Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report

Fiscal Year 2017 | July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017

Annual Report

Message from the Director

Fiscal year 2017 was a milestone year at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. The launch of The Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery, born from an idea hatched over a cup of coffee with art lover, Meleny Peacock, brought to fruition several years of work and planning. The mission of The Peeler Peacock is to provide a supportive environment that assists emerging artists as they grow professionally and explore their media. Two jury-selected solo shows a year are offered and the selected artists are connected with established artists as mentors. This was just one of the many accomplishments of The ARTS Council during fiscal year 2017. The ARTS Council was also involved in distributing a regional survey verifying the need for affordable apartments and studio space for artists. Furthermore, The ARTS Council worked closely with Corning’s Gaffer District to bring the first Glassfest Featured Artist to the festival. The program placed work in five locations on Market Street and featured a walking tour of each installation.

All of this occurred while the usual work of The ARTS Council continued, including programs such as Poets in Play, Writer’s Block, Business of Art and a professional development program in collaboration with the New York Council on the Arts and Creative Capital. The Folk Arts program at The ARTS Council presented traditional artists at events like Folk Arts at the Market and the Old Time Fiddlers Gathering, as well as programs exploring the folkways of the Jewish community in Elmira. In addition to programming, The ARTS Council continues to administer grants that support the work of individual artists, cultural organizations and arts-in-education programs. The ARTS Council’s commitment to the role of arts in community building is stronger than ever!

Photo by Chris Walters
Dr. Connie Sullivan-Blum, Executive Director

Collaborations to serve our community

Regional Projects

The ARTS Council works on projects or boards that promote the arts in our region, often collaborating with local government and other partners to enhance quality of life. These were our regional projects in Fiscal Year 2017:










Artist Membership and Cultural Partnership

In addition to our other work, we provide support to individual artists, writers, musicians, and other creators with our Artist Membership. Artist Members of the ARTS Council are creators of all kinds, including visual artists, writers, musicians, and more. Like in years past, our Artist Membership has grown steadily, and we have enjoyed welcoming all the new members and seeing their amazing work as they have joined us.

We also provide services to cultural organizations with our Cultural Partnership. Our Cultural Partners are everything from museums, orchestras, and historical societies, to creative businesses, brick and mortar stores, solo entrepreneurs, and more. Creative industries are crucial to the Southern Finger Lakes and an essential part of our mission is supporting fellow arts organizations. To learn more about the benefits of joining visit our Artist Membership page and our Cultural Partnership page.












Through the generosity of donor Meleny Peacock, we launched The Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery. We were honored to name our gallery for Evelyn Peeler Peacock, a shining example of the power of art to lift lives out of turmoil and transform them. This gallery, and the resulting solo show program, serves as a primary resource for artistic and professional growth for emerging artists in the Southern Finger Lakes. Providing a supportive environment that assists artists as they grow professionally and explore their media, the gallery features a wide range of shows throughout the year including solo, member, and regional juried exhibitions. A variety of two and three dimensional media, including glass, wood, fiber-arts, clay, photography, painting, drawing, literary arts, jewelry, video, music, and more are on display. If you would like to stop in and see our most recent show, visit our gallery at 79 West Market St. Corning, NY 14830.


In Fiscal Year 2017, The ARTS Council awarded more than $150,754 in funds from both the New York State Council on the Arts and the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. $100,154 of the funds went to support public programming and individual artists in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Tioga counties. We also distributed the state-wide Electronic Media and Film Grant and piloted a Professional Development Program for 10 regional artists.
















Grants Highlight: Friends of the Chemung River Watershed

In Fiscal Year 2017, we granted $23,476 to artists and organizations in Chemung County, a nearly 60% increase from Fiscal Year 2016. Our grants are small, but make an important impact in creating a vibrant and dynamic local community. For example, in 2017, Friends of the Chemung River Watershed received a grant to commission a local artist, Diane M. Brownell, to develop a map of the Chemung River. Featuring the entire 45 mile river, the map was printed on wearable bandanas and not only highlights the river’s cultural significance to the region, but it contains important information on river access points and water safety. The grant funding helped pay for the artist’s fee and the production of over 300 bandanas that were given to users free of charge. This grant is just one example of the way The ARTS Council is making arts and culture accessible to all.


We administered several grants that supported arts and cultural projects focused on our local communities. QuickARTS grants provided up to $500 for short-term activities while Community Arts grants supported up to $5,000 for activities in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Tioga counties. Finally, we awarded Presentation Funds grants statewide for non-profits to host presentations by electronic media and film artists.


We supported individual artists through a variety of grant programs. Artist Development grants provided up to $500 for professional development opportunities. Artist Crossroads grants of up to $2,500 supported the creation of community driven public art projects. We awarded Finishing Funds grants statewide of up to $2,500 to support the completion of experimental multi-media work. Finally, the Professional Development Program provided 10 regional artists with a career enhancement program.


We administered the Public School Teaching Artist grant program that supported arts education projects in schools. This grant provided up to $5,000 for non-profits and individuals to bring artists into public schools for special projects. Subjects focused on the exploration of art and the artistic process through a series of sequential learning activities. Emphasis was placed on the depth and quality of the creative process.

Folk Arts












Folk Arts Highlight: Finger Lakes Fruit Heritage Project

The Finger Lakes Fruit Heritage Project documented the history and creativity of cider making, orchards, fruit, u-pick, cider mills, festivals, foodways, fermentation, preserving, grafting, old varieties, migrant labor, landscapes, artists, agriculturalists, musicians, and more! Input was welcome from the community and an essential part of the success of this project.

Folk Arts at the Market: Outreach and Education

Folk Arts at the Market brought the Folk Arts Program at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes to local Farmers Markets in our region. It presented local traditional artists performing or demonstrating their work. With this project, visitors were able to learn about our ongoing folk arts programs and upcoming events, and ask our staff folklorist questions.

Folk Arts Workshops: Jewish Heritage

The ARTS Council hosted a series of workshops in collaboration with the Jewish Center and Federation of the Twin Tiers and Congregation Kol Ami in Elmira. These workshops encouraged people to share experiences of their own heritage and offered tools for documenting memories, traditions, and objects that tell the stories of a community.

Old Time Fiddlers Gathering Old Time Fiddle Music & Nordic Music and Folk Arts

Our annual festival continued to expand to feature more local folk arts and music. Saturday featured Old Time performers and workshops in a variety of styles, and Sunday featured music and traditions from communities and people of Nordic heritage in our region with participation from the Finger Lakes Finns community group.















Programs Highlight: National Youth Art Month


In March 2017, The ARTS Council organized the region’s National Youth Art Month (NYAM) events. NYAM is a month of celebration, awareness, and advocacy for art in our schools and excellent art education for our youth! The bright colors and eclectic designs of student artwork transformed businesses and organizations throughout Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben counties.

The exhibits were a real testament to the work and dedication put forth by the students and teachers in our region! NYAM acts as a catalyst to explore the importance of art in our daily lives, from cognitive development to creative problem solving.

The Writers Block

The Writers Block launched in April 2016 at the Turtle Leaf Café in Elmira. It featured a reading by a published author followed by a Q&A session and then an opportunity for our local writers to read aloud in our Flash Fiction segment. This year, The Writers Block has gained a successful following of writers, fostering an environment of creative community for local authors.

Poets in Play

Poets in Play is Corning’s poetry series; a gathering of poets to hear poetry, speak poetry, and enjoy camaraderie and good coffee. A featured poet is followed by an open mic where everyone is encouraged to read aloud. Poets in Play promoted community and sparked creativity for new and veteran wordsmiths alike in Fiscal Year 2017.

(Re) Create It

(Re) Create It challenges artists to come up with something new and creative out of upcycled items found at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. A collaboration between The ARTS Council, the ReStore, and the Southeast Steuben County Library, this competition encourages creativity, upcycling, and having fun for a good cause! All projects are auctioned off to support the ReStore.

The Arts Council’s Finances

Running The Numbers

The ARTS Council’s finances are stable thanks to steady support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Corning Incorporated Foundation, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes and our many generous donors and supporters.

Recycled Runway 2017


Thank you to all of our amazing donors and their support of The ARTS Council!

Corning Incorporated: Information Technology
Karen Epstein
James Flaws and Marcia Weber
Kirk and Penny Gregg
Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
James and Maisie Houghton
Meleny Peacock
Karen Alpha

Charles Craig
Pure Design

J.C. and Joan Argetsinger
Chemung Canal Trust Company
Corning Natural Gas Corporation
Edger Enterprises Inc.
Wendell Weeks and Kim Frock
Robert McKinnon
The Meade Foundation, Inc.
Dick and Judy Sphon
Three Rivers Development Foundation, Inc.
Elizabeth Whitehouse

Cargill Salt
Corning Incorporated: MTE Division
CreAgent Marketing
Howell Libertore & Associates
Brad Turner and Beth Hylen
Johnson-Schmidt and Associates Architects
Judith Lemke
Robert Cole and Marie McKee
Christy Nicholas
Joy Perry
Andy Rochester

Mark and Kay Rogus
Satori Group, LLC

Lee and Anita Adelsberg
Vani Akula
Tedd and Carol Arnold
Jim and Mary Bacalles
Elijah and Gail Baity
Jack and Suzy Benjamin
Bill and Susan Boland
Matthew and Ann Brand
Steve and Ann Campbell
Gary and Bonnie Chollet
Douglas and Susan Cotton
Patricia Dann
Natalie Denton
Barbara L Dick
Edward Dougherty and Beth Bentley
David Dowler
Timothy and Mary Jane Eckel
Michael and Susan Eisner
Ron Faris and Gretchen Halpert
James and Gail Felli
Peter McGrath and Sandra Fucigna
James Galbraith
Kathryn Gerwig
Mitchell Goldwater
Marc Hample
David Hertel
Hedy Hou
Amory Houghton, Jr.
Allen Smith and Diane Janowski
Michael Joseph
Kamala Keeley
The Keller Group dba Sprague Insurance
Laurie Liberatore
Ginnie Lupi
Merrill and Lydia Lynn

Leslie Mauro
Rhonda Morton
G C Myers
Barry and Ann Nicholson
Mike and Christy Pambianchi
Stan Panosian
Andrew Seubert
Connie and Louise Sullivan-Blum
Kristin Swain
Gilbert and Harriet Sweet
John Ulrich and Lynn Pifer
Ilene Unterman-Zimer
Betty Vinti
Wallin Insurance
Watson Homestead Conference and Retreat Center
Thomas Weidemann
X-Gen Pharmaceuticals

Mary Sgarlata Adamus
Karen Alpha
Gigi Alvaré
Rick and Karen Biesanz
Kimber Billow and Charles Griffeth
Ruth Bruning
Matthew Burroughs
Louise Bush
Shane Holleran and Michelle Caulfield
Melissa Colachino
Thomas Cook
Donald Creath
Leslie and Cody Danks Burke
Eric and Angie Elder
Robert A Garrett
Heather Haskins
James C Hayes
Robert Ivers
Patricia Jackson
Cheryl Johnston

Cheryl Jordan
Jan Kather
Michael Kenna
Betsy Kent
Karen Martin
Erin McMurrough
Ned Milliken
Scott and Sharon Moore
Tom and Margaret Morse
Brendan and Kimberly Mosher
Terry Nardone
John and Susan Peck
Gina Pfleegor
Ray Jewelers
Megan Roberts
Daniel Roemmelt
Vicie Rolling
Patrick Saxe
Joyce S Schwartz
Delanie Sickler
Hal Sisson
Carla Stephens
John and Becky Stranges
Logan Sweet
Noel Sylvester
Joan Tojek
Ron and Maryann Van Scoter
John and Mary Wahlig
George and Stephanie Welch, Jr.
Jacqueline Welles
Lucretia West
Joy Williams
Diane Woodhouse

Who We Are






Programs and services of The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes are made possible with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature.

Additional assistance for programs and services of The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes are provided by the Corning Incorporated Foundation, The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Abeel Bovee Community Foundation, Hilliard Foundation, the Chemung County Legislature, the Schuyler County Legislature, and the Steuben County Legislature.

Dr. Connie Sullivan-Blum
Executive Director
Christina Johnson
Member Services Assistant
Dr. Maria Kennedy
Folk Arts Coordinator
Casey Winston
Programs & Outreach Manager
Chris Walters
Grants Manager & Gallery Curator

Julie Thurber
Monica Tojek
2017 Recycled Runway Committee & Volunteers *
2017 Fiddlers Volunteers *
2017 NYAM Volunteers *
2017 Arts & Rec Volunteers *

Victor Bouveron
Valorie Christenson
Devyn Butler
Sarah Hughson

Board President: Leslie Mauro
Co-Vice President: David Hertel
Co-Vice President: Erin McMurrough
Secretary: Karen Epstein
Treasurer: Hedy Hou
Immediate Past President: Steve Kettelle
Vani Akula
Allison DeDominick
Paul Dressen
James Galbraith
Michael Joseph
Beth Manwaring
Christy Nicholas
Joy Perry
Cynthia Raj
Andy Rochester