OLEAN – What do you get when you pair artists with small-business owners and sprinkle them throughout the Olean and Allegany area?
Organizers of what has been called Fourth Friday are hoping you get more people out and about, checking out new places and discovering artists in the area.
This Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m., artists from throughout the two Cattaraugus County municipalities will be paired with various businesses to demonstrate their wares, share their talents and build more of a bridge among business, arts and community, all in a way to offer more to visitors in the way of arts and culture in the small section of the Southern Tier.
“You can go out to dinner, say, on a date, and have places to go to check out some of the area’s artists and hear local music,” said Anne Conroy-Baiter, director of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, in Allegany. “Or you could always go out, check out the exhibits and, along the way, find a new spot to sit and have a bite to eat.”
The idea has been successful in cities such as Denver and, as Conroy-Baiter pointed out, Rochester. Several other places have used elements of it to develop ideas such as art walks, art trails and even art-in-the-park concepts, she said.
Even though the scene has been active for quite some time, the arts in the Olean area have been, for the most part, not widely known. These events are planned to bring the resurgent community more into the public eye.
“We are hoping to integrate business and the arts in our area,” Conroy-Baiter said. “This is a nice way to add something interesting and vibrant to the community. It also serves as something for people to go out and do.”
This is the first in what is planned to be a long line of monthly events, according to Conroy-Baiter. She said the events are something that, with a bit of planning and hard work, will become models of their own, to be replicated in other areas.
“This is a community effort supported by the Arts Council,” Conroy-Baiter said. “We have always intended this to be something that we can help get under way. The goal is for it to be its own nonprofit organization.”
For more information and a map to all the locations, go to www.FourthFriday.org.