August 6, 2008: Art tour opened visitors' eyes

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To The Editor:
The Shandaken artist studio tour on July 18 - 20 was a great success. I had over 80 visitors over the weekend and sold almost $800 worth of art. Many other artists also did very well. Visitors were from Kingston, Woodstock, Hunter, Windham, even far away lands like Poland, Florida and New York City. No one expected to find so many fine professional artists working in these hills. There were over 40 painters, sculptors, printers, photographers, fine furniture and clothing makers, even high tech electronic and video artists. Too many for anyone to visit in just two days.
The Friday night reception at the Town of Shandaken Historical Museum in Pine Hill was standing room only. The group show and party at The Arts Upstairs on Saturday night was a blast. One artist sold seven major pieces. Mount Tremper Arts capped the evening with a rousing Punk-Klezmer band that had everyone dancing long into the night.
Local businesses were eager to advertise in the glossy color tour brochure and big fold-out map with the locations and directions to all the studios. They know that art lovers are good customers for shops, restaurants and lodging. Even John Horn, who admits he doesn’t care for art, admired the brochure, saying he knows a good presentation when he sees one. Artists took the opportunity to spruce up their studios and greet their visitors with new pride. All those who participated now feel like they are part of an artist community, and part of the business community of Shandaken.
The Phoenicia Times, The Freeman, Catskill Mountain Guide and other local publications ran excellent promotional stories, all sharing the same exciting discovery that art is such a big part of Shandaken’s vibrant life... and another big reason for people to visit our beautiful town. Hats off to Judith Singer for coming up with the idea, contributing her expert public relations abilities, and providing money for most of our advertising and printing costs. Anique Taylor did a boatload of networking and organizing and opened her studio in Phoenicia so other artists could show their work alongside hers. I pitched in by designing the brochure, posters and website.
It is clear that the arts are an important part of our local economy and a major attraction to tourists. We are blessed to have so many creative people living and working here. The artist tour website, www.ShandakenArt.com, which will remain up all year, makes it easy to look at samples of the artists’ works, see where their studios are located, and contact them by phone or e-mail to set up a personal visit. The studio tour opened lots of eyes. Let’s place more emphasis on the arts as part of our plan for economic development... and look forward to next year’s Shandaken artist studio tour.

Dave Channon,
Shandaken