PERRY – The Arts Council for Wyoming County, 31 South Main St., will celebrate art and friendship in a new exhibition opening this month.

Four Fillmore-area artists with diverse backgrounds – Karen Barber, Carol Corrigan, Bonnie Leigh, and Lilly Thiell Milliman – became friends through art at the studio of Sarah Phillips.

ACWC Executive Director Jacqueline Swaby said the exhibit was ideal following the gallery’s reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its two main elements – art and friendship – “played a critical role in helping many of us traverse the effects of COVID-19 as we were forced into isolation,” she said.

With those elements also comes the capacity to wait, which Barber, Corrigan, Leigh and Milliman have done for almost three years in exhibiting their work in the ACWC Gallery.

Swaby said the ACWC is please to finally welcome the four friends to the gallery and invite the public to “come experience the diverse representation in media manipulation.”

Barber started painting upon entering retirement and said she has found joy in both the process and the friendships at Phillips’ art studio. Barber works in water-soluble oils and watercolor and is inspired by things of local and personal interest.

Corrigan started as a decorative painter many years ago and spent several years teaching adults to paint.

“As life has changed and evolved, so has my art,” she said. “I now paint mostly in watercolors and am inspired by the beauty of nature and by the friendships I have found at Sarah Phillips’ art studio.”

Although Leigh was passionate about art in her younger years, she put it aside to raise her family. She recently returned to art after a loss. She works in water-soluble oil, watercolor and pencil.

“My work is of the things and people I love. It is my connection to them, to myself and now through art to wonderful friendships,” Leigh said.

Milliman taught art at Fillmore Central School. After retirement she began taking classes with Phillips, who encouraged her to try different media.

“When I tried alcohol ink I loved the brightness of the colors and the spontaneity of this process. I also enjoy working in watercolors and water-soluble oils and create calligraphy,” Milliman said.

An opening reception is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at the ACWC Gallery. The reception will also be presented through a livestream.

The event will be presented in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Face mask and responses to a COVID-19 related questionnaire by each attendee will be required. No refreshments will be served.

Those wishing to attend in person are strongly encouraged to RSVP by Oct. 14 so the arts council can honor the attendance percentage capacity mandate and minimize wait time outside the building. For information or to RSVP, call the gallery at (585) 237-3517, or email

Regular gallery and office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

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