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TRR photo by Mary Greene
Barbara Braathen’s River Gallery, located on Main Street in Narrowsburg, recently added a custom framing service. (Click for larger image)

The River Gallery: a local treasure


NARROWSBURG — Barbara Braathen first came to the notion of managing an art gallery in college, when, with her artists friends, “it would become the resolution around four in the morning that I should open a gallery,” she joked.

Now she owns the River Gallery on Main Street in Narrowsburg. But it is not her first venture. She moved to New York City in the 1970’s, where for 18 years she owned a gallery downtown. In 1998, Braathan moved to the Upper Delaware River Valley. Her first contact with Narrowsburg came when she approached the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. Shortly thereafter, during a brief stint selling advertising, she got a feel for the hamlet. “And of course I love Dave’s Big Eddy,” she said, which reminds her of Manhattan. “You never know who is going to walk in. The cooking is fabulous. It’s a huge draw.”

Growing up in North Dakota, Braathan always thought of herself as an artist. She was inspired and influenced by her art teacher, Robert Moore, who taught K-12 in her public school, and received the National Teachers Award one year. He brought her to her first museum, taking the class to Winnepeg, Manitoba to visit a Van Gogh exhibit.

In addition to paintings by local and NYC artists, the River Gallery exhibits and sells craft and furniture items such as handcrafted woven rugs by Bethany resident Charles Blanchard, metal bird sculpture by city artist Raymond Rockland and a collection of beautiful and unusual boxes. “This trunk,” said Barbara, “is a teak circus trunk from Bali, mid-19th century. The ironwork is exquisite, perfectly preserved. And, of course, you fantasize or imagine about what life events took place around that box!” 

TRR photo by Mary Greene
Sofia Singher, at center, visits with guests during the opening of her solo exhibit at the River Gallery. (Click for larger image)

Braathan is involved in community events around town. She offered the River Gallery as a venue to host last winter’s Eaglefest poster auction. She herself bought an eagle poster, by Sullivan West sixth grader Michelle Birney, which hangs in her gallery.

Braathan is grateful every day for the beauty of the Upper Delaware, and she appreciates the wildlife that abounds in the area. “Since moving out of Manhattan and being in the country, I’m no longer afraid of anything, like snakes, or mice. I look at them as God’s creation—they have their spot, too.” she said. “I feel totally blessed by having landed here. It has everything you would want from nature. Everything. And you’ve got easy access to the city, so you’ve got everything there too. It’s just a perfect spot.”

Summer hours are Thursday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information call 845/252-3230, email bbraathen@galleryriver.com or visit www.galleryriver.com on the web.

News & columns provided by The River Reporter