Greg Haymes: A Celebration of Life Through Art
TROY — The artistic legacy of Nippertown co-founder Greg Charles Haymes, who passed away four years ago, will be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition “In Memoriam: Works by G.C. Haymes” at Carmen’s Cafe. The showcase will run for several months, with an opening reception scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 24, from 5:30–8 p.m.
Haymes was not just a journalist and musician but also a prolific artist who, according to his widow, musician Sara Ayers, found inspiration everywhere. She explains that Haymes saw art in everything, regardless of the medium.
The planning of this tribute began in 2019 with the combined efforts of Ayers, Jim Lewis of Springwood Studios, and the Carmen’s Cafe team. However, the pandemic’s onset stalled these plans, and it took Ayers’ recent lunch at the cafe to rekindle the project with Lewis.
The exhibited works will highlight Haymes’ environmental consciousness and his knack for turning discarded objects into art. “He would just see the beauty of something… and say, ‘Oh no, it’s beautiful, let’s use it for some art,’” Ayers recalls in an interview with Spotlight News’s Amy Modesti (found here). The art pieces are diverse, ranging from leaf tattoo works and digital photograms to sculptures crafted from rusted objects.
To honor Haymes further, Ayers will offer two books for sale during the exhibition. One is a 2020 retrospective of Haymes’ works, while the other is a reprinted 1974 text-based artwork, “Madre Gada,” filled with short poems crafted by Haymes. The proceeds from both the books and the artwork sales will benefit the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS) – Haymes’ preferred charity.
This gesture is significant as Haymes and Ayers had previously adopted a dog from MHHS and even ran an annual fundraiser, “Art Saves Animals,” in collaboration with the society. Although the gala ended after Haymes’ passing, Ayers believes in continuing support for the charity.
Haymes’ artistic journey began in Buffalo, inspired by his painter father, Charles Haymes. The unwavering support of his family played a pivotal role in nurturing his talents. “He was constantly supported and encouraged from a very young age,” Ayers added.
Despite his deep involvement with art, Haymes’ professional journey led him to music and journalism. Known as “Sarge Blotto,” Haymes wrote for Metroland, Times Union, and The Daily Gazette before co-founding Nippertown.
The choice of Carmen’s Cafe for the exhibition is intentional. The venue, located at 198 First St. in Troy, offers a cozy environment that fosters intimacy and connection. As Ayers remarks, “It’s going to be a great show and the opening is gonna be quite the party.”
Though the exhibit’s ending date remains uncertain, Ayers is hopeful that it will provide a fitting tribute to Haymes’ memory and bring people together once more. “It’s going to be quite the party, and it’ll be great to see everybody again,” she concludes. Those interested can find more details at Carmen’s Cafe or by visiting their website.