We are celebrating our community and taking stock of the good we have, even in the midst of troubling times and the difficult election.
This month’s newsletter explores the work of two area artists, but first we travel way back though Cazenovia’s history, as we look forward to a creative future for the arts.
The Newsletter is here to be a gathering place for the arts, a place of conversation and local creativity. If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with a friend.
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Community and the Arts - Part 2
The Birth of Caz Arts
0n a warm May afternoon in 2018, people packed into the Jephson Art Lecture Hall to talk about the arts in Cazenovia. At the table were our local arts organizations, individual artist, the high school art teachers, the Mayor, the College Arts Program faculty and top college administrators, art students, and individual supporters, patrons, and art enthusiasts.
There was a strong interest in how the arts could be more accessible. How involvement in the making and experiencing the arts could improve the quality of life for all ages. What was needed locally so arts organizations and individual artists would thrive. How building a vibrant arts community could add value and economically impact the community.
And so CazArts was born with weekly and monthly meetings operating out of Common Grounds for the first year, and in Jephson Art Facility for the second. First task was to sort through the many ideas and tasks which had been put forward. Not great fun, but essential, was to set up the organizational structure with all that entails and so: mission, goals, main functions, by-laws, bank account, web page, face book, logo, non-profit incorporation, board of directors, membership, committees and establishing officers was accomplished.
CazArts is an alliance of artists, cultural organizations, and supporters, working together to build a nurturing community.
CazArts has 4 main functions:
- Cultivate the arts community
- Support marketing and promotion of the arts
- Provide helpful organizational services and training. Assist member organizations develop community arts programming
- Advocate for effective policies and resources to anchor the arts and arts education as core elements of our local quality of life.
The first Annual Member Art Show,
May 23, 2019 had been wonderfully successful.
CazArts was just heading into the second Membership Meeting and looking forward towards the second Annual Membership Art Show, when COVID 19 struck.
With public gatherings and many art experiences closed off, CazArts has focused on two visionary projects for this year:
-Establish a quality Arts Newsletter that can be a forum, celebration, and a virtual gathering place for the arts.
- Work, in collaberation with the Village, to repurpose and establish Carpenter's Barn as a future Arts Center and home for CazArts.
The following pictures and articles explores Carpenter's Barn’s story, and our vision of it as a developing Arts Hub and a Welcoming Gateway to the Village.
Brief History and Future Plans
The 5-acre village-owned Lakeland Park was originally an estate known as “Lakeland” and owned by Samuel Forman around 1813. In 1824, the estate was purchased by Jacob and Betsy Ten Eyck who expanded the property by infilling the shoreline of the lake and creek. The Ten Eycks’ daughter married Jesse Fairfield Carpenter and they added a boathouse, the lake pier, a distinctive stone carriage house (now known as Carpenter’s Barn), stone walls, and the wrought iron fence with the name “Ten Eyck” that remains today.
Between 1903 and 1934, subsequent owners struggled to maintain the estate and, eventually the title was turned over to the village for use as a public park. The village was unable to maintain the house and it was demolished in 1937.
Lakeland Park became a beloved public park and centerpiece of the village. During the 1960s the performance pavilion was added and the pier and swimming areas were improved. More recently, the bath house and masonry bridge at the lagoon were added.
In 2016, with funding from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the village developed a master plan for Lakeland Park. Some of the priority projects identified in the plan include:
- Improvements to the parking lot to enhance traffic flow
- Enhanced plantings
- Stone wall repairs (ongoing in phases)
- Installation of a kayak launch along the canal (completed in 2018)
- Waterfront plaza and improved beach area
- Improved lighting and seating
- Installation of boat docks for short term docking
- Improvements to Carpenter’s Barn (planned for 2021)
- Walkways along the canal and Forman Street (ongoing in phases)
Lakeland Park remains a vibrant gathering place for residents and visitors. It hosts concerts, fireworks, picnics, Easter egg hunts, outdoor movies, youth recreation programming and countless other events. We are fortunate for the vision that inspired its development and the stewardship that continues today.
Lauren Lines is the Executive Director of the Cazenovia Community Development Association (CACDA) & CazArts Board Member.
Brief History of Carpenter’s Barn
The imposing stone carriage house known affectionately by Cazenovians as Carpenter's Barn was built in 1889 and is located at the southeast corner of the former Lakeland estate, now the site of the Village’s Lakeland Park.
The estate was originally developed at the end of the 18th C by Samuel Forman, John Lincklaen’s business partner.
In the waning years of the 19th C, Ten Eyck’s daughter Elizabeth Rogers Ten Eyck, and her husband Jesse Fairfield Carpenter, assumed oversight of Lakeland and introduced many improvements to the property, including the construction of Carpenter’s Barn. Architect Henry Ten Eyck Wendell was commissioned and he developed a masterful design which took great advantage of the unusually-shaped site. The result was an eclectic, rusticated stone and frame rambling structure characterized by gabled and broad hipped roofs, two massive octagonal ventilators, a balcony, two towers, diamond pane windows, decorative wood shingle siding and sawn wood trim.
August 1892 image of Carpenter's Barn looking west and north from the dyke between Carpenter's Pond and the lake outlet. This view includes the original stone wall and tower extending from the stable wing. The main body of the complex features one of the octagonal roof ventilators, with the second hidden by the tree canopy. Note the mature black willow trees immediately adjacent to the Barn (which was just three years old at the time of this image) and the Forman Street bridge which appears in the foreground. (Image courtesy Lorenzo State Historic Site Archives.)
The main section of the Barn housed a carriage room which contained a cavernous, one-story space for garaging and servicing horse-drawn vehicles, including a German-built Tally-Ho carriage (which could seat up to 22 people). The east and north walls featured tall carriage doorways within arched masonry openings. An overhead lift provided seasonal storage of sleighs and carriages upstairs, for which the decorative diamond pane windows provided ample light and ventilation. The area under the carriage space appears to have contained a partial basement with mechanical spaces (the building had steam heat and gas lighting).
The second story above the carriage room was open to the street with a pair of double-doors in a projecting bay for loading hay. At the rear of the main section, about one third of the space was partitioned off and contained a single doorway to the balcony and private exterior stairway. According to Theodore Carpenter, this space was the office where his father, Jesse Fairfield Carpenter, could take refuge from the women and children of the family.
An undated view of the south end of Carpenter's Barn after the removal of the stone tower; the associated stone wall had also been demolished and replaced by the vertical stone wall pictured here. Note the imposing willow trees. (Image courtesy the Lorenzo State Historic Site Archives.)
The southern stable wing of the complex contained box stalls for eight horses, a forge, a blacksmith shop, a cast iron watering trough system, a coachman office and a separate harness room with glass cupboards for tack. Feed storage was located on the second story and accessed by trap doors and chutes. A prominent stone wall extended from this ell and ran along Forman Street, terminating in a crenellated, diminutive stone tower (removed by 1900).
Following the death of Mrs. Carpenter and a succession of owners, Lakeland was purchased for use as a Village park by the mid-1930’s. Sadly, the mansion and all estate outbuildings were subsequently demolished over a span of time, with Carpenter’s Barn surviving as the sole building from the former Lakeland estate.
Over the ensuing years, Carpenter’s Barn was used as a maintenance facility, and received only the most basic of repairs and maintenance. Interior spaces were opened up, including removal of all the carriage house apparatus, and were converted into service areas. By the 1950s the second story had been further partitioned for youth meeting space. Then in 1974 when CAVAC relocated to Carpenter’s Barn and became the sole tenant, extensive interior renovations occurred. After CAVAC departed in 2010, the Village undertook an extensive structural stabilization and exterior restoration of the complex.
Today, visitors entering Cazenovia from the south and west and residents traversing Forman Street are all welcomed by the impressive sight of the historic Carpenter’s Barn to enjoy the beauty of Lakeland Park.
Ted Bartlett is a Senior Associate and the Senior Preservation Planner with Crawford & Stearns, Architects and Preservation Planners, and has received several awards for his preservation advocacy activities including the Robert Webster Award from the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation and the Jesena Foley Award from the Preservation Association of Central New York.
Breathing new life into Carpenter’s Barn
From late 1973 – 2010 Carpenters Barn was home to CAVAC , The Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Recently spending a delightful afternoon with Cindy Underriner (President of CAVAC) and Sara Mitchell (past President) reminiscing… as their stories and thoughts about Carpenter’s Barn spilled out.
The volunteer Ambulance Corps started with a major community involvement of about 250 people at a meeting in May of 1973 when the local undertaker stopped acting as an ambulance service. Since Christmas Eve of ‘73 when they received their first van type ambulance, CAVAC has been a critical, life- saving service in this community.
Carpenters Pond and CAVAC By RASN June 6, 1984
Carpenter’s Barn was important to them, giving CAVAC a home they could grow from, and as they came of age and appropriately modernized to meet the communities needs, they could no longer fit their current ambulances in the building. At the same time, the barn was more in need of critical repair each year. CAVAC built and moved into their new facilities in 2010. Since then Carpenter's Barn has been mostly empty, used for storage with some minor program usage. While the historic building was little-used, it was in desperate need of repair. So the Village wisely initiated extensive structural stabilization and exterior restoration.
As the visit and tour of CAVAC’s impressive modern facilities wrapped up, Cindy and Sara shared how delighted they both were with the idea of their dear old home being recreated as a community art hub.
All working cooperatively, CazArts along with the Village, Cazenovia College, and Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) received a beginning grant (from Madison County Capital Resource Corporation), for the next step. The grant will support refurbishing, re-purposing the inside, and creating a new life for Carpenter’s Barn. With the current state of the pandemic and the unknown nature of what this winter might bring, a time line for an opening launch is not realistic. But in this time a lot more pieces are being put in place; and interior reconstruction, geared for the arts, will soon start making the barn ready.
Carpenter’s Barn, A New Vision
A hub for arts activities, a “Welcoming Gateway” to the Village,
artist studios, a meeting place, a resource for artists, a magical building where art activities can expand out and encompass the whole park in vibrant festivals.
Why do artists do what they do?
A true artist works because he/she has to work. It is a need as essential as eating, drinking, or breathing. Without it they feel incomplete, unresolved, unanchored. Assuming the mantle of an artist is a challenge whether you are starting out, at mid-career, or in the golden years of your artistic evolution. As you’ll see from the statements by two Cazenovia-based artists, one in the budding stages of her career and the other in full bloom, the life of an artist is a calling rife with challenges and rewards.
I recently asked Sarah Tietje-Mietz, a thirty-something painter working to establish herself in a challenging time, and Mary Padgett, a well-known, well-established pastel artist, to respond to a set of questions pertaining to their experiences as artists. While decades apart in their respective careers, there are common threads running through their experiences…self-belief or self-doubt, the power of observation, and the challenges of time are leitmotifs running through these artists’ lives. I posed a series of common questions to Tietje-Mietz and Padgett, asking them to reflect on their careers thus far. Their replies are below, which have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Padgett’s pastel paintings are known for their uninhibited embrace of color. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and has been featured in American Artist and Pastel Journal magazines. She has participated in many local and national exhibitions, with exhibition and competition awards from the Pastel Society of America, the Fenimore Art Museum, and the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition. Padgett holds degrees from Boston University and Syracuse University and has taught at both Cazenovia College and Syracuse University.
What was the greatest challenge for you as a young artist starting a career?
Not being taken seriously because I am female.
How have the ways in which you promote yourself changed over the years?
They have improved, but I don’t feel they are what they could be. Fifteen years ago I wasn’t maintaining my website with the energy I devote to it now. I need to refine it further. I am using both Facebook and Instagram now. Yet, I feel that I am nowhere near aggressive enough in getting my paintings along with info about my workshops and trips out to the public. Why haven’t I done these things? Time, for one thing. It takes a lot of that. And I am not a self-promoter…it’s not my nature.
Padgett works outdoors - en plein air - capturing local landscapes
What was the best piece of advice you were given as you developed your career?
It came not as advice, but as an observation from artist Hal Groat Sr. Some years ago we found ourselves in the same airplane lobby waiting for…a plane to Syracuse. At one point in the conversation, he looked out the window and was impressed by the moving colored lights in the dark sky and asked how it could be captured in a painting. It made me think about the creative process and how an artist chooses what to paint, and the need to be open to all possibilities. Since then, I’ve been more interested in the artistic process than the final painting. I believe it is the process of making art that validates an artist’s work.
What role do you want your work to play…what do you want viewers to glean from it?
I want viewers to feel the energy in the marks and passages of pastel and to feel their integrity. They (the marks) dance across the surface, establishing form, and are as important as the forms. I want viewers to feel inherent qualities about my landscapes and still lifes, the weight of a building, the lightness of air, the bright warmth of illumination, the richness and complexity in shadow, etc. I want my paintings to present a new interpretation of my subjects.
An example of Padgett's pastel paintings
How have you been able to maintain your focus and motivation throughout your career?
I’ve always had the discipline to get to work. Over the years there have been times when family or other work have limited my studio time. I’ve discovered that those periods are valuable to have because they afford me the chance to step back to assess what I’ve done.
What advice would you give a 20-something Mary about becoming an artist?
Learn from others, but don’t copy them. Follow your own muse, value yourself and your unique vision.
What would you tell your 20-something self about this time of your life?
How much I enjoy my paintings and how enormously satisfying it is. I never have to make myself get to work. I immerse myself in it. It’s mediation.
Why do you do what you do?
Because there is nothing else I’d rather be doing
The mystical effects of nightfall upon the landscape, cityscape, and architecture are the moments Tietje-Mietz captures in her work. A time when “the everyday moves into the almost-magical,” as she describes it. Tietje-Mietz holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston (now part of Lesley College), a Master of Science in Historical Preservation from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MA in Journalism from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University. She is currently the Hilltop House Director at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park.
What’s the greatest challenge your experience as you work to become recognized as an artist?
Being in my late 30s, I have been working on developing my art and studio practices since my teens, but despite this I struggle with taking myself seriously as an “artist.” Aside from the looming self-doubt, the biggest personal hurdles are time and focus – never seeming to have enough time to focus or focused time to work on new pieces.
What are you doing to promote yourself?
Instagram is my main venue for promotion; it’s where I am posting new works, work-in-progress, studio photos, and shows I am taking part of, and engaging with those interested in my work. I have led classes and workshops over the years, participated in local arts events, and I have an artist page on the CazArts site, and a personal website that is in dire need of updating.
North Ave Beach, Oil
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given thus far?
My grandmother, who was a professional artist a majority of her life, has multiple times and on many occasions, reminded me of how important it is to keep creating art that is important to you, even in the face of rejection.
What role do you want your work to play…what do you want viewers to glean from it?
My oil paintings are of night scenes of cityscapes and streets, which I feel capture a bit of magic in the mundane. There is something theatrical about how a streetscape can be transformed by the transition to night – the burn of neon signs and streetlights in the dark, the blur of a car’s tail lights trailing off, windows of houses and apartments glowing from within – that can make the ordinary take on a mysterious and theatrical feel.
How do you see your practice evolving?
I have been taking some time away from the bigger oil paintings of city and streetscapes that I have been working on for a while. These night scenes are based directly from photos taken during my travels, and painting them is a nostalgic act for me. The watercolor and pen pieces I am (currently) doing are a more immediate experience. Each underpainting is done plein-air style, then later layering pen work on top. These are smaller, more intimate, and they focus me to create in a moment, instead of recreating it later.
How do you keep yourself focused and motivated to paint?
Focus is a constant challenge for me, coupled with a lack of time, getting solid studio time can feel far-fetched. I recently began doing smaller pieces that start with watercolor sketches, which I then layer upon in pen. These have been keeping my creativity flowing and keep me engaged.
Dry Stone Wall, watercolor and pen
What would you tell your 50+ year old self about this time of your life?
To stop second-guessing all of my work, and to believe more fully that my style and subjects are meaningful and beautiful, even if just for me. And to more aggressively put my art out there.
Why do you do what you do?
Simple question, but tough to answer.
I am a creature of habit and process, so all my work tends to follow a strict process of my own making. By doing so, I try to capture some permanence in a fleeting moment, to take what I emotionally experience in an environment-even if briefly- and translate it into something solid and real. Of course I hope it all translates, that it is understood, and doesn't get lost in my own translation.
Katherine Rushworth, of Cazenovia, is a free lance writer, former director of the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center (State University College at Fredonia) and of the Central New York Institute for the Arts in Education. Photos & article by Katherine Rushworth
Google Arts & Culture
An amazing site full of great things to do for all ages and virtual tours -
this month try the special exhibit "Faces of Frida"
Work of Art –
Business Skills for Artists toolkit
Small Business Survival Guide to Combat COVID-19
Editor: Geoffrey Navias
Copy editor: Kristi Andersen
Production consultant: Shawn McGuire
Subscriptions: Cathy Savage
Interviews & articles this month: Katherine Rushworth ~ Geoffrey Navias
Lauren Lines ~ Ted Bartlett
Photographs: Geoffrey Navias ~ Katherine Rushworth ~ Buzz Padgett
Historical photos from the Dave Porter collection & Lorenzo Sate Historic Site Archives.
Barb Bartlett, Lauren Lines, Shawn McGuire, Geoffrey Navias, Buzz Padgett, Colleen Prossner, Cathy Savage, Kim Waale
All inquiries, feedback, ideas for future articles: info@CazArts.com