MOUNT MORRIS — The art gallery on the historic hill has a fitting gallery on display that highlights the past.


Jay Brooks and Dan Heale grew up together in Pavilion, and decided to do an exhibit shedding some light on the history of the area.


Paintings from the Past is open to the public from now until September 1.


“We (Jay) talked about doing a show together to bring history back to life in our paintings,” Heale said. “We each did 16 paintings specifically for this show. We started in October. I wasn’t sure I would have them finished in time.”


The paintings focus on Pavilion as well as other areas of interest to the artists. It takes you back to the late 1800s to mid-1900s way of life.


“We did a lot of research to include stories with our work,” Heale said. “A lot of these places don’t exist anymore, so we are keeping them alive through our paintings.”


Most of the time Heale does paintings for friends and family, but is happy to have his first art show.


“This is the first time I have done a show here,” Brooks said. “Dan and I had art classes together in high school. We got together and came up with an idea to do this historic theme. We belong to a Pavilion history page on Facebook and the photos on there inspired us. We got deep roots in this area.”


Brooks enjoyed the idea of putting a personal story into his paintings. Some of them depict members of his family in those time periods enjoying day to day life.


“The one with the little girl pulling the sled is my grandma cutting out ice blocks in the Genesee River,” he said. “They did that to keep their food cold. A lot of these stories have been handed down to me in the family. These stories die if no one tells them.”


One of the rooms is dedicated to the Pavilion history to honor their roots, but the other room has historic images from all over Livingston, Wyoming, and Allegany counties.


Pavilion Math teacher Richard Heye helped influence Brooks to get involved in this historic exhibit, since the beloved teacher has several historic documents of the area.


Livingston Arts Executive Director Betsy Harris said that the gallery is beautiful, and she is honored to have their work on the walls.


Several paintings had sold on the first day, and Harris said this what inspires artists to be in the Apartment One gallery.


“The Apartment One gallery has a reputation for being very successful for artists,” she said. “The artists that really want to sell their work are always pleased. It is a great opportunity.”  


At the age of 14, Brooks began painting under the classical apprenticeship of John Piesley and the plein aire instruction of Charles Movalli, a disciple of the late Emile Gruppe. He went on to receive his B.F.A. in 1988 from Carnegie-Mellon University and in 1990 he received his M.F.A. from Columbia University. Being removed from his familiar bucolic surroundings, Brooks studied and painted the industrial environments of Pittsburgh and New York City.


After teaching art in New York City, Brooks moved back to upstate New York in 1993. It is here that Brooks is surrounded by countless varieties of scenes from around the northeastern US. His paintings include a variety of images from depictions of the New England shore to the countryside and small towns of upstate New York.


Heale began creating art at the age of 6, furthering his skills throughout his life and focusing his work on painting in oil, acrylic and watercolor. His realism painting style is inspired by artists such as Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt. This is Heale’s first professional exhibit.


Brooks and Heale are creating a nostalgic theme, going back further than most of us can remember. According to the artists, “The new paintings have a “turn of the century” theme as they illustrate slices of life more than a hundred years ago. The stories told by our ancestors and handed down to our fellow towns folk are brought to life in our latest creations.” The artists have used old photos, books, artifacts and spoken legends as resources to produce their images. Their intention through the exhibit, Paintings from the Past, is to take the audience back in time and experience our area as it looked a century past.


Midgard Winery offered wine tasting at the July 27 opening. The viking-theme winery in Corfu offers wine made from pure honey.


Midgard Winery Co-owner John Potoczak said that his father had started being a beekeeper in the 1970s, and about three years ago they decided to make wine.


“The vikings started this type of wine, because they couldn’t grow grapes,” he said. “We sell to about 36 liquor stores in the area and a few bars. Since our honey bees are flying around every day we can’t do wine tasting at location. We take our wines to events like this.”


It in the start they had about 1,700 hives, and now they have about 450 hives since the honey bees are dying off.


For more information on one of the few area wineries that uses honey instead of grapes for delicious wine visit


The gallery is open Tuesdays – Fridays 11am-4pm and Saturdays 11am-3pm. Please visit our website, for more information.