By Jeanne Sager
HURLEYVILLE July 6, 2004 How many times do you get to step behind the curtains of Oz?
The Catskill Art Society is offering folks carte blanche access to the man behind the curtain of the Sullivan County art world a studio tour that will take visitors crisscrossing the map to see artists at work in their home environment.
Essentially a fundraiser for the Hurleyville-based society (a tour map is $10 per person, which serves as your ticket for two weekends full of studio visits), the studio tour is in its ninth year, and its grown exponentially.
The first year there were between 10 and 15 artists who opened their doors to the public. This year there are 45, and the event takes two weekends to complete.
Artists located on the eastern side of Route 17 will be meeting and greeting visitors this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11. Those on the western side will air out their studios next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.
The growth in the event is due to the population change in Sullivan County, said Roberta Rosenthal, chair of the studio tour committee for CAS.
Many people, many artists, have flocked to Sullivan County to live full-time, she explained.
Rosenthal, a painter who specializes in botanical art, moved out of Manhattan to live full-time in Bloomingburg just three years ago.
She was working as an illustrator living right smack dab in the middle of Manhattan on 30th and 5th, but she wanted a change.
Rosenthal purchased a second home in Sullivan County 13 years ago remembering happy summers in the county as a child vacationing in the various bungalow colonies and hotels that were once one of the areas biggest draws.
Life is different here, she said, and shes happy to stay at home in her Squirrels Nest on Shawanga Lodge Road.
The thing I like about Sullivan County foremost is the air its clean, its fresh, its delicious! she said.
Shes gotten used to winters in the county, and shes learning to deal with deer who have a taste for almost every type of flower she has thought to plant.
Thats just part of living in Sullivan County.
Artistry too has become a fact of Sullivan County living.
Its something that drives not just newcomers, but folks who grew up in the Catskills and have perfected their craft.
Anne Maus was raised in Jeffersonville, and after college in Greece and honing her craft under the eyes of a European master craftsman, she returned home to open her stained glass studio.
The studio tour is a way for Maus to promote her studio and the arts as a whole.
Almost everybody who comes has an interest in the arts, so its a very positive atmosphere, she noted. Even people who arent interested in the arts walk away with a new respect for the arts and the artists.
They come into the studio, they see the work behind the finished product . . . they see what went into it.
Maus has continued to sign on to each tour because of the people the events have brought into her small Callicoon studio.
Ive enjoyed all of it, she said. Ive enjoyed meeting the people, Ive enjoyed speaking to them about my work.
Maus stained glass and Rosenthals paintings are just two of the media visitors can learn about on the tour.
There are potters, pressed floral artists, sculptors, woodworkers and more on this years slate.
Its a pretty wide open selection, Rosenthal noted. And the quality of the artists . . . theyre fabulous.
Youre not dealing with amateurs these are top professionals.
Each is a member of CAS and offers their own unique view of art and Sullivan County.
The Catskill Art Society has become a beacon for so many artists, Rosenthal noted. Ulster County has Woodstock, Orange County has Kingston, we have Hurleyville.
I dont think enough people in Sullivan County or tourists know we exist.
The tour will kick off this Saturday at 11 a.m. Studios will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each day of the tour.
Maps are available at the Catskill Art Society, which is located in the Sullivan County Museum in Hurleyville; Walking Bear in Callicoon; Sunshine Free Library in Eldred; the Ferndale Marketplace in Ferndale; Teds Restaurant and the Blue Victorian in Jeffersonville; Wildlife Gift Shop and Peez Leweez in Livingston Manor; Kristt Office Supplies in Monticello; Annies Place in Roscoe; Johns General Store in Youngsville and the Catskill Hiking Shack in Wurtsboro.
Maps are $10 per person, and students and children are free.
For more information, call CAS at 436-4227.