by Nancy E. McCarthy
If you have an art lover on your holiday giving list, look no further than the abundant art galleries in the Finger Lakes Region for a truly special gift. ’Tis the season for shopping opportunities galore and new exhibitions. Opening exhibit receptions are always free and festive, providing an opportunity to meet the makers of the works while enjoying libations and small bites. We connected with some local galleries to learn their back story, find out which artists are hot and what art mediums are cool, plus get a few shopping tips. You may even find a little something for yourself to spruce up your own home for the holidays!
West End Gallery, Corning
In 1977, Linda and Tom Gardner opened Corning Art & Frame and added West End Gallery in 1988. The framing business was sold and the gallery flourished. Their daughter Jesse and husband John purchased the gallery in 2015. Next generation owner Jesse Gardner is its executive director.
The gallery represents about 60 emerging and nationally known regional artists in a variety of media. While the focus is representational artwork, in recent years more nontraditional, modern and stylistic works are in the mix.
West End, on Corning’s storied Market Street, is a community hub welcoming art lovers, families, school visits and even pets! The gallery regularly hosts talks and artist demonstrations. New services include a variety of commissioned works, commercial artwork leasing, interior design partnerships and appraisals.
Some West End Gallery best-sellers are the paintings of GC Myers (acrylic), Trish Coonrod (oil), Martin Poole (oil) and Judy Soprano (watercolor, oil). Newly represented artists include Richard Aerni and Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz (ceramics), Amy Hutto (acrylic), Jennifer Miller (oil), Aaron Rovner-Buck (blown glass) and Chris Walters (fine art photography).
During the holidays the gallery sells a lot of jewelry, pottery, glass and paintings. “Purchasing artwork is usually a very personal experience,” says Gardner. “Receiving an original work of art tells you someone thought enough to do something extra-special for you. It’s unique and, since it’s handmade, you are assured there is only one of that gift in the entire world.”
West End Gallery: “Deck the Walls”
November 29, 2019 – January 25, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, November 29,
5 to 8 p.m. (during Urban Arts Crawl)
This group exhibit includes new artwork from more than 30 regional artists.
West End Gallery, 12 West Market Street, Corning. More information at westendgallery.net.
Flick Gallery at Arts Center of Yates County, Penn Yan
Incorporated in 1984, the Arts Center of Yates County is a nonprofit community arts center providing opportunities to enrich lives through the arts. The Arts Center moved into its permanent home in 2012: a renovated historic bank building on Penn Yan’s Main Street. It includes Flick Gallery and Rosenfeld Studio for classes and workshops. Sunny Point is a new seasonal annex on Keuka Lake with workshop studios and housing for visiting artists.
At Flick Gallery, over 200 artists have been juried into exhibitions showcasing a vast mix of art forms. Popular artists include painters Bonnie Barney, Barbara Doyle, and Caryl Flickinger, potters Barb and Eric Havill and Monica Sommerville, jewelry designer Janis Long, and Leon Applebaum, an internationally recognized glass artist.
Executive Director Kristine Pearson has observed that Flick patrons tend to buy paintings for themselves and other forms of art as gifts for others. “Art is really highly subjective so trying to buy paintings for others can be tricky,” she says.
For holiday gifts, Pearson suggests notecards of original artwork (a best-selling item), gift cards, small prints representing loved places, handcrafted display items of pottery and glass, or one-of-a-kind jewelry.
“The real reason behind giving gifts is to delight, and the true value in art is the same,” Pearson says. “Look for something that you believe will bring joy to whoever receives it, rather than something you think is a good investment value or imagine will appreciate in value.”
Arts Center of Yates County/Flick Gallery: “Celebration”
November 17-December 31, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, November 17, 1 to 3 p.m.
This festive exhibit features a wide variety of unique, affordable gifts created by regional artists.
Arts Center of Yates County, 127 Main Street, Penn Yan. More information at artscenteryatescounty.org.
Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery, Canandaigua
In 2003, Canandaigua artist Pat Rini Rohrer established her downtown regional gallery in a refurbished 1850s-era building. Eight years ago, Rohrer was pivotal in establishing an annual Plein Air Festival in Canandaigua attracting artists across the United States and Canada. This has impacted the mix of 40 artists she currently represents: about 75 percent are local to the Finger Lakes Region, others are from as far away as Utah.
Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery (PRR) also offers art workshops (beginner through advanced classes) in a variety of mediums, taught by eight accomplished artists, including Rohrer.
Rotating fine art exhibits include a range of styles, both impressionistic and expressionistic, in several mediums: encaustics, oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media. The gallery carries paintings, original prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry. “Part of the joy of having the gallery is having people come in and enjoy the artwork,” says Rohrer.
Some acclaimed artists who attract collectors include Kari Ganoung Ruiz (oil), Judy Soprano (oil, watercolor), Barbara Doyle (oil), George Van Hook (oil) and g.a. Sheller (mixed media). Plein air painter Steve BonDurant is newly represented by PRR Gallery.
Paintings of local scenes are especially popular. They’re often bought as wedding or anniversary gifts or for someone moving away. Holiday purchases tend to be smaller paintings, handmade ornaments, gift certificates and high-quality art supplies for PRR art class students.
Last year, Rohrer expanded the gallery. During the “Small Works” holiday exhibit, there will be 150 works along with exquisite handcrafted ceramic ornaments and tiny hand-painted canvases for the tree.
Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery: “Small Works”
November 9-December 31, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 9, 5 to 7 p.m.
This holiday season exhibit features small and large paintings in a range of styles and price plus handcrafted ornaments.
Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery, 71 South Main Street, Canandaigua. More information at prrgallery.com.
Mill Art Center & Gallery, Honeoye Falls
Mill Art Center & Gallery (MAC) in the charming 1827 Lower Mill building in Honeoye Falls opened in 1994. This nonprofit’s mission is to provide “an environment in which the community can express and develop their artistic abilities through studio instruction and the opportunity to view works of art.” Exhibitions in two galleries benefit area artists. MAC is supported by 125 member artists.
A second-floor gallery hosts six themed regional art exhibits annually. The third floor gallery exclusively features members’ works. The center also offers artist lectures, demonstrations and art workshops for children through adults of varying abilities in a myriad of mediums.
Artist members also work in a variety of media. “Styles range from highly representational to expressive abstract, there is truly something for everyone,” says Director Kathryn Bevier, an encaustic artist.
Some well-known member artists include Richard Harvey (mixed media), Robert Heischman (mixed media), Lanna Pejovic (oil, mixed media) and Phyllis Bryce Ely (oil, encaustics).
Though prices run the gamut, artwork in the more formal second floor exhibitions prompt more personal acquisitions while the third floor gallery offers a range of works well suited for gift-giving.
Exhibitions feature venerable artists and newcomers. “I think that is what I truly love most about MAC,” says Bevier. “We all are so supportive of each other regardless of where we are in our artistic journey.”
Mill Art Center & Gallery: “Annual Members Exhibition”
November 22, 2019-January 31, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, November 22, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
This exhibition features a wide selection of member artists’ outstanding works in a range of media, size and price.
Mill Art Center & Gallery, 61 North Main Street, Honeoye Falls. More information at millartcenter.com.
Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs
Main Street Arts (MSA) is a nonprofit arts organization with two exhibition floors showcasing contemporary art and fine craft, plus an artist residency program, youth programming, artist talks, workshops and events. MSA, in picturesque Clifton Springs, opened in 2013. Its mission includes promoting artists, encouraging art making, fostering art education and increasing arts awareness through outreach and programming.
The main floor hosts six to eight annual exhibitions in a variety of media, theme, and artistic style with a mix of solo, invitational and national juried shows. The second floor offers six to eight exhibits with an emphasis on regional artists such as Lanna Pejovic, Honeoye Falls (contemporary abstracts), Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer, Canandaigua (landscape, portrait, still life) and Sylvia Taylor, Ithaca (printmaking).
Executive Director and Curator Bradley Butler, also an abstract painter, recognizes that buying a piece of art as a gift can be tricky but also an opportunity to give something truly unique. “Something that people don’t often realize is that buying original art or other handcrafted works can also be affordable,” says Butler. “Main Street Arts also offers gift certificates that collectors and art enthusiasts on your list can use to buy the art that personally excites them or to sign up for a workshop.”
Holiday shoppers can also find locally crafted handcrafted jewelry and ceramics, prints, note cards and more at MSA’s gallery shop in person or online.
Main Street Arts: “Small Works”
November 30, 2019-January 3, 2020
Double Reception in conjunction with “The Cup,
The Mug” exhibit (November 16-December 14):
Saturday, December 7, 4 to 7 p.m.
This juried exhibition of artwork 12 inches or smaller, curated by gallery owner Anna Kaplan from Anna Kaplan Contemporary in Buffalo, features artists from across the U.S.
Main Street Arts, 20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs. More information at mainstreetartsgallery.com.
Corners Gallery, Ithaca
After managing Corners Gallery for a year, Ariel Bullion Ecklund purchased it in 2010. In 2014, she expanded, doubling the gallery’s size and adding a retail space featuring handcrafted pottery, textiles and jewelry (including her own porcelain creations). Corners Gallery also offers framing services, home installations and collection curation for private clients or in partnership with interior designers.
The gallery hosts six to eight invitational and juried exhibitions annually featuring solo artists and groups showcasing paintings in a variety of media, and drawings, sculpture, printmaking and photography. Ecklund currently represents a dozen artists of varying styles, the majority of whom are local. They include Ithacans Stan Taft, a representational oil painter, Ruth Sproul (abstract mixed media) and Suzanne Onodera, an impressionist (oil, watercolor).
Ecklund sees a sales increase during the holidays but usually on smaller-ticket items, so she offers a mix of sizes, genres and different price points. “The holiday season can be a great time to purchase a large work of art,” Ecklund says, pointing out that the new year is an opportunity to renew interior spaces with a fresh acquisition.
Corners Gallery: “Plus One”
December 3, 2019-January 25, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
This invitational exhibit will feature artists represented by the gallery and other works curated by the artists themselves.
Corners Gallery, 903 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca. More information at cornersgallery.com.