The couple married in 1984 and by the mid 1990s, after both had retired, they pursued their life-long passions in earnest. The couple took a giant step in making their collective dream a reality by opening their own art gallery called “Art From the Heart” at 218 Hillcrest Manor, Marlboro, NY.
“This was meant for us,” she said, barely able to contain her enthusiasm. Elina said her husband, now 82, was born in Varsi in northern Italy in the Province of Parma, two hours east of the port city of Genoa. Pietro immigrated to the U.S. in 1958. Though he carved a little as a boy, his artistic life really took off after retiring in 1992.
“He’s never had any formal education. That’s what’s amazing,” Elina said. “He sees stories in a tree trunk.”
Nellie Toma, a friend of Elina’s since grade school, said “I’m amazed,” upon seeing the gallery now open.
For years, Toma has watched Elina grow as an artist.
“She’s improved over the years, progressively,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
Though Elina studied art in college she did not take any watercolor classes. After her schooling “I was drawn to it. To me it’s magical. It takes you places…Many times I let the water tell me the story.” Elina said she particularly enjoys using brilliant colors in her work.
“I am so excited. This is a dream come true. I’m 73 years old and it’s been a lifetime dream to have a gallery,” she said, with a hint of emotion in her voice.
Pietro had many wood carvings on display, from figurines to birds and fishes, such as a Swordfish. He also had several abstract pieces on view; one entitled “Universe in Turmoil.”
Glenn Clarke said this gallery is a welcome addition to the town.
“This is a lot of talent from a few people and this is the kind of thing this town needs to progress and to grow,” he said.
“You need art, music and you need theater; all those good things. This is an asset to the town [and] art is a vital thing.”
Edouard DeSoto said he is excited to see this gallery open. “To have it here in our hometown is fantastic,” he said.
DeSoto recalled a time when he was at an exhibit at the Milton Train Station and was unaware that Elina was sketching him, which eventually turned into a painting.
“The next time I was at a show I saw the painting so I bought it from her,” he said with a laugh. “I have it in my house now.”
To add a touch of Italian culture for the opening, Elina hired accordionist Roberto Milanese.
Art From the Heart will also in the future feature works by other artists. The gallery is located at 218 Hillcrest Manor, Marlboro, NY. Call for an appointment. Elina can be reached at (914) 475-9479.