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The Lester Family Circus came to Plattsburgh

The Lester Family brought the Lester Family Circus to ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh last Saturday. From left are Ashley Lester, Kate Bourgeois, Elliot Daugherty and Amanda Lester. Missing: Courtney Lester.

The Lester Family brought the Lester Family Circus to ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh last Saturday. From left are Ashley Lester, Kate Bourgeois, Elliot Daugherty and Amanda Lester. Missing: Courtney Lester. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

PLATTSBURGH— There are art openings, and then there are events.

When the Lester Family Circus puts a show together, it’s the latter.

The walls in the ROTA Gallery are always adorned with artwork, but on Friday, May 31, the space was nothing short of a spectacle.

Brightly colored ribbons hung from the ceiling and criss-crossed the walls.

Strange relics­­, like a dried alligator head and a bone xylophone, decorated table tops.

There was even a popcorn machine, cotton candy, circus peanuts, live music and fire—all of the makings of a good circus.

And, of course, the Lester Family—sisters Ashley, Amanda and Courtney Lester, and friends Elliot Daugherty and Kate Bourgeois—were also there with a selection of their artwork.

The Lester Family held their first circus at the old ROTA gallery space and drew a crowd of about 250 people.

The latest Lester Family Circus also drew a crowd, including musicians and poi fire dancers.

“We don’t like to call this an opening because we want people to experience why art is important,” Daugherty said. “It’s because of community relations, because of personal relationships and new friendships.

Daugherty has installation work on display, as well as some of his pen and ink drawings, which he said are his specialty.

The pieces differ in both size and appearance, but they are all designed to influence discussion.

Flush against a wall is an electric chair Daugherty constructed using an old chair, belts, a lamp and a damaged wooden pallet.

A pile of ash sits at the feet of the chair.

The entire piece is drab browns and grays, brightened only by red rose petals and a soft glow that emits from the chair’s skull cap.

To Daugherty, it represents various aspects of love and relationships.

But, as with all of his work, it’s really up to the viewer’s interpretation.

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