Patrons leave Lark laundry mat with clean clothes and culture

May 17, 2017 05:42 PM

ALBANY - Washing clothes just became less of a chore and more of an experience at Rocco's Laundromat on Lark Street.

"It is different.  You don't usually see that at a laundry mat," commented Alfie Turner who checked out the newly displayed art as he waited for his clothes to wash and dry.

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The once unused back room of the laundry mat is now filled with a variety of art -- all different mediums -- created in and by people in Albany.  Several galleries on Lark Street have closed in recent years which has been tough on local artists who rely on exposure.  The hope is "half Louvre-half laundry" could be the business model that thrives.

"There is a need by our artists of places to show and share their art with the community," explained Stephanie Levay, owner of Rocco's Art Gallery.

No overhead means that Levay doesn't have to charge a submission fee or commission.   Artists who sell their work at Rocco's can choose to make a donation, however.  The exhibit will change every couple weeks which enhances the laundry mat experience for patrons but also means more artists get seen.

"I want this to benefit the artist as much as possible this is utilizing free space in a creative way," added Levay.

Rocco's Gallery has been open for just more than a week and already several pieces have sold -- both to people who came specifically for the art but also those who only expected to leave with clean clothes.

"Art has come a long way in this area," said Dennis Gervasio, one of the local artists who sold a piece at Rocco's.

Enough artists have signed up to fill the gallery through the end of the year.


Abigail Bleck

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