"You have places like SU who do have wonderful exhibit areas, but that's what they are -- they're exhibit areas," she said. The purpose of her space, as was Delavan's mission, is to provide quality gallery space for local artists to showcase their talents and also sell their work.
How dedicated was she to remaining a supporter of Syracuse artists?
Szozda-McGowan moved back to the 'Cuse after a five-month stint in Hawaii with her husband Bill McGowan (during Delavan's temporary closing).
"I could have stayed there for another full year, I didn't have to come back... but the gallery was opening back up. I loved the gallery, I loved my artists," she said. "That's why I took the chance in opening my own. I love the folks, I love what I do."
It was a shot she had to take.
"I would have never had this opportunity," Szozda-McGowan said. "I would just regret it if I didn't do it."
The gallery opened its first show, a group exhibit of works by ARISE clients, in October. The three-week exhibit celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ARISE magazine, Unique, for which the Delavan Gallery had annually hosted a one-night show.
Szozda Gallery will open its third show, a group exhibit of local artists, Friday Dec. 3 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m.
For a sneak peek, visit the gallery the Wednesday or Thursday before any exhibit reception and check out the soft opening.
The guts and the nerve
Who gave Szozda-McGowan the "guts and the nerve" to take a chance opening her own gallery?
She credits a list of players, topped by, of course, Bill Delavan and her family. Her mother and sister, she said, have not only traveled from out of town to visit the gallery, they've helped hang pieces and prep for shows.
She also thanks Delavan Center maintenance "magic man" Reggie Sanford, who has been a "shoulder to cry on many a time;" Gloria Romeo for her PR advice; and Leonard Assante of Assante Design.