“The Ghost” is unveiled at the Gallo Art Show

Artist Patty Thomas created several paintings displayed at the Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen in Lewiston on Friday, July 29. The event was meant to help give Thomas exposure to the art scene in Niagara County, according to Gallo owner Michael Hibbard. (Photo by Timothy Chip)

Friday, August 5, 2022, 12:00 p.m

The event raised funds for Heart, Love & Soul

Article and photos by Timothy Chip

Patti Thomas wished to remain anonymous. It is difficult nowadays, what if he exhibits his works in a museum in one of the biggest cities in the country.

Thomas, who began creating canvases under the moniker “The Ghost” more than a year ago, had no intention of stepping into the spotlight created for her at Lewiston’s Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen on July 29. But her secret was out, and Michael Hibbard, the owner of the Center Street restaurant, was completely convinced.

Being able to give a portion of ticket sales and artwork to Heart, Love & Soul in Niagara Falls also sweetened the pot.

“When you do well, you give back,” Thomas said shortly after arriving at the party thrown in her honor. Her husband, Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, a volunteer supporter who attended the trip.

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

For it all to happen, however, the world had to glimpse the anonymity she cloaked herself in under her pseudonym.

It took the wisdom, love and prodding of a friend whose opinion he took to heart to make The Ghost flesh in the art world.

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

In addition to Miami, Thomas has exhibited at Buffalo’s Burchfield Penney Art Center and currently has an exhibit at The Buffalo Club.

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

Susan and CJ Urlaub and Ashley and Dan Misko talk with Patti Thomas at an event featuring Thomas’ paintings as “The Ghost” at Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, 402 Center St., Lewiston, on Friday, July 29. The four were among more than 200 attendees at the private event who pledged to see a portion of the receipts donated to the Niagara Falls Heart, Love & Soul Food 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 many reasons to host the private party at the restaurant, Hibbard may also be in for a repeat.

He said his background in the art world as a sculptural artist led him to contact Thomas before the exhibit was created. He thought this would be a great way to help Thomas gain some recognition in western Niagara County.

The extra little cherry on top was helping Heart, Love & Soul.

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

At $50 apiece, those 200 pre-sale tickets raised $10,000. This is before any art sales or other donations are included.

Hibbard did not specify what percentage of the evening’s proceeds will be given to the food pantry.

Meeting the star

Meanwhile, Marcia Reed and Marvin McClellan Jr. ended up at Gallo thanks to a Twitter contest. A user they follow posted an opportunity to win two tickets to the evening’s event, and McClellan jumped at the chance.

He got BINGO. Or maybe Yahtzee!

Whatever he screamed won the tickets, and about 30 minutes after Thomas arrived, the two had a chance to get up close and personal with the entertainer.

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

Thomas posed for a selfie and they parted ways.

“This is a chance to say thank you for everything they’ve done,” Reid said.

It was a perfect evening for the couple, their first time in Lewiston even though they lived in Buffalo. The night also capped off a whirlwind week that saw them in New York looking at art in some sacred spaces.

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

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