April 24, 2019 by: Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman
It's Arts in Bloom Week!
We can’t believe it’s here already, but this weekend is the 7th annual Arts in Bloom Steuben County Art Trail, Saturday, April 27thand Sunday, April 28th. This is a family-friendly free event, taking place at 10 different studio or gallery locations throughout Steuben County, NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. You can visit one location or all of them, but either way, you will experience live demonstrations of many different mediums of art, including painting, photography, stained glass, jewelry-making, mixed media, and pottery. One of the best reasons to attend the event is the opportunity to see where the artists work, and the chance to talk with them about what inspires them for a specific piece, or their art in general.
Being new to the Finger Lakes region after moving from Cleveland, Ohio back in 2007, we kept meeting friendly locals who happened to be fantastic artists as well. We also attended, (and still do most years), the Alleghany Artisans Art Trail in our neighboring county to the west, and felt inspired to gather our Steuben County artists together to create a similar event. With so much great local art being created, the local community seemed somewhat disconnected from that movement. It felt like the perfect chance to launch our own studio in the barn behind the Inn.
With the help of a local arts organization, the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, we set up several meetings across the county to start the conversation about the Art Trail to see if anyone would actually be interested in participating. As a result, we learned that everyone, both artists and community members alike, thought the time was right to get it going. So we did, with the support of the county Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and New York State’s Council on the Arts, we jumped in and created Arts in Bloom. Along with a dedicated committee, we organized the first Arts In Bloom in 2013, and were able to communally share our art with over 1000 people, many of which were from the local area. Much to the amazement of several of the participating artists, who regularly travel out of state to display at art shows, we, as a group, were able to sell our art locally and even create a new following here in our own backyards.
Our studio, F.L.A.V.O.R. Studio and Gallery, is the culmination of a years long pipedream for both of us. We have always been creative, with a wide range of interests, but we never really had a dedicated place to work on any of these ideas. After completed the extensive renovation of our 1859 Octagon House, our sights turned to the barn behind the Inn. We took an old and somewhat decrepit agricultural barn and converted it, using mostly recycled materials, into our art studio and gallery. It used to feel spacious, but somehow we have managed to fill it with supplies, materials, tools, and of course, finished work, and we never seem to have enough space. It’s probably a good time to explain our acronym, F.L.A.V.O.R., which stands for Finger Lakes Art, Vintage, Old and Repurposed. We needed a name that could encompass all that we do, and all that interests us, and this acronym comes pretty close to covering it all. It also touches on our long-held belief that there is value in everything, even things that are old, discarded, and a little rough.
Arts in Bloom has allowed us, and the other artists, to share our passions with those around us and to connect our community with the art that is being produced locally. We encourage you to come see us at our studios this weekend, experience our studio settings, and learn a little bit about what inspires us. You may even find that one-of-a-kind piece that speaks to you. You can find more information on our website, artsinbloom.net, as well as a downloadable Art Trail program, and all of the locations listed will have printed programs available for you to pick up at your first stop of the day. We can also be reached at 607-569-3767 with any specific questions.
We hope to see you on the Trail!
Marc and Deb