The search for locally made art just got easier for Western New Yorkers and visitors. And people who try to make a living off their art also can breathe a little easier now that browsers and shoppers will be able to find them through the 2005 Artist and Gallery Guide. Coming out in May, the guide is free and is published by the not-for-profit organization Artists in Buffalo.
Artists in Buffalo (artistsinbuffalo.org) was formed about four years ago by a small group of working artists. They united around some common beliefs that have evolved into their mission statement. That mission statement also doubles as a definition of the Artist and Gallery Guide's purpose. It is "to support and promote local working artists and arts-related businesses; to provide a unique opportunity for the greater community to visit artists in their working environments; to nurture the cultural richness of the larger community; and to increase the visibility of local visual artists and galleries."
To achieve their mission, the artists started yearly open-studio events. They then added the guide. The 2005 edition will be the third published. "This year the guide is different in that it is not connected to a specific open-studio event," said Elisabeth Samuels, one of the founders of Artists in Buffalo and an artist and arts educator as well.
Another difference is an increased print run. Only about 10,000 copies were printed in previous years. "This year we are printing 100,000 copies," said Catherine Gillespie, another of the founders and a member of the steering committee overseeing the 2005 edition. In addition, as opposed to previous years, the 2005 guide will be given the full-color treatment.
It will also receive a much larger distribution. "As well as being available in many Buffalo hotels and restaurants, the guide will be available in the Southern Tier and places like Erie, Pa., and Cleveland," said Gillespie, who is also an artist. "We also have further exposure this year thanks to Marc Coppola of the Common Council. Through his efforts, our Web site is now linked to the City of Buffalo's."
One of Artists in Buffalo's goals is that any artist or arts-related business that wants to be listed has the opportunity to be. In the past, funding for the guide has come from sponsors such as Niagara Mohawk and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, as well as local advertisers. The corporate sponsorship is still there, but additional funding has been applied for, so that a listing is free.
"One reason that we believe foundations will address our grant applications is that the guide provides a chance for many different arts to all benefit each other," Gillespie said. "The guide is a uniquely collaborative effort between individual artists, galleries and museums."
The deadline for artists to be included in this year's printing was April 20, but artists may still register in the online directory and be included in the next printing.
"The strength of this guide will come from being representative," Samuels said. "It shows the breadth and significance of working artists and the arts in our area."