Are you a fan of treasure hunts?  If so, you must visit ARTISANworks, where every conceivable nook and cranny explodes with treasures from the World of Art.

Vertigo Heights at ARTISANworks, Photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

Vertigo Heights at ARTISANworks, Photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

ARTISANworks, located in a 60,000 square foot building that once housed an artillary factory,  was co-founded by Louis Perticone, ARTISANworks’ Creative Director and Kimberly Trenholm, its Development Director.

The former  factory has been converted into what Louis describes as “an adult art theme park.”

Perticone acquires the art, not on consignment, but by purchasing the pieces from artists.  The works are then framed and mounted for viewing, rental or purchase and for adorning the walls, corners, floors and ceilings of the labyrinth-like art attraction and special events facility that can accommodate every size and type event imaginable from weddings and Bar Mitzvahs to meetings, dinner parties and 30-person movie screenings.

I recently had the good fortune to accompany Victoria Benz, Director of Special Events at ARTISANworks and Richard Margolis on a tour of the newer spaces.  Richard, a renowned Rochester photographer, is photographing ARTISANworks for a book tentatively scheduled for publication in the fall.

The Firehouse, photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

The Firehouse, photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

The  dozen plus different rooms in which to host events are chock full of works in every artistic medium.  We visited The Firehouse,” a new addition which is a fun and quirky 1950’s tribute to Firefighters.  The space accommodates up to 75 people and actually sports authentic firehouse memorabilia, bunk beds, ’50s-style pin up art photos, a restored firetruck from Canandaigua’s fleet, and a pool table in an upstairs fire house “lounge” for guests’ entertainment.

During the tour, we visited a new exhibit “The Color of Loss” by photographer Dan Burkholder.  This visually beautiful, thought provoking and disturbing exhibit surrounds you, walls and ceiling, documenting the devastation left in New Orleans ten months after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Richard Margolis photographing Ross Rider with his Ferrarri

Richard Margolis photographing Ross Rider with his Ferrarri

While on our tour, we ran into Ross Rider at work on his next wood sculpture, a stunning life-size Ferrarri composed of  rich hardwoods.  Richard stopped to catch a photo – possibly for his book – of Ross looking like a sawdust  ghost.

April Laragy Stein, photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

April Laragy Stein, photo courtesy of Richard Margolis

One of the marvelous features of ARTISANworks is access to world-class art and artists.  On property, 12 different artists have studios and can be seen crafting their next masterpiece.  On weekends, April Laragy Stein can often be found chatting with visitors as she paints her vivid works reminiscent of Chagall, Matisse and Kandinsky.

It’s difficult to describe the awe and wonder of being surrounded by more than 500,000 pieces of art…or of rounding a corner and confronting an authentic piece by Picasso, Remington, Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol or any of dozens of internationally-renowned artists.  Equally fascinating  is that these works often share space, up close and personal, with regional masters as well as emerging artists

ARTISANworks is not a traditional museum.  It is one of Rochester’s hidden gems where Art comes to life, practically jumping off the walls, ceilings and out of its frames, shouting to  be seen, and it is accessible to everyone who wants to hunt for treasures.

ARTISANworks is located at 565 Blossom Road in Rochester, NY and open to the pubic Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 Noon to 5 p.m.  Often, you can catch a concert at ARTISANworks on Sunday.  Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for students and Seniors and Free to Members.

For information on holding an event at ARTISANworks, contact Victoria Benz or Tim Hickey at 585.288.7170.

To read about Richard Margolis’ Public Art Project, Click here.

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