A Primer on Buy Local Arts
by Brian Kingsley - Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Where to buy art, locally

I (Brian) was the guy who suggested we focus this blog on our “local arts” this week.

Silly me.

I know very little about the local arts offerings in Central New York (I feel obligated to remind you, my good friend Chris keeps his hands clean on this topic – he stays informed.  Damn you and thank you, Chris).  I’m going to look at this self-assigned Buy Local blog topic from the bright side.  This is our opportunity to educate ourselves about local arts offerings, our chance to learn how to support the arts when we can.  This will be our springboard to learn how to stay informed about the arts and events.

I’m also here to tell you, it’s not a sin to not know about the local arts offerings. Why is it not a sin? I think we, as a community, do not do enough to support our local arts.  But thanks to many, we’re getting there.  The economy has been tough for years, yet still we have our staunch, loyal, local arts supporters.  Why?  Because they know how important the arts are in our region.

So, this week I am proud to be your “get to know the arts” sacrificial lamb.   Remember, I’ve been to the arts “confessional” (Can’t help that comment, I’m a recovering Catholic).

In our region, we have so many choices when we look to the arts for entertainment.  A few of our choices can be found below.  Those highlighted below are the tip of the “Arts Opportunity” iceberg, my Buy Local friends.

Theatre.   Music.  Artists.   Fashion. Writers. Poets.  Photography.  Painting.  Posters.  Billboards. Sidewalks.  Buildings.  Bridges. Signs.  Sounds.  You will find art almost anywhere you look in Central New York!  You just have to take the time to look and to know where to look.

Your best resource for learning about what’s happening in the arts and entertainment culture in CNY is right here:  www.SyracuseNewTimes.com.  It has been for many, many years.  I know.  I’ve been a reader since the ’70s.  Visit the website.  You know where to go from there.

Here are just a few other recommended resources:


And what about you?

How can you support the arts, other than attending a theatre production, buying a photo, a painting, a poetry book, a poster (inset shout-out here to www.posterproject.org, which does “local poster and poetry art” displayed around the City of Syracuse) or attending a local venue to hear a local band play?

Follow that dream of acting.  Pick up a paintbrush or pencil or charcoal and choose the canvas of your choice.  Grab your camera (some call them iPhones now – shame on you) and take that road day-trip (fall coming real soon) and get out of the house and nurture that artist inside of you.

If nothing else, when you are able: donate.  You would be amazed at how appreciative our many arts organizations are for your support, even when you’re not on the scene.  A monetary contribution of any amount given to any of these initiatives is always genuinely appreciated by those who entertain us in so many ways.

When I think about the missed opportunities I’ve had with our local arts and culture scene, a quote from the book “The Walter Hagen Story” comes to mind: “You’re only here for a short visit.  Don’t hurry.  Don’t worry.  And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

Arts Local.

 Enjoy them.  Appreciate them.  Please support them.


Business: Syracuse Style

Who: Lisa Marie Butler, fashion designer

What it does: A downtown fashion event

Website: www.syracusestyle.com

The very essence of the “Syracuse Style – A Downtown Fashion Event” is rooted in a “buy local” philosophy.  I began doing fashions shows in 2005 as a way to introduce the public to my local company, Inspired Designs.  The shows were originally done at Om, in its lounge space.  It was a happy shock when the shows started drawing a couple hundred people.  In addition to fashion lovers, the shows attracted people who were just looking to do something different in Syracuse.  I kept hearing, and I continue to hear, “Syracuse needs more events like this!”

The first Syracuse Style fashion show was held at the Landmark Theatre in 2009.  With a small budget cobbled together from local businesses, including the ever supportive TJ Sheehan Distributors and Empire Brewing Co. (yes, beer & fashion do go together,) we sold out the place. The next year, we had the bright idea of shutting down Walton Street and doing a runway show under a tent.  The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, whose mission is to cultivate and support local downtown businesses, came on board as sponsors the next year.

The goal has always been to create a Fashion Week in Syracuse.  With the addition of the Landmark Theatre Window Project, we’re bookending this year’s events. The support of the entire downtown community – bars, restaurants, stores, salons, photographers, TV and radio stations, building owners and business owners – boosts our events. There’s no better feeling than filling Walton Street with 600 people.  And they’ve all come to view, buy, enjoy, relax, dress up, and be inspired by our beautiful downtown Syracuse arts and fashion (and just plain ole “local”) culture!

“Syracuse Style – A Downtown Fashion Event” 2013 will be held on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:30pm.  This runway fashion show is free and open to the public. The runway will be under the tent in the 100 block of Walton Street, in Armory Square. The show will feature original clothing from three Syracuse designers and fall fashions and accessories from downtown retailers. Michael Benny from CNYCentral will serve as MC. There are a limited number of VIP tickets available at Empire Brewing Co. for $50.   VIPs may attend a pre-show party at 6 p.m. at Empire, front row seats, a gift bag and more.  VIP sales benefit the Mary Nelson Youth Day Foundation. The after-party will be at Empire.

Join us. Syracuse Style is sponsored by:
www.greatbrewers.com,  www.empirebrew.com, www.industrysalon.comwww.jbassphoto.com,  www.cnycentral.com,  www.downtownsyracuse.com,  www.syracusenewtimes.com and Inspired Designs.

Follow us on Twitter @syracusestyle or find us on Facebook at the Syracuse Style Fashion Event page.


Business: Maria Rizzo Art

What she does: Artist and curator at The Tech Garden

Website: www.mariarizzoart.com

As the owner of Maria Rizzo Art, “Buy Local” is extremely important to me. When I have a solo show or a group exhibition for my paintings in the Syracuse area, it’s wonderful to see a supportive local crowd joining me at the opening reception. The opportunities created by stimulating conversation, surrounded by my art, make each opening a fantastic networking event with local professionals.

During these occasions, I often sell fine art prints of my work, and sometimes originals. When I make these sales, I am proud to know that my work is collected and hung in homes and offices around the Syracuse area. This boosts my self-esteem as a professional artist, it tells me that the hard work I put into my art, and the self-promotion I do for my business, is truly appreciated in the town I like to call my own. And when I show in other cities, I’m proud to represent my hometown by calling myself a Syracuse-based artist.

At the moment, my favorite spots to meet with people are the Red House Café, bc Restaurant, and Bittersweet. I also support local businesses by letting them display my artwork, which enhances their decor, while promoting my work through greater visibility.

I also support “Buy Local” when I curate art exhibitions at the Gallery at The Tech Garden every month. The gallery is an alternative venue that supports many local artists by showcasing and promoting their work. We have a great amount of talented individuals living and working in Syracuse.

Right now, I’m organizing something local: a call has been sent out for “Trees: Symbols of Powerful Experiences,” a juried art and poetry competition that will explore the history of the symbolism of trees and their role in today’s environment. This competition, open to all Onondaga County residents over 18, aims to empower our local visual artists and poets by giving them a chance to showcase their work on the walls of the Tech Garden, compete to win awards and bring the community together in thinking, creating and acting greener. Visit this link thetechgardengallery.blogspot.com/ to learn more.  All entries must be submitted by email no later than Saturday, Oct. 19, to Maria Rizzo at thetechgardencurator@gmail.com.

I’m still looking for sponsors and donors, to make this local competition a success, so contact me at mariarizzoart@gmail.com if you would like to help and support “Buy Local Arts.”  Thank you!


Business: Appleseed Productions   
What it does:  Community Theatre
Website: www.appleseedproductions.org 

 Appleseed Productions is entering its 20th Anniversary season of community theater productions on the Atonement Ministries Stage. Since our beginning, the endeavor has been an effort by local artists, for local patrons of the arts.  We are fortunate, as a community, to have inherited one of the most active traditions of live performing arts in the country.  Appleseed has been fortunate to reach thousands of audience members and feature the work of hundreds of actors, directors, designers and technicians since our first production in 1993.
Located on the Atonement Ministries campus at 116 West Glen Avenue, Appleseed Productions operates on the mission of offering quality Theater at a reasonable price and serving as a resource for education and collaboration to our community.
Appleseed Productions launches its 20th Anniversary Season with Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” on September 13th.

At a sleepy seaside boarding house, the humdrum routine of corn flakes, newspapers and naps is interrupted by the appearance of two mysterious strangers.  Pinter was a director, actor and one of the most influential modern British dramatists, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. His celebrated, ultimately indefinable classic The Birthday Party derives its power from Pinter’s brilliantly mysterious yet comic riff on the absurd terrors of the everyday.

Directed by Lois Haas and John Brackett, performances will be held at 8:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, Sept 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28

with a 2:00 PM matinee on Sunday, Sept. 22.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 Senior Sunday rate.

Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (315) 492-9766.
View the Appleseed Productions 2013-2014 lineup apart from enjoying the “The Birthday Party” opening on September 13th, you may also enjoy: “Harvey”, “On Golden Pond”, “Civil War” and Neil Simon’s “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.”

Next week, the Buy Local Blog will cover an eclectic blend of local businesses including a musical band, a local hotel, a gift shop and other places where you can “Buy Local.”

Brian Kingsley is a marketing, advertising and promotions consultant and owner of GeoDux Small Business Services.  Email him at geo@geodux.com. Chris Fowler is the executive director of SyracuseFirst, a not-for-profit network of locally owned, independent organizations encouraging citizens to “Think Local First.” Email him at chris@syracusefirst.org.