West Cove Studio & Gallery

Pressed for Time

There’s a former factory in West Haven whose history lives in its heavily scored floorboards, shredded up by sharp edges of heavy machinery since the building’s construction in 1910.

In 2005, Roy Smith moved in with his own machines and founded West Cove Studio & Gallery. He brought a lithography press, an electric combination Dickerson press and two 4,500-pound Charles Brand intaglio presses—the latter, he contends, comprising the workhorses of any serious print house. Smith wanted West Cove to be a place where experienced printers could go about their craft without a lot of fuss. To that end, members of the studio’s co-op program are given keys and can print at any time of day.

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On the other hand, the attached gallery, called A-Space, is open by appointment only. With far more room than his printing operation required, Smith eventually invited Stephen Kobasa—a former arts writer for the Advocate and the Independent, among the many hats he’s worn—to manage the huge 11,100-square-foot exhibition space.

Ending on May 30, West Cove’s current exhibits—Gil Scullion’s Living Room (Waiting) and Roxanne Faber Savage’s Float, comprised of cardboard sculptures and paneled, floor-to-ceiling images—are its last. The studio/gallery’s stretch of the West River has been slated for redevelopment by the city, with a move-out date not yet finalized. Nature is also moving in to stake her claim. Water damage has made it impossible to hang paper or canvas in large portions of the building, and birds have made homes in the rafters, calling out across the space.

Smith hopes to bring his own calling to a new location soon, but where he’ll point his trusty ’horses—those intaglio presses—remains to be seen.

West Cove Studio & Gallery
30 Elm St, West Haven (map)
Studio Contact: Roy Smith – (609) 638-8501
Gallery Contact: Stephen Kobasa – (203) 500-0268

Written and photographed by Daniel Shkolnik.

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