Using nature to showcase art normally seen inside galleries or on school walls, the Butternut Valley Alliance hosted a unique, free art show in the Texas Schoolhouse State Forest in the Town of New Lisbon, NY, on June 12 and 13. Showcasing professional and student artists that reside and go to school in the Butternut Valley side by side in an outdoor setting marries two of the BVA’s primary goals – promoting local artists and encouraging use of our natural resources.
“It was an interesting challenge to figure out how to turn the forest into an art gallery and Golden Artist Colors was happy to supply the student artists (ages 12-18) with materials that would hold up to the outdoors,” says GOLDEN Material and Applications Specialist, Greg Watson. “This event will have a lasting impact on the Butternut Valley arts community."
The BVA reached out to art teachers at the two school districts that serve the community to enlist nearly 100 student artists from Gilbertsville-Mount Upton CSD and Morris Central School to participate. “The students had so much fun with this assignment. They really enjoyed the freedom,” said Beth Collins, art teacher at Morris Central School. Ashley Hughes, Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton CSD art teacher, added, “It has been so exciting to see all of the students work on such an open-ended project. You really get to see each artist's personality come through!”
BVA also invited 28 practicing professional artists from the valley. The forest setting places a few practical constraints on the artists in that their work will be exposed to the natural elements for the duration. Artists' submissions are varied and include sculptures, paintings, prints, stained glass and fabric banners and many incorporate their presentation in natural surroundings into the work and are a reflection of the beauty of the area.
“It was rewarding to reach out to local professional artists, underscoring our mission to connect our community to nature and the arts,” says Carla Hall, BVA Board director and participating professional artist. “There is so much talent in this community and BVA is thrilled to be able to share it.”
The Butternut Valley Alliance’s mission is to encourage the Butternut Creek watershed to become a better place to live, work, and play. Our activities connect communities, protect the environment, and promote the arts. On the Trail of Art brings together artists of the valley in an outstanding natural environment and uses art to begin conversations between students and professionals, about art and place, and among the different communities that live in the Butternut Valley.
Free to all and open to the general public, the art show weekend was organized by the Butternut Valley Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that serves the Butternut Valley watershed in Otsego County, NY. On the Trail of Art is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and administered by The Earlville Opera House. Other sponsors include Gilbertsville Expressive Movement, Golden Artist Colors, Otsego County Conservation Association, Town of New Lisbon and individual donations.