For the past five years, Routes to Art has entertained thousands of visitors with back road beauty and a wealth of artistic talent. Now in its sixth year, RTA promises to deliver once again, with thirty-five artists showcasing their paintings, baskets, drawings, beadwork, jewelry, porcelain, pottery, photographs, sculptures, toys and wood carvings.
Routes to Art is an annual, self-guided, open-studio artists' tour taking place across Cattaraugus County and the Seneca Nation and produced by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC). During RTA weekend, the artists will open their homes, studios and businesses to welcome visitors and present their artwork.
"We've consolidated Routes to Art this year to making the driving loops more manageable for visitors," said Anne Conroy-Baiter, CCAC's executive director. "Artists will be centered around Ellicottville, Little Valley, Cattaraugus and Gowanda. Feasibly someone coming in from Buffalo could stop by Judson Brown's studio in West Valley, continue south to Ellicottville and make their way back north via Little Valley and Cattaraugus. In past years, visitors were sometimes unable to visit every artist on the tour due to the sheer size of the county. The new, centralized loop will allow attendees to easily enjoy the full tour during either a day trip or the full weekend."
Todd Plough’s handbuilt studio in the woods.
RTA offers an opportunity to discover some of the hidden cultural talents Cattaraugus County has to offer. Visitors can view and purchase a variety of work but also enjoy the unique experience of watching artists as they create. Now in her fifth year as an RTA artist, Seneca basket maker Penelope Minner looks forward to interacting with visitors on the tour.
"This opportunity allows me to share my passion for traditional Iroquois basket making and teach people about my creative process," she said.
The Routes to Art weekend has fast become an annual tradition for many attendees. Randolph area resident Angela Lockwood enjoyed her first Routes to Art tour last year with a friend.
"All of the artists were very friendly and willing to explain their process," Lockwood said. "I am planning on attending the RTA tour this year with the same friend. I believe potential visitors should know even though some of the artists are off the beaten path, they are well worth the trip."
For more information about Routes to Art and to request or print a brochure, visit routestoart.com or contact CCAC at email@example.com or 372-7455. The Cattaraugus County Arts Council is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has served the greater Cattaraugus County region for more than 15 years. CCAC is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and by members and donors. For more information, see www.myartscouncil.net.