Studio Space available

Posting by request –

Artist Studios for Rent

Old Cigar Factory on The Commons
450 to 850 SF
Large vertical windows overlooking The Commons
Wood floors
Running water in some studios
All with access to restroom
Short-term leases available

For more information, contact David at 607-273-9462 x8800


Public Forum on Commons redesign tonight

Tonight the firm hired to redesign The Commons in Ithaca will be taking input from the public.  5:30-8:15pm in the Tompkins County Public Library, Borg Warner Room.

This is an opportunity to voice opinions about the look and usefulness of the redesign.  Also, an important topic being considered is the way art will be incorporated into the design.

If you attend, let us know what you think.

Artist Market at Rhiner Festival

Calling all local artists;

I would like to invite you to participate in the first annual West End Waterfront Festival, aka ‘The Rhiner Festival’ to take place in the West End Waterfront District on September 19th, 2009 from 11am to 8pm.

The Festival is intended to be a celebration of the rich and fascinating history of the area once referred to as ‘the Rhine,’ ‘the Flats,’ or even ‘Sodom.’ In a nutshell, visitors who attend the festival will learn about the diverse groups of immigrant populations who once inhabited the City’s West End Waterfront District, the ‘bad old days’ of fun and excitement in the time of the Erie Canal and later, and the successive waves of teamsters, gamblers, cockfights, bootleggers, students and the reformers who tried to keep at least a small lid on things or salvage the damage. The festival will include music, arts and crafts, food, performances, and will all center around a mystery game which will unfold at various sites throughout the day, where we invite visitors to try and solve the mystery, which involves a stolen cargo of ‘treasure’ which was being transported by water to the east. Throughout the day, actors from the History Center’s living history troupe will act out scenes at various locations, inviting festival goers to solve several aspects of the mystery, including: who did it? where the thieves are hiding out, and to find the location of the hidden treasure. Passive clues will also be located at each of the participating businesses, so that that festival goers will be able to make their way from each of the participating businesses at their leisure, collecting clues, strolling along the canal, taking free boat rides, enjoying crafts and games for kids, enjoying cocktails on the lawn, musical performances, etc, etc.

We have a huge amount of space along the waterfront, and we would love to invite you to come down and set up an easel, stand or table to make and/or sell your work for the day. (I am envisioning this to appear something like Paris, along the banks of the Seine River, where you can stroll along and buy something handmade and beautiful along the way – or have your portrait painted as a souvenir, this sort of thing. Only instead of Paris, it will be an area once referred to as ‘Moonshine Island.’) If it rains, we have indoor spaces available at various locations throughout the site.

We would love to have portrait painters on hand, watercolors of the event being made and for sale, conceptual art projects – anything you can imagine. We are offering you the opportunity to participate free of charge during the day of the event. If you are interested, please get in touch – contact information below.

Wylie Schwartz, Marketing & Development Manager
The History Center in Tompkins County
401 East State Street, Suite 100
Ithaca, New York 14850
Phone: (607) 273-8284 ext. 6, Fax: (607) 273-6107 &

Video/Art/Ithaca – Friday night

Friday May 1 is gallery night in Ithaca.  Info here.

I think the most exciting thing going on that night will be the latest installment of Video/Art/Ithaca hosted and organized by John Criscitello at Sfumato Studios, 201 Dey Street, loft 282.  8pm.


Women Art Revolution – film Tuesday 4/7

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s documentary Women Art Revolution is playing this Tuesday night at 7:15pm at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts on Cornell campus.

Cornell Cinema’s page on the film is here. Lynn Hershman Leeson will be present at the screening.

If you attend the screening, let us know what you think.

How do we best address the continued exclusion of women at the highest levels of the arts?  Confront?  Assimilate? Ignore?

Copyright © 2007 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc

Copyright © 2007 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc

Ithaca’s Earth Art Legacy

Robert Smithson's "Ithaca Mirror Trail" 1969

Robert Smithson's "Ithaca Mirror Trail" 1969

I’m a bit late getting to this post, but I didn’t want to miss a chance for conversation about the subject of Wylie Schwartz’s engaging recent article in the Ithaca Times, “Art of the Earth” about the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Art show, which happened here in Ithaca.  While the questions raised by taking the art out of the museum and the impact of using elements of the natural environment as the materials are still being explored and felt in the art world, I was also interested thinking about the impact this event had on Ithaca as an arts town.

Was this event a bit of a hit and run?  Something that happened to Ithaca that we have not fully integrated into our artistic and town history?  People are quick to metion Andy Goldsworthy’s work in Ithaca but, as he says, his work is about time and impermenanace.  Busting away from traditions,  not so much.   What I think about is not in the Eco or Earth subject matter, but the moment of shattering traditions and preconceptions about the confines of what and where is art.  As we all come out of our burrows at the start of spring and the start of a new administration, squinting in the light, what is possible now?  How do we reconsider what art is and can be now in Ithaca?  I don’t have much of a clue, but I have the sense that it doesn’t involve a wall.

What else are you thinking about this anniversary?

public art: not for the fainthearted

The architect Peter Eisenman, the artist Mark Dion, and the architect/city planner Nicole Blumner have all spoken at Cornell within the past couple of weeks, and I somehow happened to hear them all. Though it wasn’t the primary focus of their talks, all three had strong words to say about public art and its challenges, especially here in the U.S.

On February 17, Eisenman spoke at Sage Chapel about the Holocaust memorial he designed for Berlin. He had initially started working on it with the sculptor Richard Serra, but Serra ended up backing out (Eisenman recounted this in a rather humorous way…) because the large and intimidating Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was *extremely* involved in the project, wanted to make changes to their concept. Eisenman is used to working with clients practically as collaborators, so Kohl’s input wasn’t too big an issue for him. And a Holocaust memorial is always a high profile proposition, especially in Germany. Nevertheless, Eisenman marveled that the chancellor of Germany himself and so many other people in the country’s government make public art and memorials such a priority in general. He recalled being greeted on the street by various ministers, and said that would never happen to him in Washington. When Eisenman showed pictures of the completed project, which I found stunning (and even more interesting after hearing him describe his intentions, actually), I swear the first thing I thought was: “Holy crap, somebody could get really hurt on that.”

How very American of me. I doubt that this beautiful array of stone blocks, which, as Eisenman intends, can be a site for immediate human experiences and interactions of many sorts, would ever make it off the drawing board over here. Public officials would be too afraid of the inevitable cascade of lawsuits as various sort of behaviors, fun and otherwise, went down amid these stark, angular, hard, and probably slippery-when-wet forms. Eisenman didn’t address this issues of litigation and liability in his talk. I wanted to ask but didn’t get a chance, and was surprised no one else did.

My growing suspicions about the slow-to-sue Germans were goosed by Nicole Blumner’s talk, on Feb. 27, which was a comparison of German and U.S. interim land use. She defined interim uses as legal (i.e., squatting wouldn’t count), intended as temporary, and ones that “activate” a site–so, not a parking lot or a storage area. In Germany such uses have included an indoor skateboarding area, artist studios, art and performance spaces, community gardens, nightclubs, and festival grounds. The issue of liability came up right away during the q&a, and Blumner admitted that the litigiousness of U.S. society is one, but by no means the only obstacle in developing interim uses for vacant land and buildings here. But to give an example of how devil-may-care the German citizenry is, she described in some detail a horrifyingly dangerous playground she went to with her child while she was over there. It sounded fantastic to me.

Mark Dion raised the issue of public art unprovoked at a talk after his funny and visually entrancing (for all you collectors, hoarders, birders, general nature nerds, categorizers, and filers out there) slide lecture at the Johnson Museum on the 26th. He basically said he hates doing public art projects, and for reasons that sounded reasonable to me: there’s no funding and because public art in this country is almost always decided upon by members of community boards and city councils and attendees to their meetings rather than by special art commissions of art professionals or artists, you can’t do anything interesting, because anything interesting will always be seen by someone as offensive or dangerous (I paraphrase). Michael Kammen, author of the new book Visual Shock and a Cornell American cultural history professor, was also at the talk, and he told the story of the infamous Robert Motherwell mural at the JFK Federal Building in Boston, which was protested for about a year because one of the papers leaked the untruth that it was meant to represent the president’s head on impact of his assassin(s) bullet(s). But the project was completed and eventually most people decided they really liked it, especially since it really wasn’t a depiction of anything, being abstract. Other anecdotes followed about museums resorting to draping sheath over sculptural nudes and other measures taken to protect the delicate American psyche.

Anyway, all this got me thinking even more about public art possibilities in Ithaca. I would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts, including practical procedural ideas, for how to clear the path for exciting new uses of available spaces in Ithaca, especially the vacant indoor spaces downtown. How can we get everyone involved without ending up with art that’s too safe, in every sense of the word, or (much worse!) with no new public art at all?