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Le Roy High School senior Savannah Freeman completes two eclipse murals for the Le Roy Town Hall

By Lynne Belluscio
Savanah Freeman standing on the right. She designed the murals
Savanah Freeman, right, and Ariana Dinehart, and one of the murals she designed for the Le Roy Town Hall.
Photo by Lynne Belluscio

Savanah Freeman, a Le Roy High School senior, needed to complete 15 hours of community service for graduation and contacted me as Le Roy Municipal Historian with an idea.  

Savannah had painted store windows in Batavia and thought that maybe she could paint some windows in Le Roy.  

I suggested that Savanah work on some ideas about the solar eclipse that could be put in the front windows of the Le Roy Town Hall.   

Savannah showed me some of her artwork and immediately I knew that Savannah had the talent to design some unique murals, but wondered whether there was enough time to get them completed in time.  

Savannah had never worked on anything that big, but she was excited about the prospect.  

We decided it would be best for Savannah to paint the murals on huge pieces of paper so she could work on them at home.  

In two weeks, Savannah completed two large murals. One was a brightly colored mural with the Le Roy Village Hall on one side, and the other was a black-and-white image of the solar eclipse barn on the Fort Hill Farm on Route 19.  

Savannah says these murals are the biggest pieces of art she has ever done, but she has enjoyed the challenge of working on something new. She only wished that she had had more time so she could have added more detail. 

Savannah worked on the designs and sketched them out on paper, and then she called for some help from her friend Ariana Dinehart to do some of the painting.  

Both girls said they learned a lot about Le Roy history, especially about the Village Hall which is a focal point of the large color mural.  

The girls are best friends and attended school in Rochester before moving to Le Roy in August.  They said that the move to Le Roy has been the best thing that has happened to them. 

“Everyone in Le Roy — the teachers and the other students — have been so wonderful,” Savannah said.

Savannah, who is related to the Lathan family, points out that her family has “been here forever.” 

Savannah says that her mother has had the biggest influence on her art.  

“She has done every form of art in some way or another, and she has shown me that I can make a career out of something I love to do,“ Savannah said.

On Thursday, Savannah’s two murals were put up in the Town Hall windows. Almost immediately, folks gathered outside to take a look at the unique murals. They will be on display until the end of April.

Then they might be included in the school’s art show. Savannah says, “I definitely would love them to go somewhere where they won’t collect dust.”

Will Savannah watch the eclipse? 

“I am really stoked to see the eclipse,” she said “I don’t plan on going anywhere just because of how many people are coming to see it, but I will definitely be hoping for no clouds so I can sit in my backyard and watch.” 

le roy eclipse mural

Batavia Art Stroll has 'something for everyone' Saturday

By Joanne Beck

Business owner and artist Brian Kemp invites the public to a first-time event that involves five art galleries in downtown Batavia this weekend. Batavia Art Stroll will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Eden Cafe & Bake Shop, Iburi Photography, T-Shirts Etc., Eli Fish Brewing Co. and GO Art!

"This grassroots initiative, spearheaded by Judy from Eden, Akari from Iburi Photography, and yours truly, aims to celebrate our local artists and their incredible talent," Kemp said to The Batavian Friday. "We're transforming Batavia into a haven for art enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike. Our lineup of locations is nothing short of spectacular, featuring some of the most eclectic spots in town. Each venue promises a unique and immersive experience, showcasing the diverse array of artistic expressions our community has to offer."

Whether you're a seasoned art connoisseur or simply looking for a fun-filled day out, Kemp promises that the Batavia Art Stroll has something for everyone. 

"Expect to be dazzled by captivating exhibits, demonstrations, and perhaps even a few surprise performances along the way," he said.

The galleries are at Eden, 242 Ellicott St., Iburi, 35 Jackson St., T-Shirts Etc., 37 Center St., Eli Fish, 109 Main St., and GO Art!, 201 E. Main St.

Art demo to use ‘intuitive painting’ Tuesday at GO ART!

By Press Release
Submitted photo of David Burke a Garden Mural.

Press Release:

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist David Burke at GO ART! Seymour Place on Tuesday, March 12 starting at 7 p.m. 

David will be demonstrating a more intuitive painting for this demo, using a new squeegee technique with dots of paint to easily create cool designs. Light refreshments will be served. 

The 2.o.1. Tavern will be open for cash purchases.  Non-members are welcome for a $5 fee.  New members are always welcome, all mediums and skill levels. The yearly Single membership is $30, Couples $50, and Students/Veterans $10. 

GO ART! Seymour Place is located at 201 E. Main St. Batavia.

Submitted photos


Richmond Memorial is calling artists to participate in first ever Tiny Art Show

By Press Release

Press Release:

Interested in participating in a small program that is taking over libraries around the country? Richmond Memorial Library is excited to announce the first-ever Tiny Art Show.

Starting Friday, March 1 register online to reserve a kit that will be available for pick-up starting Monday, March 4 from the library’s Reference Desk. Each take-home kit includes a 4”x4” canvas, paints, a palette, and brushes. 

This program is for ages 12+ and is open to the first 30 who register. Using the supplies provided and/or your own materials, create a tiny artwork (no larger than a 4-inch cube). 

This is an art show for ages 12 and up please create your art with that audience in mind. The artwork must be suitable for display in a public space for all ages. 

Objects, paper, and materials of any kind except food may be glued to the canvas or turned into a sculpture, but artwork must be 4" in all directions or smaller. 

Nonfiction and IT Librarian Elizabeth Beardslee shares that, “We are excited to offer this program to our patrons! We hope they love the idea as much as we do. We look forward to the tiny art bringing people into the library to see the displays. Our hope is that this is a program that can grow and get bigger each year!”

These tiny artworks will be displayed in the main area of the library, as well as on the library’s social media pages starting April 1. 

The deadline to return the artwork to Richmond Memorial Library by March 29 to be included in the Tiny Art Show. One entry per artist. 

Artwork can be retrieved from the library by the artist after the show, starting May 6. Artwork that is not picked up by June 31 will become the property of Richmond Memorial Library and may be discarded. The library reserves the right to exclude any work. 

The registration link will appear online at on March 1. For more information, contact Librarian Elizabeth Beardslee at or Teen Services Library Assistant Ellen Caton at

Table Top Art Show winners unveiled at Eli Fish

By Howard B. Owens
table top art competition 2024
Chris Stangler, pictured with Brian Kemp, won the annual Table Top Art Competition, collecting a $200 cash prize.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Nearly 100 artists -- 99 to be exact -- entered 264 works of art to the annual Table Top Art Competition, which honors winners with cash prizes and reproductions of their work on placemats that will be on table tops at local restaurants in March.

From that wealth of creativity, 20 finalists were selected and unveiled at Eli Fish on Tuesday night.

There were five honorable mentions and 15 winners, with each of the 15 works of art being reproduced on placemats and the top three winners receiving cash prizes of $200, $100, $50, and a People's Choice winner receiving $100.

The top three winners were Chris Stangler,  Vanessa Loftus, and Debra Meier.  Shauna Blake won the People's Choice voting.

There are 34 area restaurants participating in the art show.
table top art competition 2024
Vanessa Loftus, second place, with Brian Kemp.
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Debra Meier, third place, with Brian Kemp.
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
People's Choice Winner Shauna Blake.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Tenney announces submissions being accepted for 2024 Congressional Art Competition, due April 19

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) today announced that her office is accepting submissions for the 2024 Congressional Art Competition from high school students in New York's 24th District.  

Since 1982, high school students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have been invited by members of the U.S. House of Representatives to participate in this esteemed nationwide art competition. Over the years, this competition has provided a platform for over 10,000 works of art to be exhibited and celebrated.

The contest winner will have their artwork displayed in the prestigious halls of the United States Capitol for an entire year. Additionally, they will be given the exciting opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to witness their masterpiece showcased at the Capitol. Southwest Airlines is donating two round-trip tickets for the winner and a guest to attend this year’s celebration on June 27.

All submissions must be delivered to one of Tenney’s district offices by the close of business on Friday, April 19. Additional information about the competition, including guidelines and student release forms required to participate, can be found here or by calling Tenney’s District office at (716) 514-5130.

Sponsored Post: Bontrager: Bid now on Joseph & Carmella Deni's estate art auction

By Lisa Ace

Bontrager Real Estate & Auction Service is currently holding an online auction for the Estate of Joseph and Carmela Deni, long-time Batavia residents.  Mr. Deni owned a barbershop on Ross St., and was a founding member of the Batavia Society of Artists- as well as an avid painter.  Joseph and Carmela were active in the Batavia community and raised five children there.  This auction includes a large collection of paintings and prints by local artists, including Nina Mason Booth, Roy Mason, Rose Pontillo DiCarlo, and Joseph Deni.  Bid on WNY memorabilia, tools, fine collectibles, furniture, and household items at  

Works from members and staff on display at GO ART!

By Howard B. Owens
go art member show opening 2023
Photo by Howard Owens

GO ART!'s annual member and staff art show opened on Thursday evening.

The show runs through Feb. 3.

Artists with work on display are:

  • Justin Reynolds
  • Rebecca LaFevre
  • Rich Della Costa
  • Mary Bryant
  • Julie A Lambert
  • Jodi Fisher
  • Dan Hogan
  • Bryan Wright
  • Donald Fryling
  • David Burke
  • Mary Jo Whitman
  • Madeleine Rush
  • Judy Wenrich
go art member show opening 2023
Justin Reynolds with three of his paintings on display.
Photo by Howard Owens.
go art member show opening 2023
Three drawings by Mary Jo Whitman
Photo by Howard Owens.
go art member show opening 2023
Three paintings by Judy Wenrich
Photo by Howard Owens
go art member show opening 2023
Kayla Reynolds plays piano with sister Julia on the bench in the James R. Owen Memorial Library.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Local artist featured in BSA Winter Show melds Irish and American traditions

By Howard B. Owens
adrian morris batavia society of artists
Adrian Morris, an Irish immigrant who has made Batavia his home, is the featured artist in the Batavia Society of Artists Winter Show at the Richmond Memorial Library.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The folk tradition of music and art in Ireland informs the work of Batavia artist Adrian Morris, featured in the Winter Show of the Batavia Society of Artists at the Richmond Memorial Library.

The show opened Thursday and features 35 paintings by Morris, both his Irish landscapes and his portraits of musicians, writers, political figures, and commissioned work.

'I'm painting every day, painting all the time, in my spare time," Morris said. "It's just, I can't stop doing it. It's a passion that I've had from a young age."

In 2008, Morris immigrated to the Batavia area to be with a woman from the area. He is with a new lady now, but he stayed and has become embedded in the local art community.  His works are included in showings regularly with the BSA and at GO ART!

His Irish accent is unmistakable, as is his love for his homeland, but his love for America's musical traditions is also expressed through his work.  His portraits on display in the show include Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, John Lennon, Neil Young, and three of Johnny Cash.

What is the fascination with The Man in Black?

"Because I'm Irish," Morris answered. "And we're into folk music, traditional folk music, and he takes a lot of bluegrass and folk stuff into his music. I love folk music, like (Bob) Dylan and Johnny Cash and all those guys, you know. There is honesty in their songs and the stories that they tell. It's all about storytelling."

One of Morris's most stunning pieces is a portrait of James Joyce, the early 20th-century novelist known for his often inscrutable prose and stories deeply rooted in his native Dublin.

All these decades after Joyce's death, with his legacy enshrined in the scholarship of great literature, it might be hard to see Joyce as a folk figure, but that is how Morris sees him, and what draws him to Joyce.

"If you're in Dublin -- Ulysses is set in Dublin -- you can literally track every part of the book," Morris said. "You can go along the train, ride along the train along the coast, and everything he described in the book is in Dublin, and his cadence of the people (in the book), the way they talk, is purely Irish. A lot of Americans say it's very hard to read, but for me, it's just like, it's, it's my tone, the way their slang words work, you know, it's a rhythm and a regional accent to Dublin,  it's very Dublinesque, and, and so that's the beauty of his prose."

Joyce, he said, brings the complexities of life into a real world of real people just trying to get through their daily lives, like any folk artist.

"He goes through the gamut of philosophy and life and all these things, but he does it in a common man's way," Morris said. "You know what I mean? There's no airs about him."

Morris's love of Ireland and folk traditions is also expressed in a portrait that might surprise some -- Frederick Douglass.

"Frederick Douglass is a big he's a big part of Ireland," Morris said. "Anti-slavery with the whole British thing, the colonization, so he was a big part of it.  He was about the abolishment of slavery and so I really respected him even before coming here, and little did I know respecting him as a child that he was such a part of Rochester and the area. I was just like, 'Wow. So I felt like I wanted to pay tribute to him."

In Ireland, Douglass is revered for a speech he gave there.

"I don't know if it's true, but some Irish people had some part in paying for his freedom (NOTE: Irish and British residents raised the 150 pounds to purchase his freedom)," Morris said. "When he went over there, he moved the Irish people so much, that might have sown the seed for them to launch a free country because they were under the rule of the British for so long, and they wanted their freedom. So it's a political thing, but it's rooted in my culture."

The BSA Winter Show is on display through December and is open during regular library hours.

batavia society of artists winter show
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia society of artists winter show
"Needs no introduction" by Linda Miranda Fix.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia society of artists winter show
"An Urban Mood" by David Burke.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia society of artists winter show
Adrian Morris, standing with a collection of his landscapes and nature paintings, mostly focused on his native Ireland, discusses his work with an attendee during the BSA's Winter Show opening at the Richmond Memorial Library.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia society of artists winter show
"Guardians of Ireland" by Adrian Morris won the People's Choice Award.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia society of artists winter show
Teresa Tamfer's "Still Standing" took second place in the People's Choice Awards at the opening of BSA's Winter Show.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia society of artists winter show
"Spring Pond" by Richard Ellingham took third place in the People's Choice Awards at the BSA's Winter Show.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia society of artists winter show

Art 'inspired by nature' on display at Roz Steiner Gallery at GCC

By Howard B. Owens
gcc art opening

Three visions of art and nature are on display in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery at Genesee Community College through the end of January, featuring WNY artists David Burke, Julie A. Lambert, and Steve Piper.

The exhibit, which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed the day after Christmas), is called "Handicraft Habitat."

Burke, a Bergen resident, said his work for this show is a mixture of realism and abstraction, mostly in acrylic. 

"They're all inspired by nature," he said.

A father who homeschooled his children, he earned an art degree from SUNY Brockport and, in 2015, decided that art was his true passion and the vocation he wanted to pursue for the rest of his life.  He's involved in the Batavia Society of Artists and GO ART! and has won numerous awards locally for his work.

His work for the show is described as inspired not just by nature but "his connection to the life of the earth and the mystery of the world. (He) uses light, shadow, color, and composition to evoke memories and emotions."

Over the past few years, he's explored "intuitive painting," a process whereby the artist "goes with the flow," laying down lines and colors as his whim or emotions or imagination dictates.

"I've been experimenting a lot more with abstraction and intuitive painting, not knowing what I'm going to do, just starting off and painting," Burke said. "Whatever comes out of me comes out, which turns out pretty nice most of the time. I never know what's gonna happen. It's really interesting."

Burke made it into the show by applying for an exhibit several months ago.

"I just applied and then forgot about it," Burke said. "Then a few weeks ago, (the director) called me and said, 'You want to have a show?' The other two people in the show are friends of mine, which I had no idea about, so it turned out really nice. It's great because I went to school here originally back in 1975. It's kind of nice to have and show and be back at GCC."

The other artists on display are Lambert and Piper.

Lambert is a master papermaker. She has a bachelor's of fine arts from SUNY Oswego. According to the program, her work explores the natural and human-created impacts on landscape. To the surprise of the viewer, Lambert’s works are often first mistaken for paintings. As viewers are drawn in, they realize that the works of art are individual pieces of handmade paper -- dyed, textured, cut, torn, and layered by the artist to express how she sees the world. 

Piper is originally from Kansas and moved to Rochester in 1978 to pursue a photography degree at RIT. His artistic vision, according to the program, is inspired by his rural life growing up in the mid-west. Through color, texture, and composition, he is able to take a recognizable image and create something representational. 

Photos by Howard Owens.

gcc art opening david burke
David Burke.
gcc art opening
gcc art opening
gcc art opening
gcc art opening
gcc art opening

Works by internationally acclaimed artist Cindy Sherman on display at GO ART!

By Howard B. Owens
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Gerald Mead, who has more than 1,700 works of art by Western New York Artists, with a piece by photographer Cindy Sherman.  Sherman is portraying Mrs. Claus in a version of a piece commissioned by New Yorker Magazine for a cover. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Google "most important living artists," and Cindy Sherman is on that list.

In fact, in 2013, she was touted as one of the six great living artists.  

Some of her works have sold for millions, setting records for photographic prints. 

That notoriety helps make Sherman interesting to Gerald Mead, who has acquired 23 of her pictures, but that's only, at best, half the reason he collects her work. Mead's interest in Sherman is both parochial and personal. Sherman and Mead both attended Buffalo State University (though about a decade apart), and Mead's passion and specialty is collecting the works of Western New York artists.

He has more than 1,700 pieces in his collection.

"She's really kind of an icon in Buffalo," Mead said. "Her name is known far and wide as one of the most significant photographers, and she has that connection to Western New York. I was really familiar with her whole body of work, and because I was a curator at the Burchfield Penny, we had her works in our collection. It just became a special interest of mine when I first started collecting."

Over the next six weeks, art lovers from the area won't need to travel to London, Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, or even Buffalo, to see examples of Sherman's work. They can just take a little trip to GO ART! at 201 East Main St., Batavia, to see a portion of Mead's collection on display.

The show's run starts today (Wednesday) and concludes on Nov. 25, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 19.

The show is a real coup for GO ART! said Mary Jo Whitman, education/SCR director for the arts council. She wrote her master's thesis on Sherman.

"I'm very excited to get to know a lot of people in this area who don't always get to travel out to the bigger museums to see this kind of work will get to see it," Whitman said. "It's exciting to be able to bring these works to people, essentially."

Whitman said Sherman's work is important to her because it speaks to her in a personal way, because in her work, Sherman presents herself as a chameleon, taking on different roles as the main subject of most of her photos.

Sherman started her rise in prominence with what is still probably her most famous body of work, Untitled Film Stills. 

The series was created mostly between 1977 and 1980, mostly in New York City, with the city as a backdrop, or in her apartment. The black and white prints mimic the kind of studio publicity shots that were once produced for film noir or French avante-garde movies. Sherman conceived of the shots -- only a few directly inspired by actual movies -- created the costumes, did her own makeup, and created the pose that seemed to capture the movie's star at a pivotal plot point. 

"I felt this immediate connection with her," Whitman said. "I think it's really this idea of, you know, the constructed identity that you can be so many different people. You're in social situations, you're in professional situations, and that kind of really dictates who you are at that moment and really how many different people you can be. I know, for myself, I feel that way. I grew up in a very small town as a country girl, and I went on to be an artist, I can be a crazy hippie at times, and I can be in galleries like this as the pretentious curator. So I play a lot of different roles. I think that I just kind of felt a kinship with her after seeing her work.

After Untitled Film Stills, Sherman moved on to other series that, again, feature her in various roles and characters, such as Fairy Tales, Disasters, Centerfolds, History Portraits, Clowns, and most recently, Instagram Portraits

Mead, whose collection started with "Letraset Art Sheet #1," a collage Sherman made from British clip art in 1966, which he won as a door prize at an afterparty in 1995 for the 20th Anniversary of Hallwalls Contemporary Art Gallery (which Sherman co-founded while at Buffalo State), said his goal has been to collect something of Sherman's from each of her eras and from each decade of her career.

"I've been able to do that over the course of 35 years," Mead said.

Sherman's work appeals to him, Mead said, for that same chameleon character that inspired Whitman to study her work.

"She's used herself as the subject, but she's converted and transformed herself into personalities, personas, characters," Mead said. "She doesn't consider them portraits of people generally because she's the subject of all of them. I think it can be fascinating to see how a person can use their own appearance and alter it to have such a wide spectrum of, again, personalities, personas characters."

Also, Mead said, each photo tells a story that also allows the viewer to help fill in the narrative.

"What's interesting about her work, too, is that it's meant to sort of evoke a response or a reaction because the person in it -- they're all actors or actresses, right? Is just being caught mid-performance. So when you're looking at it, you have to get out it, 'what happened before? What's going to happen right after?' She's telling the story. The interesting thing is, a lot of times, I think people sometimes look to see what the title is to figure out what exactly is going on, but they're all untitled. She intentionally has no title on them because she wants you to bring your own understanding and your own kind of reaction to it."

It's that nuance of story and character that is one reason people should come to see Sherman's work while its on display at GO ART!, Whitman said.

"It's just really cool," Whitman said. "She's got a great idea that's really unique. I mean, she plays all the roles. She is the artist. She's the model. She's the makeup artist. She's creating the work all based on herself. There's all these different guises that she has. It's really fascinating when you kind of break it down to what it took to make each individual work. You're gonna come in, and you're gonna see what looks like a portrait to you, but when you kind of break it down, like okay, this is her in every single portrait, and you will be able to tell it's the same person. So, it's just impressive."

cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Mary Jo Whitman and Gerald Mead hanging one of Cindy Sherman's photos in a gallery at GO ART!
Photo by Howard Owens.
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
On the back of the Mrs. Claus photo by Cindy Sherman is the New York Times cover version of the picture, which is a bit more anodyne than the photo Sherman released as a print for the general public to purchase.  "She's not all bloated and blushed," Mead said of the cover version. "That was the more tame version they used for the magazine. This (the print Mead has in his collection) is the one she preferred. This is described as an unlimited edition. You could actually purchase it from -- we're talking back in 1990 -- you could purchase it from her gallery. When it was produced, it was only $100. Eventually, it stopped. You know, they didn't continue to produce it, but she wanted it available because everybody had seen it on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. She wanted it to be accessible and for people to be able to afford and have something of hers." The back of the framed print also contains cards from the various galleries where it has been displayed.  
Photo by Howard Owens
Mary Jo Whitman hangs a photo by Cindy Sherman at GO ART!
Photo by Howard Owens
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Photo by Howard Owens.
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead

Peace Garden committee unveils new mural on water tank next to Tonawanda Creek

By Howard B. Owens
peace garden water tank mural
Barb Toal, Caroline Epps, Don Wallace, Dianna Bogue, Paula Savage, Louise Wallace, and Michelle Cryer.
Photo by Howard Owens.

There's been a bit more color and visual appeal that connects the Batavia Peace Garden with a second garden along the Tonawanda Creek behind the Genesee County Court House.

Artist Michelle Cryer has painted a mural, commissioned by the Friends of the Peace Garden and paid for by a state grant administered by GO Art!, on a concrete water tank next to the creek.

The mural features the butterfly bench that once graced the garden and an overflow of water simulating a breach in the side of the tank.

Sherwin Williams donated the paint.  The city approved the project.

"Without our community, as usual, we wouldn't have this here today," said Barb Toal, who came to Cryer with the idea of paint a mural on the tank. Then they came up with the concept together.

"I wanted to bring more nature in, to cover up a cement eyesore with some nature," Cryer said. 

Richard Bannister's gallery exhibition opens September 14

By Press Release
Photo of Egyptian Fish God, Slave Girl, and Angry King (carved black marble) by Richard Bannister courtesy of

Press Release:

The Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery is kicking off its 2023-2024 exhibition season with a solo show by local sculpture artist, Richard Bannister. Richard's sculptures are one-of-a-kind, unique works of art. He is a master of sculpting in wood, metal, and stone. He completes all the work on his art, by himself, in his studio.

Opening receptions for "Man's Struggle with the Gods: Sculptures by Richard Bannister" will be on September 14 from 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 - 7 p.m. with an artist presentation at 12:30 p.m. in the Roz Steiner Gallery.

About his artistic process, Richard says: "I now consider that the ability to create my works of art is a gift from God. However, I didn't always believe this. For years in my early studio in San Miguel, I believed that man could only destroy. I believed anyone could do what I did. All they had to do was take the time and carve a sculpture from a block of wood or marble or make an armature and apply clay for the beginnings of a bronze sculpture. I do not sketch before starting a sculpture, I simply grab a tool and begin the work. During the process of seeing a piece of art come into existence, I receive fulfillment. Because of my various procedures, materials and tools I am usually working on ten or so pieces at once. I can flow from piece to piece and pick up hours, days, or months later exactly where I left off. This is a rare blessing indeed."

Richard Bannister has had a long and storied career that has made him the artist he is today. He managed a farm with his identical twin brother at the age of 14, fought in the Vietnam War, studied at many different colleges, and gained his BFA & MFA. He also taught and headed the sculpture department at San Miguel de Allende, traveled the world lived in foreign countries, and exhibited his artwork internationally. Bannister has raised a family, written manuscripts, explored different entrepreneurial avenues, and holds a Bachelor of Theology from RBI in Tampa, Florida. His dream is to set up an art park on his 16 acres of land. His proudest achievements are his 3 children.

Richard's exhibition at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery will focus on his marble carvings, wood sculpture, and cast bronze. As an instructor in higher education, Richard developed courses discussing man's experiences with gods, demons, spirits, and other folkloric elements. Many of the pieces in his current show are a result of that line of thought. He aims to spark discussion of the things we cannot see; some of his artwork takes inspiration from Biblical tales like his sculpture Eve and the Tempterwho tempted who? (made of walnut), and Angel with the Gods (carved of black marble). Richard pulls insight from the religion of ancient Egypt and Buddhism, such as Baby Buddha (made of red oak and walnut), Egyptian Fish God, Slave Girl, and Angry King (carved black marble), which is the sculpture we are using to promote the exhibition.

Mr. Bannister has written eight manuscripts throughout his career, which form the series "My struggle with the Gods." The written saga is titled from the marble carving series that he is presently working on, "Man's struggle with the Gods". At his artist talk, Richard Bannister will discuss the inspiration behind his sculptures, and his creative process, and pull from his college courses to prompt discussion.

Roz Steiner gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. The gallery is also open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Any changes to the gallery hours will be posted on the gallery's social media pages

Three new shows at GO ART! feature the whimsical, the imaginary, and the realistic

By Howard B. Owens
Patricia Schafer
Patricia Schafer with some of her artwork on display at GO ART!
Photo by Howard Owens.

Patricia Schafer has been painting for years and years, she said, but she never thought about placing her work in an art show until she started to get a little unexpected recognition.

"It was so exciting, Schafer said. "I never had a show before. I've gotten to this stage of my life without a show; though I've been painting for a long time, but I never really had confidence in my work. Through the Chili art group, I've won a couple of ribbons here and there. And I thought, Oh, wait, there is somebody who likes my stuff."

GO ART! invited the Spencerport resident to show a bit of her work in Medina, and that led to a full show that runs through August at Seymour Place in Batavia.

She's titled the show, My Whimsical Heart, a totally appropriate description of her work, which is mixed media -- mostly painting and collage -- and features bright colors, mostly people, with creative, shall we say, whimsical backgrounds.

"If I do a landscape, and I do have a couple of landscapes, people are like, 'you gotta get back to those people. We love those people and the backgrounds.' So, people recognize my work, which is nice."

She said she paints for the love of it, for the joy of it.

"This is kind of like a relaxation hobby," Schafer said. "For me, I love it. I love color, it makes me happy. If you have a day that you're kind of down about stuff, that's just why I do it."

Patricia Schafer
Picture titled 'Lulu.' Louise Brooks was a silent movie star who later moved to Rochester and died in Rochester in 1985.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Patricia Schafer
Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
Photo by Howard Owens

Corfu resident Justin Reynolds describes his seascapes and landscapes as somewhere between the abstract and realism.  They're never of any place he specifically remembers visiting.

"I've been asked a lot tonight if they're from specific places, and they're really not from places. I guess they're in my head or maybe I have been and forgotten. They're all very just kind of conjured up," he said.

Painting, Reynolds said during the opening of his show at GO ART!, takes him to different places.

"I think I always gravitate (to these places), in my mind, when I think of where I'd like to be relaxed and find some peace," Reynolds said. "I think those are some of the places I picture. So a lot of times, I'm painting where I could see myself unwinding and detaching from the stresses of life."

Patricia Schafer
carla coots
Photographer Carla Coots
Photo by Howard Owens.

Photographer Carla Coots, a Le Roy resident, is best known for her music photography.  She can often be found at the Smokin' Eagle in Le Roy, snapping shots of bands playing in the bar.  Some of her best work is displayed on the venue's walls.

She also likes trees. Well, she likes photographing other things, but she does like trees, and trees are the focus of her show that opened Thursday at GO ART!

Coots is a retired special education teacher.  She took up photography 16 years ago when she was looking for something to do in the arts. 

"I think that I got into it because I needed to, and it was a good, really therapeutic thing," Coots said. "Art is a form of communication. I think that it really helped me get through a lot of things that I was going through at that time."

carla coots

Artist concentrates on happiness in work on display at ILGR

By Howard B. Owens
art show
Gina Schelemanow with some of the pieces of art the Bergen resident created and on display at the Independent Living offices on West Main Street in the Crickler building.
Photo by Howard Owens

More than a year ago, Gina Schelemanow went through a bit of a rough patch and decide to take a more positive turn with life.

 Schelemanow started creating art with linoleum cut prints.

"t was just kind of nice, like a nice release for me," the budding artist said. "A lot of them are like animals or books or just things that I enjoy in life that make me happy."

This month, Schelemanow's show at the West Main location of Independent Living of the Genesee Region put Schelemanow's work on display, and the show had its official opening on Thursday.

The Bergen resident was a housing coordinator for ILGR and is now doing a similar job for Project Blue in Buffalo.

At Byron-Bergen High School, Schelemanow wasn't particularly into art.

"I did like art classes in school for school, but nothing like extra," Schelemanow said. "I wasn't in any of the fancy art classes or anything."

There's nothing dark in Schelemanow's work, and the artist said that's by design.

"It's just as kind of like a creative outlet," Schelemanow said. "I never thought that you have to be good at doing art to do it. It was never something that I thought I was good at or thought I was creative. And when I started doing it, I really was able to come up with a lot of different things. So it was nice to go through the process of it."

The show runs through August.

Photos by Howard Owens.

Gina Schelemanow ary
Gina Schelemanow

Enter Through the Coffee Shop opens tonight at The Harve

By Howard B. Owens
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve

The creators of Enter Through the Coffee Shop @ The Harve, a unique, June-only art gallery at the Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Avenue, Batavia, held an invite-only pre-opening on Friday evening.

The public opening is tonight, Saturday, at 7 p.m., with the band FlashBamPow providing musical entertainment. 

The cost is $5 at the door.

Previously: Enter through the coffee shop for art and music @ The Harve

enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve
enter through the coffeeshop at the harve

Le Roy's annual art show displays the wide interests and talents of students

By Howard B. Owens
rylee burns le roy art
Rylee Burns, a senior at Le Roy High School, discusses her art during the school's annual art show on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Rylee Burns started her art journey for fun when she was younger, and she intends to keep it that way.  Being an artist is not her career ambition.

After her graduation from Le Roy High School on June 24, she will head to SUNY Geneseo to major in chemistry.

"I really, really enjoy science, and I want to be a forensic scientist after college," Rylee said. "So, in thinking about starting that journey, I decided to start with chemistry."

She still may take an art class or two in college, she said, because she enjoys art, too.

It's not unusual for students, even ones as talented as Rylee, to follow career paths outside of art, said Ieon Koukides, a teacher Rylee said has inspired her to stretch herself artistically.

"Their interests are absolutely different from what they might be doing in the class, from science to music, to sports, or whatever it might be," said Koukides, who himself has interests outside of art -- he's also Le Roy's head baseball coach.  "So it's kind of nice that I get to have kids of all different interest levels, and what they go on to do is awesome to me because what I get to do is give them an avenue to appreciate art and hopefully produce some pretty neat stuff while they're in high school."

Rylee was among several seniors who prepared a wall of their paintings and drawings for Le Roy's annual art show on Wednesday, which also featured the work of underclass members.

As an artist, Rylee tends to be detail-oriented, preferring fine brush strokes.  As a sophomore, she painted a church door because she liked the detail of it, and in her junior year, Koukides encouraged her to find another church architecture theme, so she concentrated on a stained glass window.  To complete the cycle this year, she painted a church door key.

"I'm really fine with my brushes," Rylee said. "I used really tiny brushes for all three of these. I like things to go the way I want them to, so I felt really nice with these because I wanted the detail."

Koukides said he typically picks a project a student did in their sophomore year and encourages them each year to find a new approach to the same or similar subject.

"I knew she could excel at it because she's super confident in what she's doing," Koukides said. "Whether it's painting or colored pencil,  it's pretty easy to gear her towards that project and see her excel."

He said Rylee's confidence has "allowed her to soar on any project after she has learned the techniques."

The art show was moved to the auditorium stage this year (instead of the library) and the stage was filled with adults and students appreciating the works on display.  

Koukides said he's proud to see the school's art students get the recognition of an appreciative audience.

"I always say people get to see what I see every day," Koukides said. "That's what makes coming to work great for me every day. I know what's here, and I see it every day. But until we put it up like this and have everybody else view it, I don't think everybody truly appreciates what happens here in this small little community, and how talented the kids are."

Photos by Howard Owens.

rylee burns le roy art
rylee burns le roy art
rylee burns le roy art
rylee burns le roy art
le roy art
rylee burns le roy art
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le roy art

GO ART! Offers Class in Ukrainian Egg Decorating

By Press Release
File photo by GO Art!
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

GO ART! is offering a special 2-session class in Ukrainian Egg Decorating, or pysanky, with master pysankar artist, Irene Grassman, as part of our Explore Art! program. The classes will be held on Saturday, May 6 and May 13, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at GO ART!, 201 East Main St., Batavia. 

The class is open to participants age 12 and older, those who sign up should expect to attend both classes to complete the project. The cost is $25 per person, in total, and all materials and tools will be provided. Contact GO ART! at 585-343-9313, email, or sign up online at Registration is requested by May 3. 

Irene Czolacz Grassmann was born in Germany in a displaced persons camp and came to America with her parents in 1952. While quickly adapting and embracing the customs of their new homeland, Irene’s parents continued to observe and instill their beautiful Ukrainian culture and heritage in their children. 

From an early age, Irene was interested in various Ukrainian arts, including embroidery and ceramics, but fell in love with the art of writing Pysanky (decorated eggs) continues to this day. She has taught history and the process of the Pysanka through BOCES-Continuing Education Programs; the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University; various cultural festivals in Buffalo, Kerhonkson, and Rochester, as well as teaching the Art of Pysanky at a Ukrainian American Youth Association Arts and Crafts Camp in Ellenville, NY in the Catskills for 17 years.

Participants will learn about traditional motifs, symbols, designs and colors, many of which are used to wish good luck and prosperity to the receiver of the egg. The word Pysanka is derived from the Ukrainian word, “pysaty” which means to write—which is how artists describe the process of creating their beautiful and intricate designs.

File photo provided by GO Art!.

Three artists open new shows at GO ART!

By Howard B. Owens


It was showtime on Thursday at GO ART! for Brian Kemp and two other artists with new solo shows in one of Seymour Place's galleries.

While Kemp had won multiple local art competitions over the years, this is his first solo show.

Kemp describes his creative process as intuitive and almost childlike, and he takes found materials of wood and metal along with Duck cloth for painting to create unique and original pieces, all while listening to an assortment of tunes for inspiration.

"I love creating in this manner as it allows for unplanned expression," Kemp said. "It amazes me what comes out of my works as they develop."



Also opening on Thursday was a show by Bryan Wright. A Batavia resident, Wright is originally from Charleston.  As a child, he was drawn to the seaside and water, which remains an inspiration for his work in various mediums. 

The collection was inspired, he said, by countless hours spent digging and rummaging through the earth in search of unique rocks, shells, sand dollars, and even an occasional shark's tooth. 

"I truly enjoy working with my hands and find my training in graphic design and basic metal fabricating has proven to be practical when fixing things and effective when creating art with such rugged material," he said.




The two pieces below are by John Midla, who also has a new show at GO ART!


Photos by Jim Burns.

BSA's monthly art demonstration focused on collage multimedia

By Press Release


Press release:

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist Karen Crittenden on Tuesday, March 14, at Go-Art/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., in Batavia at 7 p.m.  Karen will be demonstrating hands-on collage multimedia.  all materials will be provided at no charge.  Tavern 2.0.1. will be open for cash purchases.  Non-members are welcome with a $5 fee.  We are always accepting new members, Single $30, Couples $50, and Students/Veterans $10.

Karen is a lifelong artist who has had a love of all things colorful and accessible.  Her current work has been based in collage/mixed media and photography.  She has traveled to a lot of wonderful places, and this often has an effect on her work.

In recent times she has been collecting and working on making books, journals and junk journals with all the fun vintage and handmade ephemera to go inside those books.  She also enjoys designing and stitching her own embroidery designs.

Karen owns and operates a niche yarn and media business where she offers group and private lessons in a variety of media.  




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