“Shandaken tour artists are practicing the message of ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ Cooperation and mutual support helps all and hurts no one,” said the Tour’s Dave Channon, who will be opening his studio and showing sculpture at a new indoor/outdoor gallery set up at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center July 17 and 18 (as well as through the remainder of the month). “The star system of commercial galleries insures that 9 out of 10 artists will be frustrated and one will have some success… We show that there is another way. Our most successful artists stand together with our least recognized in a joyful circle.”
The effort, which follows the success of similar undertakings in Saugerties and Kingston, Rhinebeck and the New Paltz area, Catskill and Woodstock in recent years, has grown different from other towns’ by virtue of the breadth and increasing depth of its offerings, from over 30 artists and a dozen different galleries and other venues, to the width (and scenic beauty) of its geographic base.
“Unlike Woodstock, Hudson or Saugerties, that have fairly compact geography, we are spread over 119 square miles,” added Channon. “This is a plus, not a minus. Our self guided experience takes people through incredible scenery even before seeing the great art.”
The art on view ranges from such regional stalwarts as painter Christie Scheele, photographer Carla Shapiro, sculptor Susie Brown, and master musical instrument maker Ken Lovelett to a host of talented hobby artists, eternally youthful creative pioneers, and a wide range of master craftspeople whose works in fiber arts, clothes design, ceramics, woodworking and furniture-making display keen, rurally-minded aesthetics.
Venue-wise, sites in play will range from The Arts Upstairs, with Rita Schwab’s small fresco paintings and masks, and portrait work by Craig Barber, Jennifer Kiaba Barry, David Morris Cunningham, Andrea Cabane, Lucinda Knaus, Daniel S. Friend, and others at Cabane Gallery, the town’s cultural mainstays, to the up-and-coming gallery space at The Emerson Resort on Route 28, the gallery at Mount Tremper Arts, featuring world-class photography starting Friday night, and indoor/outdoor spaces for sculpture at Belleayre Mountain and Mama’s Boy Market, Wendy Drolma Masks (on the Boardwalk in Phoenicia) and Skin Flower Tattoos next door (as well as the aesthetically-explosive and inspirational Mystery Spot just around the corner on Main Street).
Following the Saturday’s 10 a.m.-5 p.m. studio tour itself (repeated on Sunday), there will be opening receptions at The Arts Upstairs, Cabane Studios and Wendy Drolma Masks in Phoenicia. Expect a scene spilling out on to the street…
“Last July, members of our tour sold over $14,000 worth of art,” noted Channon of the Tour’s success. “We are changing awareness of art from a curious Sunday niche into an industry, a tremendous renewable resource that doesn’t destroy the environment. And local businesses are supporting us enthusiastically. Despite dire economic times, the Dutchess County Arts Council and NYSCA awarded us over $1700 in grants because of our excellent work.”
Call 688-2977 for information or visit www.ShandakenArt.com for a free guide map and preview gallery of what’s what. Just don’t skip on the fun of meeting what many are starting to recognize as one of the key cultural centers of the nation, as well as one of the world’s highest concentrations of working artists.
“It’s the new scene in Shandaken, this little town in the high peaks of the Catskills that’s fast becoming an alternative to the passé crowds of Woodstock and Hudson,” concludes Channon, with a bit of a taunt. “Art rescued the East Village from the junkies, transformed SOHO, DUMBO and Tribeca from crumbling warehouses into thriving communities. It will do the same here…”++