The Ghost is unveiled at the Gallo Art Show

The Ghost is unveiled at the Gallo Art Show

Artist Patti Thomas created a series of paintings which were exhibited at the Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen in Lewiston on Friday July 29th.  The event was designed to help Thomas get exposure in the Niagara County arts scene, according to Gallo owner Michael Hibbard.  (Photo by Timothy Chipp)

Artist Patti Thomas created a series of paintings which were exhibited at the Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen in Lewiston on Friday July 29th. The event was designed to help Thomas get exposure in the Niagara County arts scene, according to Gallo owner Michael Hibbard. (Photo by Timothy Chipp)

Fri, 05.08.2022 12:00 p.m

Event raised funds for Heart, Love & Soul

Article and photos by Timothy Chipp

Patti Thomas wished to remain anonymous. Nowadays it is difficult to exhibit their artworks in a museum in one of the largest cities in the country.

Thomas, who began creating canvas art more than a year ago under the alias “The Ghost,” had no intention of taking the spotlight on July 29 at Lewiston’s Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, which was created for her. But their secret was out, and Michael Hibbard, the owner of Center Street Restaurant, was completely convincing.

The ability to donate a portion of ticket and art sales to Heart, Love & Soul in Niagara Falls also sweetened the pot.

“When you’re doing well, you give something back,” Thomas said shortly after arriving at the party thrown in her honor. Her husband, Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, a willing supporter who rides along.

Patti Thomas called the event “a fun night of art and community.” She said the experience of showcasing her work is humbling, whether it’s at a fundraiser at a restaurant or at a presentation in Miami.

For all of this to happen, however, the world had to take a look at the anonymity she cloaked herself in under her pseudonym.

It took the wisdom, love and encouragement of a friend whose opinion she took to heart for The Ghost to become a reality in the art world.

“I trusted her,” Thomas said. “And as a good friend, I listened to what she said and realized she was right.”

In addition to Miami, Thomas has exhibited pieces at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo and currently has an exhibition at the Buffalo Club.

But Friday’s event, which sold more than 200 tickets in advance after setting a target of 100, Hibbard said, could be the start of an annual late-July tradition. If Thomas has anything to say about it.

Susan and CJ Urlaub and Ashley and Dan Misko speak with Patti Thomas at an event featuring Thomas’ painting as ‘The Ghost’ on Friday July 29th at the Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, 402 Center St., Lewiston . The four were among more than 200 attendees at the private event, which promised to see a portion of the receipts donated to Niagara Falls’ Heart, Love & Soul pantry. Urlaub is President of Mount St. Mary’s Hospital while Ashley is Executive Director of the hospital’s foundation.

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Given the numerous reasons behind hosting the private party at the restaurant, Hibbard may also be on board for a repeat.

He said his background in the art world as a sculptor led him to approach Thomas before creating the show. He thought it would be a great way to help Thomas gain some recognition in western Niagara County.

That extra little icing helped Heart, Love & Soul.

“And we wanted to show Heart, Love & Soul,” he said. “We’re only eight miles from Niagara Falls, but living in Lewiston, it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s that close.”

At $50 each, these 200 presale tickets fetched $10,000. That’s before art sales or other donations were included.

Hibbard did not specify what percentage of the evening’s proceeds would go to the pantry.

encounter with the star

Marcia Reed and Marvin McClellan Jr., meanwhile, found themselves at Gallo’s thanks to a Twitter sweepstakes. A user they follow posted an opportunity to win two tickets to the evening event and McClellan jumped at the chance.

He has a BINGO. Or maybe a Yahtzee!

Whatever he yelled, he won the tickets and about 30 minutes after Thomas’ arrival, the couple got a chance to love the artist up close.

They talked about the art – Reed told Thomas that she liked “Gemini” because she’s a twin and also a twin. “It caught my eye when I walked in,” she said.

Thomas posed for a selfie and they parted ways.

“It’s an opportunity to say thank you for everything they’ve done,” Reed said.

It was a perfect evening for the couple, who were in Lewiston for the first time despite living in Buffalo. The night also capped a turbulent week in which they viewed art in some sacred places in New York City.

“Gemini,” a painting by Patti “The Ghost” Thomas. (Photo by Timothy Chipp)

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