By Jann Wiswall

We know you already have the annual Routes to Art Open Studio Tour on your May calendars, but if you want to get a sneak peek, be sure to make plans to attend the Preview Reception at Jamestown Community College in Olean’s Center Gallery on April 25.

From 6-8 p.m., you’ll enjoy beverages and hors d’oeuvres while getting a look at the work of all the artists participating in the May open studio tour. Plus, this is your opportunity to meet many of the artists, learn about their art, plan your itinerary and make your shopping lists!

More than 100 people attended last year’s reception, and more are expected this year. Advance reservations are not required. Just show up and expect a great evening of art, conversation, inspiration and delicious treats prepared by caterer Sheila Darrow.

If you can’t make the reception, the exhibition at the Center Gallery will continue through May 9.

Then, on the weekend of May 17-18, the official Routes to Art tour will be held. This event, produced by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC) and now its seventh year, gives residents and visitors to the area an opportunity to drive the country roads and enjoy the scenery while exploring the talents of Cattaraugus County and Seneca Nation artists who invite you into their studios.

This year, 42 artists and artisans working in a wide range of media — including painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, woodcarving, ceramics, beading, pottery and more — are participating in the event. Some will be exhibiting in groups, others as individuals. Many artists are showing their work in and around Ellicottville, Salamanca, Cattaraugus and Otto, while still more artists in West Valley, Gowanda and Great Valley look forward to your visit..

Participants include Darlene Allen (photography), Cherie Antle (jewelry), John Balacki (watercolor paintings), Judson Brown (oil paintings), Jon Capasso (Native American bead work), Charlotte Capellino (oil paintings),  Robin Zefers Clark (watercolor paintings), Denise Drummond (drawings and photography), Patricia Eckstrom (mixed media), Karen Fitzpatrick (stained glass), Barbara Fox (watercolor and oil paintings), Sean Huntington (watermedia paintings), Elliott Hutten (stoneware pottery), Mary Jacobs (Native American bead work), Elizabeth Jankowski (jewelry), Holly John (ash basketry), Peter Jones (functional and sculptural ceramics), Mike Jones (sculpture and painting), Dawn Lombardi (acrylic painting), Tom Martin (photographic art), Keith McKale (wood art), Kristina McLeod (Native American wearable art), Kim Mehta (photography), Betty Meierjurgen (impressionist painting), Thomas Militello (glass marbles and bowls), Jennifer Miller (wildlife paintings and jewelry), Penelope Minner (Native American basketry), Anne Mormile (functional and sculptural ceramics), Rose Nuszkowski (stained glass and mosaics), Ellen Paquette (handcrafted dolls) , Todd Plough (oil paintings), Dee Smith (watercolor and acrylic painting), Mat Snyder (stained glass), Jil St. Ledger Roty (film photography), Chris Stark (porcelain painting), Sarah Walker (chainsaw carvings), Carson Waterman (painting/native art), Michael Weishan (nature photography), Eileen Weishan (beaded textiles), Carey Ann Welch (acrylic painting), Annie Widger/Jennie Acklin (textiles) and Mikel Wintermantel (oil and mixed media painting).

CCAC has prepared a comprehensive brochure with maps indicating the locations of studios, lists of all participating artists and descriptions of their work to help you prepare your self-guided tour. For a copy of the brochure, call CCAC at (716) 372-7455, email a brochure request to info@myartscouncil.net or view it online at www.myartscouncil.net.