Francis E. Leahy
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the untimely passing of AJ Dillon Gallery owner, artist, and creative mind Francis E. Leahy. Aside of from his artistic brilliance, Francis had a very influential hand in not only our lives but our community. In March of 2013, Francis took over R.J.'s Sporting Good's store (Built in 1923) on First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. Upon first opening the doors, we realized that a lot of work was to be done. The building was abandoned for the past 9 years, and was on the verge of being demolished. Then, what seemed like out of nowhere an Irish Saint appeared and turned what was once deemed as terminal into the beautiful building you see today. Within 4 months of beginning construction, on July 20th, 2013 the AJ Dillon Gallery had its first art installation. Throughout the next 3 years AJ Dillon would only grow bigger. Having installations change on a monthly basis while providing artists from all over the Jersey Bayshore area with a platform to show Atlantic Highlands their freedom of creativity and expression. Overall, the AJ Dillon Gallery was a success. Not only because of the art, but if you've ever been to one of Frank's opening receptions then you know that it was a special environment unlike any other. The gallery brought people together. Frank brought people together. And if he were here I know he would want to thank each and everyone one of you that made our time at 54 First Avenue possible. You made it possible for Frank to live out his dreams and successfully run an art gallery. We are now left with great stories, great paintings, and most of all great memories.
written by Will Leahy