If Lockport had a watercolorist laureate, Joseph Whalen would be a shoe-in.

Over a career that stretches back many decades, the big-hearted artist has been capturing daily life in his native city and its environs with aplomb and no shortage of good humor. His paintings almost always carry tongue-in-cheek titles, like “Old Man With a Cane, Getting Directions From an Old Man With a Cane.” In December, the Market Street Art Gallery in Lockport named its gallery after Whalen and his wife, Kathleen.

And today, the Kenan Center (433 Locust St., Lockport) will open an exhibition featuring work by Whalen and more than a dozen artists he taught or inspired across his career. Those artists are Joseph Buczkowski, Jack DiMaggio, Kris Gazzo, Kathleen Giles, Jennifer Kursten, Don Little, Paul Martin, Manning McCandlish, Doug and Dave Michalski, Mark Wald, Dody Walters, Jeff Watkins, Clayton Rickard and Joan Shaw.

“Joe Whalen is perhaps one of Lockport’s most beloved, if not most prolific, artists. Saying only that he was born ‘a long time ago,’ Whalen has spent a vast number of decades capturing the day-to-day life and rural scenery of Lockport, from its barns and canal, to its parades and bar rooms,” according to a Kenan Center release. “So recognizable are his frugally painted, and humorously titled works, that they can easily be called iconic.”

The show runs through Feb. 24. Call 433-2617 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski