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Belle Manes is on a lifelong voyage of personal discovery that began during her childhood years ago in the Jewish immigrant community on New York’s teeming Lower East Side. There, in her uncle’s sign-painting shop which she visited daily after school, she found the tools she needed to begin to make her mark in the world. Her uncle gave her paper and pencil and told her to keep busy while he painted cows, scenery and did gold leaf Hebrew lettering for neighborhood shops. Belle kept busy drawing dancing girls, trees, and scenes from life on the Lower East Side. There she discovered creating art offered her a means to express her ideas and dreams. She enrolled in New York’s Music and Arts High School at age 12. There she got a glimpse into the world of art and artists, and that experience triggered a change in her. She began to cast off the rigid constraints of family life as her intellectual and emotional growth surged. But she never forgot where she came from. In the years to come, the memory of it would color and even haunt her work.

After graduating from Music and Arts High School, Manes took courses at Queens College (NY) and at Rutgers University (NJ) before being accepted into the Bachelor program at Cooper Union. There she acquired a basic understanding of the tools of her trade. She learned how to make her own oil paint and weld her own sculpting   tools.  Manes recalls, “ I was listening to the talk of art and dreaming of the limitless possibilities for myself and my work”.  Exploring those limitless possibilities became her voyage of discovery.

After the degree in Fine Art’s from Cooper Union in 1958 and she went on to teach at a White Plains extension program of NYU’s Art school. She later served as a mentor in Pratt Institute’s graduate program. Manes showed her work in New York for the first time in 1959. Since then her paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationwide.
One person shows range from THE FLINN GALLERY, and GALLERY IN THE PARK retrospectives, SILVERMINE GUIILD DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, ART PLACE GALLERY, BRANCHVILLE SOHO, PINDAR GALLERY, ART GALLERY AT SUNY, etc. to group shows in NEW YORK, Connecticut, and Florida. Some of these include ALBRIGHT-KNOX, HUDSON RIVER MUSEUM, BROOKLYN MUSEUM, LARRY ALDRICH, and THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM. As far as what I do, I believe in strong structure, good drawing, and a love affair with color. Where I come from and whom I am, plays a strong part in this affair. Growing up in these times has had to have its effect. Immersing one’s self in the work leads to discoveries that, using memory and passion, can lead to the enlightenment that is a painting.

Upcoming shows include a winner of THE HAMMOND MUSEUM (tri state competion), and the FABER BIRREN COLOR AWARD show. Manes continues to moderate the ARTIST’S DISCUSSION GROUP at the KATONAH MUSEUM.