A spot of tea: Stone Harp Studios will be displaying ceramics, like this teapot, along the Westcott Art Trail.
More than 50 artists are involved, several cooperating at most locations, and they all offer something a bit different. There are whimsical hats, felted handbags, fabric dolls, scarves, quilted wall art, laptop bags and vintage kimono jackets. Two-dimensional artworks wait to hang on that nail above your sofa: watercolors, acrylics, collages and fine art photographs. For those longing for curb appeal there are sculptures designed for the garden and decorative stepping stones. Unique jewelry comes in flavors from silver and semiprecious to woven hemp and ceramic bead. Clay works range from functional to decorative: hand-thrown vases, pots, tiles, beads, sculptures and mosaics. Other media include glass, bookbinding and soap.
The experience promises to be much richer than the average shopping trip. Artists selling their own work are more than willing to chat: They are enthusiastic about their methods, materials and the products they create. In fact, there will be several live demonstrations including throwing pots on a wheel, blowing glass and raku, a Japanese method of firing pottery.
Lauren Ritchie came up with the idea for the Westcott Art Trail while taking a walk with friend and fellow artist Candace Rhea. The two were looking to kill at least two birds with one stone: promote local artists and support the neighborhood community. “Wandering through beautiful gardens and the artists’ own studios,” explained Ritchie, “it’s a fun way for people to find a new artist or technique they’ve never seen before. It’s also a way to meet the neighbors.”
Steve Susman, executive director of the Westcott Community Center (WCC), was enthusiastic about the event from the beginning. “It shows off the neighborhood for those that don’t come here,” said Susman. The Westcott neighborhood reminds Susman of New York City, the home he left in 1975, without the crowds, crime and pollution. Diversity, art, music, politics and activism all attracted him to the community. “People from the suburbs are sometimes afraid that the city is the city,” continued Susman. He hopes visitors will come to share his pride in the cooperation and cohesiveness of the local community.
The Westcott Art Trail, now in its sixth year, has profited local artists and has been a hugely successful fund-raiser for the WCC, home base for the event. Fees paid by artists to participate go directly toward the administration costs for the many community programs run by the WCC, such as the Parent Success Initiative and the Talk to a Lawyer program.
Plan to check out the WCC itself as part of your visit. Out front will be a small farmers’ market. On Saturday, several Lost Boys of Sudan, who found homes in Syracuse, will be there spreading awareness of their country’s plight and raising donations with folk art sculptures of cows.
The release of a new Indiana Jones movie has motivated many families to look for adventure. This offers the fun without the danger. And who knows? There are so many craftsmen working with glass, you might even find a crystal skull.
The Westcott Art Trail will be open Saturday, June 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, June 8, noon to 5 p.m. Refreshments and maps are available at the Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Ave. For more information, call 478-8634. Maps of the trail can also be downloaded from www.westcottcc.org.