LEWISTON – A Lewiston artist is inviting other area artists – as well as businesses interested in hosting an artist for one day – to participate in an Artists’ Studio Tour and Art Walk in the Lower Niagara River Region on Oct. 10.
“We’ll prepare a map with participating artists’ studios and business locations, as well, and people can drive from place to place,” said organizer Michelle Marcotte, who added that the event will include artists from Youngstown and Niagara Falls, as well.
“It’s a way for artists to make connections with potential buyers, and it’s a nice way to meet people from your neighborhood and talk about your work in a more relaxed way,” she said.
“If an artist doesn’t want anyone visiting their studio, we’re asking businesses to host an artist for a day and we’re calling them ‘patrons of the arts,’ ” she added. “It’s a way for local businesses to get people in to see their shops or offices, too. Lawyers, realty businesses and insurance companies, for example, sometimes have conference rooms or open office space where an artist might be able to set up for this one Saturday.”
Marcotte, who will open her own Fort Gray Drive home studio that day, is a painter and art instructor, working mostly in oils. She will exhibit in the Lewiston Art Festival Aug. 8-9 for the first time. In addition, her husband, Ken Vick, is a master woodworker, and will open his home workshop Oct. 10, as well.
Marcotte is a native of Canada who said she is surprised an artists’ studio tour didn’t already exist in this area.
“I’ve been to several, in Dundas, Ont., the Bruce Peninsula and the Niagara Region – they’re quite common,” she said.
After moving to Lewiston one year ago, Marcotte started a small artists’ studio tour last year that attracted a handful of artists, but she is hoping “this builds every year.”
She said she is volunteering her time to organize the event, but asks each artist for a $50 donation “to cover marketing and promotion costs.” The businesses are hosting the artists for free.
She added that some artists have offered to host other artists in their own studios that day, as well.
Eva Nicklas, artistic director of the Lewiston Council on the Arts, said her organization “loves the idea.”
“Michelle called and asked if there was some way we could help and, of course, we have hundreds of artists in our database,” Nicklas said.
“This is an awesome idea and Michelle is so willing to take the ball and run with it,” Nicklas added. “We also hope many businesses will take advantage of this opportunity to get really great artwork into their business that day. Every little thing we do solidifies our reputation as an arts community.”
“October will be a great time of year for this because the summer tourism season is over, and this will help offer more reasons for people to come to the area,” said Jennifer Pauly, president of the Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.
Marcotte turned to the chamber, as well, for advice on how to launch the event.
“We’re excited about the idea of pairing art with shopping at the local businesses,” Pauly added.
“I understand this is popular in Canada and we’d like to bring this idea here and help it grow,” Pauly added.
Any visual artists in any medium and any businesses interested in hosting an artist for a day are asked to contact Marcotte at (716) 299-0442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.