Not everyone is pushing electronics or gift cards during the holiday season. Several local venues also sell works by artists from Central New York, offering a Syracuse-centric alternative to yuletide gift giving.
Art Mart, the grandfather of Salt City Christmastime arts events, has moved into its 60th campaign. Operated as a co-op by more than 50 artists who share costs and shifts serving the public, Art Mart is open Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 24 at downtown’s Atrium at City Hall Commons. On Friday, Nov. 28, it will stay open until 8 p.m. to coincide with the tree-lighting ceremony in Clinton Square.
Art Mart’s participants, including painters, potters and jewelers, benefit from exposure for their artworks and sales. “It’s an opportunity to get your work seen,” said Greg Trombley, who creates soft pastels. “Sales, of course, vary from year from year. Sometimes they’re great. Other times they’re lean.”
He’s part of an artists’ roster expansive enough to include Judith Hand’s watercolors, Mary Raineri’s mixed-media pieces, and Ingrid Junga’s sculptures. That roster consists mostly of veteran artists but also includes a few newcomers.
Hand, who has had her pieces in a variety of individual and group exhibitions, first got involved with Art Mart during the late 1970s. “At that point, I was just starting out,” she recalled. “I really appreciated the opportunity to take part in a show like this.”
Although Art Mart is open for only seven weeks, it doesn’t function in isolation. Clearly, it complements other projects. Potters Leslie Green Gilbault and Marcus Acevedo both have pieces in a group show at the Everson Museum.
In addition, Art Mart’s impact doesn’t end on Christmas Eve. “People see the work and pick up artists’ cards,” Trombley noted. “They might call you in a couple of months and talk about buying a piece.”
Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival, a festival that raises funds for the Syracuse Peace Council, has evolved over 44 years from a small event to one that spreads over two large rooms at Nottingham High School, 3100 E. Genesee St. Over the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7, it will feature more than 100 artists and artisans, music, food catered by the Mission restaurant, and displays by local community groups. The Peace Council, Syracuse Community Choir, and other peace and social justice organizations all staff tables at Plowshares.
The artworks are varied in the extreme, ranging from Sharon Bottle Souva’s fiber art to Kim Crist’s metalwork jewelry, from Lucy Wellner’s watercolor cards to Susan Rollings’ sundancer clothing. Cheryl and Don Olney make figurative woodworks, some tiny and a few standing eight feet tall.
Souva will have her pieces in Plowshares and at other venues such as a show at the Earlville Opera House. She emphasizes that each venue is quite different. “Plowshares is a very good show for me,” she said. “I don’t sell many of my bigger pieces, but other items do well. Also, Plowshares stands out as a community effort.”
At Shoppingtown mall, CNY Artists Gallery & Creativity Incubator has an ongoing presence: It’s open seven days a week. Nonetheless, this holiday season is significant for two reasons. First, the gallery has moved into a larger space, roughly 4,000 square feet. Second, it has introduced a line of prints depicting scenes in upstate New York.
Peter Svoboda, of CNY Artists, says that line includes prints of various works: Monica Sadalski’s painting of a statue at Fort Drum; David Hickock’s pastel showing Stroke, a Syracuse band, at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que; Eric Riegel’s art print highlighting the art deco style of the National Grid building in downtown Syracuse; and Rawdy White’s piece depicting a 1939 winter storm at Clinton Square.
Beyond the regional pieces, CNY Artists has other prints on display, with one based on Ron Warford’s excellent pencil drawing, “Strength.” The gallery shows a large selection of his drawings as well as work by other featured artists including John McGrath, Kamiron Pritchard, and Richard Williams.
CNY Artists is open Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.