Sandy Creek Artist Featured on the Cover of UNIQUE Magazine

Alice Olcott at the UNIQUE Unveiling Celebration
Alice Olcott at the UNIQUE Unveiling Celebration

The UNIQUE 2009 Unveiling Celebration on October 14, 2009 marked the first time Alice Faye Olcott had shown her art in over four years. She was thrilled and surprised when she saw her painting “Blue Moon” on the cover of UNIQUE 2009. Despite severe pain and loss of strength, she danced with her husband in celebration – the first time she had danced in years. She says having the cover artwork is “huge.”

UNIQUE is an art and literary magazine published annually by ARISE Child and Family Service, Inc. It features creative works by Central New York artists with disabilities. The 2009 edition features over 50 works by nearly 70 area artists and writers. The Unveiling Celebration was held at the Delavan Art Gallery on Fayette Street in Syracuse as a one-night showing of the creative pieces selected for publication in UNIQUE. Alice’s painting “Blue Moon” was featured at the show hanging next to a framed copy of the 2009 Magazine.

Alice used rich colors in “Blue Moon”, with both bright yellows and dark browns and blacks complementing the central blue colors of the work. The acrylic painting was created using a “pour art” method, which uses a variety of tools to swirl the wet paint around canvases set on a flat drafting table. With no formal artistic training, Alice developed her own, sometimes unconventional techniques. The results are what Alice terms mindscapes. She says, “Whatever I was feeling at the time comes into my painting.”

Alice was born in Michigan in 1949, the thirteenth of fourteen children. Though she grew up in poverty and foster care, she never gave up on life. She spent part of her twenties in England where she sketched the countryside, then moved to California. She earned both a real estate license and a nursing degree and worked with people with disabilities.

After a brain aneurism in 1997, Alice returned to her early love of art by drawing bookmarks, then moving onto paintings. She describes her art as “an attempt to make the invisible visible. It is a blueprint of the progression from the dark hours we all experience through sunny days and beyond.”

Though Alice has won awards for her art both in the United States and overseas, recent health complications have limited her time to spend creating and showing her pieces. Encouraged by her advocates at ARISE and Maxim Health, Alice submitted two pieces of art for consideration for UNIQUE 2009. Though she knew “Blue Moon” was accepted for UNIQUE 2009, she did not know the piece was the cover until she came in the door of the gallery.

UNIQUE keeps each edition’s cover artwork a secret until the Unveiling Ceremony. The magazine is now available at ARISE locations in Onondaga, Oswego, and Madison Counties.

Alice enjoys the quiet Sandy Creek countryside with her husband, and two cats. The couple moved to the area about four years ago when she fell in love with a large barn to use as a studio.

For information about UNIQUE and the submission process, please contact Elizabeth Dunn, Managing Editor at (315) 671-2909.