Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Funding Received: 2013
Prattsville, NY
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 23, 2013

October is one of the most beautiful times of year in this rural mountaintop community, and the brilliant fall foliage was a perfect backdrop for the Art Center’s second Trick or Treat exhibition: “The Haunted Forest.” Featuring giant spiders, upside down pine trees, and sculptural environments by artists from New York City, Catskill, and the local community, the show replaces store-bought holiday props with personal expressions handmade from free, donated, and recycled materials. Sculptor Matt Bua, creator of the Catamount People’s Museum jumpstarted the process with a weekend workshop that used salvaged wood from our local sawmill to begin the building-wide fantasy installation. The exhibition’s reception this weekend will be followed by Halloween Trick or Treating in collaboration with local legend Stella Cross and our American Legion, organizers of Prattsville’s Halloween costume contest in the Town Fire Station for the past 33 years.

Recent Wins
This October the Windham Art Fest included the Art Center’s Haunted House building workshop on their annual studio tour, bringing contemporary DIY installation art into the mountaintop’s most established group of landscape painters, photographers, and ceramic artists. Artist in Residence Nadja Verina Marcin’s performance was a highlight of the Olana Foundation’s benefit exhibition for Wave Farm, an innovative sound and media non-profit which boasts its own radio station.

haunted forest -emily painting

We are looking forward to our upcoming appointment with US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Community specialists, who will advise us on alternative energy sources for our building project. Andrea Salvi has been offered an opportunity to present his design for the new Prattsville Art Center Complex in Venice as part of an exhibition held in conjunction with the Venice Architecture Biennale.

A pressing challenge in rural communities like Prattsville is the need to create local jobs. The ArtPlace grant has enabled us to hire local contractors and train youth to assist them in restoring the building. But in working closely with rural youth it is clear that continuing to explore new approaches to rural job creation, which encourage young people to realize their potential are essential. The interest in handmade, sustainable products holds promise for areas such as ours.

The developing interest in contemporary fashion, accessories, and home décor which are “made in America” has led the Art Center to develop a “Made in Prattsville” project. Prototypes for “FishFly” jewelry made from hand tied fishing lures are nearing completion; we have a lead on a source for industrial sewing machines, and ideas about credit-bearing training courses. Rural residents and artists share an ability to “think well with their hands,” but we will need help to develop strong business models.