Webster’s Dictionary defines a gallery as “a building or part of a building in which objects of interest are displayed.” Here in Cortland County, we know galleries to be so much more than that.
A well-curated gallery stimulates the imagination and make us laugh or reflect. Galleries become hubs, hosting community events and fostering creativity. Galleries are filled with the sort of souvenirs that showcase your travels and tell a story long after your adventures are through. A visit to Cortland County wouldn’t be complete without a tour of our most eclectic art spaces, so we’ve curated a weekend gallery crawl to ensure you don’t miss a single hidden gem.
Necessary to any good gallery crawl is the perfect pair of shoes. We recommend starting your tour at BullAirs, home to Thom Bull, Inkmaster Extraordinaire! His one-of-a-kind custom kicks will get your travels started out on the right foot. With a newfound bounce in your step, stroll on down to the Cortland Art’s Connect McNeil Gallery. This tiny display packs a punch, showcasing local artists under an ever-evolving theme. You never know what unique interpretations you discover in this secreted space.
For lunch, swing into Queen Subs. Loved by locals, Queens turn sandwiches into a work of art. Sublishousness in hand, hike up the hill to Cortland’s crown. SUNY Cortland’s grassy campus is littered with sculpture art, making it the perfect place for a picnic before heading into the Dowd Art Gallery. Famous for its interactive art exhibits, the Dowd Gallery hosts half a dozen exhibitions each year featuring often tactile works by nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists, encouraging you to play, explore and reimagine.
Keep the funky vibes flowing with a visit to Green Arch Restaurant. This classic Italian joint once served as a speakeasy during prohibition, and it’s still serving up incredible fare in its original art deco dining room. We recommend starting with the Burrata & Heirloom Tomato appetizer topped with a blood orange and balsamic reduction, then going out strong with the East End Chicken Riggies, smothered in garlic, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a pink cream sauce.
Kick off your day two of your art adventures with a shot of caffeine and something sweet from Common Grounds. Local roast in hand, mosey down the hall to Ake Galley, where art is anything but boring. Humorist Paul Kozlowski’s work can be found in the hallowed halls of the Cartoon Network and collected by fellow comedians such as Bill Maher, Sarah Silverman, Bobcat Goldthwait and Robin Williams.
Paul’s creativity doesn’t end with the canvas. This year The Ake Galley is hosting the Duck & Red Octopus Short Funny Stop Action & Animated Film Festival, September 22-23. Finalists from around the world will compete for awards, including Best Stop Action Short and Best Animated Short. There will be workshops, guest speakers, film premieres, director Q&As and more, including a stand-up comedy concert by Bobcat Goldthwait! This festival is sure to tickle your funny bone.
After a day of laughter, wind down with dinner and drinks at the Exchange Restaurant, where they take culinary arts seriously. Brace yourself for an extraordinarily creative dining experience. From bagel chip nachos to African peanut stew and Mango Poke Bowls to Grandma’s Meatloaf Sandwich, their menu is bursting with delicious, quirky dishes. We recommend the Carolina Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with homemade mac and cheese, warm biscuits, and hot honey. And, with a gluten-free option available, everyone is invited to the party!
One last gallery before calling it a night. The Center for the Arts of Homer, most famous for its incredible live performances, is also home to an intimate gallery. Established in 2005, the Gallery at the Center has hosted over 150 exhibits featuring local, regional, and nationally known artists. Sculptures, photography, and paintings are juxtaposed against the more than 100-year-old former church’s stained-glass windows, turning the setting sun into a work of art.