Plattsburgh Arts Coalition aims to champion and support local artists | Local News

PLATTSBURGH — Artists across the region are forming a coalition to advocate for and with their creative colleagues.

The new Plattsburgh Arts Coalition is chaired by Megan Charland and Katherine Teaney, two local businesswomen who opened storefronts in downtown Plattsburgh last year.

The couple have since said they have noticed a growing need for support for artists in the community and hope the coalition will foster “community over competition”, and perhaps even reinstate a Plattsburgh-based arts council.

“We have a thriving art scene, but it’s almost like an underground movement at this point,” Charland said. “There are other artists and other organizations in Plattsburgh who want the same things, so by coming together to pool our resources, we can do so much more together than apart.”

“TAKING BACK CONTROL”

Charland operates the Link Arts Center in Court Street with her sister Sara Acors.

When the sister duo burst onto the scene last year, they hoped to be “The Link” between community and the arts.

Since then, various artists have stopped by throughout the year to chat and express their frustrations with the lack of an arts council here in Plattsburgh.

“It’s sort of become a common theme,” Charland said, noting that Plattsburgh’s previous council disbanded in 1998. Without it, state funding is dispersed through the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts. at Blue Mountain Lake, over 100 miles southwest of the city of Plattsburgh.

“Plattsburgh is Plattsburgh,” she continued. “Plattsburgh has its own funk; it has its own vibe. We try to support that and support the artists who choose to make it their home.”

Forming an arts council is one of the most important and long-term goals of the coalition, which Charland says will take at least about five years.

“We would love to be able to serve our own community here in Plattsburgh. These people at Blue Mountain are doing a great job; we appreciate their support, but this is Blue Mountain Lake, this is not Plattsburgh.”

CAN’T DO IT ALONE

It’s not a new vision, however.

Charland said many artists in the region have tried to launch similar initiatives over the past two decades.

“But they’re running out of resources and it’s running out, or they’re running out,” she said. “So many local artists are jaded. They say, ‘We’ve already tried that. It won’t work.’

“So The Link can’t do this on our own. It’s from there that the coalition was formed.”

‘CONNECTION ADVANTAGE’

Enter Teaney, co-chair of the coalition.

Teaney owns and operates the OLD SOUL Design Shop, a thrift and handmade store selling his own designs alongside those of many other artisans in the area.

When she created her City Hall Place storefront last year, Teaney was dedicated to helping Plattsburgh residents find resources, feel celebrated, and share pride in where they live.

Teaney recycles furniture and other interesting finds herself.

This time last year, Teaney’s storefront was selling her designs, along with earrings, mittens, buttons, stickers, trinkets, artwork and more created by 10 or 15 colleagues artisans.

“Now working with over 50 local artisans, I can see more clearly the need and benefits of connection and support between these people, and many others,” she said in a press release from the Plattsburgh Art Coalition.

“The belief in community rather than competition will be what keeps these core strengths going for Plattsburgh artists for years to come.”

MAIN GOALS

In addition to forming a 501(c)(3) arts council, the Plattsburgh Arts Coalition formed in the spring with three primary goals:

• Funding: Provide equal access to existing funds and advocate for more funding.

• Support: Develop a fund to provide project support grants and professional development grants to local artists.

• Community development: Promoting the idea of ​​community rather than competition and fostering collaborations within the artistic community.

Charland believed that a coalition fund, possibly supported by grants or donations from area businesses, could offer much to Plattsburgh artists.

“A career as an entertainer isn’t your stereotypical 9 to 5,” she said. “Artists who exhibit, publish or sell their work – they always need access to health insurance; they always need access to resources. That’s where an arts council usually comes in big cities.”

CALL TO ALL ARTISTS

The coalition will hold a public information session on Wednesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Local artists and staff of local arts organizations are encouraged to participate to provide input, including responding, “What are your hopes, dreams, and concerns for the future of the arts in Plattsburgh?”

Charland’s answer is to become an artistic destination.

“When I think of wanting to spend a day at a gallery or going to see the arts, I think of driving to Glens Falls, Saranac Lake or Burlington – those are like local art hotspots,” he said. she stated. “We want to be that destination.

“We have so many talented artists here, but we’re just not known for it yet. I want the whole state (and) Vermont to know that and want to come and check it out.”

Email McKenzie Delisle:

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle