GENESEO – Across downtown storefronts, Livingston County Economic Development is trying to inspire some inspiration through artwork.
The pieces are all part of a 90-mile self-guided tour called.”Inspirations Trail” where residents can visit different communities and view artwork from local artists. The way it works is stores who wants to participate in the event will hang a board in their window and local residents will then do a self guided tour to view the artwork.
The event was originally scheduled to run May 1 thru May 24 but with the COVID-19 pandemic, Downtown Coordinator Louise Wadsworth said the grand opening celebration has been postponed. The project, however is continuing with the 24-by-24-inch boards being placed in storefronts.
“I thought everyone needs a little bit of inspiration right now,” Wadsworth said. “People are out walking even though the stores are not open. It is nice to walk downtown and just do some window shopping, so I wanted to get out the boards that are done.”
The panels will be put in store fronts in Avon, Caledonia, Dansville, Geneseo, Leicester, Lima, Livonia, Mount Morris and Nunda.
Wadsworth pointed out that no special skills are need to work on a panel, just a desire to inspire others.
“They can do any image that they want, so I have no idea what I am going to get. The directive was to have a phrase, quote or word on each board,” said Wadsworth.
About 70 panels have been completed, but Wadworth says she still needs another 70. Part of the problem she said is that a large number of the panels were being done by high school students. With schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic students have not get inside to complete them. Wadsworth is calling on residents who wants to participate to put their art skills to the test.
“Some are just artwork,” she said. “One of the ones that I am picking up is sewing art. It could be photography or painting.”
The cost for a panel is $10. Stores that want to take part in the trail pay $25 to put a panel in their window.
“Inspirations Trail” was created to promote downtown businesses and the importance of shopping locally. Now with many downtown businesses closed to the public as part of the “New York on PAUSE” effort to slow the spread of the virus, Wadsworth hopes the trail will also help to boost people’s spirits, during these uncertain times.
“It was always the thought that people would get out of their cars and walk down main street and see all of the different exhibits and then go to the next village,” said Wadsworth.
All of the panels in the downtown neighborhoods are on the main roads. The first one to be put up was in Mount Morris. It is by student Sara Gary and her panel is called “Never Give Up.”
Along with Sara’s and all of the other panels is a story that goes along with the artwork. Sara was a student at Livonia High School and was suffering from cancer.
Her mom Christina says “For fourteen months you battled cancer and you never gave up, you are my hero!”
Sara passed away before she could complete the panel, so her mom Christina helped finish the project.
Wadsworth says that is just one of the many inspirational stories from artists taking part in the event.
More than 100 storefront across Livingston County will participate in “Inspirations Trail.”
To see where the art work is on display, visit the web at wwww.inspirationstrail.com.
“The idea is to get people to walk around their downtowns and to look in the windows. We really don’t want to announce it as a big thing until the stores are open,” said Wadsworth.
A scavenger hunt was originally planned to go along with the trail but that has been put on hold.
“This was intended to be a temporary exhibit but eventually the whole ‘Inspirations Trail’ is going to be permanent,” said Wadsworth.
The artist can also sell the artwork that is on display, with 30% of the money going to the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and the rest to the artist. They can also donate the whole amount or decide not to sell it.
Some stores can also have more than one panel in their window.
For Wadsworth, “Inspirations Trail” is something that she hopes will not only show off the talents of local artists, but also help to inspire others in the community.
“All along, my goal was that as you walk through this,” she said, “that you would get inspired and start to think differently once you see all of those different thoughts.”