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Curious Curator George

A curator is one who manages or oversees such  as the administrative director of a museum collection or a library. One can be a curator of other place as well, such as a home! a shop! the storage closet at work! Wherever your jurisdiction and little kingdom of creativity might be, the best way to spruce up an empty space is by decorating naked walls.

No matter how keen your eye might be, buying original art as a gift for someone else can be perplexing business. Giving art can be one of the most unique and personal items that elucidates knowledge of one’s aesthetics, desires, decor and overall lifestyle. Because art comes in a variety of media, from a bevy of different artists, on a variety of surfaces – canvas, paper, masonite, wood – it also runs the spectrum of pricing! Art can be affordable! So, surveying my own friends as test subjects, I give you a buying guide for categories much more specific than just MOM, DAD, BOSS, HUSBAND, WIFE, et. al.

UGallery X TheWalkup Coupon Code

Because I also love my followers so much UGallery and I have teamed up to give you 15% off any item, that’s right 15% off just for readers of The Walkup! Use the coupon code: thewalkup15 anytime between now and December 21. Spread the word to spread the cheer!

Test Subject #1 – Danielle Long King – Program Manager, Public Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Danielle speaks for all of your theater-going, performance art visiting, foodie, non-fiction reading, NPR-listening friends. She is intelligent and quirky yet tinged with a southern charm leftover from her New Orleans childhood – this might also explain her uncharacteristic obsession with the New Orleans Saints.  Have a friend like that? Get them this:

In Motion x The Walkup

In Motion by Savina Gost, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #2 – Mike Ballaban – Reporter at Mergermarket, Financial Times Group. Mike is a Brooklyn based political and finance junkie. He loves old-timey things like banjos, nautical terms, gimlets and steam engines. He also loves a good deli sandwich with brisket, pastrami or corned beef. He even has his own irreverent news blog HERE. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Around The Bend by JOHN HUERTA JR.

Around the Bend by John Huerta Jr., oil painting on canvas board. Note: painted on location in Midway Utah by the Provo River. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #3 – Nora Bugescu – Associate Marketing Manager at Barnes & Nora is an effortlessly fashionable and well-traveled LA to NYC transplant. She favors indie-rock listening but also digs a good classic rock vinyl. She is the queen of inane internet trends, Game of Thrones humor and anything featured on BuzzFeed. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Cold by Meredith O'Neal x The Walkup

Cold by Meredith O’Neal, oil painting on stretched canvas. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #4 – Max Stettner – Senior Development Coordinator at Birthright Israel Foundation. Max dresses so sharply that you could hurt your eyes looking at his peacoat. He also has impeccably groomed sideburns and facial hair. He listens to stellar remixes, little-known DJ’s and club music. Above all, his first passion is basketball (playing, watching, all forms). Have a friend like that? Get them this:
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.
Test Subject #5 – Adam Heller – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader, US Army. Adam is currently stationed in Germany. He loves The Shins, Belle & Sebastian,  Deathcab for Cutie, Mumford & Sons and The Decemberists. He also has an amazing ability to remember facts from Douglad Coupland novels. He knows cars, computers and  DSLR photography. He will come to your next LAN party. Have a friend like that? Get them this:
The Standard Hotel by ADAM GARELICK
The Standard Hotel, 2011 by Adam Garelick, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Happy Holiday shopping and don’t forget to use the special coupon code – thewalkup15 – to receive a whopping 15% off ANYTHING on the UGallery website!
(which happens to be where all the images above can be purchased)
Cover your naked walls! Support a community of independent artists.
Give the gift of artwork. 

Ossining, New York

William Joseph Reynolds, author of Ossining a Brief History, explains, “Early 17th century Dutch maps of the Hudson River Valley show an Indian village, whose inhabitants were part of the Mohegan Tribe, named “Sint Sinck.” That phrase, when translated, means “stone upon stone” and refers to the extensive beds of limestone found in the southern part of the village.” Frederick Philipse, in 1685 fell so in love with the land, which is bounded to the west by the Hudson River and to the north by the Croton River, that he  bought the area from the Sint Sinck American Indians. The last lord of the manor, also named Frederick Philipse, was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War, so the State of New York confiscated the manor in 1779. As of 1901, the vast acreage has been incorporated as Westchester County, New York.

A local Indian authority suggested the town be named Ossinsing, a different form of the name Sing Sing. One year later the last “s” was removed for ease in pronunciation. However, today the district might be most famous as the fictional hometown of Don Draper and family – the main protagonist of Mad Men on AMC.

My friend and colleague, Max. The city mouse prepares to meet the country mouse. 

The gang waits at the train station. 

After the not-so-arduous journey we arrived at Sue’s humble abode! 

Ossining, although seemingly light years away from the hubbub of NYC, is actually only a short jaunt of 45 minutes via the Hudson Line on Metro North. Yet, in those 45 minutes the concrete and alumnim dissipate into expansive canopies of foliage, unfiltered crisp air and a carpet of green grass. When we walked into Sue’s house, circa the 19th century, we were greeted with a spread that would put Martha Stewart to shame! Sue’s warm welcoming and hospitality instantly linked the several strangers in the group as “family-for-the-day”.

While everyone was enjoying the autumnal bounty of artichoke spreads on crostini, caramelized onion flat breads, crudités and other hors d’oeuvres, I took the small opportunity to sneak away before anyone noticed! I apologize to my magical hostess Sue, but her home was just so inviting and perfectly manicured. Beyond the dining room and kitchen, lay a world of antique accessories, pattern play and a gorgeous living room.

And I tiptoed down the hallway (on a Persian runner), to the backyard, to where everyone was eating outside on this unseasonably warm October afternoon. Nary 10 minutes later, no one seemed to notice I had disappeared into the world of Sue’s gorgeous home! Every detail is in it’s rightful place, every window letting in the light just so.

And so a beautiful day of book suggestions, conversation, food and friendship drew to a close. It certainlty did not hurt that Sue is practically a Michelin starred chef whose pièce de résistance of the night was a warm Spicy Tomato, Sriracha & Blue Cheese SoupThis is what the harvest season is brings. 

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Meet & Greet

I literally do not know how to begin to even discuss the glory that is Sonja (née Vitow…but legally her name is Sonja Robinson Vitow). Sonja recently married her high school sweetheart (Samuel Skeen…so much alliteration), and fellow member of the self-touted group, “The Good Squad” in January, at The Franklin Institute’s Planetarium, in Philadelphia, PA. Seriously though, does it get any more nerdy/hip? This combination of both uber nerdy and somehow alarmingly chic best describes the wonder of Sonja (whose nicknames include Sun Jar, Sun Yi, et. al.)

But let us (be kind and) rewind; how did Sonja and I meet? The short answer is: BANGS. No really. Sonja and I were both members and editors of a literary magazine based at The George Washington University known as Le Culte du Moi (website not updated since 2009). We actually did not like one another, in fact, we had gotten into a few fights. During the thaw of winter hiatus, and upon our return to the first lit. mag. meeting of the semester, we showed up to the event wearing THE SAME OUTFIT WITH THE SAME HAIRCUT. It was a sign from the gods above – the heavens sang, a million angels threw confetti streamers from cumulonimbus clouds, and Zeus bowled a thunderous strike. The rest, as they say, is history. Now we are as inseparable as two friends, who live in cities 230 miles apart, could possibly be (thank you Skype, Gchat, SMS). I was also a bridesmaid in her wedding (which has the high distinction of being the only wedding wherein the maids want to wear and actually REPEAT the wearing of their dresses…and the wedding was PEACOCK THEMED). Clearly her life inspires me use parentheticals overzealously.

Sonja is one of those individuals who is a a multitalented, ambidextrous, pluralistic, amalgam of a person. What the hoohaw does that mean? She speaks French, German, Spanish, and a wee bit of Norwegian. She translates poetry for fun. She writes short stories, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction (See: The Great Boston Molasses Disaster). Sonja is currently pursuing an M.F.A. at Emerson College, and has been published by The Safety Pin Review, The Meadowland Review, and Gulf Coast Magazine, she was event shouted out by the L.A. Times recently; learn more about her myriad achievements HERE.

If I am being completely candid, the only thing that I (possibly) do not like about Sonja is her weird affinity for hockey.


Name: Sonja Robinson Vitow

Location: Beantown (Boston, MA)

Job: Intern at the Boston Preservation Alliance, Graduate Assistant at Emerson College, MFA Candidate in Creative Writing at Emerson College

Age: 24 (AND A HALF)

And as part of my ongoing EAT/SEE/SHOP/DO series, Sonja has dreamed up some favorites in her city: