ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – On Saturday, November 4th, the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is honored to present “The AJ Dillon Gallery Reunion Show: A Tribute to Frank Leahy.” The show is curated by Anthony DeBenedictis and Will Leahy, Frank’s son. The opening reception is 6-9pm at the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council gallery (54 First Avenue) in Atlantic Highlands.
Francis E. Leahy, known as “Frank” by his friends, passed away a little over a year ago. He was the owner of the AJ Dillon Gallery, which is now the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council. He opened the doors of his gallery in July 2013, after spending four months renovating the historic building that was left abandoned for about nine years. The building was originally built in 1923, and Frank actually saved the historic landmark from being demolished. The AJ Dillon Gallery was opened for a little over three years and it quickly became an establishment for Bayshore and shore-area artists, as well as artists from around the country and some international talent. The gallery was a success, not simply because of the art, but also because Frank’s opening receptions were always fun and special–bringing together a community of artists and art admirers. That’s what Frank wanted to do, bring people together. It was his dream to run a successful gallery, and that’s what AJ Dillon was–a positive space that brought together great art and the people who wanted to see it.
Frank knew great artistic talent when he saw it and he would tell you that your work was outstanding. He was sincere and never fake, he was selfless, always helpful and always so full of great positive spirit. He was a hardworking, talented artist himself–a graduate of the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York. Frank’s art studio was in the upstairs portion above his gallery, where he created mostly large scale abstract works on canvas. Some of his works will be on exhibit in this group show, both large scale and some smaller works that were selected by his son, Will. The exhibit will also feature works of art from a large selection of talented artists, most of whom were featured in AJ Dillon shows curated by Frank himself. Several of the artists were close friends of his, and he also had a positive impact on the careers of many of the artists that showed their work in his gallery.
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“Artists Return in Paint, they don’t Rest in Peace. We’re always working, and we never rest” Francis E. Leahy 1962-2016