mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF ramshackle & glorious

Jim checking the mapArtists' Spaces

Yesterday was supposed to be the peak of fall foliage in central New York, so we decided to hit the road for the Greater Ithaca Art Trail. Nearly 50 artists in Tomkins County open their studios to the public for two weekends in autumn. For me it wasn't so much about buying stuff, but about seeing how artists live and work.

Too bad, the day was rainy and frigid. The week's storms blew all the leaves away, so it was more like mid-November than mid-October. Oh, well. Even though it was a better day for nesting, the Jim & Susan Travel Ethic says: Weather be-damned.

Tomkins County NYBut riding through small town New York on a dreary day is inherently depressing. Peeling paint and sagging porches remind me of what small, crummy lives we all lead — the struggle to simply get through the day, nevermind beauty.

The artists are an antidote to these blues. They buy land in these parts because it's cheap and picturesque. Old barns and chicken coops can be turned into studios.

The spaces we saw didn't disappoint — but also fulfilled a certain stereotype. Chilly spaces with big windows and the smell of wood-burning stoves — energized with lots of tools and rich colors. The artists were welcoming and served cookies and fresh cider. They were leading exactly the lives they wanted.

road tripDoes that make me want to move to the country and turn a hayloft into my studio? You must be kidding.


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