Wurtsboro — Paul Kean's purple sign above the porch of his gallery here boldly beckons all: "Artwork, made fresh daily."

Wurtsboro — Paul Kean's purple sign above the porch of his gallery here boldly beckons all: "Artwork, made fresh daily."

The sign might as well be talking about Wurtsboro.

This tiny village near the Orange County border has needed a boost, and not just a morale boost that pretty pictures bring. With some stores sitting empty on Sullivan Street, residents found an answer in art. A nifty scene has suddenly sprouted.

Check it out.

First stop: The Wurtsboro Art Alliance gallery at the old O&R building, vacant since the library closed. A cobblestone path lined by shrubs and flowers leads to a gallery that is open on weekends. It's in a former storeroom that's been renovated by town workers.

For the grand opening this month, a crowd of 150 tramped along that path to view the work of Mamakating artists — proof enough that the fine arts has an audience here.

Next stop: Dean and Linda Tintle's gallery just up the street from the O&R. They'll open Red Eft Gallery on Aug. 11, next to their veterinary hospital, and are already offering art classes.

It is one of the few businesses that will open — not close — in Mamakating.

You could say it's a big risk. The art scene isn't established, like it is in Narrowsburg in western Sullivan County, or New Paltz or Port Jervis.

The Tintles, though, had no qualms gutting the circa-1900s building for a high-end gallery. The space is perfect. Once a bowling alley, the building has a 55-by-30-foot room, where large pieces can be hung under natural light that streams through light wells in the ceiling.

Curator Roberta Rosenthal, an established artist herself, said she can reel in buyers for known artists who have shown their work in Manhattan's galleries. She'll teach drawing and painting in two classrooms. Crafts and prints will be sold in a gift shop out front.

"There are no real commercial galleries in Middletown," she said. "We are going to be like a little magnet for art."

The pull of Wurtsboro grabbed artist and sign maker Paul Kean two years ago.

And you shouldn't leave town without checking out his studio and gallery in a converted home across from the Canal Towne Emporium.

He sells three-dimensional sign sculptures, and paintings, what he calls "mindscapes" of telephone booths planted on the moon, or of Coke cans orbiting the earth.

Kean likes to joke that he is the father of Wurtsboro's arts scene.

Nobody leaves his store without a postcard-sized print of his paintings.