Every summer, The Arts Center's Sunny Point campus is alive with artistic endeavor – classes in a variety of media in the big red barn studio, open sessions in the pottery shop, workshops with artists from around the country.
None of those explain Gale Galusha’s deep connection with the place. Asked if she is an artist, Gale laughs. “I can’t draw two lines,” she says.
What keeps her connected is the friendships she has forged with the members of the Sunny Point Committee. “I love every one of them. They’re fantastic. ”
The hours she’s put in tending to the property are the reason Gale is the 2022 recipient of the Norma Peeler Volunteer Award, named in honor of a longtime Arts Center supporter and given “in recognition of the exceptional dedication of a volunteer who has provided outstanding support for the Arts Center.”
“She is just invaluable,” says Arts Center Executive Director Kris Pearson. “All of these great things have happened at Sunny Point because of Gale.”
Her involvement began soon after she and her husband, Dick, moved to a year round home on Keuka Lake a few miles north of Sunny Point. The two grew up in Corning and Gale worked as a nurse at Big Flats Elementary School for 18 years, beginning when the oldest of her three daughters started college.
A decade ago, with many friends were moving “to the lake,” she says, they bought a cottage on the west side, in addition to a place in Florida and a house in Big Flats. When her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease it became obvious that three houses were too much, so they consolidated in a year-round home on Keuka’s east side.
Arts Center artist and volunteer Caryl Flickinger got Gale involved in Sunny Point. In the early days, the cottage was, well, shabby. “I wouldn’t want to stay there,” she says. Gale set about sprucing it up, cleaning, painting bedrooms, purchasing bed linens, obtaining a better refrigerator and helping to open in the spring and button up in the fall – tackling pretty much whatever needs doing. She even makes sure there is fresh soap when guests arrive.
Last year, she obtained a donation of kitchen cabinets – used but in excellent condition – for the red barn studio. The cabinets, a new sink and countertop – installed with the help of pottery studio supervisor Tim Williams – vastly improve the function of the space. Gale was also instrumental in organizing a highly successful pig roast fundraiser. The Volunteer of the Year is a bit embarrassed by the unexpected recognition. “I just love it down there,” says Gale. “I don’t know what there is about it."