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Dingman Point artists’ tour showcases art and community

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — Six artist neighbors here opened their homes and studios this weekend for the 17th annual Dingman Point River Artists Open Studio Tour.

Artist Michael C. Ringer, St. Lawrence Gallery, said the point of the tour is less about making money and more about exposing their work to the community, especially to those who may not have known about the art in the area.

“Obviously, it’s to try to get new people to see the work,” he said Sunday. “It’s kind of fun for us because at times we tend to have visiting artists.”

Rather than cooping up in his studio, Mr. Ringer stayed out in his gallery to answer questions concerning his work and technique. He showed visitors how to cast in bronze as well as how to properly stretch canvas.

He has sold several prints and books, but his bigger works sell when the crowds have thinned.

“The bigger clients, they don’t want to come to the shows,” he said. “They come on the quieter days.”

The visitors were not dropping small change for prints, however, which can be around $100 or more. Many, such as Jim E. Ninos and Karrie S. Edwards from Alfred were looking through the prints to see if there was one they could afford.

“I wasn’t that familiar with his work,” said Mr. Ninos. “I’m excited to be here. It’s kind of a visual feast here.”

Helen E. Magnant, Hilton, said she had never been down Dingman Point Road before the tour, and it was a great way to showcase the area as well as promote local art.

“If something strikes you, you have to get it,” she said.

Other artists in the tour included Glenn Sweet, Cecilia Thompson, Sherman Ward, Mary M. Compeau and Hans Junga. Mr. Sweet, a decoy carver, said there was a steady stream of people visiting until the temperature soared above 90 degrees Saturday.

“We’ve probably seen a couple hundred” visitors, he said. “It’s average.”

His small workshop held dozens of decoys, including two that helped him win a world championship in a gunning pairs competition in Ocean City, Md. The ones for sale averaged about $175, but he was willing to bring down the price if someone wanted to buy one or two dozen.

“Everything’s negotiable in volume,” he said jokingly.

Although the vast majority of visitors were coming to the artists’ homes for the first time, Don R. Trendell from Syracuse has come every year for the past 17 years. He was looking at paintings at Mary Compeau’s studio and bought a postcard print to send to his son and future daughter-in-law who reside in Hawaii.

“Usually, it just so happens to happen when we have relatives up,” he said, pointing out that Glenn Sweet’s studio was his last stop before finishing up the tour.



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