Created in 1971, the Octagon Gallery is located on the basement level of the Patterson Library. Every year, Octagon Gallery Curator Nancy Nixon Ensign installs 12 shows featuring the work of local artists. The gallery has 105 ft. of exhibition space, 7 12×14 tall plywood walls, 38 black floating track lighting system and pedestals and locked cabinets available for sculptural or delicate works.

The goal of the art gallery program is to enhance the cultural and intellectual life of the community by providing exhibitions and services that highlight the visual and performing arts as well as other areas of cultural interest. See below for a full booking information, gallery schedule and past exhibits.

Interested in showing at the Octagon?

Call Nancy Nixon Ensign at 326-2154 or email

Setting the Stage: Design for Theater 
Friday, January 14, 2022, from 6 to 8 pm 
Artist talk at 7 pm

Visit the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield for a backstage tour of theatrical design and craftsmanship at the opening reception for Setting the Stage: Design for Theater on Saturday, January 14 from 6 pm to 8 pm. A gallery talk will begin at 7 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Featuring costumes, scenery, renderings, scale models, props, and accessories from plays, musicals, and opera, the exhibition showcases a variety of work by theater designers and artisans all currently affiliated with SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Theater and Dance. Work on display spans from pre-pandemic practices to virtual Covid-productions to the recent return of live performances.
The gallery features a life-size scenic installation from the SUNY Fredonia School of Music Hillman Opera’s production of Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage) designed by Hyla Sue Stellhorn and featuring costumes designed by Jessica Lustig. This 18th-century opera was reimagined for modern audiences staged as a 1980s primetime television soap opera influenced by classic shows like Dynasty and Dallas.
In Spring of 2021, Fredonia’s Department of Theater and Dance presented a live, virtual performance of She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms via Zoom. The play was presented as an interactive multi-player online role-playing game inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. Director Daniel Lendzian described the show as“an amazing mash-up of realism and fantasy, and one of the few plays where cheerleaders, fairies, and demon kings can co-exist.” Pop-up scenery designed to fit in a dorm room by Alyssa Ferris and DIY costumes imagined by Yuwan Viros from this virtual production will be on display.
Design work from other productions include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Tally’s Folly, Parade, The Wild Party, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Normal Heart showcase just a portion of the planning, labor, and skills that come together to create a cohesive vision for that ephemeral experience of a live performance – like a ghost, it’s there and then it’s gone.
Chautauqua County Arts Council