Gallo presents on women in art for Chautauqua Speaks

If the love of art could be brewed and bottled, it would be named “Mimi Gallo” after the real Mimi Gallo, a Chautauquan and gifted teacher.

Gallo can communicate enthusiasm, knowledge and love of art and its importance to life and understanding history. Simultaneously, she can motivate students to learn more.

The classroom setting doesn’t matter, whether during Special Studies classes or the 9:15 a.m. Thursday morning Chautauqua Speaks program “Wild Woman Artists.” It is the excitement, the intellectual electricity and sense of discovery which Gallo’s program is certain to engender which matters.

The Thursday morning program at the Chautauqua Women’s Club Clubhouse introduces Chautauqua visitors to two unconventional and independent women: Suzanne Marie Valadon, 1865–1938; and Tamara de Lempicka, 1898–1980. They share flamboyant biographies, which describe individuality and bravery as they pursued their artistic careers. The presentation will also include pictures of the art each created.

In important ways, Gallo’s path to art historian is as brave and individual as the women artists she admires. It was also in some respects accidental. Though her parents and brother have backgrounds in the arts, Gallo studied journalism at Northwestern University.

“I was asked by the curriculum director of the Chagrin Falls School District in Ohio to design an art appreciation program for fourth grade students. Calls from other schools followed,” Gallo said.

The job was also the beginning of her mastery of the subject and reputation as an art historian. Gallo seems to have some advanced entrepreneurial skills. She saw an opportunity to develop art history curriculums for public schools and co-founded Art Partner Inc.

“We didn’t make that much money. But it funded our self-education, trips to museums and lectures,” she said.

Gallo’s love of art is contagious. As is her advocacy of women artists. She is a gentle warrior who said female artists have not received the attention and respect they deserve, and she will do her bit to see that changes.

“Can you name five female artists who have international reputation?” she asked.

Try to answer. It is a great preparation for the Chautauqua Speaks program Thursday morning.

Gallo is board member of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs and is involved with outreach programs to the schools continuing her mission to educate about art. For the support group of Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, she was president of VACI Partners and was a member of the board for six years.

Her gracious, energetic personality alone would leave its positive mark, but the Gallos have left an enduring reminder of their support for the arts at Chautauqua. They funded the Gallo Family Gallery at Strohl Art Center, and she and her husband funded the Jim and Mimi Gallo Gallery at Fowler-Kellogg Art Center.