ARTISANworks is such a mix of elements it’s hard to describe. Call it Rochester’s visual dessert, or its art amusement park.
It is 60,000 square feet of old factory space at 565 Blossom Road that has been refurbished to house paintings, photographs, sculpture, classic cars, collectibles and Rochester memorabilia of various types. The focus is art, both on display and works in progress, but it’s so much more. It’s a museum, an artists’ studio, an event space, a performance space, an art-for-lease business.
Louis Perticone and Kimberly Trenholm started this project 25 years ago to help artists, create jobs, and provide a creative experience like no other in the country. Since it found its permanent home in 1999, ARTISANworks has blossomed into an eclectic Rochester institution. Elements of surprise help to strip art appreciation clean of snobbery, Perticone told the RBJ in 2005. “We give people another dimension of (experience), where they can touch things. Rarely will you see (velvet) ropes here.”
But it isn’t just a display space. It employs community members, mostly artists, to help build theme rooms and do general maintenance, painting, etc. It keeps them working and able to afford their creative supplies. Its website says its mission is to “be an place where people experience creation and inspiration,” and who can’t use a little more of that in their lives?
ARTISANworks is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is an adult admission fee of $12; seniors and students, $8. Introductory tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.