Our Mission

"To promote and strengthen the creative capacity of our community by providing diverse opportunities for arts participation, understanding, and appreciation."

The Ontario County Arts Council is a non-profit organization with a membership of 180 visual and performing artists and other members of our local communities who appreciate and support culture, art, music, and architecture. Established in 1993 to enhance the creative arts in Ontario County, we sponsor and co-sponsor numerous events, exhibits, and workshops, as well as support the arts with grants and scholarships. These include: 

  • An annual Members' Art Exhibit. In 2020 and 2019, this was held at Wood Library; in 2018, at the Cheshire Union Gallery; in 2017, at Finger Lakes Community College; and in 2016, at Finger Lakes Gallery & Frame in Canandaigua. This exhibit returns to Wood Library in 2022.

  • An annual series of juried exhibits from April to December in the North Gallery of the Ontario County Historical Society Museum, which began in 2018 and is sponsored in partnership with the Museum. Occasional workshops and lectures at the museum are held in conjunction with these exhibits. 

  • An annual series of juried member exhibits in the main lobby of the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, which represents a new partnership and began in 2020. But due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, additional exhibits in 2020 and for much of 2021 were postponed. We restarted in late 2021 with a group member show and are currently planning a series of one- and two-person shows for 2022.  

  • A Rotating Art Exhibit program at local offices and businesses that pay an annual $150 donation/fee to participate, which goes towards our grants and scholarship funds. Presently there are eight participants at eleven locations with twelve contributing member artists, an opportunity for our members that would expand as the number of participants increase.

  • A $2,000 Mariner Family Scholarship is awarded each fall to a deserving visual or performing arts student at Finger Lakes Community College, and a musical performance is periodically held to help support this scholarship.

  • Art grants, workshops and exhibits are made available to the public libraries in Ontario County and several local libraries are active participants in supporting the visual arts.

Our Board of Directors

We have an active, working Board of Directors, all volunteers, who works closely with other local organizations in support of the arts, including the Ontario County Historical Society, Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce and B.I.D., Arts in Canandaigua Galleries, and the City of Canandaigua. 

Left to Right — Seated: Judi Cermak (President), Tina Blackwood (Vice President for Communications), Ellen Polimeni; Standing: Mike Nyerges, Bradley Fuster, Carol Henshaw, Tina Motiwala, Neal Allen, Aimee Ward (Treasurer), Joyce Kowba, Kay Howard (Secretary), Lenore Friend. Not in the photo: Harry Patrick & Susan Besaw.