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Lakeside Artisans Chosen as May Community Champion

OSWEGO – Recognizing Oswego County has named Lakeside Artisans as Community Champion for the month of May as part of its focus on Arts Appreciation.

“The arts, in all its diverse forms, enrich and entertain us and enhance our overall well being,” said Brandon Morey, ROC co-chair.

Recognizing Oswego County member Jackie Wallace visits Lakeside Artisans, May Community Champion for Arts Appreciation. From left are: Wallace, Michele Southgate, Tim Ames, Bonnie Sommers, Carol Burghart and Cindy Schmidt.
Recognizing Oswego County member Jackie Wallace visits Lakeside Artisans, May Community Champion for Arts Appreciation. From left are: Wallace, Michele Southgate, Tim Ames, Bonnie Sommers, Carol Burghart and Cindy Schmidt.

Recognizing Oswego County focuses on the positive efforts that are being made in the community.

Each month ROC uses this recognition effort as a platform for emphasizing the wonderful work that is happening in Oswego County to promote the health and wellness of children, families and adults.

A theme is selected each month and nominations for Community Champions are solicited.

Morey said, “The quality and accessibility of arts programming in Oswego County is impressive. Our communities offer art associations, art classes and performances of all kinds throughout the year. There are many deserving organizations for Community Champion.  We selected Lakeside Artisans because they brighten West First Street in Oswego with their displays of fine art and give back to the community with their service and outreach activities.”

Lakeside Artisans is located at 191 W. First St. in Oswego and is owned and operated by local artists.

The quest toward an artists’ co-op in Oswego began in 2010 with Michele Southgate and Tim Ames and the Next Great Idea Competition.

Ames’ background in business helped as they wrote their business plan for the competition.

Their efforts paid off and Lakeside Artisans won the $25,000 prize.

Founding member Southgate said, “Local artists had been talking about starting a co-op for many years and we had been working toward that end since 2008, but the Next Great Idea Competition provided us an unexpected opportunity to jump start the process.”

Currently, Lakeside Artisans has 20 artists in its co-op.

Eight of the artists are responsible for running the store and the others sell by consignment.

The group is always looking to add more artists, but entry is competitive.

“New applicants are juried into the co-op, only being accepted if they meet the criteria for fine art and fine craft.  This rigorous evaluation of new members is part of our business plan and allows us to offer a variety of unique, high-quality artwork in our store,” said Southgate.

Lakeside Artisans is also an active part of the community, sponsoring other local organizations and offering art classes at the YMCA, schools and camps.

Its members offer a variety of classes throughout the year, including a recent Paint (and Wine) Nite at Bistro 147.

Southgate said that the goal of the group is to give people an appreciation for art and what it means to be creative.

She also shared with ROC the following seven reasons to buy original, local art (adapted from an article by Dolores Mitchell):

1. Original art nourishes our souls
2. Good art gives our right brain a stimulating workout
3. Collecting expresses our personal taste
4. Original art enriches our homes
5. Local art stores motivate us to participate in art events
6. Purchasing original artwork supports the vitality of an art community
7. Local art stores enliven our downtown and beautify our city.

For more information about Lakeside Artisans, visit www.lakesideartisans.com

For June, Recognizing Oswego County is seeking nominations in the area of Historic Preservation.

Nominations are due by June 9.

The nomination form is available on the “Recognizing Oswego County-ROC” Facebook page or by contacting [email protected]

ROC members include representatives from a broad range of community organizations as well as individual community members.

New members are welcome.

Monthly meetings are held from 8-9:15 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union, 90 E. Bridge St.