Artisans' Guild incorporates, expands
The Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild (Catsguild) will celebrate the grand opening of its new gallery with a gala open-house event on Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Commons Building on Main Street. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served, many of the 40 craftsmen and fine artists represented by the guild will be on hand and those who visit may enter a free raffle for door prizes donated by the artists themselves.
The group began its move into new show space on the first floor of the Main Street, Commons Building just in time for a soft opening on Labor Day weekend. But by Columbus Day weekend, organizers say the gallery will be at full strength and completely ready for an early start to the holiday shopping season.
“We are so excited. It’s everything we ever dreamed,” said Catsguild founder Jill Cline, one of just five other artists who first organized the guild. In our early days, we felt really accomplished when we were able to successfully share a space at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market each Saturday,” said Cline. “But we always knew it could be much more and with this launch, I feel like we are well on our way to achieving our full potential as a group.”
Cline with Jeanine Pascarella, both talented craftsmen in their own right, expanded their group to 15 last fall and moved into a small, upstairs retail space in the Commons Building as their first year-round effort working cooperatively with other artists. It was so successful that they have now created a nonprofit corporation and expanded the group to include the 40 artists now showing together in the larger, first-floor retail space in the building.
Joan Lawrence-Bauer recently joined the team and will handle marketing and business operations for the group.
“We exist to connect craftspeople and artists in the region with each other, and with potential customers for their work,” said Pascarella, “but more than that, we want to use crafts and fine art as a tourist attraction that will bring people to Main Street and support other businesses as well as our own.” Pascarella went on to say that the group’s plans include collecting and disseminating information and staging events for the general public, as well as offering classes for artists who want to improve their ability to market themselves.
Cline noted that despite the terrible economic blues in the area, there is a momentum of positive change building on the Main Streets of Andes, Arkville, Fleischmanns, Margaretville and Roxbury as well as in other local hamlets like New Kingston. Retailers like Just Shop, Eva’s Closet, E & B Accessories, Sweet Peas, Little Sprouts, Home Goods and Lost Art of Living can work together to capitalize on the traffic each other already brings, in a way that will attract even more traffic to the area. “Main Street grants and low interest loans from MARK are helping our communities look better,” said Cline. “The Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce is working harder to promote the region,” she added. “Organizations like The Roxbury Arts Group and the Belleayre Conservatory are bringing in audiences and galleries like Chace Randall in Andes and the Longyear Gallery in our own building, are raising the bar for everyone.”
The Catsguild’s efforts have been funded, in part, by the A. Lindsay & Olive B. O’Connor Foundation with support from the MARK Group in Margaretville.
The grand opening will be co-sponsored by the Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce, which will help with ribbon-cutting festivities at the open house that gets underway at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12 and ends at 7 p.m.
More information on the Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild is available by calling the gallery at 586-3443 when it is open, Thursday – Monday 10:30 – 4:30 and later during holiday weekends, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the group’s website at www.catsguild.org.