The Ithaca Art Trail 2013 to 2014 Season

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(July 17, 2013 ITHACA, NY)—The 2013-2014 season of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail has begun! The trail’s two October Open Studio weekends on October 5-6 AND October 12-13, from 11am to 5pm each day, give art enthusiasts the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of all 47 artist studios that are open simultaneously throughout Tompkins County.   (Visitors also have opportunities to visit a selection of Art Trail artists on the First Saturday of every month except October.  Artists are also available by appointment anytime.  ) 

Now in its 15th season, and with over 5,000 studio visits each year, the Art Trail continues to grow and gain visitor anticipation.  Robin Schwartz, Program Director of the Community Arts Partnership (Tompkins County’s arts council), coordinates the Art Trail. “This is truly an amazing event because Tompkins County not only has a wealth of amazing artists, it’s also a beautiful area to visit,” says Schwartz, “especially in October when the fall foliage is at its peak.  Visitors tell me that they are continually impressed by being able to visit such a quality group of artists and to see art where it happens.”  Visitors to the Art Trail come from a large geographic region, from as far north as Toronto and south into New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Each year, more and more people from a larger geographic region are drawn to the trail by the diverse nature of the art they will see.  

Explorers on the trail will find artists working in all media: painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, fiber artists, ceramists, makers of fine furniture, collage artists, glass artists, mixed media artists, digital artists, creators of decorative functional art and even a blacksmith! Some studios are in downtown Ithaca and some are along rural roads with hayfields as neighbors.  Some are cozy living rooms and some spaces are as interesting as the work itself.  From scraps of paper and shards of glass to an unfinished canvas or the smell of wet clay, an artist’s studio contains countless clues as to what lies beneath an artist’s work.  

Visitors get to see an artist’s work space, their materials, their work, and they can engage the artists in a conversation about their creative process—things you can’t experience in more formal gallery settings. 

The artists hope that visitors gain a new appreciation of the art-making process, and the artists themselves grow through the personal exchange with an audience.   

Some visitors just come to browse, taking advantage of seeing art where it is created.  Others come with a quest to bring home fine art.   Shoppers will find art priced from $10 to $2,500 and everything in between.  

According to Schwartz, “Artists on the trail offer a broad collection of original work at a wide variety of prices.” 

Since this is a self-guided adventure, each visitor makes his or her own plan.   Some visitors pick an area on the map and visit all the artists within that area.  Some study the website or brochure and pick artists of specific disciplines. Others just go with the flow and follow the suggestions of other trail visitors.  Having two Open Studio weekends give visitors more time to explore. One recent visitor said “I had so much fun … and the artists were so terrific, I grabbed some friends and went the next weekend as well!” 

The Art Trail has been an asset to local artists and businesses, bringing new customers to the artists, engaging new or aspiring artists, bring in tourists and boosting visitors to local wineries, stores and restaurants. 

Visitors Need the Map 

Visitors begin by getting the Art Trail brochure/map, either by downloading it from ArtTrail.com, by picking it up at various tourist locations or by having it mailed to them.  The brochure/map contains an image of each artist’s work, a brief description, contact information and a map.  ArtTrail.com, in addition to the downloadable map, has a full page of information and images for each artist, plus a 3 minute film.  To be mailed a brochure ahead of time, call Robin at the Community Arts Partnership at 607-273-5072, ext. 20 or e-mail programs@artspartner.org.

There are many ways to get the map during the Open Studio weekends. Brochures are available at two visitor locations in Ithaca. The Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau is located at 902 E. Shore Drive, the east side of the “bottom” of Cayuga Lake. (1-800-284-8422).   There is also a downtown Visitor Center located on the Ithaca Commons in Center Ithaca at 171 E. State/Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. (The “Commons” is a two block pedestrian mall.)   Since all 47 studios will have brochure/maps on hand, you can contact also contact Robin to help you locate a studio where you can start your tour and pick up a map. 

First Saturdays of Every Month  

The Greater Ithaca Art Trail also has two other ways to enjoy artist studios.  Unlike many other open studio tours around the country, about a dozen select studios on the Greater Ithaca Art Trail are open on the First Saturday of every month of the year (except October when the first Saturday is the first Open Studio weekend).  A list of artists who are open on each First Saturday are at the ArtTrail.com website about 10 days prior. In addition, all studios are open year-round by appointment. 

Annual Show at the State of the Art Gallery

During the Art Trail Open Studio’s the local State of the Art Gallery, located at 120 E. State/Martin Luther King Jr. Street (www.soag.org) will be showing a selection of work  the art trail artists, a great way for visitors to get an idea of what studios to visit.  

Selected Artists Information 

Nicholas Down

New to the Art Trail this year, painter Nicholas Down’s studio is in his newly designed contemporary home in Dryden, NY, where his studio overlooks gorgeous views of the distant hills.  Visitors will see work in progress and a large selection of completed paintings.  Down says “My recent paintings are part of my extended homage to nature and are my abstract impressions of color, mystery, and the spirit of place.” 
Born in Kampala Uganda in 1957,  Down spent a formative childhood in East Africa before returning to the United Kingdom to study at the Kings School Canterbury and the London Hospital Medical College where he both qualified with Distinction as a Doctor in 1980 and received an Honorary Blue Medal for my work as Director of the Art Society. Retiring from work as a family doctor in 2012, Down emigrated to the USA to continue a career as a professional artist.  His critically acclaimed paintings have become highly sought after and are held in private collections in the USA, the UK, Germany, Italy and the Far East.   

Down says: “During the past two years I have had the privilege of visiting some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth including California’s Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks, the red rocks of Sedona Arizona, the tough deserts of Canyonlands and Arches in Utah, Monument Valley in Navajo Nation, and of course the Grand Canyon.  I was awestruck with the beauty and silences of these places and deeply inspired to create a number of new paintings and films which attempt to capture the essence of what I felt both as an artist and as a human being.” 

Leah Houghtaling, new to the Art Trail this year, builds furniture and functional art using sustainably harvested local wood and non-toxic finishes.  Leah was born a humble acorn in the rolling Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. Despite the rocky land and poor soil, she grew into a strong oak tree and put down her roots in Trumansburg, NY in 2000. There began her love affair with wood.  Leah is a whirlwind of new ideas and projects. She thrives on change and creating art. Her favorite line is “I’ve got this great idea….” She spends an extraordinary amount of time staring at raw pieces of wood, waiting for them to speak to her (not that she hears voices or anything, honest). In each piece that Leah creates, she explores the natural lines and contours of the wood and lets the wood come alive with textures, lines, colors and shadows. Visit her studio in the Village of Trumansburg. 

Jenny Pope is an artist is known for her large, color-reduction woodcut prints, often featuring compelling combinations of species with odd or interesting elements from their natural histories. She hopes her work provides an interesting avenue for people to contemplate our environment.  Pope says, “I have always had an affinity for the natural world and making art. It made sense for me to meld my interests. My ongoing research includes climate change, bird mythology, endangered species, invasive animals and anything else in the environment that is both inspiring and disheartening.”  Visit Jenny’s home and studio on Ithaca’s west hill neighborhood.  Jennie’s husband, Craig Mains, also a printmaker is also on the Art Trail! 

Anne Foulke’s studio is a bit off the beaten Art Trail path. Her huge glass and clay studio is in a beautiful country setting in Genoa!  

Anne says “I love old things, as my studio, an 1850’s barn with hand-hewn beams and time-worn scarred wood floors, attests to. I am inspired by ornamentations on older buildings and old German kachelofen (tiled stove) designs. My techniques meld clay and wood sculpting, throwing on the pottery wheel and creating colorful fused-glass panels in a charming country setting.” 

“Eight years ago I started working almost exclusively on hand-formed ceramic panels, creating unique tile work and sculptural pieces. I carve ornate designs into wood, then hand-press clay slabs into the carvings to create ceramic reliefs. I love the way ceramic glazes break over the raised lines creating depth and interest. I often combine many relief sculptures together to make huge compositions.”

“After working in a hot glass studio for a year, I just had to get my hands on the luminous vibrant color palette found only in glass. Since I couldn’t abandon my clay obsession, I decided to combine mediums in both two (“flat”) and three dimensional sculptures. I now work full time (plus a little extra) creating custom works of art for client’s homes all over the country.” 

About the Community Arts Partnership

The Greater Ithaca Art Trail is a program of the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, the county’s arts council. CAP was founded in 1990 to serve as the arts council of Tompkins County, providing technical assistance, grant opportunities, and professional services and information to artists and arts organizations, as well as public programs that celebrate and support the arts community in the county.  For two decades, CAP has helped to distribute more than $2 million to artists and arts organizations in the community.  For more information on the Community Arts Partnership and its programs and services, visit http://www.artspartner.org or call Program Director, Robin Schwartz at (607) 273-5072.

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