OSWEGO, NY – Dozens of people got a peek at the Lakeside Artisans’ Co-Op at 193 W. First St., in Canal Commons, Tuesday evening during a genial pre-opening event.
The co-op is a distinctive retail venue in downtown Oswego, owned and operated by local artists and artisans, showcasing their fine art and quality craft products, according to artist Tim Ames, co-op president and business manager. It will have its grand opening a bit later.
Lakeside Artisans won the 2010 “The Next Great Idea” Business Plan Competition administered through Operation Oswego County. They used their winnings to obtain space in the Canal Commons to exhibit and sell the works of its members.
The group currently has 10 full members and some adjunct members.
“This is a wonderful place. There are so many things here, diverse pieces of art – all created by the talented people right here in Oswego County and Central New York,” said Jeff Grimshaw, interim director for SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations. “It’s very diverse as to the types of artworks.”
Allen Bjorkman, of Lakeside Artisans’ Cooperative, said he knew this day would come.
“We’ve been working at it for a long time … so long, it was inevitable,” he said. “There had been fits and starts to start a gallery in town and there is no entrepreneur to do that properly. So, the way to do it properly is to have the workers themselves do it. The artisans are coming together as a collective, as a cooperative. That is the way to pull this off.”
The gallery highlights watercolors, graphics, jewelry, wood carving, pottery and other artworks.
“This is a great beginning,” Bjorkman said. “We’d like to get up to 15 members.”
“There is a lot of nice stuff here. This is something that this area needs,” said Oswego County Legislator James Oldenburg. “We have some very talented people around here. It’s great that they now have a place to show off their works.”
Fellow legislator Amy Tressider made one of the first purchases, a piece of handmade jewelry.
“Isn’t that beautiful?” she said displaying the trinket. “This is a really nice place. It’s good that we have a place highlight our local talent.”
Ames said the co-op wanted to “create a comfortable, welcome atmosphere where everyone can enjoy art.”
Artists who work in watercolor, acrylics, printmaking, collage, calligraphy, ceramics, woodworking and jewelry are currently members of Lakeside Artisans.
Among the local artists are Ernest Terpening (woodworking) from Hannibal, Michele Southgate (calligraphy, collage, watercolor and mixed media) of Oswego, Carol Burghart (artist) of Hannibal, Jeanne Dupre (artist) of Constantia, Bjorkman (ABstracts – images of thought) of Oswego, and Cynthia Schmidt’s The Cranky Cat Collection (original artworks).
The co-op is looking for a few more artisans who would like to be member/owners of the business, including, but not limited to, the following craft areas: stained glass, basketweaving, jewelry or any of the fabric arts: stitched, appliquéd, quilted, dyed or woven.