Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ArtisanWorks founder Louis Perticone dies after pancreatic cancer battle

Louis Perticone
Provided photo

ArtisanWorks founder Louis Perticone has died after a two-year battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

The Rochester native leaves behind a legacy that is hard to define. Because ArtisanWorks, as he once said, “is nothing like anything.”

Perticone was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer two years ago.

His passing on Monday at age 73 reverberated throughout the local arts community.

A collector from a young age, Perticone was never interested in becoming an artist but always loved creating spaces.

And over the past quarter century he poured that passion into a former warehouse on Blossom Road.

Sponsor Message

“What he did for our community, in many ways, was just this idea of expanding what's possible with art,” said performing artist, educator and longtime friend Thomas Warfield. “And the intersection, really, of art in celebration of art in education. ... of how we use arts and creativity.”

Try to explain Artisan Works — you can’t.

Perticone was more apt to describe what it isn’t — not a gallery, not a museum. The avant-garde collection is an event space, a cluttered repository for items ranging from a 1960s firetruck to taxidermy and neon beer signs to paintings — with artist studios integrated throughout.

“By not saying what it was or what it is, he was ... allowing that openness about the possibilities” Warfield said. “One of his enormous contributions is exploding our minds into possibility.”

At that, Warfield chuckles. "That's really what he did. ... And I will definitely miss a dear friend.”

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.