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Katherine Weston, 63

Artist discusses decision to open art gallery and studio in Brockport instead of Rochester

By Christine Green

Q. Why did you choose to open a gallery and studio in Brockport rather than Rochester?

A. I opened A Different Path Gallery in 2010. I had an art studio in Rochester but was finding it hard to get there on a regular basis. It was at a time when gas prices were rising and I was figuring the cost to get there and back along with rent and time and it just didn’t make financial sense to be there. So, I decided I needed to find a studio space closer to home…but not at home. I wanted a place that had other artists working in the building to share ideas and energy; that was and is important to me. As I looked for this new space I realized that very few existed close to home. It seemed there was a need for not only studio spaces, but a place for artists to show their work on the west side of the Greater Rochester area. That’s when I decided to take on the challenge and hoped the community would embrace my effort.

Q. Do you find yourself drawn to any one particular artistic medium more than any others?

A. Each medium has its own magic. As an artist, I never want to stop learning. There are so many interesting materials out there. I enjoy painting, but don’t pick up the brushes all that often anymore. I get myself involved in projects that require years of dedication to one medium and once that project is finished, I usually go back to painting for a break. I love the texture of paint, the feel of the canvas and even the smell. It’s welcoming somehow and nostalgic of my college days.

Q. Why is community outreach and engagement important to you as an artist and a business owner?

A. The Brockport community is very much a part of the gallery. People in this village walk a lot. They interact everyday with each other and take an interest in their neighbors. I post notices on the door because I know people will stop and read them. It’s important to me as an artist and as a business owner to add to [not detract from] wherever I call home. I’d much rather be known as one who supports and positively effects the community rather than [be known] as a “gallery owner.”

Q. When you aren’t coordinating shows and events at the gallery what do you like to do to relax?

A. Right now, I’m working on balancing my life a little more. I really don’t have much time between shows, events and my own art projects to think about much else. Once I pare down some of my responsibilities I’ll be doing some traveling to places where my ancestors resided. I really want to become more familiar with the forgotten parts of my family from Canada and Scotland. Also, I might clean my house once in a while.

Q. Is there a particular artist that has had an influence on your work?

A. Every single artist I meet has some sort of influence on me. I can’t narrow it down to just one. I’ve heard it said that artists “steal” from one another, I prefer to think of it as gleaning knowledge and technique. Most artists need to try on different styles and techniques before they settle into their own. In school I loved the work of Egon Schiele. He, like a lot of people in his time, was a little crazy and suffered from syphilis so I wasn’t prepared to take any life lessons from him, but his bold brush strokes and ability to catch raw emotion were amazing.

Q. Why are the arts important in our community and how can the public help to support the efforts of artists?

A. Over and over again studies have shown that children involved in the arts have better scholastic records, are more socially adept and are more likely to contribute to society as a whole. With the decline of respect for the arts as viable and important to our humanness, I feel an obligation to promote and protect our artistic spirit. Supporting the arts is relatively easy….just show up and bring a friend. Maybe drop a quarter in the donation jar.  At our small gallery there are numerous opportunities. Come to openings, come to literary readings, play some music or sing along at a music jam, take a class or watch a dance performance. Artists basically want their art to be seen or heard or experienced by others. That’s why we do it.