focus is disposal and usage alternatives for wastewater. “Wastewater can be a resource. We can use it for irrigation, greenhouses—the possibilities are vast.”
On a whim, in 2000, Berry and Ariizumi opened a quaint gallery, and from this initial vision a community has grown where art and nature are now in the foreground of Long Island’s consciousness. “Still my favorite thing to do is to walk and look at nature and art and all of its beauty. These are the things we treasure and these are things we must preserve.”
Featuring works by Hideaki Ariizumi, Lillian Ball, Andrea Cote, Scott McIntire, Robert Oxnam, Hope Sandrow, Ulf Skogsbergh and Nina Yankowitz. artsitesgallery.com.