Local Artist Jerelyn Hanrahan Opens Exhibit At Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library

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Jerelyn Hanrahan in front of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library, where she is showing some of her latest, Oyster Bay-inspired work. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

Jerelyn Hanrahan has lived quite an exciting life, but Oyster Bay has always called her back home.
“I grew up here and I kind of left with two feet on the gas at 17,” Hanrahan said on a rainy day in front of the closed Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library, where she was showing her latest exhibit “Paintings of Oyster Bay.” “I kept going to Europe. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do. I was a dance major. I was on the basketball team. Then I went to Europe again… and I said I’m going to be an artist.”
And art has surely treated Hanrahan well. Her career began with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland.
After graduation, she moved back to Europe, living in Zurich, Switzerland, Rome and in Germany for nine years.
“And then we decided to come back,” Hanrahan said, adding that she and her husband had initially moved to the Lower East Side until they made a decision to move back to Oyster Bay to raise their daughter.
“I loved growing up in Oyster Bay,” Hanrahan said. “So we came back out here. And I’ve been here for 20 years. But still active, and it’s a great position because you’re 40 minutes from New York and you’re about [an hour] from the Hamptons.”
She’s traveled extensively throughout India, Asia, Korea, Europe, Cuba and the United States. In 2012 she installed “Graduated Pearls,” a 50-foot public art work exhibited at the Jim Kempner Fine Arts Gallery in Chelsea; In 2011 a 50-foot interactive public sculpture that functioned as a bench made its way to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park as part of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fiscal Sponsorship Program; her drawings have been exhibited in the Aargau Kunsthaus in Switzerland, the Venice Pavillion in Venice and Beijing, the Galerie Rohmer Apotheke in Zurich, Switzerland and she also held a solo exhibition at Art Magazine, Rolf Muller in Zurich, to name a few accomplishments.
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, she opened the exhibit Atelier On Spring Gallery.
“It was totally nuts,” Hanrahan said of her gallery. “I saw this plumbing store that was empty, so I opened it in March 2020, the height of COVID-19. I did it because I felt like the world needed to keep the light on. I did 12 shows in a year, mostly New York artists and my work. It did really well. It paid for itself. It was kind of a miracle.”
The New York artists who came out for the gallery openings, Hanrahan added, were totally impressed by Oyster Bay because they had never been there before.
Lately, Hanrahan’s work can be found at the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library, featuring Oyster Bay landmarks such as the train station, Raynham Hall, St. Dominic Catholic Church and Oyster Bay High School.

A painting of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Oyster Bay by Jerelyn Hanrahan.
(Photo courtesy Jerelyn Hanrahan)

“This show, the reason why I did it was because when I went to college, my mom was kind of bored so she got a job [at the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library,]” Hanrahan said, referencing her mother Gloria’s love of books. “She went for a surgery and didn’t make it through the surgery. The day before she died, she said do paintings of Oyster Bay. When COVID-19 hit, I thought to myself, I’m going to do this now.”
During that time, Hanrahan said she would go out multiple times a week to do paintings around Oyster Bay.
“I said, let me do a little tribute to her at the library because she worked here,” Hanrahan said.
The paintings, and prints and note cards of the paintings, are for sale. A percentage of the sales will fund the purchase of books for school children. “My cousin has a daughter who teaches fourth grade and she asked me for some support,” Hanrahan said. “I decided that’s where this money will go.”
This show completes a circle, as Hanrahan, who had worked as a page in high school, had her first art show here in 1983, which her mother arranged.
Visit jerelynhanrahan.com to learn more about Hanrahan and her work.

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