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Leadership Genesee discovers the abundance of Genesee County arts & culture

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Leadership Genesee 2024 participants hear from Kathy White about what it takes to present a live performance at Main St. 56 Theater, home of the Batavia Players.

By Peggy Marone LG ‘02, Director

Press Release:

How many times have you driven in downtown Batavia and never noticed there are more than 20 murals between Jackson, Ellicott, and Bank Streets? The Leadership Genesee (LG) Class of 2024 discovered them during a ‘scavenger hunt’ activity on March 27, LG Arts & Culture Day.

One participant shared, “The scavenger hunt allowed us to really observe the murals. How often I drive by these murals and don’t really notice the detail or the extent of artwork on display. Some of the murals I have never seen or noticed (like the one on the fire hydrant). Art can be made anywhere!”

Leadership Genesee Our Arts & Culture Day works to raise awareness about arts initiatives and activities in Genesee County and reveal some of our cultural history and traditions. “This month's topic really encouraged me to think about my personal background and heritage. Our community is so diverse!” said one participant.

The group met at Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (Go Art!) for the morning hearing from Gregory Hallock LG ’18, Executive Director, about how the organization has grown over the past several years. The organization is dedicated to developing the cultural life in Genesee and Orleans Counties by facilitating the creation, presentation, and experience of art, heritage, and traditions. The facility has a dance studio, podcast studio, displayed art, open mic sessions, Tavern 2.o.1 as well as offering community events. The class had the opportunity to tour the facility and participate in a Bollywood Dance session.

Terry Abrams LG ’07, Curator/ Collections Manager, Niagara County Historical Society, shared information about The Tonawanda Seneca Nation, our neighbors in Genesee County. Terry spoke of Seneca's history and culture and how their values remain strong and intact. Language, song, art, dance, and sports are all vital aspects of Seneca culture. 

After a tour of Main St. 56 Theater and learning about the initiatives from Batavia Players to bring additional live theater to Genesee County and offer options to kids for theater camps, the group visited The Harve in the Harvester Center. The Harve is a 7,000-square-foot hidden gem of art and music! Nestled within The Harvester Center with its entrance just through Pub Coffee Hub this vibrant venue is a haven for creativity and entertainment.

After sharing stories of their cultural heritage, the group participated in a drum circle led by Jackie Swaby, Executive Director of the Arts Council for Wyoming County. Jackie not only shared her expertise in drumming but the background and significance of drumming. The group ended the day by participating in activities to create their own stories through art. 

Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer, and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities, and provides equal program and employment opportunities. 

For more information, visit LG’s website at; “like” LG on Facebook at; or contact Program Director Peggy Marone at (585) 343-3040, ext. 118 or

Submitted photo of members of the LG Class of 2024 pose in front of the downtown Batavia mural they discovered during the scavenger hunt activity.

GO Art! to host steel band festival Saturday at City Centre

By Press Release
Submitted photo. 

Press Release:

GO ART! is excited to host the Western New York Steel Band Festival for its second year on Saturday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m., in the Batavia City Centre. Organized by teaching artist and percussionist Ted Canning, the event welcomes everyone to enjoy steel pan bands performing on this instrument developed in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Admission is a $5 suggested donation, and ample parking is available at the City Centre.  The Western New York Steel Band Festival is being presented as part of the activities of GLOW Creatives, a group of 10 artists (including Canning) at GO ART! who received a grant from the Creatives Rebuild New York Artist Employment Program, supported by the Mellon Foundation. 

GO ART! programming is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, which has the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for the public. Attendees can view a new City Center statue created collaboratively by GLOW Creatives artists Bill Schutt, Dan Butler, and Jill Pettigrew. 

Ithaca College’s IC Steel, Steel Alchemy Community Steelband, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Tiger Steel, Lancaster High School Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra, and Panloco Steelband are featured bands. 

The bands will showcase Caribbean music while also illustrating the many genres and rhythms that steel bands commonly perform. The concert will conclude on a high note with a joint performance of all the bands—about 70 players in all!

Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra was started by John Marone in 1974 and is the third oldest established continuing steel drum program in the United States. The group performs numerous concerts and events annually in the greater Buffalo area, has produced several recordings, and has traveled from Philadelphia, Chicago, Disney World, and Trinidad.

IC Steel was established in the 1990s by percussionist Gordon Stout and continues to offer students the opportunity for a diverse ensemble experience at the college. 

The RIT Tiger Steel band is an ensemble offered through the School of the Performing Arts, a campus-wide initiative to enhance the arts experience for all students. They have represented the university at events off campus and were featured in the 2022 holiday video card for the university. 

Steel Alchemy was formed in 2001 as a community-based band, open to anyone ages 13 and older. With an emphasis on intergenerational group learning, the band performs at town festivals, concert series, and private events throughout the Genesee Valley. 

Established in 1995, Panloco Steelband explores the unique musical qualities of the pan from its traditional Caribbean roots to pop, jazz, classical, and styles from around the world. They perform at private and public events in the region and with international performances in Sicily, Mexico City, and Siena, Italy.

“I’m excited to bring this festival to Batavia again,” says Canning.  “It might be surprising for people to learn that our part of the state has a significant connection to the Trinidadian steel band tradition and its founders, from the groups featured at the festival as well as Paul Ferrette’s Caribbean Extravaganza in Buffalo, Al St. John’s Trinidad and Tobago Steel band in Rochester, and a history of school bands in Rochester, Randolph, Ithaca, Naples, and Dundee. I’m looking forward to sharing this music with our community—it will be a great time!”

Youth camp students and local artists have eclipse focus at GO ART!

By Steve Ognibene
Students from various schools create solar systems during youth camp at GO ART !  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Some students pictured above during K-6 Creative Arts Camp during April break with eclipse-themed art.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

During Easter vacation, students enjoyed working on many eclipse-related projects during youth camp.  

Jodi Fisher, program director of GO ART!, said the program had two dozen students create solar systems, landscape universe models, and transform chocolate-covered pretzels into aliens. They also worked on various planet projects, along with making solar systems out of clay and paper drawings.

Creativity and art kept the K-6 kids learning more about the upcoming eclipse, Fisher said.

Local artists displayed eclipse-themed art in the various galleries.

 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene

Watercolor painting demonstration Tuesday at GO Art!

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist Jody Ziehm on Tuesday, April 9 at Go-Art/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia starting at 7 p.m. Jody will be demonstrating watercolor painting.  

Non-members are welcome for a $5.00 fee. Accepting new members, all medium and skill levels. 2024 memberships are $30 per person, $50 per couple, and $10 for students or veterans. 

Light refreshments will be served.  Tavern 2.o.1. will be open for cash purchases.

Jody Ziehm

Jody Ziehm

Residing in the town of Wheatfield, I am a full-time watercolor artist. I have a love of painting and am devoted to watercolors. Inspired by my surroundings. I enjoy plein air (painting outside on site) and whenever possible, work from live models.

Much of my work is done in my studio from photos taken. My work is distinguishable by its vivid colors and dynamic compositions. I also enjoy teaching and hold weekly classes at both Partners in Art in North Tonawanda and the Amherst Museum.

I also travel extensively throughout the summer months to outdoor art festivals throughout New York I am a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Buffalo Niagara Art Association, Fine Arts League of Buffalo, and Tonawanda Council of the Arts. 

I am represented by Kittenger Gallery in Williamsville, Finger Lakes Gallery, and Frame in Canandaigua, Gallery Morada in Islamorada Florida, Barton Hill Resort and Spa in Lewiston, and The Mansion in Buffalo.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of her painting. Spotlight on the Artist: Jody Ziehm

Submitted photos


POP hosts second annual Peruvian dinner fundraiser at GO ART!

By Press Release


The Peruvian Outreach Project (POP) is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit working in Tarapoto, Peru for two major initiatives, the Hogar Hermelinda Home for Young Women and the Aldea Infantil Virgen del Pilar.  

This project is hosting its second annual Dinner and Basket Raffle fundraiser April 6 at the Genesee Orleans Council on the Arts located at 201 E. Main St., Batavia to help support these initiatives.

There will be a cash bar and basket raffle as well as a delicious meal.  The meal includes authentic Peruvian cuisine, including chicha Morada ( a drink made from purple corn), Causa Rellena ( potatoes layered with chicken and avocado), lomo saltado ( beef with rice) and suspiro limeña ( a delicious custard).

The Hogar Hermelinda is a home for young women established by POP in 2022.  It is a safe home for six young women who come from rural areas of the Amazon who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study after high school.

POP provides room and board for these young women who are all studying to become nurses.  They will graduate next year!  The second focus for POP is to improve the quality of life for the children living at the Aldea Infantil Virgen del Pilar Orphanage.  

Recently POP has provided a music workshop and a sewing workshop. Also POP purchased three new computers to replace the computers the children were trying to use in their school. They also received new school uniforms, school supplies and an annual Christmas Celebration. 

Organizers of this event have come to realize that this is a busy weekend with the upcoming eclipse, and they promise that the meal is worth it as an authentic and enjoyable experience. 

Tickets must be pre-purchased for $25 per dinner at or by check, sent to: Peruvian Outreach Project, P.O. Box 234, East Pembroke, NY, 14056.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., dinner starts at 7 p.m., and basket raffle winners chosen at 8:30 p.m.

Please consider joining us to celebrate with a delicious and unique Peruvian meal.

Submissions being accepted for 'Total Eclipse of the Art'-themed exhibition at GO ART!

By Press Release

Press Release:


GO ART! announces a call for artwork for its 7th annual juried exhibition, Art of the Rural. This year, organizers have added a twist with the theme, ‘Total Eclipse of the Art.’ Artists are encouraged to explore the theme through their interpretation and are welcome to think outside the box. 


The exhibition is open to all artists.  All work must be original, created by the submitting artist, and not previously exhibited at GO ART! All media is accepted. Artwork must be properly wired, ready to hang, and no larger than 36 x 36.” 

GO ART! members may submit up to 5 works for $30, $5 for each additional work. Non-members may submit up to 3 works for $30 and $5 for each additional work. Artists can drop off submissions at GO ART! located in Seymour Place, 201 East Main Street, Batavia. 

Artwork will be accepted from March 20 - 23 and March 27 -29 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. No entries will be accepted after March 29. 

Art of the Rural: Total Eclipse of the Art will be on display from April 3 – June 1.  The winners will be announced at the artist reception, which will take place April 6 from 5 - 8 p.m.  

For a complete list of rules and entry forms, visit Contact Mary Jo Whitman at with any questions.

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


GO ART! offering eclipse themed creative arts camp and learn how to audition workshop

By Press Release

Press Release:

GO ART! is hosting a Creative Arts Camp during April Break Eclipse Themed(April 1 - 5).

This camp is tailored to students in grades K-6. Grade school students will create and maintain positive connections while enjoying hands-on exploration of various disciplines including culinary arts, visual arts, performing arts, and literary arts. 

Participants will work on a variety of Eclipse-themed projects using different mediums and art forms. They will build upon problem-solving and critical thinking skills while increasing their knowledge about different mediums and forms of art in a safe, inclusive, and structured environment. 

In the past we have done visual arts projects while learning about famous artists and art movements, created puppets and put on plays, played in the musical garden, learned about different styles of dance, as well as various arts and crafts projects.

Please drop off your camper between 8:45 and 9 a.m. and pick them up between 2:45 and 3 p.m. GO ART! will provide snacks and water but don’t forget to send your camper with lunch. 

Registration is required to attend Creative Arts Camp and spots are limited., call (585) 343-9313 or email Jodi at

Learn How to Audition with Maryanne Arena at GO ART!

GO ART! is hosting a ‘Learn How to Audition Workshop’ with GCC Director of Fine and Performing Arts Maryanne Arena on Saturdays in April (6, 13, 20, and 27) from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Classes will include: Picking appropriate material, contrasting monologues, cold readings, and improv). Nail that next audition by working with Maryanne and learning the essentials! 

The class will cost $180 for the 4 week session but the knowledge you will come away with will serve participants for years to come. Pre-registration is required and spots are limited. This workshop is for high schoolers to adults only. To register and reserve your spot visit

Professor Bio: Maryanne Arena is a professional entertainer who has taught acting and other theatre subjects for over 30 years. She has been the Director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College for twenty years. Maryanne holds an M.F.A from Brooklyn College where she was mentored by Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham and has studied with some of the world’s greatest professionals. Maryanne has won the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award twice. 

She is a published author and has won awards for her acting and directing. She is a judge for the KCACTF organization and has participated in and conducted workshops for The Theatre Association of NYS. She is a voting member of the Screen Actors Guild, and before embarking on a teaching career, she was a professional actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, and director. Maryanne was a resident member of the LORT Company P.A. Stage and performed many leads in professional summer stock. Her students are currently performing on Broadway, nightclubs, children’s theatre touring, cruise ships, television, and movies. She knows what it takes to successfully nail that audition for any venue (conservatory auditions, Broadway, touring, improv, and community theatre. 

Moving forward with GO Art! means continuing to do 'cool things'

By Joanne Beck
Gregory Hallock gives annual report
GO Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock shares the good news of receiving more grant money during the Human Services meeting this week, along with the caveat that some of the online community complains about taxpayer dollars being spent. "We're excited they're being spent here, as opposed to everywhere else in the state," he said. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council received the second largest funding in New York State, falling only behind Manhattan, of $336,000, which will be dispersed to artists in both counties, Executive Director Gregory Hallock says.

He considers that a pretty major deal, and rightly so. The money will go somewhere, and he figures it might as well go into the hands of local people for their creative projects. 

“So we were pretty ecstatic about that. Hoping to continue to increase that. When I came in, we were about $47,000 that we were giving out, so we've jumped up dramatically. And last year was $210,000. So we did a big leap from last year to this year. We had nearly $400,000 in requests this year, so I would like to give credit to the community for jumping up to put on more stuff, but a big credit goes to our statewide community regrant coordinators at GO Art,” Hallock said while presenting his annual report to legislators this week. “We have two of them now that the state funds. We stressed that in our area, it's not just about putting an advertisement out there that people might not necessarily see, but even if they see that, grants scare people. They see grants, and they run. So our coordinators basically hold hands all the way through. They answer every question that anybody has, they basically help with anything but write the grants. But if you write the grant, they will review the grant afterward and give you suggestions and all that.”

He said the nonprofit’s goal is to continue asking for more money and “make more of that happen out here,” which has recently also meant a spate of responses online. 

“We'll continue to get more of the negative comments on social media and everywhere else. And we're okay with that. It was a harsh year for that for us. But, people getting upset saying ‘our dollars being spent, our tax dollars being spent,’ but we're excited they're being spent here, as opposed to everywhere else in the state,” he said. “So we're gonna keep pushing for that to happen here. We really like to stress, I don't think most people know that if they're going to something that's arts related, that generally GO Art! is funding that. The $336,000 doesn't go a long way, but it goes quite the way out here, so we will continue to do that.”

He said the agency had more than 100 events this past year in Genesee and Orleans counties and is planning to do the same volume with new types of programs, such as a capital campaign that will draw more use out of the basement. The basement has an entrance and will include an emergency exit that will open up into the music garden portion of the building at 201 E. Main St., Batavia. That expansion will add about 4,000 square feet to GO Art!’s use, he said.

“We’ll be putting a whole bunch of studios and space down there. We just got a grant called black space. We’ll be working with the community and Black architects out of Brooklyn to bring in the Black community to help them help us design something that will be inviting to them to come into our space,” he said. “We’re putting in a dark room, pottery studio, wood shop, and a whole bunch of other studios to expand our happenings and our classes. Our classes have been doing really well; the last four that we’ve offered have all completely sold out. And we’ve had to add additional classes that have also sold out. So we’re really finally starting to get up there, and people know about us.

“We’re really excited about the expansion. It includes an elevator, somebody who can’t get up and down the stairs … I think that’s our major thing.”

He also mentioned The Harve, where artists MaryJo Whitman and Brian Kemp “took a space and artified it” to make use of an industrial building by painting and decorating walls directly or using them as backdrops for exhibits and live musical performances. “We’re going to keep doing cool things,” Hallock said.

It takes money to do those cool things, and the agency runs on a budget of nearly 62 percent public support, or $601,050; $200,661 in Foundation support; $107,334 from individual and corporate donations; and $64,272 from events and earned income. Expenses for the year were $225,800 for grants, $166,190 for programs and events, $16,773 toward fundraising efforts, and $324,744 for administration costs.

The Batavia building includes dance, podcast, film, and music studios, a library and cabaret theater, a darkroom, a pottery studio, a cultural culinary kitchen (used for demonstrations), a gallery with seven exhibition spaces (maintaining a collection of donated and permanent on loan works by highly esteemed local artists), and a bar area that is also used as a small gallery space. 

GO Art! has hired a consultant to put out a request for proposal as part of a GLOW region cultural plan, he said. He submitted a grant application last year for $150,000 that was turned down for a larger scope of Western New York that he fine-tuned down to opening a new space in Medina, expanding in the space currently in Batavia, and adding a cultural garden. Hallock hopes to receive a more positive response to the request this year.

“This is possible by the relationships we have already forged and the ones we hope to build. Through our arts education initiatives, workshops, events, and outreach, we continue to establish new and growing community relationships,” he said in his annual letter. “The accomplishments of the past year make our members, board of directors, and dedicated staff excited about the thriving and diverse arts in Genesee and Orleans Counties. Together we will continue to ‘Make Art Happen.’

"We already have everything ready to get that moving, so that we can put together our cultural plan and figure out how we're going to progress, and bringing tourism into the glow region for arts and culture, and continuing to expand upon what we have for our region,” he said. 

County Manager Matt Landers, in his yearly allocations request for GO Art!, asked for $7,500 — the same amount as for 2023 and 2022. That total was increased by $1,000 from 2021, when it was $6,500 since 2018. Funding for the nonprofit was at all-time high in 1997 of $10,000, including a $4,000 matching funds state grant. Before that, county funding was $2,500 in 1993, but it took a big leap four years later and has hovered around the $6,500 to $9,000 mark.

Genesee County Legislature is to vote on the request during its meeting on March 13. 

GO ART! offers February break creative arts camp

By Press Release

Press Release:

GO ART! is hosting a Creative Arts Camp during February Break (Feb. 19 - 23). This camp is tailored to students in grades K-6. 

Grade school students will create and maintain positive connections while enjoying hands-on exploration of various disciplines including culinary arts, visual arts, performing arts, and literary arts. 

Participants will build upon problem-solving and critical thinking skills while increasing their knowledge about different mediums and forms of art in a safe, inclusive, and structured environment. 

In the past, we have done visual arts projects while learning about famous artists and art movements, created puppets and put on plays, played in the musical garden, learned about different styles of dance, as well as various arts and crafts projects.

Please drop off your camper between 8:45 and 9 a.m. and pick them up between 2:45 and 3 p.m. GO ART! will provide snacks and water but don’t forget to send your camper with lunch. Registration is required to attend Creative Arts Camp and spots are limited., call (585) 343-9313 or email Jodi at

Batavia artist works with precision, talks about his artwork on display at GO Art!

By Joanne Beck
Bryan Wright with cutout art
During his talk Tuesday evening at GO Art! in Batavia, artist Bryan Wright shows how he uses a plasma cutter for precision cuts in metal to create pieces of artwork. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Of the sundry tools that artists gravitate toward, from chalk and colored pencils to watercolor and acrylic paints and brushes, Bryan Wright has chosen a lesser-known and more expensive pursuit.

Wright, a Batavia resident who was first introduced to his ever-increasingly favorite method to create art during a BOCES basic-advanced welding class 15 years ago, has fallen for the plasma cutter.

"I got this machine in 2008. I made mostly Christmas gifts for family and have been making things for people, I was just kind of giving a lot of the stuff away,” Wright said to a group of about 15 people that attended his Batavia Society of Artists talk Tuesday evening at GO Art! in Batavia. “So, just this last year, I've started putting stuff in exhibits and trying to make some money, because this is not cheap. It's not cheap.”

He made a major investment with his first plasma cutter — a heavy-duty welding torch that can cut through steel, aluminum, and similar materials with precision — for $1,000, and said that related supplies of a cap and electrodes go for $10 and $15 each, respectively.

Parts of the torch include the electrodes, a narrow piece of copper that receives the electrical current, a retaining cap, and a shield cap. Batavia Society of Artists hosted him for a demonstration that didn’t pan out due to the cold, snow, and wind, Teresa Tamfer said.

He instead offered a video that illustrated what he did and how he did it, followed by a question and answer session with many of his supplies and pieces of equipment on hand.  

An audience member asked how long his materials last. 

"So what I have found is that it's really up to you to determine when you think you need to replace this. But I would probably say, I could probably go through … in a five pack, it probably maybe lasts like six or seven months, I don't know, maybe once a month you might go through a new set," he said. "But the problem that you have is when you don't have a new end and a new electrode, the cut is a little more dispersed, it's kind of, it's not a very clean, precise cut. And you just can't compare a used one to a brand-new one right out of the box. So you’ve really got to be picky and choosey on when you want to change this, and when is it appropriate to just need to make that change?

“If I'm cutting something purely on the outside, it really doesn't make a difference. But if you want to cut like an eyeball out or something in the middle, you really want to make sure that cut isn't just splattering out and kind of making a mess. So there's an appropriate time to replace it,” he said.

Other considerations are having a compressor, which goes "hand in hand" with the plasma cutter, and the height of the materials because that can distort your cutting line, he said.

“Because if you pull back, you're not really sending that amount of heat directly to that material. So if you're not back far enough, you're not really going to have a nice precise cut, but the closer you are to that material, you will get that nice cut,” he said. 

Samples of his work are on display and available for purchase through March 30 in the 2.o.1 Tavern Gallery at GO Art!, 201 E. Main St., Batavia. 

Bryan Wright talks about his art
Bryan Wright with his plasma cutter and several materials on display.
Photo by Joanne Beck
Bryan Wright with his stuff
Bryan Wright three fishes
Bryan Wright artworks at the GO Art! gallery through March 30.
Photo by Joanne Beck
Bryan Wright three more fishes
Bryan Wright artworks, here and below, on display at the GO Art! gallery through March 30. 
Photos by Joanne Beck
Bryan Wright blue thrasher

'Unique' metal artwork demonstration Tuesday at GO Art! in Batavia

By Joanne Beck
Bryan Wright fish
Artwork by Bryan Wright
Photo submitted by Batavia Society of Artists

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist Bryan Wright on Tuesday at Go-Art/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St. Batavia starting at 7 p.m.  He will be showing how to do his metal artwork, which is said to be “very unique!”

Light refreshments will be provided, and the 2.o.1. Tavern will be open for cash purchases.  Non-members welcome for a $5 fee.  We are always open to new members, all skill levels and mediums!  Dues are single $30, couple $50, veteran or student $10. 

Bryan Wright  was born and raised in Charleston, S.C., and lives in Batavia with his “amazing wife and two beautiful children.” As a child he would spend countless hours drawing, and says that “if I had a pencil and paper, the sky was the limit and I was content.” 

“As I grew older I developed a love for tinkering with computers and digital art and went to college to pursue this new passion and still unsure about my future career I saw that BOCES had a basic-advanced welding class, and signed up immediately,” he said in a press release. “Totally unsure what to expect, all I knew was I loved working with my hands and kept an open mind for this, was the first time I was introduced to a Plasma Cutter and as the class ended I started saving up my hard earned money for a used one. 

“Over the past 15 years I have been using this same machine and collecting scrap junk metal as my new blank canvas,” he said. “At the end of a busy work day or week, I can't wait to get out to the garage, even in this ridiculous WNY weather and create something special.” 

Wright is even more excited to be able to demonstrate his craft and extend this invitation to others who might be interested or are just looking to learn about something new, he said.

Photos submitted by Batavia Society of Artists

Wright octopus
Wright large fish

GO ART! is seeking submissions of artwork for upcoming exhibit

By Press Release

Press Release:

GO ART! is seeking submissions for an upcoming exhibit, This Art is Garbage which provides artists an opportunity to explore the possibilities of garbage and waste as a medium for creativity. Artists are asked to redirect items that would normally be thrown away, into works of art. 

Open to artists of all skill levels, we are actively seeking submissions from students, emerging artists, and professionals. Garbage is a theme that connects us all and we hope to showcase a wide variety of skill levels and perspectives.


  • Oliver’s Gallery, GO ART! Seymour Place, 201 E Main Street, Batavia.


  • Work Drop Off: Feb 7 - 10, 2024, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • On View: Feb 14 - Mar 30, 2024
  • Artist Reception: Feb 15, 2024, 5 - 8 p.m.


  • This Art is Garbage


  • Open to all levels of artists: students, emerging, and professionals


  • Works of art may include a component of garbage in the finished piece, garbage may be used in the art making process (for example, creating texture and pattern), or garbage as the subject of the piece (for example, creative photography of discarded objects). “Upcycled” items, such as painted furniture, are not accepted.
  • Work must not exceed 36”x 36”
  • Artwork must be wired and ready to hang (GO ART! reserves the right to turn away any submitted work that is not properly wired and ready to hang.)


  • There is no entry fee
  • Each artist may submit up to two works.
  • Exhibit applications can be found here: 

For more information visit 

This exhibition is organized by Leigh LeFevre and Rebecca LeFevre. Feel free to reach out with any questions or follow us on Instagram for updates. Contact Leigh at or @takeastepback_podcast. Contact Rebecca at or

Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble sets recital for Feb. 3 at GO ART!

By Press Release

Press Release:

Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble (GVWE) invites the public to join them at GO ART! for their Winter Small Ensemble Recital on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 4 p.m.

The purpose of the GVWE is to serve and to provide the Greater Genesee Valley audience with new and familiar live music, to serve its membership with the opportunity to perform challenging wind ensemble literature, and to create the opportunity for the conductor and musicians to grow their collective musical talents.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (55 and older) and veterans, $5 for students (with ID), and children 5 and under are free.

Tavern 2.0.1 will be open during the event with beverages available for purchase. This program is made possible, in part, with the support and collaboration with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council. For more information please contact or visit

Artists, community infused with GO ART! SCR money, round two applications now open

By Joanne Beck
David Burke with tree mural at The Goose
Artist David Burke with a past mural at The Goose in Oakfield funded by a GO ART! grant, and 2024 SCR recipient. 
Submitted File Photo

After a thorough and time-consuming process that involves a peer review panel of dozens of applications, the first round of 2024 statewide community regrant program recipients for 2024 have been chosen, Educator and SCR Director Mary Jo Whitman says.

GO Art! will be regranting $336,000 to artists and nonprofit organizations for projects and programs throughout Genesee and Orleans counties, with the first round wrapping up in November, and the second round opening up just after Christmas and closing Feb. 17.

While the SCR program is not new, the grant funding sometimes gets mistaken for GO Art! money, which is not the case, Whitman said. The Genesee-Orleans Council on the Arts (GO Art!) acts solely as administrator of the funds to disperse them to the grant recipients chosen by the panel. 

"I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about the programming. A lot of people kind of mistake the idea that we get the funding, which we do not, we're not allowed to use any of the funding toward our programming. So much of the programming that we do is completely separate from this,” Whitman said during an interview with The Batavian. “We may administer it, and we have to make sure that it goes into the hands of the nonprofits and artists. So things like Picnic in the Park, for example, is one thing we got a lot of flack on as, you know, when we weren't getting as much funding for Picnic in the Park, and it just wasn't feasible for us to host it anymore. We've definitely heard a lot of comments about that — a backlash of how we're funding all these other projects.

“But we can't fund Picnic in the Park, we can't use the money for Picnic in the Park; it’s a completely different strain of money. We're not allowed to use that."

The Statewide Community Regrant Program (SCR) is a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts that was developed in 1977 to ensure that the state’s cultural funding would reach every part of New York State. The cornerstone of SCR is its focus on local decision decision-making through a transparent and competitive peer review panel process, she said. Local artists and nonprofits submit their projects for consideration and are reviewed, chosen and submitted to the GO Art! Board. 

So, instead of giving GO ART! money for its own programs, creative as they may be, this money goes to many individual artists and nonprofits for various projects, including outdoor murals, musical concerts, dramatic presentations, festivals and light displays. 

The panel selected 46 applications for up to $5,000 each in categories of Community Arts (Reach) and Arts Education (Spark), and $2,500 for Individual Artist Commissions (Ripple). The categories and recipients are as follows:

REACH -- The GO ART! Community Arts Grants (Reach Grants) provide seed grants to individual artists, collectives and arts organizations for projects and activities that enable Genesee and Orleans County communities to experience and engage with the performing, literary, media, and visual arts.

Each year the program supports arts projects, including concerts, performances, public art, exhibitions, screenings, festivals, workshops, readings, and more. 

REACH Recipients:

  • Batavia Concert Band - $5,000 for 2024 Music in the Park Summer Concert Series
  • Haxton Memorial Library - $5,000 for Talented Thursdays
  • Alexander Volunteer Fire Department Band - $4,837 for Community Performances
  • The Elba Betterment Committee - $4550 for EBC Presents ...
  • Oakfield Betterment Committee Inc. - $5,000 for Oakfield Labor Daze
  • Genesee Chorale Inc. - $5,000 for 2024 Genesee Chorale Season
  • Village of Bergen - $2,300 for the Hickory Park Concert Series
  • Rebecca A. O’Donnell with Community Partner, Warrior House of WNY Inc. - $4,000 for Creative
  • Community Connections at the Goose
  • Batavia Business Improvement District - $5,000 for Jackson Square Concert Series
  • David F. Burke with Community Partner, Warrior House of WNY Inc. - $2,500 for Wings Mural for The Goose
  • Heather Kathleen Davis with Community Partner, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church - $3,100 for Opera on the Oatka
  • Genesee Symphony Orchestra - $5,000 for The Genesee Symphony Orchestra’s 78th Season
  • Byron-Bergen Public Library - $5,000 for Arts in our Community
  • Amanda M. Taylor with Community Partner, City of Batavia Fire Department - $5,000 for Main Street
  • Fire Hydrant Murals
  • Bergen Business and Civic Association - $5,000 for Bergen Park Festival
  • Woodward Memorial Library - $4,979 for Art All Year, Take Two
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church - $2,415 for Music at St. Mark’s
  • Kathlyn Baker with Community Partner, Warrior House of WNY Inc. - $5,000 for Art Exploration Project
  • Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming OUT!, Inc.- $5,000 for GLOW OUT! Pride Festival 2024
  • Village of Corfu - $5,000 for Corfu Farmers Market 2024 Music Series
  • GLOW YMCA, Inc. - $1,000 for GLOW Corporate Street Beat
  • Gillam-Grant Community Center - $4,640 for A Spectrum of Art
  • The Batavia Players, Inc. - $5,000 for the 2024 Season
  • Marianne Skye with Community Partner, Warrior House of WNY - $5,000 for Groovy Moves-Family
  • Music and Movement
  • Lee-Whedon Memorial Library - $5,000 for Finally Fridays! 2024
  • Yates Community Library - $5,000 for Yates Community Library - More Than Just Books
  • Friends of Boxwood Cemetery - $5,000 for Boxwood at Night 2024
  • The Cobblestone Society - $5,000 for The Cobblestone Museum Arts Series for 2024
  • Lyndonville Lions Club - $5,000 for I Hear the Music
  • Village of Holley - $3,000 for Village of Holley Canal Concert Series
  • Community Free Library - $5,000 for Continuation of Myron Holley Erie Canal Mural
  • Care Net Center of Greater Orleans - $5,000 for Artists and Their Styles
  • C. W. Bill Lattin with Fiscal Sponsor, The Cobblestone Society - $5,000 for Architecture Destroyed In
  • Orleans County, N.Y.
  • Village of Holley - $2,000 for Festival Series 2024
  • Canalside Radio Inc. - $5,000 for Harmonizing Communities: The Canalside Radio Initiative
  • William Schutt with Community Partner, Village of Albion - $5,000 for Lighting the Erie Canal
  • Hoag Library of the Swan Library Association - $5,000 for 2024 Hoag Music Series
  • Michelle Cryer with Community Partner, Town of Carlton - $5,000 for Carlton Mural at the Cove

    RIPPLE -- The GO ART! Individual Artist Commission (Ripple Grant) supports local, artist-initiated activity, and highlights the role of artists as important members of the community. The Commission is for artistic projects with outstanding artistic merit that work within a community setting. 

RIPPLE Recipients:

  • David F. Burke - $2,500 for the Extension to Harvester Center Hallway Mural
  • Thomas Jennings - $2,500 for the Missing Man - The Vince Welnick Story
  • Joshua Lang - $2,500 for the Suite de Ballet Mvt 3
  • Eric Weatherbee - $2,500 for The Humble Bard Presents

SPARK -- The Arts Education Program (Spark Grant) supports arts education projects for youth and/or senior learners. Emphasis is placed on the depth and quality of the creative process through which participants learn through or about the arts. Projects must focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process.

SPARK Recipients:

  • Linda Fix with Fiscal Sponsor, BCSD Foundation Community Schools - $5,000 for #It Takes A Village
  • Bart Dentino with Community Partner, Oakfield-Alabama Central School District - $4,815 for The Spaces Between the Leaves
  • Judd Sunshine with Community Partner, Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School - $4,200 for Erie Canal Songwriting Project

These projects go way beyond one piece of artwork, Whitman said, as it draws community members to a locale and that can spur an economic and social ripple effect.

“We just really want to see as much art programming as possible in our community. We go to audit events. For example, there'll be a concert series, we're going to the concert series, we'll be talking to some of the audience members, and they talk about how they come to see this concert series every week, and when they're there, they go, ‘everybody eats at this restaurant all the time.’ So it really forms a sense of community, that helps get people out, penetrating these different local establishments," she said. "And it's much bigger than just funding a little project, it really helps with economic development, it helps bring people to the area, being situated right between Rochester and Buffalo. There's no reason why we can't have people coming into the area from both sides of  the city to enjoy the programming that is being offered.”

Another example of how a project can impact more than just the artist and a small segment of spectators are the workshops offered to the public that provide opportunities for folks who otherwise would not be able to partake in that form of art medium, she said.

“And it really gives the community a chance to really learn about different mediums or just even have the opportunity to take the workshop.  I know for myself, I grew up in Orleans County, and as a child, I was always interested in arts, but we never really had the opportunities to take these workshops," she said. "These classes will now, you know, they're able to provide them, and most of them are free. If there's any cost to them, they're very minimal, so it makes the arts accessible, I guess, is the easiest way to put that.”

She is happy that not only is GO Art! one of the partnering organizations with the state agency, but it is “actually one of the top-funded organizations in the state.”

Artists, nonprofits, and municipalities seeking funding for arts-related projects, programming, and events in Genesee and Orleans Counties are encouraged to apply to the second round of SCR funding through GO ART!.

For more information on applying for the program, go to: or contact Mary Jo Whitman at These grants are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.  

GSO concert with Shade Zajac 2019
File Photo of Conductor Shade Zajac of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, a recipient of a 2024 SCR grant for its 78th season. 

Upcoming January events at GO ART!

By Press Release

Press Release:

Do-Re-Mi Preschool Music and Movement class

This class is designed for children ages 2 through 5, alongside their parent or favorite person. This session will have class on Saturday mornings from 10-10:45 a.m. in January (6, 13, 20, 27) at GO ART! in Batavia. 

We will focus on seasonal song, play, motor and locomotor movement, instrumental exploration, vocal and rhythmic call and response, listening activities, storytime, and fun! The curriculum is designed to engage young learners through play and exploration while providing a safe and nurturing space for them to discover and grow important skills, such as language, cognition, and physical development, as well as support and encourage social and emotional learning. 

Chelsea Miller is instructing this session and she has been teaching music in various capacities since 2015. She has received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, as well as a Master’s Degree in French Horn Performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

Currently, Chelsea teaches instrumental music to grades 4-12 at Elba Central School. To register your little one for this amazing class please visit, call (585) 343-9313, or email Jodi at 

Game Night

Grab a friend and come on in to GO ART! on the first Wednesday of each month for our Game Night! Game night runs from 6-9 p.m. so bring your favorite game or see what we have to offer. From classic board games, and strategy games to card games there is something for everyone. Tavern 2.o.1 will be open.

Do you have any (board, strategy, or card) games you never play and are in good to excellent condition you don't want cluttering up your house anymore? We would be happy to take them off your hands and add them to our collection. Please call (585) 343-9313 or email

GO ART! seeks community stories for new gallery of antique photos

By Press Release
go art bathroom photos stories
Photo by Howard Owens

Press Release:

GO ART! is asking the community to submit stories for our antique photos in our new Bethany Arts & Antiques Gallery.

Our executive director has painstakingly procured many antique black and white and reverse colored photographs in antique oval frames, numbered them and put them on display in our newest gallery. We are asking the community members to stop in to GO ART! check out the photographs and if you are so moved submit a story about one or more of the photos. 

After GO ART! staff reviews each story we will publish one for each of the photographs to our website. These stories can be created in your imagination or a memory about a relative. Either way, visit our website at or come in and scan the QR code in the gallery to submit your story.

Comedy and open mic night Dec. 22 at GO ART!

By Press Release

Press Release:

Want to try out a new routine? Always wanted to try comedy? Read a poem? Come in for the 4th Friday Open Mic Night at GO ART! Sign ups start at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Open Mic is followed by a comedy performance hosted by Dave Mollahan with headliner Alex Mallory. Tickets are only $10 at the door (free if you participated in the open mic) per person for an evening full of laughs. Grab your friends, grab a drink and get ready for a fun night.

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.

Batavia Society of Artists to feature Julie Lambert Nov. 14

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist Julie Lambert on Tuesday, Nov. 14 starting at 7 p.m. at Go Art!/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia. She will be demonstrating papermaking art. 

Non-members are welcome with a $5 fee. Light refreshments will be provided.  The Tavern 2.o.1. will be open for cash purchases.

Submitted photos of Julie Lambert's artwork.


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