NY2CA: New Gallery on First Street Opens

Vickie Marchand and Terry Twigg have opened NY2CA, Benicia’s newest art gallery, at 617 First Street. Their first exhibition, featuring Oakland-based ceramic artist Vicki Gunther and abstract painter Terry Twigg, opened on April 20 and will run through June 4. “Most galleries don’t show one person’s works,” explained Twigg. “There’s a real need for an artist to have an individual show, to exhibit a body of work, instead of just a couple of pieces. We’ll have work by two artists, with a 2D artist’s work on the walls, and a 3D artist’s work on pedestals or in display cases.” The gallery will draw artists from the local area as well as other locations, and include diverse media – painting, sculpture, jewelry, fiber, metal, and mixed media. The couple has spent most of the past year preparing for the recent opening, renovating the First Street storefront with a new façade, flooring, and light fixtures, which give a bright spacious feel to the 600 square foot space. Receptions with live music will take place in a courtyard behind the building.

The gallery name symbolizes the process of the couple’s relocation from New York to California, after lives spent mostly on the East Coast. 

Born in Iowa, Twigg grew up in Palo Alto, but moved back to Iowa with his family when he was in junior high school. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1968 with a major in fine arts and a minor in education. He began a career in the creative arts managing exhibitions at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. A summer vacation in Europe turned into a four-year stint in Italy, during which he studied painting and developed a wide range of artisan skills, crafting hand-painted belts, jewelry, and clothing. After returning to NYC, he continued to develop his fine art jewelry business, which became a life-long career.

Painting has been a constant since grade school for “Twigg,” as he is known to most friends.

Using acrylic paints and paint pens, he creates largely abstract works that incorporate organic imagery hidden among swaths of bright color which fill the canvas. “A lot of these strange creatures that I come up with have to do with memories of the past, positive and negative.” He uses meditative states while painting to explore these ideas, resulting in the visions and images that find their way onto the canvas. “I’ve been influenced by the impressionists, especially Joseph (JMW) Turner, an English landscape painter. He did a lot of paintings that were just ocean and sky. I’ve always considered him the father of expressionism, of modern art.”

Marchand grew up in Skaneateles, New York.

From an early age she was a creator, always doing something with her hands. Art, sewing, and horses were her primary passions. She graduated from Lowell University in 1978 with a BA in art and psychology. 

Terry Twigg 1 painting
Pigeons 5 by Vicki Gunter

She also completed a BA in education from Dowling College and a MA in reading from Long Island University. She taught middle school art for a year but was disillusioned when her students did not display the same passion for art that she felt. But she had discovered a passion for teaching and later became a multi-subject teacher in the elementary grades in Tully, NY. She found numerous ways to incorporate creative activities into her teaching lessons. Her fascination with sewing and fiber arts continued, and she learned to spin her own yarns for unique, hand knit garments. “I won numerous awards in the New York State Fair’s Arts & Crafts Division in Syracuse. I still have a room at home full of yarns, wheels, and looms.”

The couple met in 2011 and pursued a long-distance relationship for several years from their homes in central New York and Hudson Valley.

Visits to California resulted in the purchase of a home in Oakland in 2014 where they had friends, with hopes of eventually becoming part of the art scene there. For a while they lived bi-coastally, six months in Oakland, six in New York, exploring the country during RV trips back and forth. “Oakland didn’t turn out to be what we wanted, and we found our house in Benicia in 2019,” said Vickie. “We looked for a studio in the Arsenal, but everything was full at that time. Twigg was out walking and saw this property for sale, and he thought, ‘here’s my studio and maybe we’ll do a gallery in the front.’ Benicia has a lively art community, and we’ve found that everything that we want to do, we can do here.”

NY2CA will be open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. To learn more about the gallery and current exhibition, visit www.ny2cagallery.com.