This is a community announcement from the Community Arts Partnership. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements, email

The 2018-2019 season of the Community Arts Partnership’s Greater Ithaca Art Trail has begun!

The Open Studio weekends are on October 6-7 and October 13-14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The trail gives art enthusiasts the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of artist studios that are open simultaneously throughout Tompkins County.

Two weekends give visitors more time to explore!

You’ll not only meet artists, but learn all about their craft. Sarah Gotowka’s Fiber Art . (Provided Photo)
You’ll not only meet artists, but learn all about their craft. Sarah Gotowka’s Fiber Art . (Provided Photo)

There are 40 studios on the Trail, of which 36 will be open.

Now in its 20th season, and with over 5,000 studio visits each year, the Art Trail continues to grow and gain visitor anticipation.

Robin Schwartz, Program Director of the Community Arts Partnership, coordinates the Trail.

“This is truly an amazing event because Tompkins County not only has a wealth of amazing artists, it’s also a beautiful area to visit, especially in October when the fall foliage is at its peak. Many of the artists are in rural locations and the drive is part of the whole experience. 37 studios mean 37 adventures,” she said.

Find the downloadable brochure/map, and a full page of information and images for each artist at

What Will Visitors See?

Explorers on the trail will find artists working in all media: painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, fiber artists, ceramists, makers of fine furniture, collage artists, illustrators, mixed media artists, weavers, digital artists, creators of decorative functional art, and a blacksmith.

Some studios are in downtown Ithaca, while others are along rural roads with hayfields as neighbors. Some are in cozy living rooms and some spaces are as interesting as the work itself. From scraps of paper and shards of glass to an unfinished canvas or the smell of wet clay, an artist’s studio contains countless clues as to what lies beneath an artist’s work.

Visitors get to not only see the artists’ work, but will also see their creative space, and their materials. The artists are happy to talk about their work and creative process and hope that visitors gain a new appreciation of the art-making process.

Buying Art

Purchasing art can be an exhilarating experience and connecting with the artist is part of that experience.

Some visitors just come to browse, taking advantage of seeing art where it is created. Others come with a quest to bring home fine art. Shoppers will find art priced from $10 to $2,500 and everything in between.

According to Schwartz, “Artists on the trail offer a broad collection of original work at a wide variety of prices.” Naturally, the artists hope that you buy their work! Consider the trail for your holiday shopping!

(Provided Photo)

How Do Visitors Decide Who to Visit?

Since this is a self-guided adventure, each visitor makes his or her own plan. Some visitors pick an area on the map and visit all the artists within that area. Some study the website or brochure and pick artists of specific disciplines. Others just go with the flow and follow the suggestions of other trail visitors. One recent visitor said “I had so much fun … and the artists were so terrific, I grabbed some friends and went the next weekend as well!”

Four Select Artist Profiles

NEW TO THE TRAIL: Painter Sue Brightly is new to the Art Trail this year! Her studio isn’t quite ready so she’ll be at Juniper Hill Bed and Breakfast in Trumansburg during the Open Studio weekends. Her paintings are bright and colorful and whimsical. You’ll find various media in her work – acrylics and watercolor, polymer clay, yarn and sticks, found objects, and photography

“I’ve always painted, but it’s only now that I’ve really been able to find my artistic voice. I paint subjects that arise from my imagination. I’m often told they would make great children’s books; but I think of my paintings as for adults, to rediscover the lost dreams of our inner children. They stand individually for the viewer to create their own story and meaning, to invite the child’s spirit buried within to come out and play. “

After earning an art degree at UC Santa Barbara, Sue went on a long and winding career journey that included art directing a showdog magazine in LA, documentary filmmaking in Tibet and across Asia, running a small dude ride horseback operation in California, selling $50 steaks at a butcher shop in Texas, and finally here to Ithaca, where she works in HR communications for Cornell University.

NEW TO THE TRAIL: Potter Perri LoPinto has been doing pottery on and off for 30 years. She is on the Trail for the first time this year and hopes you can come to her studio on West Hill.

“The biggest break from the wheel was when my children were born – I traded in the clay for bead work which seemed easier to manage with small children. Now that they are grown and onto their own adventures I have come back to the wheel and have devoted the time needed to become more intentional in my work.

My husband built my pottery studio in the walk-out basement of our home on West Hill in Ithaca. It is very cozy with great views. While I work on the wheel I can watch the deer roam about my backyard!

I love making functional pieces – bowls, platters, serving dishes – but with bright surface designs. I work with engobes, made from the clay body and mason stains, and also use a technique called bubble glazing. But my favorite surface design technique is called Sgraffito. This involves coating the clay with underglaze and then “scratching away” the color to reveal the pattern – time consuming but so satisfying!

Working in clay has become an important part of who I am. It allows that creative part of me to have a voice. And it is great fun!

John Lyon Paul Studio. (Provided Photo)

Graham Ottoson of Gourdlandia: Graham’s studio is in EcoVillage and her studio is a destination where you can see her gourd garden’s viney trellises, and gallery where visitors will see her lamps, vases, drums, piñatas, nightlights and more – all coaxed from gourds.

“A tricky thing about working with gourds is that they are already so beautiful, right from the start… one has to take care not to mess that up! Here’s how it began: My husband Otto and I were driving along, minding our business, when a gourd at a roadside stand nearly caused an accident, calling to me so loudly. Otto chatted with the farmer while I ogled the beautiful fruit. We brought it home. We started growing gourds, and soon had a big heap. I began messing with them. There you have it!

I enjoy the pace of gourd art. I can make a lamp in a day or two, almost fast enough to keep up with my ideas. I enjoy the wide variety of tasks involved, from cleaning and scraping to designing and carving. I love the little baby gourds, all covered with delicate green fuzz. I love the moment when I first turn a lamp on.”

Graham stopped catching babies several years ago (as a midwife), to make room in my life for art. “I feel very lucky to have had two very different, very engaging occupations. I’d like to thank Otto for building me an amazing studio. That man really knows what it means to carry a passion.”

Ivy Stevens-Gupta: Take a peek into the world of a contemporary artist and watch while colors come to life on canvas in Ivy Steven-Gupta’s Cayuga Heights studio. Paintings in various stages of completion and size await your viewing.

“My earliest memories are of coloring as a 3-year-old. I’ve always been fascinated by color. After studying art at Alfred University, I switched career paths and got a degree in business from CCC, a BS in marketing and an MS in liberal studies from ESC. I used my creativity for several years as Advertising Manager for Gannett Newspaper Division and later as Director of Corporate Relations for Johnson at Cornell. I currently enjoy marketing consulting, teaching color theory, painting, and color therapy.

I feel extremely blessed that I get to paint every day. My latest work is an exploration of the psychology of art from my graduate studies. I’ve studied how the brain influences how we perceive colors & images. My painting process involves several layers of acrylic/oil on canvas or birch board, which is often emblazoned by metallic/iridescent overlays, glitter, glass, gold leaf and mixed media. I apply a clear coat of ArtResin that offers the duality of sealing in the artwork while making the colors pop by reflecting light. The result is a luxurious composite full of energy. My paintings can be found in homes and offices all over the world and appear in several books on international contemporary artists.”

Hilary Gifford demonstrates her process at her Main Street Trumansburg Studio. (Provided Photo)

About the Community Arts Partnership

For over 25 years, the Community Arts Partnership has been connecting artists and audiences through their events: the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, Ithaca Artist Market, Spring Writes Literary Festival, and the CAP ArtSpace Gallery. CAP also provides art grants, a professional development workshop series, and other resources for artists. “We Bring Creativity to Life”

For more information on the Community Arts Partnership and its programs and services, visit