Artists young and old brighten Main Street at Art Stroll

Last Friday, Main Street was more lively than usual when 30 local artists set up tables and tents to share their work with the Geneseo community.

The biannual Art Stroll, which first took place in 2007, offers a chance for students and community members to meet with artists to discuss their works.

Tables displaying everything from ceramic bowls and vases to jewelry and photography were set up along both sides of the street, and live music from local musicians Tommy T and the Gliders and a juggler provided constant entertainment. The atmosphere was casually festive as parents, children and a few students ambled along the decorated sidewalks to the strains of a John Denver song.

The sheer variety and creative skill evident in the works on display was quite impressive, but the best part of the event by far was the opportunity to hold conversations with the artists themselves. Chris Held '06 stood at a table covered with watercolor paintings of oak trees and graphic prints made up of pop culture icons. He said that his creative inspiration came from "appreciating the ordinary objects that everybody takes for granted until they're gone."

Held, who began showing his work at the Art Stroll while he was still a student at Geneseo, said that he plans on quitting his job at the end of the month in order to pursue his art interests full time.

Rick Wollschleger, long-time participant in the Art Stroll, turned his passion for photography into more than just a casual hobby. Wollschleger said he started out taking pictures of friends' flower gardens, and since then his work has been displayed in art exhibits across the country. Wollschleger said however that he recently decided to change his artistic focus - a sign near his booth explained that this would be the artist's last showing at the Art Stroll.

There were also several newcomers to the Art Stroll this year. Carol Traynor, an art teacher in Dansville, brought an environmental twist to the event with "upcycled" art that included earrings made from vintage buttons and decorative wall art made from matchsticks and spools of thread. According to Traynor, upcycling is an increasingly popular art form that takes old objects and gives them new life by turning them into something totally different.

Another first-timer at this year's Art Stroll was junior Claire Littlefield, who displayed several original paintings. Littlefield said she was "bamboozled into being here by my teacher who hasn't even shown up yet," but did not have any criticisms of the event itself. One of Littlefield's works was a somewhat baffling mural featuring multiple caricatures of Richard Nixon: "I like to make paintings that seem to have a political undertone but actually don't," she said.

Those that missed Friday's Art Stroll can catch another exciting collection of works in the spring.