The Place Where All Forms of Art Lives
Louis Perticone, founder of Artisan Works, has always had an interest in creativity and design. Over the years, he evolved the idea for Artisan Works, a modern “art gallery” located on Blossom Road in Rochester.
It is a huge building with art expanding from the floor to the ceiling. It has old art, new art and everything in between. Entire rooms are dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, Frank Lloyd Wright and 1960s fire trucks.
Perticone was highly inspired by Alfred Stieglitz's 291 Gallery. The 291 Gallery, with the name taken from its address on Fifth Avenue in New York City, is famous for introducing America to some of the great European artists including Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.
Perticone explained that the main emphasis of Artisan Works is inclusivity, being inclusive of all artists and forms of art. This is much like Stieglitz's gallery in the early 1900s and the inclusivity of European art.
Artisan Works does not consider itself a gallery or a museum. “We have been called a modern culture art space,” says Perticone.
For starters, Artisan Works actually “sponsors” current artists; it’s not just a collection of artists from the past.
Perticone explained that, “art has always lived in the past” and that Artisan Works was a kind of “21st century museum.” It shows art as it is created, not just a bunch of portraits from 1890.
A key ideal of Artisan Works is “innovation and incubation” of new art, Perticone added. The gallery has a community of artists working right within the building, creating new works on a daily basis. Their studios are actually integrated into the museum itself.
Unlike the many non-profit museums and galleries around the country, Artisan Works is a self-funded non-profit. This means that it is not dependent on government funding. The funding is mainly made through the lease-to-own art program and sponsorship of up-and-coming artists.
Currently, Artisan Works is placing artwork in corporate offices and restaurants around Rochester, but Perticone has a bigger vision for this lease-to-own program. He wants to put artwork into large hotels and, interestingly, hospitals. Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, currently has a small gallery for patients and visitors.
Perticone explained that it makes sense to put art in hospitals. They are are free to enter and usually open 24 hours.
Artisan Works also hosts a number of corporate events throughout the year and “50 or more non-profit fundraisers each year,” explained Perticone. He also stated that Rochester is “one of the toughest towns [for nonprofits].” adding that nonprofits in the city are “very protective of their patrons.”
But Perticone said that they all fundamentally have a people helping aspect, usually in medicine or helping the poor. “It’s almost embarassing to compare ourselves to organizations that are dealing with the sick and the homeless,” said Perticone.
He believes that arts organizations should be self-funded and that the government funding should be going to more traditional places, like medical charities and infrastructure rebuilding.
For the time being Artisan Works continues to be an influence on Rochester as a city. Perticone said that he has had people come to him saying what an inspiration Artisan Works has been on them. They are usually students who have visited in a school trip.
Perticone’s goal for Artisan Works is to function as a business and to support creativity, while being as inclusive as possible, because he believes that “artists document history.”