Break-Out,-Karen-FitzpatrickBy Eva Potter

Routes to Art brochure? Check. GPS? Check. Cash and checkbook? Check. Empty trunk. Check. Full gas tank. Check.

Looks like you’re ready for the ultimate artistic road trip of the year starting in Ellicottville.

The sixth annual, self-guided Routes to Art (RTA) open-studio artists’ tour is just around the corner. On May 18–19, 2013, 35 artists and artisans will welcome visitors into their studios, homes, libraries and other viewing locations for a sneak peek into the magical world of art. This award-winning tour is free and open to the public both days from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

As you explore the scenic countryside, you and your traveling companions will be amazed by the wealth of local talent across the Cattaraugus County region and the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Enjoy a delightful variety of original artwork including painting, jewelry, basket weaving, ceramics, drawing, beadwork, painted porcelain, photography, fabric, sculpture and woodcarving, including work from eight artists new to RTA. You’ll find pieces in a range of prices, making it easy to stock your gift closet.

This year, the RTA tour has been reorganized to make it easier than ever.

“We made a strategic decision to consolidate the locations of RTA this year to create a more drivable experience and thereby also increase visitor attendance for each artist. So it’s a better experience for both the artists and the visitors,” said Anne Conroy-Baiter, executive director of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, which produces this event. “All the artist locations are centered around Ellicottville, Salamanca, Little Valley, Cattaraugus and a couple outliers in Irving and West Valley.”

With 35 artists, where do you begin?

It’s really easy to plan your route with the RTA brochure, which includes information on each artist and excellent maps to point the way. Brochures are available in shops, artists’ studios and visitors’ centers across the county. As you explore, look for RTA yard signs marking artist locations.

So where can you find gorgeous jewelry made from deconstructed watches, a tree house studio in the woods, imaginative plush toys, detailed pen and ink drawings, and whimsical art created from found wood and tools? RTA provides a one-of-a-kind treasure hunt sure to surprise you at every visit. Learn more about each artist or download a brochure at

All this exploring is bound to make you hungry. That’s where a little nourishment from local establishments will go long way in shoring up your touring stamina. It’ll also give you a chance to study the map and add a few more stops.

There is never any pressure to buy, but chances are you will find something you just can’t live without. So, bring cash and your checkbook, too. Some artists will accept credit cards as well. If you can’t make it out on Routes to Art weekend, artists are also available for commission work and visits by appointment all year long.

Once back in the quaint village of Ellicottville, take some time to explore the interesting shops and enjoy a fine dining experience in the many diverse restaurants, listen to some live music, or check into your B&B or hotel for a little R&R.

For more information about Routes to Art or to download a brochure, visit Or you can call CCAC at (716) 372-7455 and email them at You can also pick up a brochure at their office at 80 N. Fourth Street, Allegany, N.Y.

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