GENEVA – Debbie Ferrell said she, her mother and daughter are looking for a new home after living in Florida for many years.
âWe decided it was time for a change and looked, literally, all over the world,â said the New Jersey native, who has also lived in California and Tennessee. âWe’ve been very thorough about it. “
They created 13 criteria that their new city should meet, and guess which city came out on top?
âGeneva has met 12,â said Ferrell, a former teacher who now owns the new Vines of New York art gallery on South Main Street.
âMy mom, Zora, was looking for a mid-sized town that wasn’t crowded, but had everything that was handy to make our lives easier,â Ferrell explained. âShe grew up in New Jersey, so going back up north with its beautiful seasons was a bit nostalgic for her. My daughter, Aggie, was looking for a pedestrian town with a good library and colleges, nice people, and low crime.
âI was excited about the weather, the lake, the mountains, the waterfalls and the fresh air,â Ferrell continued. âGeneva’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere, as well as its location on the wine route – ideal for our art of the vine – made us want to call this city our home.â
The only thing missing from their list, she said, was an emergency vet service. Guess you can’t have it all.
The three of them packed everything they had in pods and headed north.
They now live in a spacious and historic house at 772 S. Main St.
âWe needed something big enough to accommodate a gallery and living space,â Ferrell said.
Although teaching was her main occupation, Ferrell was involved in art for many years, most notably with a non-profit gallery in Keystone Heights in North Florida, where she was the most important artist. sold, a board member and gallery designer.
Keystone Heights, perhaps not by coincidence, sits on a body of water called Lake Geneva.
Ferrell is also a master basket maker – she’s worked there for 32 years and you can claim master’s status after 20 years – as well as a painter who creates everything from traditional art to abstract art.
Additionally, she is an avid gemstone enthusiast, crafting jewelry from an assortment of stones that some believe can positively affect physical and mental health when worn.
âI’m not saying I’m an expert in any type, I just appreciate all types (of mediums),â she said.
All of this experience is reflected in her new art gallery – the opening takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 1, with an art walk through the gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. Artistic walks will take place on the first Friday of each month.
As for vines, Ferrell uses them in his artistic work, including his woven designs. She started using them in Florida – yes Florida has wineries – but hit the jackpot in the wine-crazed Finger Lakes.
The South Main Street home of his new gallery seems like a perfect place to showcase his designs. Built-in shelves make ideal displays for art, while visitors will be amazed at the 9-foot-high doors and openings in each room.
âThe building is perfect. The location is perfect, âsaid Ferrell, who moved in about a month ago and has spent about 18 hours a day setting up his new gallery, which will also feature a guest artist of the month. On sale for October, two prints by Salvador Dali, both signed by the famous surrealist artist.
Ferrell said she and her family were happy to be in Geneva, where they found everyone welcoming and helpful.
âMy mom says she loves this place and will never leave,â she said with a laugh.