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'The New York Times' Profile on SVA's Lia Gangitano

From The New York Times: Art galleries adhere to a familiar architectural playbook. An aloof gallery employee sits up front. Soaring white walls inside. Somewhere in the back, unseen, the gallery’s owner.

But Lia Gangitano, 48, the founder of Participant Inc, the alternative art space on the Lower East Side on East Houston Street, does not hew to this formula. Her floors are rough plywood. Her walls—like her hair, sexy-nerdy eyeglass frames and sense of humor—are all fairly black. And Ms. Gangitano can usually be found on a couch or at a table, sheltered from the public by only a small partition.

For 15 years, Ms. Gangitano has brought witty, raucous and challenging works to the art world’s attention on a modest budget. But she has also managed to achieve something even more rare: a vibrant gallery scene that seems to reject the antiseptically academic atmosphere pervading much of the avant-garde art world.

That hard work is finally paying off, at least in acclaim. In February, she was the first recipient of an award bestowed by White Columns and Shoot the Lobster gallery for 'creating a context and community for art to thrive.' Last year, Maine’s Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture gave her its prestigious Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Artists..." (continue reading)

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