You can blink: Morristown’s 70 South Gallery is staying, at least for now

BLUE SKIES for 70 South Gallery? Director Ira Black hopes so. Photo by Ira Black
BLUE SKIES for 70 South Gallery? Director Ira Black hopes so. Photo by Ira Black
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Ira L. Black, director of the 70 South Gallery, is feeling more optimistic about the venue’s future than he did back in January.

“For the foreseeable future, we will be here,” Black said on Tuesday.

Ira L. Black, director of the 70 South Gallery in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Ira L. Black, director of the 70 South Gallery in Morristown, pictured in 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

A few weeks ago, he was facing the expiration of his lease at the end of February. With his financial backer pulling out, he scrambled for partners to sustain the gallery, which has showcased works by established- and aspiring photographers since October 2014.

Black won’t reveal details, beyond hints that partnerships are pending.

“We’re not looking to move as we originally thought. We’re looking at a couple of options, and potential partnerships with a local business or two,” he said.

Black said he received an outpouring of support from the community when he spread the word about his plight. Monthly exhibitions have featured everyone from high school sharpshooters to the late Vivian Maier, whose recently discovered works have generated great excitement in art circles.

Patron Ted Baldanzi, a retired entrepreneur and photo enthusiast, created the gallery by renovating the longtime home of Sandrian Camera, a Morristown fixture for 87 years. Baldanzi has decided it’s time to pass the baton, according to Black.

Quilts by the late Viki Craig are among the works featured in 'The Art of Jazz' show at Morristown's 70 South Gallery, Feb. 22, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler
Quilts by the late Viki Craig were among the works featured in ‘The Art of Jazz’ show at Morristown’s 70 South Gallery, Feb. 22, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler

The gallery director envisions the space on South Street evolving into a community center, with more events like February’s Black History Month celebration and additional presentations like the music nights it has hosted with the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

In the meantime, 70 South continues to offer photo printing and framing services.

And exhibitions continue: Black’s photos from a Himalayan trek through India and Bhutan are on display, along with portraits by the gallery’s chief printer, Mariah Texidor.

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