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Visit Cattaraugus and East Otto on your RTA Tour

By Eva Potter

A magical, countryside drive awaits you on May 19-20, 2012. Block out some free time that weekend to explore the nooks and crannies of Otto, East Otto and Cattaraugus on the fifth annual Routes to Art open studio tour, and experience firsthand the artistic talents of regional artists.

Get a personal look at a variety of original fine art including watercolor and acrylic paintings, photography, pottery, clay sculpture and woodcarving when you visit eight artists who will welcome visitors to their studios and business locations. Visit www.routestoart.com for details.

Three very talented individuals are showing together at 16 Washington, in the Village of Cattaraugus above Heavenly Treasures. Functional and sculptural ceramics doesn’t begin to describe Anne Mormile’s organic clay pieces.

“Much of my work is an observation of our human connectivity to the natural environment,” said Mormile. “Through my ceramic pieces, I am attempting to emphasize the organic and spiritual nature of our species.”

Award-winning photographer Michael Weishan specializes in nature fine art and location/lifestyle portrait photography. He said, “I enjoy nature and use my ability to see what many overlook to create an awareness and appreciation of the beauty in nature that people pass by every day without seeing.”

Dawn Noelle Lombardi creates whimsical acrylic landscapes using basic shapes and colors to spark her imagination. She said, “This will be my second year doing RTA. I enjoy sharing my art with others, getting feedback, seeing what people are drawn to.”

A quick tour of East Otto country will land you at Elliott Hutton’s Hog-Shed Studio Pottery. Hutton has been creating functional stoneware pottery since 1982. Her pieces can be found in many homes as functional pots, plates, cups and other vessels, filling her with satisfaction and gratitude knowing that she added beauty to someone’s life.

Showing with Hutton is an old friend, Catherine Muehlbauer of Minsart Studio. She explained, “I participated in RTA last year for the first time…. I began doing pewter pendants probably four years ago as a way of making small ‘wearable sculpture,’” she said. “My pieces are usually enhanced with a bead combination of semi-precious stone, glass, brass, horn and pewter.”

Watercolor artist Robin Zefers Clark will welcome visitors to her Brookside Studio at 8363 Maples Rd. She uses her paintbrushes to tell her tales of life in rural western New York State, sometimes taking viewers through a time warp.

Down the road, Barbara Fox will be inviting visitors in for a peek at her personal studio at 7590 Maples Road. She explained, “My paintings evolve from observation, photographs, and the intuition that I’ve developed in my years as an artist. I begin each painting with a loose pencil drawing, and build up the colors and value using multiple layers of washes.”

Dug Stein’s WoodSwork is a charming studio loaded with hand-carved figures, sculptures, furniture, kitchenware and Santas made out of locally gathered and cured wood. Visit him at 8253 Safford Rd. and let him tell you what inspires him.

Get a glimpse of work samples by all 45 artists at the Routes to Art 2012 kickoff reception on April 19 at the Regina A. Quick Center on the St. Bonaventure University Campus. The event runs from 6–8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.  This event is sponsored by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.

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