For more than 100 years, there was a bar serving drinks at 201 E. Main St., Batavia, and GO ART! is looking forward to reopening the bar once the art council's application for a liquor license is approved.
"We're really excited because of our use of the old Batavia Men's Club," said Gregory A. Hallock, executive director of GO ART. "I can't wait till it's midnight and there are people walking on the street because the City applied for a DRI grant and they're hoping to get $10 million to do some arts and cultural stuff.
"So they're going to get that grant and people will be walking down the streets and they're coming here at 11:30 at night to get a glass of wine and walk around looking art. I'm really excited to have that happen."
Hallock made his announcement during GO ART's inaugural media dinner, with catering donated by Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, last night at Seymore Place.
The liquor license is just for beer and wine, but Hallock is working with an old friend, a bartender in Hawaii, to create cocktails that use beer and wine.
"We're actually going to have mixed drinks and we're going to have the bar open and we're putting in to open our back ally way," Hallock said. "It's going to be a beer garden so people can just hang out. It's just going to be incredible."
To start, the bar will just be open on weekend evenings.
Hallock's other big news of the night was an announcement of a planned showing for photographer Ryan Gustman. Hallcock discovered Gustman's working during the Sprout Film Festival and wanted to feature his work locally. Gustman has autism. He's from Winston-Salem, N.C. He also happened to be in town this week because he's doing a new series of photographs in Rochester and Buffalo.
Gustman specializes in art photos of old, decaying buildings (below, the video about him that was part of the Sprout Film Festival).
Through his discovery of photography and abandoned buildings, Gustman has found a way to focus and better manage his autism. Since then, he's been able to move out of his parents' home and take a job in IT with a company in Winston-Salem.
The process started when Gustman wandered into an abandoned building and sat for 30 or 40 minutes watching old lead paint fall from a ceiling like snow.
"There was this utter silence and I found out with the silence that I can actually calm down," Gustman said. "I'm not sure you understand how the autistic mindset works. There's always something clicking and everything -- that sounds a little crazy -- and normally and you can't basically focus. I was able to calm down and I took that feeling and I started taking pictures with it."
Hallock said he's hoping to draw wide attention for the show, bring in other autistic artists at the same time, and Gustman said he wants to use his newfound notoriety as a photographer to help other autistic artists.
"There's not enough programs or creative avenues for people with autism," Gustman said. There are plenty of classes you can go to for 30 minutes. But then there's nothing to show. So I'm trying to use this platform reaching out and actually helping these people."
That show should be in September.
Hallock also laid out a series of ambitious plans for the coming year, from a 1940s themed Picnic in the Park, more member shows, including one with theme of "Guilty Pleasures," a tea for children, a puppet show, a show by local artist Sean Madden (who has a regional following), and a return of the popular juried art show (which got 130 entries in its first year this year).
He's also very ambitious about what to do with Seymore Place. His goal is to get art on every wall.
There are currently two shows at Seymore Place, one by Mary Ann Fritz, from Delavan, of her work of painted and sewn cloth, and Stacy Kirby's show of en plein air paintings and illustrations.
Mary Ann Fritz