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Self-expression thrives at local salon.


Kristen Dutcher in Hair Color Art salon (Photo by Fausel Imagery)
Kristen Dutcher is an Ithaca local artist, hair stylist, and business owner. She is most known for her salon called Hair Color Art in Press Bay Court.
However, what makes Dutcher and her salon unique is it doubles as an art gallery and space for the community. Hair Color Art sells local artwork and merch inside of the salon so visitors can admire the art while getting their hair done.

The salon also hosts events.

Every first Friday of the month is Gallery Night, when local artists and musicians to come down to Press Bay Court and showcase their art and music within the salon. Kristen started coloring her own hair at 14.

“My mom did not approve and neither did most of the world in 1996,” Dutcher said. “I started doing hair professionally when I was 18. But my first rainbow on my head was for my high school graduation in 2000.”

And in the year 2000, it became her career.

Hair color as expression

“I believe that we are art,” Dutcher said.

Dutcher said hair is just one of the ways we express ourselves with our physical appearance.

“We get up, choose clothes, bedding, lotions, smells, coffee, car, words,” Dutcher said. “It’s all art. We are always creating and putting energy out into the world. How we choose to wear our hair is an art.”

Dutcher expresses admiration for what she does.

“If people don’t want to do their own, that’s why we’re here,” Dutcher said. “I have the tools and skills to make your art.”

The Art Gallery

Octopus Mural done by Kristen Dutcher (Photo by Heaven Cuevas/Ithaca Week)

Dutcher painted a mural inside of the salon of an octopus. In addition, she has a chalkboard mural that’s right outside of the salon in which was inspired by a conversation she had with her sons’ father.

“We talked about how public art should be interactive and allow for the community to draw or touch or move, hence the chalkboard. Every six months or so I change the picture on there,” Dutcher said.

Right now, it is currently fairy wings in honor of the fairy festival that happened over the summer.

Fairy Mural done by Kristen Dutcher in Press Bay Court (Photo by Heaven Cuevas/Ithaca Week)







Dutcher explained how she felt artists often get the short end of the stick, so her purpose for the salon helps combat that.

“I just think that since we are artists making art on our clients’ heads, having a rotating gallery of always changing inspiration is a perfect fit,” Dutcher said.

 “I also want to use my platform and use my space to support artists. I like allowing artists to really dream big and not only have walls to hang paintings but provide a space for installations, live performances, and music. It’s a community space for artists,” she said.

The Salon for the community

Kayla Tarolli is a new stylist to the salon. She said the salon offers a different feel she hadn’t experienced before.

“There weren’t a lot of other salons that do things besides hair and nails stuff like that, so I thought it was really interesting Kristen was able to figure out a way to connect all the things she likes and wants to support within her community,” Tarolli said.

Galyne Fischer, Indigenous hair stylist at Hair Color Art spoke about the salon and the efforts it has made as a community staple in Ithaca.

(Galyne and Kathryn having a conversation while doing hair (Photo by Heaven Cuevas/Ithaca Week)

“Having Hair Color Art as a venue space and event space, it’s been really incredible,” Fischer said. “I really have gotten to know the community better. There’s something really heartwarming and endearing about that and that’s something I’ve always wanted.”

One of Galyne’s clients, Kathryn Kennedy, also emphasized the idea of the salon being very community oriented and needed, especially post pandemic.

Galyne and Kathryn admiring her hair cut in the mirror. (Photo by Heaven Cuevas/Ithaca Week)


“I think it’s super important to have a space,” Kennedy said. “We also are part of the community and I love the idea of it being in art because I do feel like hair styling, hair coloring, you know whatever you do with hair is an art form. It’s like you have a canvas as a person’s head.”





Check Out This Interview!

Check out their hair pages:

Gaylne Fischer

Kayla Tarolli

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