Art at APL

Opalka Gallery is excited to partner with The Albany Public Library in the Art at APL program, a curated fine art exhibition program at the Pine Hills Branch. In two exhibitions each year, the program integrates professional artwork into public spaces within the library to enrich the library experience
and introduce patrons to art by regional and national artists. Art at APL is funded in part by the Friends & Foundation of Albany Public Library. Ask a librarian if you want to join the mailing list, get a list of artwork in the current show, or for other questions about the program.

Opalka Gallery is an innovative exhibition space on the campus of the Sage College of Albany (only 1.5 miles from Pine Hills) that showcases outstanding contemporary art and design from national and international artists. An important part of the cultural life in our Capital Region, the gallery hosts lectures, films, performances and other events in conjunction with five annual exhibitions.

Library Hours:
Monday 12-8 pm
Tuesday 10 am-6 pm
Wednesday 12-8 pm
Thursday 10 am-6 pm
Friday 12-6 pm
Saturday 10 am-5 pm
Sunday Closed


Art at APL is supported in part by the John D. Picotte Family Foundation.


Dream Work, 2023, by Victoria van der Laan

Secondhand and repurposed textiles, stainless steel wire

December 1, 2023- December 1, 2024

Conceived with themes of interconnectedness (weaving/knotting/draping), diversity (of form, color, and size), and energy (bold colors and movement) in mind, Dream Work is a joyous manifestation of abundance and belonging for all. Each of the elements of the work was individually created and intuitively brought together with hand stitches to embody a vision of community care and support that mirrors the sanctuary of the library.

This installation is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Arts Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of The Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Arts Center of the Capital Region. 

Free art workshop! Quilt Collage with Victoria van der Laan

Pine Hills Library, 517 Western Avenue, Albany, NY

December 7, 4:00 to 4:45pm

Please register at this website. Registration closes Dec 7:

[For Ages 7+] Gee’s Bend is a small African American community in rural Alabama that has become famous for the stunning and unique quilts made by generations of women there. Learn about the Gee’s Bend quiltmakers and create your own collage note cards inspired by their bold and colorful quilts.

This program is presented by Victoria van der Laan, Art at APL’s featured artist, and it is sponsored by a New York State Council on the Arts grant in partnership with Opalka Gallery. Art at APL is generously sponsored by the Friends and Foundation of APL.




December 1, 2023- May 11, 2024


Opening reception Friday, December 1, 2023, 6:00 to 7:30pm

Cyndy Barbone | Johnathan DeSousa | Kathy Greenwood

Lori Lawrence | Joy Muller-McCoola | Mark Olshansky

Jess Stapf | Barbara Todd

“Extra/Ordinary” highlights works by contemporary artists whose creations straddle craft and fine art. Artists from the region are using braiding, sewing, quilting, embroidery, felting, tufting, and needlepoint tapestry to expand domestic visual approaches to artmaking. The results mark time, include images of contemporary culture, are full of carefully embellished surfaces commemorating life, and represent a materiality that tricks the eye. 

In Extra/Ordinary, Barbara Todd pays homage to the history of craft with her work, Talking to History (After Center Star with Corner Stars), a quilt completed in black and white, like a memory, identical to an adored colorful historic quilt, “Center Star with Corner Stars.” Kathy Greenwood’s braided rugs gone wild allude to the kind of utilitarian objects women in the late 19th might have made using all of their household fabrics. Here, Greenwood’s titles—Hot Mess, In Labor, and Waste Not—allude to the intensity of domestic production. Cyndy Barbone also refers to “women’s work” by weaving portraits of women she knows personally who are facing various contemporary personal  issues. Joy Muller-McCoola’s felted wool artworks trick the eye with her juxtaposition of soft materials and hard-as-a-rock subject matter. Jess Stapf’s work also interferes with our sense of reality; her soft rug surfaces resemble cloud-filled skies. In the needlework realm, Lori Lawrence and Mark Olshansky embrace repetitive and detailed processes of embroidery and needlepoint tapestry that embellish landscape or abstraction. At 94 years old, Olshansky is the oldest artist in the show, and Johnathan DeSousa is one of the youngest. DeSousa’s work shows a fixation with the digital age. In his sewn assemblages, fabric imprinted with images from the internet are sewn together creating a mashup of narratives. 

Image credit:

Hot Mess 2, by Kathy Greenwood, photo courtesy Beth Mickalonis.





Past Exhibitions


Tag, You’re It!
June 2- Nov. 4, 2023

For APL’s Centennial Anniversary, we invited artists to collaborate on Exquisite Corpse drawings(a unique parlor game started about 100 years ago by the Surrealists)in a show we are calling, Tag, You’re It. 76 artists from the Capital region and beyond, in an orchestrated and “blind” mail exchange, worked together yielding 25 collaborative drawings. Groups of three artists were each assigned a section(“head, torso, legs”) and had to follow a specific mailing schedule. These pieces will be auctioned off in the Fall to fund more ART @ APL programs. Make note of the ones you like! 


Yura Adams, Fern Apfel, Polly Apfelbaum, David Austin, Ever Baldwin, Richard Barlowe, Sharon Bates, David Behl, Judith Braun, Farrell Brickhouse, Donnabelle Casis, Beth Casper, Ashley Norwood Cooper, Pauline Decarmo, Andrew Evans, Jean Feinberg, Rebecca Flis, Peg Foley, Rich Garrison, Danny Goodwin, Kathy Greenwood, Niki Haynes, Andrea Hersh, Juan Hinojosa, Natasha Holmes, Tana Kellner, Jenny Kemp, Anna Kenar, Hedya Klein, Chad Kleitsch, Henry Klimowicz, Lucretia Knapp, Jacqueline Lake- Sample, Madison LaVallee, Jessica Loy, Iain Machell, Jeff Mack, Willie Marlowe, Mindy McDaniel, Josh McPhee, Catherine McTague, Jeanna Mead, Susan Meyer and Jeff Starr, Paul Miyamoto, Laura Moriarty, Michael Oatman, Gina Occhiogrosso, Sara Farrell Okamura, Fernando Orellana, Ruby Palmer, Ahndraya Parlato, Giselle Potter, Tatiana Potts, Ken Ragsdale, Steve Rein, Ben Schwab, Dana Sela, Claire Sherwood, Gail Skudera, Greg Slick, Kamilla Talbot, Kim Tateo, Christina Tenaglia, Melissa Thorne, Barbara Todd, Rebekah Tolley, Rebecca Shepard, Stephen Tyson, Anya Ulinich, Jason van Staveren, Hanna Washburn, Jeff Wigman, Immanuel Williams, Lynne Yamamoto, Deborah Zlotsky


Neither Here Nor There

December 2, 2022 through May 6, 2023

The liminal, the in-between, middle ground, limbo, and the venn diagram. When do we feel at home or familiar with a place? These artists recognize and work within those feelings and places of the in-between—that feeling of being not a tourist, yet not a local. Some do this with materials, some more conceptually, but together they show us that experiencing the complexity of someone else’s view can reveal a new shared intersection of understanding.

Anna Kenar
Ann Le
Iain Machell
Arnela Mahmutović
Miraj Patel
Sarah Pezdek
Karen Schupack
Anya Ulinich


Lasting Impression

June 3, 2022 to November 5, 2022

 “Lasting Impression,” a new Art at APL exhibit curated by Opalka Gallery opened on June 3, 2002 at the Albany Public Library Pine Hills Branch. “Lasting Impression” can be viewed by the general public during operating hours at the Pine Hills Branch (517 Western Ave.) from June 4 through Nov. 5. 

Art professors often have dual roles: making art and turning students into artists. Eleven regional printmaking professors were asked to exhibit and to, in turn, invite a current or former student to exhibit alongside them. “Lasting Impression” reveals both the range of printwork being made in our region and the lasting impressions students and faculty make on each other. Ten regional colleges are represented in the exhibition: Bard College, Bennington College, Dutchess Community College, Middlebury College, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Skidmore College, SUNY Oneonta, University at Albany, University of Hartford, and Union College. 

The “Lasting Impression” artists are: Jesse Alsdorf, Allison Conley, Leona Christie, Thorsten Dennerline, Andrew S. Evans, Jr., Charlotte Fairless, Bekka Goedde, Lindsey Guile, Jon Greene, Hedya Klein, Alexandra Lake, Branden Law, Kate Leavitt, Nathan Meltz, Catherine McTague, Farhad Mirza, Madeline Montero, Rhea Nowak, Tatiana Potts, Sydney Samele, Rebekah Tolley, and Immanuel Williams.

The exhibit is in conjunction with the Screenprint Biennial and Graphic Liberation exhibitions opening at Opalka Gallery on September 6. The Lasting Impression reception and exhibit are partially funded by the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library. 




Pieced Together on view October 1, 2021 through April 17, 2022

The exhibit showcases artists who transform cut paper and other discarded materials into new compositions. Whether through model making or collage, these artists find inspiration in scrap paper, fabric remnants, old maps, photos, or magazines. For some, the allure of a commonplace material like cardboard is the freedom inherent in it—it isn’t precious or perceived as valuable so anything goes. For others, it’s the history of the material—all the other stories it has told and can yet tell. Often it’s simply the economy of re-using scraps. Ultimately, the satisfaction comes from piecing it all together into something new.

Artists: Fern Apfel, Paula Drysdale Frazell, Danny Goodwin, Chloe Harrison, Niki Haynes, Beth Humphrey, Henry Klimowicz, Juan Hinojosa, Melinda McDaniel, Michael Oatman, and Kenneth Ragsdale.

Watch a video about the exhibition here:


Creative Curbsides December 2021

Dana Sela/Kim Tateo installation at the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch.

Installation at Bach Branch by Eight Plums (Gracelee Lawrence & Ben Seretan)

During the COVID19 pandemic, the library was closed to the public, with only curbside service. Instead of an indoor exhibition at the Pine Hills Branch, we proposed a public art initiative to feature local artist’s work in the windows of two branches, the Bach Branch on New Scotland Ave. and the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch on Henry Johnson Boulevard. A public call was issued and out of 14 proposals, two were chosen. Eight Plums (Gracelee Lawrence and Ben Seretan) created the Bach Branch installation while Dana Sela in collaboration with Kim Tateo of the Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm created the one for the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch.

See the Albany Times Union article about the project here.

And on Albany Made, an Albany Public Library podcast, Opalka Director Judie Gilmore and Exhibitions and Marketing Manager Amy Griffin, spoke with APL’s Head of Branches (Bach & Pine Hills) Deanna DiCarlo about the project. Listen here.

Rear View: Life Examined December 6, 2019-May 2, 2020

Rear View: Life Examined featured artists whose work begins with memory. Whether starting from oral histories, (Daesha Devón-Harris and Paul Miyamoto), from old snapshots (David Austin, Steve Rein, and Gail Skudera), or from actual memories (Leona and Gavin Christie, Meighan Gale, and Kenneth Ragsdale), these artists examine the ways we try to hold on to, reconstruct, and reckon with memories throughout our lives. This process knits together our past to our present, forging a narrative of a life, examined.

Read William Jaeger’s review of Rear View in the Albany Times Union here.

“A Melody with Embedded Harmonies” by Kenneth Ragsdale.

Rear View coincided with the installation of Kenneth Ragsdale’s “A Melody with Embedded Harmonies,” a temporary installation by artist Kenneth Ragsdale, made possible by an Upstate Coalition for a Fairgame Arts Grant. The installation was extended due to the pandemic.

Picture This June 7 through November 2, 2019

Picture This was the first Opalka/Art at APL collaboration. Dive into any good book and vivid imagery appears in the your mind. Great authors use words to create new worlds, guiding readers through carefully chosen descriptions, metaphors, and the rhythms of language. Similarly, artists can create stories and characters through pictures, using color, style, and scenery to suggest imagined places and narratives. In both cases, the reader (or viewer) plays a part in the creation of the fictional world.

Picture this: a young girl learns about her grandfather, a cacao farmer in the Ivory Coast; a fan gets the opportunity to sit with his idols; a girl asks her older sister what to dream about; a cat presides over a multigenerational family. These are some of the stories told by the artists in this exhibition, all whose work has a whimsical or fantastic quality, suggesting larger stories for authors or viewers to fill in with their imaginations. Some of the exhibited artists are indeed book illustrators and writers (Jeff Mack, Matthew McElligott, Giselle Potter, Stacey Robinson and Elizabeth Zunon), and some are painters (Darcie Abbatiello, Brian Cirmo, and Ann Wolf) whose work is not created primarily for books. But these artists all share a similar studio practice–creating pictures that tell a story, introducing us to new places and characters. We, as viewers, get to fill in the blanks.