Downtown Somerville adds new gallery to vibrant arts scene
September 13, 2017 | Bob Makin

Gallery on Division, downtown Somerville’s latest fine art gallery, will host a reception for its opening show, “Conception,” from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 14.

The exhibit will showcase eight artists and coincides with Arts on Division’s Annual Art Festival, a four-day celebration of the arts in downtown Somerville during an entertaining weekend that also will feature the borough’s portion of the Central Jersey Jazz Festival on Sept. 17.

“Conception” will run through Oct. 28 at the gallery on the Division Street Plaza. Works are by Lauryn Ahearn (mixed media painting), Aida Birritteri (watercolor), Laurel Oswald Clark (charcoal on wood panels), Wendy Letven (painting and paper works), Andrew Molinaro (forged metal), Cynthia Murray (acrylic on canvas), Meaghan Paice (mixed media painting) and Pat Proniewski (oil on canvas).

“It has been a dream of ours to open a fine art gallery and share our family’s love of art with the community,” Ian Cairl, founder of Gallery on Division, said in a news release. “We’re excited to showcase emerging and established artists and offer a venue for friends and neighbors to experience, connect with, and invest in the arts.”

Cairl grew up immersed in the arts. His fine-artist mother practiced and communed with locally and internationally known artists throughout her life. After studying art in France and New York City, she settled in the Neshanic Station section of Branchburg and became a member of the Printmaking Council of New Jersey, the Somerset Art Association and the Hunterdon Art Museum.

Cairl’s Renaissance-man father was drawn to music and theater and performed in Off-Broadway musicals, managed theater companies, played the piano, and worked with stained glass and gemstones.

Decades of work as a fine-woodworking craftsman has bolstered Cairl’s commitment to supporting art as a family affair. His children play various roles in the new gallery, as well as the family’s other Somerville establishment, Three Hearts Home. The specialty home and gift boutique features handcrafted work by independent designers across the United States and fair trade artisans from around the globe.

Many of the “Conception” artists will be present at the opening reception. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and by appointment at 908-393-7070. For more about the gallery, visit

Gallery on Division is part of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, one of three main producing partners in the Central Jersey Jazz Festival coinciding with Arts on Division’s Annual Art Festival.

For more details about both events, read Bob Makin’s weekend column on Thursday at and on Friday in the Courier News and Home News Tribune.

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