Wednesday, July 7, 2010


In our historic neighborhood we have an alley. In the late 1800’s alleys served many purposes. Kids played 'stick ball" in them, neighbors called to neighbors across them, incinerators burned trash and leaves there. They were also primarily made for the delivery of goods by horse drawn wagons. Our back alley building served as a shed for the coal hauler to deliver his black chunks by horse wagon for the coal furnaces around town. Today that shed is a miniature art gallery called “Gallery O”.  

Recently we had our sixth “sort’a annual” alley party there for friends and the neighborhood. We do this as a way of getting to know our neighbors, catching up with the friends and creating a community of people that wave to each other. It just seemed like a good idea a while back. In the old days people would sit on their front porches every day at dusk and ‘shoot the breeze’ with whoever walked by. It was particularly popular on Sunday evenings. It is what people used to do back before the media took over our lives and made us all shut ins watching the evening news instead of the light glancing off the Flatiron rocks over the city here.

For the party we block off our alley and put out furniture, tables, chairs, rugs, lamps, a big tent we that doubles as a ‘Play Sail” kite, ping pong tables, banners and whatever else we can find to make this most communal space comfortable and fun for a summer evening. People bring food, drinks, a friend, a story, a song, a game or…. “a horse” ...this year’s theme. We open our studio and show kids films in the “Alley Cat Theater”, and, this year, had a show  at our Gallery O called “The Horse Show” and invited children, artists and non artists to bring something with a horse in it. Many of neighbors and friends brought works on or about horses. Our next door neighbor even brought three real horses to the delight of everyone, especially the children. There were two miniature ponies for petting and one riding pony whose owner walked the wide eyed riders around the block on.

pony rides were given to the kids

The alley set up just before guests arrived and the rain hit

One of the hits of the night was the firing off of about eight pressurized water bottle rockets made by some of the family members who came and other friends who took up the challenge. They streamed into the sky spraying a trail of water mist, some ricocheting off the overhead cables to the delight of the ducking audience. Luckily they didn’t spook the horses into a stampede through the food table.

The Horse Show gathered an eclectic mix of works as anticipated with some really wonderful things. Below are some of the images from the gallery walls. People brought photography, drawings, prints, sculptures, there was even a horse headed human who paraded through the crowd. 

Half a Horse - Sandy Hale

Capriole - Pam Capozolla

Light Horse - Melanie Walker + George Peters

Light Horse 3 - Melanie Walker + George Peters

Scorpio Rising - Sherry Hart

Italian Stallions - Melanie Walker

Eye Chart - Melanie Walker

Chance - Sherry Hart

Lukas Bachmann - age 8

Horse Hinge - collection of Joanne Grillo

Rocking Horse Toy - collection of Peters+Walker

Galloping News - George Peters

Richard Block - collection of Joanne Grillo

Horse & Moon - Carol Bachmann

Blue Horse - Melanie Walker

Trojan Horse - Oliver Hart - age 8

Sanjay wearing the Horse Head

For the photo frame images go to the slide show  as well as a parade of our lead toy horse collection