Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 14, 2013

'Helping the other guy'

Managing artists part of painter/gallery owner’s mission

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Although she wasn’t trained as an artist, Barbara Delligatti has found success as a watercolor artist and gallery owner.

She will mark 10 years in business, having opened The Upstairs Gallery in 2003.

“I was inspired to open an art gallery for several reasons: my art career was taking off in watercolor and I wanted to be my own boss and manage artists to their fullest potential and to paint in gallery,” Delligatti, who is the gallery’s featured artist for March, said. “I like to be organized, so this helps me keep on track.”

The gallery represents 10 artists from the Tri-State and each month, those artists have pieces on display at TUG. Delligatti said it’s important to her to be of assistance to other artists.

“I am a firm believer of helping out the other guy in so many ways,” she said. “We are on this earth to be the best we can to ourselves and others and sharing information, such as myself teaching watercolor.  Helping out your fellow man is gratifying.”

She said in choosing artists to join the gallery, she looks for artists who offer something different and something that can help the gallery grow.

 About seven years ago, Delligatti said she began making use of some of the space at her husband, Tom’s, business, The Thoroughbred Agency, a financial, property and casualty business downstairs from TUG. The long hallway in the office is used to display special shows, she said.

As for Delligatti’s own development as an artist, it began when she was 12 and started drawing. She married and raised three children, but by 1988 she took up oil painting and took classes at a vocational school where she lived in Sarasota, Fla. Her family moved to Hoover, Ala., and she continued painting in oils.

She later switched to watercolor, taking classes for two years and diligently studying the medium, which is when she found the most success. She has won more than 50 ribbons and awards but said she’s most proud of having been juried into Tamarack in Beckley, W.Va., and selling her art there. Her works have sold at the Huntington Museum of Art and the Foothills Art Show in Jackson, Ohio. She continues to jury into many prestigious art shows.

Although she continues to dabble in other media, her main outlet is watercolor. She began teaching  watercolor at her gallery in 2006, but has since moved classes to Hobby Lobby in Barboursville to accommodate a larger group. She said she hopes to offer classes in Ashland soon.

Delligatti said the rewards of creative endeavors are great.

“My goal is to push myself to paint larger, which I am constantly told I need to do,” she said. “The benefits of painting make you think of being creative. When I am around lovely art all day, as I am in TUG, how could I not be inspired?”

For more information about The Upstairs Gallery, The Thoroughbred Gallery or the artist, visit yessy.com/barbiedell53 or call (304) 633-4401.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.