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Canvas-ing Upstate New York: 4 Ways to Experience Art


It seems that no matter where I visit in Upstate New York, I’ve stepped into someone else’s canvas. Whether strolling around downtown Rochester, or wandering my way through the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, works of beauty and creativity surround me at every turn. Indoor or out, modern or contemporary, new or old, this is your guide to experiencing the artistic talent found across New York State.

It’s like The Met in NYC – but closer.

Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery tops the list, with an amazing 12,000 works of art to explore. Pieces represent cultures from across the world, and across millennia, from ancient to oceanic art. Outdoors on the grounds, visit the Centennial Sculpture Park (catch one of my favorite pieces there, called “Creation Myth”) or take a moment to marvel at the architecture of the gallery itself. In addition to the permanent collection on the grounds and indoors, the museum features several rotating exhibits.

60 works, for 60 years of art.

The Chautauqua Annual Exhibit takes a different approach – accepting work in any medium from current artists in an annual, juried art show. This year is the show’s 60th year, and in honor of the milestone they are accepting 60 works of art, making this the largest version of the exhibit ever presented. All four galleries of the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center will be bursting with art for the opening celebration, which takes place on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM. Find out more at: iweb.org/annual-exhibition.

Take a hike – explore an art trail.

I mentioned the Greater Ithaca Art Trail earlier in this blog post, and I think it deserves a little more of a description. You see, this is your chance to explore art in its first stages of being – in the artist’s studios. There are roughly 39 studios on the trail, all of which welcome visitors in by appointment year-round. But if calling around to make your own plans sounds like too much work, the trail also hosts “First Saturdays”, when select studios open their doors on the first Saturday of every month. Grab a map here, and begin your journey.

2300°F and counting...

That’s how hot it has to be to make magic with glass. The Corning Museum of Glass isn’t the most traditional form of art on this list, but in my opinion it is the most exciting. Explore over 3,500 years of glass art – from contemporary sculpture to the glass portrait of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Learn about glassmaking in one of the museum’s demos – or try glassbreaking in another. And in this gallery, you can make your own work of art too. From beads to clocks to ornaments, you can imagine and create a masterpiece in the “Make Your Own Glass” experience.

So explore, create, imagine! As Henry David Thoreau would say, “the world is but a canvas to our imagination.”