by Eva Potter

Ellicottville is set to display her artistic talents when seven artists open their studios to visitors at this year’s Routes to Art weekend.

Get ready for some showstopping artwork as you tour the Ellicottville area to visit Sean Huntington, Nance Jackson, Dee Smith, Jil St. Ledger-Roty, Keith McKale, Debra Eck and Lisa Conklin, who will welcome you on May 19–20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Judy Reneau, a resident of Ellicottville, said she did the self-guided RTA tour for the first time last year. “I was overwhelmed by the talent here – it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Far beyond what I expected!” she said.

Stop at the recently opened Mill Street Gallery and Studios, which is Sean Huntington’s full-time studio and as well as the gallery where he shows artwork along with Nance Jackson and Barbara Fox.

An artist for 20 years, Huntington, who is well-known for his contemporary iconic trees, has always been fascinated by their form, life and connection to the past. He said, “RTA weekend will give a lot of people their first opportunity to visit our new gallery. Barbara, Nance and I have three mature styles that fit very well together, all inspired by nature.”

While you’re there, check out Nance Jackson’s interpretive acrylic landscape paintings. You’ll never see a field of poppies the same way again.

Just 3 minutes away, the Ellicottville Memorial Library will play host to Dee Smith, Jil St. Ledger-Roty and Keith McKale. Each works in a different medium, so you will see a variety of artwork here.

St. Ledger-Roty’s photographs “are an invitation to look beneath the surface of things, a portal to wonder, celebration and contemplation, a gateway to the joy that is our birthright.” Smith’s watercolor landscapes and still lifes provide the viewer a different look at the ordinary. McKale creates amazing wood carvings, chip carvings and scroll saw pieces out of natural woods depicting his love of nature and the outdoors.

Another 4-minute drive will find you arriving at the Tamarack Club at Holiday Valley Resort, featuring the eclectic works of Debra Eck and Lisa Conklin.

College art instructor and paper artist, Deb Eck is known for a wide range of work from intricate small work to impressive room-sized installations. She is looking forward to conversations with visitors and said, “When I am making art in my studio the audience is just a concept, the people who will experience the work are very far away. RTA gives me a chance to share the audience’s experience in a more personal way than at a gallery opening.”

Bringing “whimsy” through functional and decorative sculptures of suns, moons, birdhouses and other creatures, Lisa Conklin, owner of Conklin Studio Pottery, has been working in clay for about 25 years and enjoys creating home and garden art.

All the Routes to Art artists are looking forward to introducing local residents and area visitors to the rich and diverse talents of the Southern Tier. Reneau, who is looking forward to taking the RTA tour, said, “I’ve been talking about it with my friends and so they are joining me this year. There will be seven of us from Toronto, Buffalo and here.”

As you tour the countryside, look for colorful banners and signs, indicating open artist studios, and wander in to say “hello.” Artists will have brochures on hand. Be sure to sign in and leave your contact information as well as feedback.


SAVE THE DATE for the ultimate artistic road trip! Take the free Routes to Art self-guided, open studio artists’ tour throughout Cattaraugus County on May 19 – 20 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Request or print a free brochure with map and artist descriptions by visiting, e-mailing or calling (716) 372-7455.

Find brochures at these RTA sponsors: American Museum of Cutlery, the Bank of Cattaraugus, Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, Ink Well, Mill Street Gallery and Studios, Murphy’s Wine and Gourmet Shop, Olean Open MRI, Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, Studio 4 East, Tamarack Club at Holiday Valley, Regina A. Quick Center and the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.


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