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Artists form ‘exotiq’ collective

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After a short vacancy, a new collective art gallery has cropped up at the corner of Hawkins Street and City Island Avenue.

Kaleidoscope Gallery opened at 280 City Island Avenue, in the storefront once occupied by Exotiqa International. Former Exotiqa owner Paul Klein will run Kaleidoscope as he finishes out the store’s lease. However, Kaleidoscope Gallery is a collaborative effort, for which Klein partnered with several other artists.

Klein said that many people approached him during the past winter as he wound down Exotiqa, which had been a fixture in the City Island artistic community for over 10 years. They expressed their regret that his store was closing, and wished that something could be done. Kaleidoscope, an extended partnership of different types of artists and crafts people, was his answer.

“The new concept is a cooperative gallery,” Klein said. “I came up with the idea when we were closing the other store. I am subletting space to various artists and this brings a whole new mix of things into the store. It is very exciting and the feedback has been great.”

Among the members of the collective are: Lois Weingarten, a painter that has had gallery shows all over the country; George Dean Callas, a photographer specializing in limited edition prints; painter Daniel Nisbet; Engraveable Keepsakes by Susan; Louis Mendez, who does traditional ceramics and graphic images; Tatika Crafts by Vicki; and jewelry and gifts by Klein himself.

In addition, the new gallery carries Melissa & Doug educational toys, Uglydolls, and other kiddie favorites from the Toysmith company. It is also the exclusive distributor of City Island Gold Honey, which is good for allergies, non-pasteurized, and produced by City Island-raised bees.

Kaleidoscope will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

“Kaleidoscope keeps a retail business on City Island,” said Klein, who is also president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce. “By sharing a space it seems to have worked out. We are still doing a lot of different kinds of things, but I am not solely responsible for keeping the inventory. That is nice, in a way.”

Klein and his art partners hope that local shoppers will also find something nice in the store itself.

Reach Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393.

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