It all started with an art show at Fayetteville Free Library with a positive feedback. Now it has grown into a large art gallery in Shoppingtown Mall, where local artists can display their work in a creative environment. CNY Artists owner Peter Svoboda never could have predicted the outcome.
Svoboda created www.cnyartists.com last September with the intent of uniting creative forces and providing them with networking access. “Many artists usually create alone,” Svoboda said. “The site gave us a chance to network and work together.”
By the first of the year, approximately 98 artists populated the site, and Svoboda realized that many people had the same visions he did—creating a network of artists to work together. In April, he put on The Hecklectic Eclectic Art Show at Fayetteville Free Library, which included all types of art, from abstract paintings to scratch art. It proved so popular that Svoboda originally decided to lease out space in Shoppingtown for a month and continue the exhibit through mid-May.
The exhibit next to the food court at Shoppingtown Mall has been up and running for three months and Svoboda doesn’t plan on taking it down anytime soon. “It gives people a place to sell, and interact with other artists,” Svoboda said. “I started with wall art and one container of jewelry. Now we have many different jewelers, so much art, and crafts. We are working on coming out with our own jewelry.”
Walking into the gallery, it is hard to believe that at one point Svoboda carried only one tray of jewelry and some wall art. The display windows are filled with fine jewelry, paintings and carved furniture. “It’s a smattering of works,” he noted. “I have the audience walking by. I have picked up things over time that I just found interesting.”
Artists occupy featured space on walls, and everything is for sale. With jewelry running anywhere from $10 to $200, Svoboda explained that coming out with a men’s jewelry line is currently in the works.
“Many men come in looking for jewelry, and one asked why we didn’t have a men’s line,” he explained. “I thought that was a good question.” The line will include shark-tooth necklaces, camel-tooth necklaces wrapped in silver, malachite wrapped in gold and many other original pieces.
The gallery does not just sell the art that you may see walking in. In the huge back room, an additional gallery has been set up, along with a workstation where artists can come in and work on their art, and then place it for sale.
“We want to give the people the opportunity to sell their art,” Svoboda said. That is where the workstation comes into play. While artists can just come in and paint, carve or draw, they can also learn how to accomplish more—such as framing. “Once an artist learns to frame art, they can keep doing that, ultimately providing more jobs.”
Interested artists should first post to www.cnyartists.com, and show the site your works. Then, visit the store, and if there is room for your art and it is sellable, it will be displayed there.
Offerings at the gallery continue to grow, and include something for everyone. Still, Svoboda strives for more. “What I’d like to do is get art in every home in Central New York,” Svoboda said. “Nothing will bring your home more alive than art. The exhibit provides positive energy for artists. We learn from each other. I’ve learned a great deal being here, from other artists and customers.
With art going out the door every day, he admitted, “I miss the stuff we’ve sold.”
For more information, visit www.cny artists.com, call 391-5115 or visit CNY Artists Gallery at Shoppingtown Mall, 3649 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt.