Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel

Less than a year ago, I wrote a story about Steve Lyons.

The award-winning artist had just opened Bankside Contemporary, opposite Winfield Deli on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful Chatham, Cape Cod gallery, he called this a “communal gathering space.” Steve wanted people to wander in, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

Steve and his life and business partner, Peter Demers, sold 6 paintings right after COVID struck, between mid-March and April. But they closed in late October — though not because of sales.

The “Steve Lyons team” writes: 

In early March, while painting in his studio, Steve saw a flash of light on the left side of his peripheral vision. Spots were found on his brain, but cancer was not diagnosed.

Steve’s symptoms persisted. He sought a second opinion. A biopsy revealed glioblastoma. He began treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Steve Lyons, outside Bankside Contemporary.

Through a medical professional Steve knows socially, he learned of an opportunity to undergo surgery and enroll in a promising new clinical trial,  available only at UCLA.

Steve and Peter headed to California in September. The initial surgery was a success. Rehabilitation followed, with many ups and downs.

But while caring for Steve in Los Angeles, Peter contracted COVID-19. After a fierce struggle in the hospital, Peter died on January 10.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

Peter was a cherished member of the Chatham community, and a stalwart, gentle, guiding hand for the gallery. He was a friend to so many, whose generosity and genial presence touched all who encountered him.

Steve’s love and passion, shared and promoted at all times by Peter himself, is a worthy testament to both of them, whether they are present with us or not.

We want to thank all the lovely Westporters we got to know along the way. Steve and Peter loved the town so much.

They felt immediate warmth when they decided to open Bankside Contemporary at National Hall. We wish all Westporters and friends a healthy and happier 2021.

(For more on Steve Lyons and his art, click here.)

Steve Lyons’ art, at Bankside Contemporary.

9 responses to “Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel

  1. What a sad story. I am sending my condolences to Steve Lyons on the loss of his partner, as well as my prayers that his treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is successful in his fight against glioblastoma.

  2. I went to Long Lots with a Ray Demers back in 1960-61. I wonder if Peter was his son?

  3. Sad, sad story. Steve, Westport is here for you.

  4. Heartbreaking.
    Sending love and healing to Steve. 💙

  5. Sending healing thoughts to Steve and condolences. I didn’t have a chance to go to the gallery, but the paintings are beautiful.

  6. Lee Ann Bollert

    I had wondered if the closing was due to Covid, as we had so enjoyed peeking into the windows, admiring Steve’s work while making our Covid walking loop through town. I had hoped that one day, I would be able to go in and really experience his work and its beauty. This is even more sad than I had feared. Please know Steve, what joy your work brought us and that we are thinking of you with healing thoughts and sincere condolences.

  7. Such a sad story, but couldn’t help but wonder what a joy it must have been to have found one another. I think if you find someone special for a short amount of time, it is a gift. Some people are not so lucky. May Peter Rest In Peace.

  8. What a heartbreaking story. They were wonderful people. I enjoyed going into their gallery, seeing Steve’s art and talking with them.

  9. I’d like to read his obituary but cannot find it anywhere online. RIP, Peter.