By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
GREENVILLE — The two-day art studio tour isn’t until later this month, but visitors had the chance to get a sneak preview into local talent that will be on display during a reception at the North Barn in the town park last Sunday.
More than two dozen artists put their works on display in the barn as a glimpse into what will be available during the studio tour that will be held May 20 and 21.
Both the opening reception and the two-day studio tour are hosted by the group Arts Around Greenville.
“Today is a preview show, an art show for Arts Around Greenville for our studio tour, which is an initiative that came about under Community Partners of Greenville,” said event organizer Natalie Boburka, who is one of the artists on the tour. “Today we have 25 artists showing their work in anticipation of people being able to come and see it and choose artists to go see during the studio tour that happens May 20 and 21.”
In addition to seeing and meeting some of the artists and works on display, there were also silent auction items, refreshments and live music.
All of the artists who attended Sunday’s reception will be participating in the studio tour later this month, along with additional local artists.
The Arts Around Greenville Studio Tour got its start in 2022 when the first event was held, and was so successful it spawned a new group of artists who now meet regularly to share ideas and fellowship, Boburka said.
“It definitely created a lifeline for some of the artists who didn’t know each other and felt isolated,” Boburka said. “From this last year, we started a group that meets year-round and we do monthly salons and everyone gets together and talks about their work.”
For some artists, the movement has created a sense of community they felt they were missing.
“I’ve had people in tears who said they felt so disconnected before this and it has really given them support and a connection to other people that they didn’t have before,” Boburka said.
The group, which has a nominal membership fee of $10 a year, has even drawn non-artists, some of whom have decided to explore their creative side as a result.
“We have members who are not artists who love coming and helping out — and they are starting to dabble,” Boburka said. “People don’t think they are artists until they try it and then realize they are creative and they can do this.”
The studio tour and reception are a way to expose more people to art — and the fact that there are artists right in their own backyard.
“My biggest thing is to get the public out to see artwork and stop them from thinking they need to go to a museum and be a certain type of person to appreciate art,” Boburka said. “It’s not true — art is everywhere. It’s all around you, you just don’t realize it.”
Artist Ellen Blumenthal owns Ellen’s Pottery and had one of her pieces on display at Sunday’s reception.
“I have an altered vase here, which was high fired in a gas kiln with a glaze that reduces so you get russets and a smokey look to it,” Blumenthal said.
The artists’ group has enabled her to get to know other artists in the area, she said.
“I have met people through this organization who I didn’t know before; it’s definitely a way to get artists together,” Blumenthal said. “Natalie just brings everybody together and she makes you feel positive about yourself.”
Artist Elizabeth MacFarland is a musician by training but took up oil painting more than 20 years ago. She did not participate in last year’s studio tour, but now that she has a studio space that is amenable to inviting visitors, she is putting her work on display in this year’s event.
“My husband and I acquired a piece of property next to us, which included an old building that converted into an art studio so it was doable to have people come through,” MacFarland said. “It’s got great light and I have it set up with all of my artwork.”
MacFarland said she only has to look around the area to find inspiration for her artwork, which focuses largely on nature scenes.
“Since we moved here, which was in 2014, I have just been so inspired by everything around me — our property, scenes near our house. I would say 90% of my paintings are just right outside my door,” MacFarland said. “I also do some message paintings like about climate change — paintings that tell a story, more than just a scene.”
The Arts Around Greenville Studio Tour will take place May 20 and 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with 25 artists displaying their works within a 12-mile radius of the center of Greenville. Studio tours will be available in Greenville, Freehold, Medusa, Westerlo, Earlton and South Westerlo. Several artists will also have their works on display in two central locations — The Gristmill, located at 268 County Route 405 in Greenville, and the Greenville Public Library, at 11177 Route 32, also in Greenville.
There is no fee to attend the studio tour.