Since Monsoon opened its doors in May of 2003 it has amassed quite
a collection of articles, photos, editorials, interviews, and appearances:
The Morning Call
Lehigh Valley Magazine
The New York Times
2004 Slideshow 1
(click on the thumbnails to read the articles)
Read the full articles by scrolling below!
Monsoon Gallery Articles and Editorials 2004
The Monsoon Gallery Archives for 2004
We've gone through all the media surrounding the gallery and
created an archival collection of articles and editorials about the gallery,
its artists, and its employees.
If there's something in particular that you were looking for
and you don't see it here, then please don't hesitate to give
us a call or send us an email and let us know.
Paper: The Bethlehem Chronicle - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: June 11th, 2004
Artist: Corrie Tice
"Bethlehem born artist buds and blooms in Rome"
Twenty-one-year-old artist Corrie Tice has formally studied her craft for
much of her life. Always interested in drawing, the Bethlehem native honed
her skills in the confines of typically structured lessons at the Art and
Drafting Connection at the Westgate Mall, the Baum School of Art in Allentown,
during every semester of her high school career at Liberty and these days
at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where she pursues degrees in
painting and drawing and also art education. But it was a trip to Italy
to study at Tyler’s campus in Rome that has begun to unlock this woman’s
personal style that already is distinguishing her from her peers. “I’d
say my art now is about transitions and in-between places,” said Tice.
“Taking recognizable images and melting them and making them dissipate.
A lot about impermanence.”
The melting part is probably the most identifiable
feature in Tice’s works, vividly expressed in the ‘dripping’
of the black edges of a monarch butterfly wing that is marked with striking
hues, and in the artist’s self-portrait that hangs in Monsoon Gallery
in south Bethlehem, where Tice is the featured artist this month. “When
I first started studying, my paintings started out really academic and realistic.
One year ago, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to continue with it,”
said Tice. “Then, last semester, I studied in Rome, and my instructor
there changed everything.” A viewing of artist Pat Spears’ work
at a Rome museum added to her enthusiasm. “Then I started dripping
things,” said Tice. “And I was on a roll. I just started pumping
out paintings.” Her large-scale self-portrait in gentle blue tones
took only a week to produce. “But I also like showing my technical
ability, so I brought both in. I’m always exploring new things,”
she said. Tice hopes to graduate in two years and would eventually like
to teach art at the college level. “I’ve had so many great instructors
who have opened me up to so many things, and I’d really like to repay
that by teaching other young artists what I have been taught,” Tice
said. Until then, she continues life as she knows it. She has a summer job,
makes her own clothes with the occasional embellishment, and likes to hang
out with friends in her spare time, hitting the city’s museums and
art galleries to keep her mind open to what others are doing. And she plans
to continue exploring abroad, seeking inspiration. “I definitely want
to travel,” she says. “It always comes into your work, all of
your travels and experiences. So I want to keep doing more of that and growing.”
Business was not booming in Bethlehem in 1984, when Jeffrey A. Parks founded
Musikfest. And that’s precisely why Parks started the music festival
in the part of Bethlehem that’s on the north side of the Lehigh River.
“There had been a concern about the future of retail in the north
side of Bethlehem,” Parks said. “There’s no concern now.”
In its 21st year, about 1 million music-lovers will visit the concert series
that begins Friday and will feature a variety over the next week, from Crosby,
Stills, and Nash and Peter Frampton to Alice Cooper and Chingy. With the
festival fueling an economic upturn on the north side of town, Musikfest’s
parent organization, called ArtsQuest, turned its attention to the south
side a few years ago. That part of town wasn’t known for much except
being uninviting, recalled Ginny Hand, assistant to Reading mayor Tom McMahon.
“You didn’t want to go to the south side then,” said Hand,
who lived in Bethlehem in the 1980s. So in 1998, the Banana Factory arts
center was founded in an old banana wholesale warehouse there. Six years
later, the arts center is the hub of an economic revival that had capitalized
on an already-budding arts community on the south side.
Community leaders and city officials hope the same thing can be accomplished
in Reading, where there is a proposal to turn the vacant Dalloz Safety Building
at Second and Washington streets into a similar arts center called the Goggle
Works. Parks, president of ArtsQuest, said he believes it could work in
Reading if done correctly.
“That image is something we faced
here and its something you’re facing in Reading,” Parks said.
“People who lived in the north side and in the suburbs didn’t
want to come to the south side.”
In Bethlehem, it has meant more private investment in the neighborhood,
including a 170-unit apartment building with a 400-space parking garage
being built near the Banana Factory. “Before we were here, that wouldn’t
have been considered,” Parks said. Several nearby businesses cite
the arts center as their reasons for opening there.
That was the case with Monsoon Gallery, which open in May 2003. The north
side of Bethlehem had already been established as a traditional downtown
shopping area, but the south side had become an area for galleries and art
beyond the typical craft and souvenir shops, said Ranjeet Pawar, a photographer
and owner of Monsoon.
“To me, the north side is more like cookie-cutter
crafts,” Pawar said. “But people who come to the south side
are more apt to buy art.”
Parks said the businesses, and specifically the restaurants, that were here
before the Banana Factory opened are also benefiting from the additional
visitors to the area. But the arts center is more than an economic engine.
Though modeled after the Torpedo Factory Art Center in an upscale neighborhood
of Alexandria, Virginia, the Banana Factory is more about improving the
neighborhood and educating students than it is about selling art, said Parks.
“I don’t thin this would have worked as the Torpedo Factory,”
Parks said. “I think we’re pretty different in how we interact
with the community, and it’s a different community too.” So
by necessity the Banana Factory is also a source of community based arts
programs that teach both inner city and suburban children, Parks said.
There is a tuition for the classes and summer camps, but scholarships are
available for those in need. “It’s very important to us that
no one be turned away,” said Janice B. Lipzin, director of visual
arts and education.
Not only has the Banana Factory been an economic and social service success
for the city, it has also been a success as an elite showcase for art. The
facility recently had to begin featuring art in its hallways, instead of
its two galleries, because the galleries are booked through 2006.
Paper: The Morning Call - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: August 2004
Artist: Julie Gibson
“Living in the Greater Lehigh Valley”
Arizona artist Julie Anne Gibson presses flowers to create unique designs
of minute detail bursting with color. But you don’t have to travel
cross-country to find them – they’re right in Bethlehem at Monsoon
Gallery. Located in the heart of Bethlehem’s south side, Monsoon carries
a roster of acclaimed artists like Gibson from around the country and around
Priding itself on customer service and its strong relationships with its
artists, the gallery offers a distinct collection of original oils, limited
edition serigraphs and glass sculptures. It also caters to every client’s
framing needs. Just one year of age, Monsoon is already a favorite for tourists
on First Friday.
Owner/director Ranjeet Pawar is realizing his dream of not just creating
a gallery, but turning it into a larger cultural venue. “I want people
to come here and experience something,” says Pawar, “and leave
knowing they were here.”
He has sponsored numerous shows for local talent, brought in classically
trained Indian dancers, and offered wine-tasting events. He has even lent
his space for the inauguration of the South Side Film Festival, putting
film maker merchandise on sale and contributing frames for 35 different
awards Monsoon continues to deliver exceptional works from all over the
Paper: The Morning Call - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: September 5, 2004
Artist: Frank Wysochanski (Frank Wyso)
“A lecture, benefits, and an art show”
Among the additions to South Side Bethlehem’s growing arts community
is Monsoon Gallery at 11 E. 3rd St. It opened in May 2003. Its art director,
Ranjeet Pawar, was busy this week getting ready for “Our Pennsylvania,”
a show featuring the works of the late Scranton-area artist Frank Wyso.
Three special events were held at the gallery last week to showcase Wyso’s
work. The first was a preview held on Wednesday. The second was on Friday
and the third, a special event for special guests, was held on Saturday,
and included Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan; Tony Garcia, artist and custom
furniture maker; James Carroll, artist and director of the New Arts Program
in Kutztown; Gregory Warmack, nationally known artist whose works are featured
in collections at the Museum of American Folk Art and the Smithsonian Institution
in Washington, D.C.’ Jim Viphond, executive director of the Everhart
Museum, Scranton; Archbishop Stephen Soraka of Philadelphia; Charlene Mowers,
executive director for Historic Bethlehem; Diane LaBelle, of the Bethlehem
Fine Arts Commission, and Randall Forte, president of the Lehigh Valley
Arts Council. The show will run until Sept. 28.
Wyso (1915-1994) was born Frank Wysochansky in Monessen, Westmoreland County.
He was one of 12 children. His father, Joseph, a Ukrainian immigrant and
coal miner, moved the family to Blakely, a coal-mining town outside of Scranton.
When Wyso was 21 his father died in a mining accident. Dropping out of school
in the 7th grade, Wyso later took and art course, his only formal training,
at the Murray School of Art in Scranton.
On Wednesday, says Pawar, his gallery played host to 75 people from areas
such as Philadelphia, Scranton, and New York.
Paper: The New York Times - National Distribution
Date: September 17, 2004
Artist: Ranjeet Pawar
“Browsing in Bethlehem: Tiny Brick on a Foundation of Steel”
In Bethlehem, Pa., the abandoned steel works stand like an Alexander Calder
nightmare – skeletal, spooky and weirdly mesmerizing. Dark, angular
buildings, where 30,000 people once worked at coke ovens, blast furnaces
and sheet mills, loom vacant for block after block, more than three miles
in all. Above the locked gates, a clock is permanently stopped at 11:30,
halted with the plant, which produced its last steel in 2001.
On the other side of the city, across the swift-flowing Lehigh River, shoppers
and café goers mingle in a historic district of tidy brick buildings,
and drivers hunt for parking spots on picturesque hilly streets. Moravian
College, founded in the 1740s, has a green and serene downtown campus. Nearby,
young families have restored regal century-old houses built by executives
of Bethlehem Steel.
And on a hill far above the old plant, the main campus of Lehigh University,
looking down from Gothic stone towers, offers up a steady stream of lively
students to keep the old town young.
“A lot of people hear Bethlehem
and think, ooh, ick, it’s a depressed area,” said Dana DeVito,
the general manager of the Moravian Book Shop on Main Street. The store
she runs in a prime example of what changes their minds. In business since
the 1740s, it has gone beyond its venerable roots to include not just the
traditional well-stocked bookstore, but a collection of entertaining boutiques
good for hours of browsing. Ms. DeVito, who moved here a decade ago from
New Jersey, said that she was surprised at first by the town’s contrasts.
But they make an intriguing combination for a day-tripping sightseer. Bethlehem,
conscious of its yin-and-yang appeal, is trying to complement its pretty
historic district by developing a National Museum of Industrial History
at the old steel plant. The Smithsonian Institution is committed to an affiliation,
but the city has to raise the money.
In the meantime, a drive along Third Street, from Stefko Boulevard to Broadway
(Route 378), conveys the hulking plant’s sheer brooding immensity,
communicating what the loss of the old manufacturing behemoths meant to
the economic life of the Rust Belt towns. Anyone who ventures down a service
drive around back of the fenced-off buildings in search of an open gate,
however, will quickly be confronted by a security guard racing up in a white
sport utility vehicle.
The most comprehensive view is from the Minsi Trail Bridge over the Lehigh,
which runs right through the complex and allows a look deep down inside
the plant, at acres of desolation.
The lighthearted district at the other end of the bridge is the perfect
counterpoint. The Moravian Book Shop’s boutiques sprawl for nearly
a full block, offering wares from the latest kitchen gadgets to hip greeting
cards to Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries. Stacked in the bookstore itself
– where authors frequently stop by – are wooden blocks with
sketches of the city buildings. The one that sells the fastest, Ms. DeVito
said, depicts Bethlehem Steel.
Just up Main Street, Johnny’s Bagels and Deli has handmade bagels
and a big variety of sandwiches. Also on Main, Granny McCarthy’s Tea
Room features a meaty Celtic breakfast on Saturdays, along with a lunch
menu and a full selection of teas, but is best known for its white-chocolate
On street signs and the facades of old buildings are variations on the Moravian
star, a round center with 26 spikes – remembrances of the German Protestants
who founded the town. More stars, with twinkling lights, come out at Christmastime,
when Bethlehem capitalizes on its name with a festival of seasonal activities,
concerts, church services, and holiday foods.
The town’s early history is retold at the Moravian Museum on West
Church Street, a collection of old buildings including the Gemeinhaus, a
large structure that was built in 1741 and is a National Historic Landmark,
as well as a cemetery and herb garden.
Back up on the north side of the river, climbing up a long slope above the
old mill, modest houses built for steelworkers hug tight to each other,
differing mostly at the rooflines, where some have cupolas and gingerbread.
Still farther up is the park-like 1,600-acre Lehigh campus, with vistas
from sidewalks and terraces. Lee Iacocca, the automotive executive who was
born in nearby Allentown, went to Lehigh and in 1988 returned to give the
university the Iacocca Institute, dedicated to global competitiveness in
Down below on Third Street, west of the steel complex, a fledgling arts
district is anchored by Monsoon, a gallery on East Third Street with an
eclectic mix of colorful modern art and sculpture from local, national and
Rounding out the day with dinner in Bethlehem, means choosing not just a
place but an era. One downtown choice, the Sun Inn, was built in 1758 as
a way station for visitors and still serves traditional American food. Another,
Apollo Grill, represents the modern side with a streamlined interior and
a full menu including more than two dozen appetizers. Many diners make two
or three of them a whole meal.
Magazine: Lehigh Valley Magazine - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: November 2004
Artist: Ranjeet Pawar, Fidel Garcia, John Stinger, Karla Stinger, Frank
Wyso, Alex Darida
“Monsoon Over Manhattan”
About a year after Ranjeet Pawar opened Monsoon on Bethlehem’s South
Side, a woman came in to solicit and ad for her church’s fundraising
booklet. While she was waiting for Pawar, a sculpture of eleven workers
sitting on an I-beam at Rockefeller Center in New York caught her eye. She
instantly recognized the center figure as her father; she remembered clearly
when he left Bethlehem to do that job. Sergio Furnari, the sculpture’s
Sicilian born artist, based his miniature “Lunchtime on a Skyscraper,”
on a photograph that had been taken of the construction workers in 1932.
“The woman, who had never been outside of Bethlehem, just started
crying when she saw it,” Pawar said. Pawar is selling the piece for
$1425; about half what art galleries in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood
would charge. Pawar convinced Furnari, who lives on Long Island, to let
him sell it for less because of where Monsoon is. “I told him, ‘I’m
in Bethlehem, so he has to help,’” Pawar says.
In the last eighteen months, Pawar has sold seven sets of the sculpture,
which has become well known. Last year, a life-sized version of the sculpture
– forty feet long and weighing 6,800 pounds – completed a cross-country
Pawar, 30, has lots of stories like that one to tell about the eclectic
art in his fine art gallery – the most recent to open in the city’s
revitalized South Side district. A traveler and photographer, Pawar opened
the 1800-square foot gallery in May 2003, and held its first show that June.
He opened on East Third Street in what had been the ice cream shop Udderly
Delicious, after its owners decided it was time to move on. Monsoon sits
between Cleo’s Silversmith Studios and Gallery and the Banana Factory.
Pawar and contractors spent months making the space more suitable for the
display of fine art. They painted its screaming green and purple walls a
more subdued white, and installed track lighting and hardwood flooring.
Even though it required much more labor, Pawar insisted the floorboards
be installed vertically, from the front to the rear of the shop, rather
than horizontally, to emphasize its depth and draw visitors into the space.
Pawar also painstakingly hand painted the building’s ornate tin ceiling
a metallic copper color to bring out its old fashioned design.
Earlier this year, when the space next door that had been a music shop,
Planet Harp, became available, Pawar leased it. He opened up the wall that
separated the two spaces and, in September, opened a 1400 square foot addition.
Pawar’s plan is to feature one or two artists each month in the addition.
The original gallery will include some pieces from each month’s artists
and a variety of local, national, and international painters, sculptors,
and craftspeople. Price tags range from a mere five dollars to as much as
twenty-five thousand dollars.
A recent exhibition of work by Frank Wyso speaks to the quality of the artists
for sale at Monsoon. Born in 1915 near Scranton, Wyso, whose real surname
is Wysochansky, was a keen observer of the region’s anthracite miners.
A self-taught artist, he exaggerated the miners’ features while capturing
their thoughts in more than five thousand works of art, using pen, ink,
watercolor, oil, crayon, and sculptural forms. Between 1965 and 1994, Wyso
showed in more than fifty exhibits in cities such as New York, Philadelphia,
and Washington, D.C., and won numerous awards. The exhibit at Monsoon was
the first time Wyso’s work appeared in a gallery since his death in
Artist, art critic and Lehigh University art professor Berrisford Boothe
says of Wyso: “In his insatiable desire to make art everyday, all
the time, and without regard to formal concerns beyond the internal impulse,
he clearly fits the bill of a ‘visionary.’ His best work follows
the wind in his mind…very brilliant and strange.” Although the
exhibit is concluded, Monsoon continues to offer Wyso’s work.
Other prominent names in Pawar’s gallery include Alexandru Darida,
the former official painter for the president of Romania, pop artist Kip
Frace, and master painter Fidel Garcia, whose museum placements include
the National Museum of Spain, the Puebla Historical Museum, and the Amparo
Museum in Mexico. When Garcia visited for his opening in October, says Pawar,
he was enamored with the Lehigh Valley and extended his stay to tour the
Ricardo Viera, professor of art at Lehigh and director/curator of the university’s
art galleries and museums, believes Monsoon is a critical addition to the
growing South Side. “Art is so broad and there are so many different
tastes and opinions and different ways of looking at art that it’s
very exciting to have this kind of gallery in the Lehigh Valley,”
South Side merchant Jon Clark, owner of Home & Planet, is pleased that
Pawar’s shows of well-known artists are driving traffic to the area.
“The more people who come down here, the better for all of us,”
Recently, on the Wednesdays preceding First Fridays, Pawar has been holding
previews, and Clark now keeps his business open late for browsing too. Many
patrons prefer the Wednesday openings because they are less crowded than
First Fridays, says Clark. “Patrons also like that there is something
else going on a few doors down the street,” he says. Home & Planet
has been open for nearly eight years; currently, the exhibit at the rear
of the shop is recycled art by Dumpster Divers from Philadelphia. After
November 15, the rear space will be devoted to gift ideas for the holiday
Pawar named his gallery Monsoon to reflect his heritage; his mother, Maina
Pawar, is the granddaughter of the former Prime Minister of India, Choudhary
Charan Singh. “It’s a recognition of who I am and where I am
coming from,” says Pawar. Monsoon is one of the few Hindu words that
people recognize, he says. “Monsoon season in India is a very happy
time because the rains bring with them a strong harvest and a colorful landscape.
That’s indicative of how I feel about this gallery.”
November’s featured artist is post-impressionist painter John Stinger
of Stewartsville, NJ. Stinger has studied under painters Ben Elliott, John
Slavak, and Elizabeth Ruggles. He spent thirty years in the corporate world
as an advertising executive and creative director, but now works in plein
air – painting oil landscapes and river scenes on location. He continues
to study under prominent Bucks County landscape painter Robert Seufert.
“I am continually awed by the exquisite beauty of this planet and
the creative energy it takes to keep it alive and changing,” says
Stinger. “It is the encounter with the divine creative force that
connects all of us and defines our humanity and our art. This spiritual
encounter inspires me to paint.”
Another Stinger artist, John’s daughter Karla, will be the featured
artist in December. Her work couldn’t be any more divergent from her
father’s. The exhibition will feature about thirty of her original
abstracts, mostly oils done on board and canvas, as well as some of her
lithographs. Karla Stinger’s influences are strongly rooted in modern
music movements and its potential use in contemporary art. Her latest abstractions
borrow the idea of “sampling” in musical compositions and apply
it to the process of making art. “I feel compelled by the idea that
music, especially hip-hop, uses sounds from other songs as a springboard
for new ones,” she says. “I wanted to do the same for painting;
create a hybrid where the compositional workings of other eminent artists
function as armature for my own visual language.”
Gallery, 11 East 3rd Street Bethlehem, PA 18015
Located in Southside Bethlehem's Arts District, via 378
Art Director: Ranjeet Pawar
Gallery Manager: Rori Prushinski