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Spring Art Crawl to turn Springville business district into street-wide art gallery

THE MAIN DRAG — Springville’s main street, pictured above, will turn into a series of pop-up art galleries on May 4, when the Spring Art Crawl will take over the area. Photo by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville’s Main Street will become one, big art exhibit on May 4, as the second annual Spring Art Crawl turns local businesses into temporary galleries. From 6 – 9 p.m., more than 60 artists will display their work, in what Springville Center for the Arts Executive Director Seth Wochensky called a growing list of participating businesses.

“It’s a little bit tricky, because we want to have enough artwork, to fill the businesses, but right now, we have way more artwork than we have places for it,” Wochensky explained. He said that he is currently working on following up with business owners, in the Springville business district, all of whom received a letter, requesting their participation. At press time, Wochensky said he had approximately 20 participating businesses.

Richard VanOver, owner and curator of VanOver Fine Arts at 44 East Main St., said that he is “so stoked” for the art crawl and the art appreciators it brings to Springville.

“I’m hoping to see some people come in to Springville, on this one night. It makes the trip worthwhile, to have these pop-up galleries, all over the place. It gives the experience [of art in Springville] a fuller feel.”

VanOver said that he has met art crawlers from Buffalo, Ontario and as far away as Cleveland, some of who come back, during regular hours.

“I’ve definitely seen more foot traffic, during the week,” he said. “They come initially, for the art crawl, see what’s going on at the gallery and come back.”

The art crawl begins at the corners of Main and Mechanic streets, where a booth will be set up, allowing crawlers to pick up a map of participating locations. Pop-up galleries will be indicated by a light posted at the door of the business, although what type of illumination is used is yet to be determined.

At many of the galleries, live music and receptions, hosted by the proprietors of the businesses, will highlight the artwork. Musical acts who will participate include The Western New York Fiddle Kids, bluegrass act Partners in Time, acoustic performer Sara Elizabeth, guitar and drums duo Porcelain Train, unplugged Hintz of Thunder and students from Alex Sabuda’s East Main Music Studio.

At VanOver Fine Arts, artist Chad Grohman will open his exhibit “Transition,” with a reception, from 6 – 10 p.m. Nick and Friends, an acoustic band, will play, during that event.

In addition, a new theater improvisation troupe from the SCA, called Just Go With It, will be performing two shows at the center, one each at 6:30 and 8 p.m. This will be the debut evening, for that group.

Wochensky said that the jury did not accept more than half of the artwork that was submitted, most of which came from “fairly nearby.

“We have a good mix of established and emerging artists, from around the area and Niagara and Allegany counties,” Wochensky said. “We have members of the Buffalo Society of Artists who have shown all over the place and others who haven’t, so much. It’s a big spectrum.”

The art includes “something for everyone,” according to Wochensky, ranging from realistic photography, botanical watercolor, collages and abstract paintings, to woodworking, pottery and some embroidery. Wochensky said there is not as much craft artwork as he would like, but that the type of work presented will follow the same formula as last year’s crawl, “but bigger and better.”

The show was juried by local artists Gerald Mead, Thomas Annear and Max Collins. Mead is a teacher at Buffalo State College and holds the largest private art collection in Western New York. Wochensky said that Mead’s is a craft focus. Annear, a painter who lives in Fredonia, is “very involved” in the North Chautauqua art trail and Collins is a photographer and wheat paste muralist, who works in Buffalo.

“The jurors represent a diverse piece of the art world, at different levels and stages of their careers,” Wochensky said. “The jury process is always interesting. It’s a strange mix: some of the pieces that got through, I wouldn’t have chosen, and some of the ones I thought were sure bets, didn’t. Hopefully, by the end, the cream rises to the top.”

VanOver said that he is excited for the quality and range of the artwork to be presented.

“The jurors are just fantastic,” he said. “They’ve got some great people, and I’m sure they got great work in, too.”

The art crawl will also serve as the launch for the new Arts Underground, an initiative of the SCA, located in the basement of the Love INC office at 66 East Main St. The space has been serving as the office space and box office for the SCA, during the renovation of its main theater, but will launch a gallery and fine craft store, on Saturday, May 4.

“We have always had a little store, of some variety, but this is a more concentrated effort, to expand on that,” Wochensky said.

Ashwood Artisans, formerly of East Aurora, will transfer about 80 percent of its inventory to the Springville space, after the East Aurora art crawl, on April 26.

Diane Lehmann, the proprietor of that shop, decided to close the doors, after eight years in business, after her jewelry designs “just about took over the space,” according to Wochensky. The new store, which Lehmann is helping to launch, will include fine crafts and smaller artwork, such as pottery and woodwork.

“Diane’s store had over 100 artists and [after we decided to bring them to Springville], we both agreed that will help the continuing momentum, to our space,” Wochensky explained. “We’ve been busy rehabbing and cleaning up that space and we’re going to be ready and excited to open it up to the public, on that night.”

VanOver said that another gallery on Main Street, across the street from his own, will only improve the arts scene, in Springville.

“It’s going to be really great, and I hope they keep [Arts Underground] open, when the Art’s Cafe opens,” he said. “The cafe is going to be huge, and the buzz [the art crawl] generates is great, for the whole community. And, when we have this new place, we’re going to have people maybe come in, have lunch or dinner at the cafe, maybe hear some acoustic music, then maybe they’ll wander down to this end of the street, explore [and] check out what’s going on.”

An after party will be held at Arts Underground, starting at 9 p.m., with music by DJ CUFX.

Wochensky said that the art crawl will be a family affair, suitable for all ages and art appreciation levels. It will take place, regardless of weather.

“It’s a great night to get out, go to dinner at one of our local restaurants and make a night of it,” Wochensky said. “If you want to stop in to a few, stop in to a few. If you want to spend all night, you can do that, too.”

The event is sponsored by and produced in conjunction with the Springville Downtown Economic Development Group and the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the crawl, contact the SCA at 592-9038 or visit www.springvillearts.org.

The SCA is located at 37 North Buffalo St.
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