The place where all art forms live
Louis Perticone, founder of Artisan Works, has always had an interest in creativity and design. Over the years he developed the idea of Artisan Works, a modern ‘art gallery’ located on Blossom Road in Rochester.
It is a huge building where art extends from floor to ceiling. There is old art, new art and everything else. Entire rooms are dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, Frank Lloyd Wright and the fire trucks of the 1960s.
Perticone was strongly inspired by Alfred Stieglitz gallery 291. The 291 Gallery, named after its Fifth Avenue address in New York City, is famous for introducing America to some of the great European artists, including Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.
Perticone explained that the main focus of Artisan Works is inclusiveness, including all artists and all art forms. It sounds a lot like Stieglitz’s gallery in the early 1900s and the inclusiveness of European art.
Artisan Works does not see itself as a gallery or a museum. “We have been called an art space of modern culture,” Perticone explains.
For starters, Artisan Works actually “sponsors” current artists; it’s not just a collection of artists from the past.
Perticone explained that “art has always lived in the past” and that Artisan Works was a kind of “21st century museum”. It shows art as it is created, not just a bunch of portraits from 1890.
A key ideal of Artisan Works is the “innovation and incubation” of new art, added Perticone. The gallery has a community of artists who work within the building, creating new works daily. Their workshops are in fact integrated into the museum itself.
Unlike many nonprofit museums and galleries across the country, Artisan Works is a self-funded, nonprofit organization. This means that it is not dependent on government funding. Funding is mainly provided through the hire-purchase program and the sponsorship of emerging artists.
Currently, Artisan Works places artwork in corporate offices and restaurants around Rochester, but Perticone has a broader vision for this capital lease program. He wants to put works of art in big hotels and, interestingly, in hospitals. Mount Sinai Health System in New York City currently has a small gallery for patients and visitors.
Perticone explained that it made sense to put art in hospitals. They are free to enter and generally open 24 hours.
Artisan Works also hosts a number of corporate events throughout the year and “50 or more nonprofit fundraisers each year,” Perticone explained. He also said Rochester is “one of the toughest cities [for nonprofits]. “adding that the city’s non-profit organizations are” very protective of their customers. ”
But Perticone said they all basically have an aspect of helping people, usually in medicine or helping the poor. “It’s almost embarrassing to compare yourself to organizations that care for the sick and the homeless,” Perticone said.
He believes arts organizations should be self-funding and government funding should go to more traditional places, like medical charities and rebuilding infrastructure.
For the time being, Artisan Works continues to have an influence on Rochester as a city. Perticone said he has had people come to tell him how inspired Artisan Works has been. These are usually students who came on a school trip.
Perticone’s goal for Artisan Works is to operate like a business and support creativity, while being as inclusive as possible, as he believes “artists document history”.