Tourist Season Recap

May’s exhibition, a visiting artist invitational titled “Tourist Season,” had its opening reception last Friday evening and it was a real pleasure to see the art hanging as a collection on the gallery walls. Working with these talented artists for the first time has been a treat for everyone involved. The show is still hanging in the gallery, so if you haven’t yet, stop on by to see it! We thought we’d share a few photos from the opening:

Tourist Season collage

So many of the works in the show are thought-provoking, intriguing, and even humorous–but there was one piece that we kept on getting questions about, and we thought we’d share the answer that we found!

"T-shirt Gang No. 1," by Zack Zdrale
“T-shirt Gang No. 1,” by Zack Zdrale

Zack Zdrale’s “T-shirt Gang No. 1,” besides being a great painting, is attention-grabbing. Many folks wondered who this man was, and why Zack would paint him. With some information from Zack, we did some digging, and found the following newspaper article, the text of which is pasted below the link…

Excerpt from New Castle News – New Castle, PA July 25, 1949. Clipping on Page 7

 Fourteen Alleged Members Of Gang Of Bandits Held PITTSBURGH, July 25—(INS) —Fourteen alleged bandits who lived high and easy on the loot from more than 60 robberies today face identification from their victims in Pittsburgh. The group, all alleged members of a “T-Shirt” hold-up gang which specialized in robbing gambling houses, outdoor “crap” games and stores coupled with a fev\ kidnappings, was rounded up last week alter one of their members confessed to Allegheny county detectives. One Pittsburgher, suspected of complicity, is being held in Los Angeles. A woman suspect is being questioned further in Pittsburgh. Police said Malcom Epstein. 38, became angry when his friends failed to get him an attorney and “put the finger’’ on the mob. Epstein was being held on a morals cnarge. Chief of County Detectives Charles Jonhston has promised gamblers they need not fear prosecution if they appear and identify the mobsters. He said he is interested in the robberies, not the gambling. Victims of robberies in Ohio, West Virginia and the Pittsburgh District are expected.

Zack’s grandfather, a detective in Pittsburgh in the 1940’s, took mug shots of the notorious T-Shirt Gang. Zack grew up looking at the images and hearing stories about his grandfather’s career. Having recently inherited the collection of photographs including the mug shots of the gang and their getaway driver, Zack has begun to paint them, and tells us he’s currently got three more in progress.

To see “T-shirt Gang No. 1,” as well as the rest of the fantastic Tourist Season exhibition, be sure to stop by the gallery, or check out our website here!

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