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Local art trail celebrates 25 years of masterpieces

A+Greater+Ithaca+Art+Trail+and+Healing+Path+Studio+pamphlet+%28Jadyn+Davis%2FIthaca+Week%29
A Greater Ithaca Art Trail and Healing Path Studio pamphlet (Jadyn Davis/Ithaca Week)

Nestled in the trees along Maplewood Road is a brown and white shed that looks across Cayuga Lake.

While it may be an ordinary shed to drivers passing by, it’s the place where collage artist Tom Butler spends most of his time doing what he loves and then showcasing it to the public.

The inside of Tom Butler’s studio (Jadyn Davis/Ithaca Week)

“It’s nice to be out here — particularly when it’s good weather with the studio completely openand people coming by looking and commenting on my work,” Butler said.

This is something that many artists like Butler that are a part of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail doevery day and will continue to do as the trail enters its 25th season.From paintings, digital art, collages and photography, the trail accepts all kinds of work and hasbeen a valuable resource for many local artists in the Tompkins County and Greater IthacaArea.

The Trailblazers
Micky Roof, owner of The Jewel Box, and one of the founders of the trail said she wanted tocreate a space for local artists to share their work since she felt that there was a lack ofresources for artists at the time.
“We didn’t really have any galleries and as I got to know the community, there were so manytalented people,” Roof said. “And so how can we get the public to know these people existedplus a lot of these artists who weren’t in a place to have a retail store, sell their work? It was justtoo hard.”
Robin Schwartz, program, and grant director of the Community Arts Partnership — anorganization that helps support the trail — said that she has seen over the years how much thetrail has not only impacted the artist but the community as well.
From the left Micky Roof and from the right Robin Schwartz (Source: Ithaca Times).
“The trail is unique in that visitors have the opportunity to see not only the artists’ work, but theartists’ workspace,” Schwartz said. “This gives people greater insight into the mind and processof the artist.”
Torie Tiffany, owner of Healing Path Studios who specializes in photography and digital art saidshe has been a part of the trail for 10 years.
Tiffany said that one of her favorite aspects of being a part of the trial is the people that visit herstudio, whether it’s during the two weeks in October or anytime throughout the year.
“Oh, I love the Greater Ithaca Art Trail,” Tiffany said. “It’s such a great experience to meet allkinds of new people … it’s kind of seeing my work through their eyes.”
Margaret Corbit said she and her husband Wes Blauvelt have been involved in the trial for fiveyears.
During their time Corbit said that they did partnership mosaics with middle and elementaryschools and even helped make the First Street Mosaic Project.
Corbit said that she is sometimes surprised by the support she receives locally, but nationally aswell.
“We occasionally get commissions, and you never know where they’re gonna come from,”Corbit said. “Last year we had a commission from a lovely weaver in Arizona and she wanted usto make lotus flowers and leaves for her backyard.”

A splash of gratitude

A raven mosaic outside of Raven Barn Studio (Jadyn Davis/Ithaca Week)

Though Roof said she is no longer on the trail she said she still is a contributor to the trail and encourages anyone to apply to the trail.

“I’m proud that I had the idea that I could present it in a way that people would agree to and it really has become an institution on its own without me,” Roof said.

Tiffany said that she appreciates the work that Schwartz has done for all of the artists on the trail over the years.

“Robin I’ve worked with very closely, pretty much orchestrates, the way the art trail is going to be run and advertised and whatnot and she’s fabulous at what she does,” Tiffany said.

Schwartz said that the trial has close to 60 artists, which she said has been the highest since 2019 having 51 artists.

“I think that any program that runs for 25 years is a successful program — both for artists who are interested in being on the Trail and for visitors,” Schwartz said.

The upcoming season will begin in July 2023 and continue until June 2024. For more information, visit artstrail.com.

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