The latest installment of our Baristanet Profile series, where we get to know the people in our neighborhood:
Name: Mary Z Scotti
Where do you live? Montclair’s 4th ward
When did you move there? 2010
Where did you grow up? Early childhood was on an air force base in Homestead, Florida then back to my parent’s hometown of South River, New Jersey. My family moved to Princeton close to my 10th birthday and I was schooled there until I left for Simon’s Rock College near my 16th birthday. Moving to Montclair was the first time living in New Jersey since heading off to college at sixteen.
How do you make a living? I am an artist – painter, printmaker and designer. I currently run 73 See Gallery & Design Studio on Pine Street in Montclair, curating fine art exhibits and creating in the graphic design studio. We host music events, poetry readings, independent productions, community gatherings and events. My design work (catalogs, websites, logos etc.) keeps the gallery alive so that we can exhibit artist’s work curated as they intended it to be seen. The gallery also collaborates with other indie community arts organizations – Seed Artists, Make Music Day Montclair, Skills Share Montclair and JazzConnections to name a few, in promoting accessible arts engagement opportunities. We are very interested in using public art to engage, enhance and respond to our community.
Coffee, tea or … ? Percolated coffee in the morning then lemon water infused with fresh basil or mint throughout the day.
What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? I work on Saturday’s so a perfect Monday would be quiet time to paint and work on my art or switching my day off to another day and heading into NYC to take in a museum or some galleries with two of my three adult children who live there.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? Too many to chose a favorite – mostly I enjoy making and sharing meals with friends. I am delighted that the delicious Andersons 1949 opened just around the corner from the gallery. It’s tasty menu and offering direct orders of food from local farmers and producers through FARMIGO is a great addition to our neighborhood.
What’s on your nightstand? Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the “Bhagavad Gita” – a staple there for many years along with “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”, a reread and a stack of art exhibit catalogs.
What are you listening to? A medley – live music performed during lessons or engagements at the gallery, cd’s that keep coming my way from local artists – my buddies Oxygen Box Band and new friends songwriter Lily Vakili and the lovely rapping ladies of Your Mystery Guest.
What are your current addictions? Art is my addiction.
Talent you would most like to have. I’m quite content nurturing and developing the talents that I have. I am so grateful to be blessed by being able to share in and help support the talents of my colleagues in the arts.
What’s the worst-kept secret about Montclair? I would have to say that 73 See Gallery & Design Studio is certainly one of them. Pine Street seems to be off limits to many Montclair resident’s which is a shame really. We have exhibited remarkable artists works and installations including Jay Seldin’s “Cuba Revealed”, retrospectives for artist’s Terry Boddie, Al Johnson and Dan Fenelon, Nancy Gail Ring’s feminist Apron installation and paintings and many more over the past five years. These exhibits have drawn audiences from New York and the surrounding area; unfortunately, many in Montclair have passed on them due to a skewed perception of our neighborhood. We have tried to address this through a project called POPs – Portraits on Pine Street where portrait artist Seth Ruggles Hiler painted 50 portraits of our neighbors over the course of 6 months. These portraits were meant to celebrate the members of our community, their uniqueness and diversity and to help mitigate undue perceptions. We have also produced an annual Pine Street ArtsFEST for 3 years each June. It is all about community arts engagement with local musicians, poets and street chalk art.
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She sowed love.