2012-05-23 / Front Page

How is Art Like Real Estate? Lesli Uribe Knows

By Annie Chesnut

Lesli Uribe with her work in the Houlihan Lawrence “gallery” on Main Street, in Cold Spring.   Annie Chesnut Lesli Uribe with her work in the Houlihan Lawrence “gallery” on Main Street, in Cold Spring. Annie Chesnut With a Glassbury Court show, numerous programs at the Garrison Art Center, and Main Street venues exhibiting for Art Along the Hudson, you can’t go anywhere in the area right now without being exposed to new and exciting artwork.

Take the Houlihan Lawrence real estate office on Main Street. The already charming space is now dedicated to an exhibit of paintings by real estate agent Lesli Uribe, and the response has been fantastic.

Lesli, who has lived in Cold Spring since she married fellow artist Alex Uribe in 1990, is an energetic, honest individual who began her art career as a young adult, not long before she began selling real estate.

“There is no art lineage in my family at all,” Lesli said. “It was not genetic.” The New Jersey native painted stage sets in high school and took college art classes before being admitted to the renowned art school, Cooper Union, in New York City. She found herself surrounded by “confident little art snobs…I was just like this novice—I had no clue.”

Lesli met Alex the very first day of school. “We were dancing at the opening party,” she said, “and we never stopped dancing.”

Unlike Lesli, Alex and his brother Carlos, well known to devotees of the Garrison Art Center, have deep artistic roots. Alex works in many media, often employing found or recycled materials, but may be best known for his corrugated cardboard sculptures. Also a professional builder, his skills carry over from one activity to the other.

Lesli began working in real estate at the suggestion of her father, a developer in New Jersey. But she also worked in a gallery, keeping her feet in both worlds.

When she and Alex settled in Cold Spring they began their family, having three children, now 20, 15, and 11. And yes, they are all artistic.

Lesli’s life has not been all blessings, though. About 21 years ago, when she was pregnant with her first child, their Cold Spring house burned down. “The town came out of the woodwork looking for me,” she recalled. There were offers of food and shelter and clothing. “This town just showed its true colors.”

Later, she had what turned out to be a petit mal seizure, which led to a brain tumor diagnosis. Aside from giving her a new appreciation for the brevity of life and the importance of living it well, after the surgery (the tumor was benign) she almost immediately began sketching herself, which re-kindled her love affair with art. “I have this theory,” Lesli said, “that the tumor made my artwork go dormant,” and the surgery released her creative ability again.

Whatever the reason, she felt recharged.

As for Houlihan Lawrence, where she has now worked in the same office for 18 years, Lesli said, “It’s a family here. It’s a very similar feeling to Cold Spring.”

The office was enthusiastic about turning their workspace into an art gallery for the Art Along the Hudson exhibit. Opening night was thrilling, with visitors segueing fluidly from discussions of art to real estate, and back.

When Lesli proposed her onsite exhibit to the management, she wrote: “I think one way to approach this might be to share with our real estate ‘audience’ that our real estate professionals have many passions that can benefit our buyers and seller clients…As an artist, I am also able to work for our sellers with a vision that is so important in this market. Being creative in staging a home is crucial these days.”

Uribe believes in integrating life and work: “Sharing my art opens up another way to relate to each other, earning respect and trust from another perspective.”

You can see more of Lesli’s work at www.LesliUribe.com, or contact her at luribe@houlihanlawrence.com.

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