Run by the Greene County Council on the Arts (GCCA), the artists involved include students from Bard College, Vassar College, SUNY-New Paltz, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New York’s School of Visual Arts and St. Rose College in Albany. Future schools who have promised involvement as the exhibitions change every couple of months have included Columbia University, Skidmore College, the Rhode Island School of Design and other key institutions on the East Coast.
This project offers art schools space for the MFA students to exhibit their work for a three-month period. Fawn Potash, the GCCA’s Visual Arts director, is serving as the project coordinator and marketing three high-profile collectors’ receptions to local, regional and national media. The second round of exhibits will be installed in June and up through September, with a third series set to run October through December.
“Catskill’s 19th-century Main Street charm far outweighs the recession’s commercial gloom in a town that values its ongoing relationship with artists. For over 30 years the Arts Council has served as a community anchor, and many buildings are owned by artists interested in adding to the creative population, inspiring interest in more galleries, restaurants and local shopping,” said Potash of the project’s origins. “‘Masters on Main Street’’s proactive agenda features a cross-section of the community welcoming new faces and interest in our town’s striking rentable and saleable spaces. Writers, critics, curators and collectors are invited to view cutting-edge work by artists from top art schools around the country.”
Also behind the project is its initiators’ realization that many major collectors have started to rush art schools (especially those turning out MFA students) to buy art early on in artists’ careers. Giving students a chance to show work outside their schools, they figured, would be a sure way of allowing collectors an even-better chance to see these budding talents’ work in new “real-world” settings.
What one will see along Catskill’s Main Street these coming months will include contemporary landscapes in photos, video and installation formats, traditional abstract painting, video installations, ceramic sculptures, silkscreened scrolls, woodblock prints and a new silent film. Other programs under discussion include a video art festival, an “Artists in Dialogue” series and panel discussions.
The “Masters on Main” openings running from 5 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, February 26 will follow a major four-hour launch party for WGXC-FM, the region’s new high-power community radio station, as well as a post-openings dance party at Brik Gallery at 473 Main Street from 7 to 9 p.m. The town’s various restaurants, specializing in everything from Italian and Thai to French and Mediterranean cuisines, will all stay open late to accommodate those coming into town from the City and elsewhere and used to later dining hours than us upstaters. There will also be simultaneous openings at all of Catskill’s other galleries, making the town a true cultural destination this Saturday.
For further information, call (518) 943-3400, visit www.greenearts.org or just head for Catskill anytime on Saturday.