PLATSBURGH – Artists from the region are forming a coalition to defend and with their creative colleagues.
The newly formed Plattsburgh Arts Coalition is chaired by Megan Charland and Katherine Teaney, two local businesswomen who established storefronts in downtown Plattsburgh City last year.
The couple have since said they have noticed a growing need for support for artists in the community and hope the coalition will promote “community rather than competition” and possibly even re-establish a Plattsburgh-based arts council.
“We have a thriving art scene, but it’s almost like an underground movement at this point,” Charland said. “There are other artists and other organizations in Plattsburgh who want the same things, so by coming together to pool our resources, we can do so much more together than separately.”
‘TAKE BACK CONTROL’
Charland operates the Link Arts Center on Court Street with his sister Sara Acors.
When the sister pair hit the scene last year, they hoped to be “the bridge” between community and the arts.
Since then, various artists have stopped by throughout the year to discuss and express their frustrations at the absence of an arts council here in Plattsburgh.
“It kind of became a common theme,” Charland said, noting that the previous Plattsburgh council dissolved in 1998. Without it, state funding is dispersed through the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts. at Blue Mountain Lake, over 100 miles southwest of the city of Plattsburgh.
“Plattsburgh is Plattsburgh,” she continued. “Plattsburgh has its own funk; it has its own vibe. We try to support that and support the artists who choose to call it home.”
Forming an arts council is one of the coalition’s most important and longer-term goals, which Charland says will take at least about five years.
“We would love to be able to serve our own community right here in Plattsburgh. These people from Blue Mountain are doing a great job; we appreciate their support, but it’s Blue Mountain Lake, it’s not Plattsburgh.
CAN’T DO IT ALONE
This is not a new vision, however.
Charland said many artists in the area have attempted to launch similar initiatives over the past two decades.
“But they’re running out of resources and it’s running out, or they’re running out,” she said. “So many local artists are jaded. They say, ‘We’ve tried this before. It won’t work. “
“So The Link can’t do it on our own. That’s where the coalition was formed.”
“ADVANTAGE OF CONNECTION”
Enter Teaney, Coalition Co-Chair.
Teaney owns and operates OLD SOUL Design Shop, a secondhand and handcrafted store selling their own designs alongside many other artisans in the area.
When she created her City Hall Place storefront last year, Teaney was committed to helping Plattsburgh residents find resources, feel celebrated, and share pride in where they live.
Teaney herself recycles furniture and other interesting finds.
Around the same time last year, Teaney’s storefront was selling her designs, as well as earrings, mittens, buttons, stickers, trinkets, artwork and more created by 10 or 15. fellow craftsmen.
“By working now with over 50 local artisans, I can see more clearly the need and benefit of connection and support between these people, as well as many others,” she said in a statement. Plattsburgh Art Coalition press.
“Belief in community rather than competition will be what keeps these foundational strengths lasting for Plattsburgh artists for years to come.”
In addition to forming a 501 (c) (3) arts council, the Plattsburgh Arts Coalition formed in the spring with three main goals:
• Funding: Provide equal access to existing funds and advocate for more funding.
• Support: Development of a fund to provide project support grants and professional development grants to local artists.
• Community development: Promote the idea of community rather than competition and foster collaborations within the artistic community.
Charland believed that a coalition fund, possibly backed by grants or donations from local businesses, could offer a lot to artists in Plattsburgh.
“The career of an artist is not your 9 to 5 stereotype,” she said. “Artists who exhibit, publish or sell their work – they always need to have access to health insurance; they still need to have access to resources. This is where an arts council usually comes in in large cities. “
CALL TO ALL ARTISTS
The coalition will hold a public information session on Wednesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Local artists and staff of local arts organizations are encouraged to participate and provide input, including responding, “What are your hopes, dreams and concerns for the future of the arts in Plattsburgh?” “
Charland’s response is to become an artistic destination.
“When I think of wanting to spend a day in a gallery or go see the arts, I think of going down to Glens Falls or Saranac Lake or Burlington – these are like local art hot spots,” he said. she declared. “We want to be that destination.
“We have so many talented artists here, but we’re just not that well known for it. I want the whole state (and) Vermont to know about it and want to come and see it.”
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