Mar 05, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Cazenovia’s Stone Quarry Hill Art Park had an excellent year in 2013 with more than 15,000 visitors, a new permanent sculpture by an internationally acclaimed artist and the recommendation to be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, according to the SQHAP board of directors, which held its annual meeting on Feb. 27.
“It’s been a very active and successful year,” said board President John Hunt. “It’s mind boggling what we’ve been able to accomplish with a very small staff.”
About 20 people attended the board’s annual meeting, during which board officers gave a review of the park’s activities in 2013, its plans for 2014 and a summary of its overall finances.
The art park, located two miles east of Cazenovia off Route 20, at 3883 Stone Quarry Road, is 104 acres of open space dotted with sculptures as well as an indoor art studio and the historic Hilltop House. The park offers public programs, opportunities for new artists and a signature collection of artwork and sculpture for public viewing.
Financially in 2013, SQHAP Treasurer Patty Radell said the park is still running with more expenses than revenue — as it did in 2012 — but, “this isn’t unique [to SQHAP], unfortunately.” She and Hunt said that basically every art-related non-profit in the state has been operating at a financial loss.
About 33 percent of the art park’s $117,000 in revenue is driven by donations, which is a positive number in the current economy, Radell said. She said the park currently has just under 400 members.
Hunt said that 2013 was a bevy of activity in the park, the two highlights being the new sculpture and the state and national historic recognition. The sculpture, “Belle Époque,” by famed contemporary artist Michael Kalish, was an homage to Champagne house Perrier-Jouët’s iconic bottle. It was unveiled last summer. The recognition was that “Hilltop,” the Dorothy Riester house and art studio in the art park, will be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, at the urging of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“Both of these [achievements] speak to the quality of what’s going on at the park,” Hunt said.
In addition to these events, the park hosted an exhibition by artist Bill Benson that garnered record-breaking attendance, hosted two artists-in-residence, completed much-needed repairs to Hilltop House, participated in the Cazenovia Art Trail event in October and hosted the Syracuse Ceramic Guild’s 33rd annual pottery fair.
In 2014, the park is already planning a number of events including a three-week art show in April of Cazenovia High School work, a summer art show titled “All Things Cazenovia” to be juried by acclaimed state artists, a fall show by the Watercolor Society and the donation of sculptures to the park by sculptor Miriam Nelson, said art park office manager Lesly Owens-Pelton. Pelton has been the acting administrator of the art park since August 2013, when Director Sarah Webster left.
In addition to the planned events, the art park board has seven goals to achieve in 2014, said board Vice President Anne Ferguson. The goals include: making a “concerted effort” to apply for and win more grants, exploring grants related to site plan and site usage in order to plan for the park’s future needs, finalizing a “major donation” in sculpture, increasing the park’s focus on collaborative exhibits and events, strengthening the park’s education program for both children and adults, strengthening the park’s online presence and use of social media and leveraging community talent to increase the number of volunteers in the park.
“We have a very strong and talented board right now, but we need volunteers to help us execute on all our goals,” Ferguson said.
Part of the annual meeting, in fact, was also used to recognize the park’s many volunteers — nearly 100 — in 2013, a number that board Secretary Stephen Waldron called “truly impressive.”
The board also presented, for only the sixth time, the Dorothy Reister Award for outstanding contribution to the park to longtime volunteers Susanna and David Harper.
“Nobody has given more to this park in terms of volunteerism and works donated,” Hunt said of the Harpers.
“As we love Dorothy so we have come to love the park,” Susanna said. “It’s a place to get away from all the noise.” And yet simultaneously, she said, the park is becoming more “family friendly” — as it needs to — and the sounds of children laughing and playing often echo through the park, “which I know Dorothy would be happy about.”
“We’re just delighted to be able to be a part of this,” David said. He said that after living 30 years in Syracuse, they looked all over the east Coast for a place to retire, but ultimately decided to settle in Cazenovia — “and a big reason for this is the art park.”
For more information about the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park and its upcoming 2014 events, visit their website at stonequarryhillartpark.org or call the park office at 655-3196.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.