News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Mysterious Project Linked To Artspace



Mysterious Project

Linked To Artspace


Anna and Jim Tomaino plan to use a $225,000 DRI grant to create a line of shops along Jimmy T’s wall to serve a mixed use building in a plaza to be built on the Westcott Lot. (Drawing courtesy City Hall)

ONEONTA – The mystery is clearing: A privately developed – and thus taxable – Artspace may rise above the Westcott Parking Lot, and Anna and Jim Tomaino’s “transformative” project may open perhaps related shops along the side of the building next door.

Mayor Gary Herzig was interviewed from Australia, where he is vacationing, to provide details that had not been available previously.

“We have $1.45 million in DRI incentive money for a developer to construct a public plaza and a mixed-use building over the top of the Westcott Lot,” said Herzig.

City Perfect For Artspace, Feasibility Study Reports


Feasibility Report:

Oneonta Is Perfect

For Artspace Project

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Artspace today released a positive preliminary report on a site in Oneonta.

ONEONTA – Artspace believes that Oneonta would be an ideal location for a mixed-use, live/work spaces for artists, according to a report from the Minneapolis-based non-profit released today.


“The report speaks clearly,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “They found a lot of support and a real sense of need for this kind of construction.”

Collaborative workspace/maker space was the most-needed usage, the study found.

“Currently, participants primarily use their homes, garages, and basements for their creative work,” the report read.  “A collaborative space in Oneonta would help artists transition from students to working artists, encourage collaboration, and provide an attainable entry point for individuals exploring a new medium.”



50 At Foothills For Artspace Public Forum

50 At Foothills For

Artspace Public Forum

Wendy Holmes, Artspace senior VP/consulting & strategic partnerships, addresses the 50 citizens gathered at the Artspace public comment forum this evening at Foothills. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Rylee Willsey, Otego, and other members of the Elite Dance Academy were one of several acts showcasing a sample of Oneonta’s performing arts scene.

ONEONTA – If you call yourself an artist, you are welcome at Artspace.

“People think they have to have a fine arts degree to consider themselves an artist,” said Anna Growcott, Director, consulting and strategic partnerships for Artspace. “But we don’t feel that way. If you think you’re doing something creative, we agree.”

More than 50 citizens turned out for Artspace’s public forum this evening, concluding the first day of tours, focus groups and a performance by several local dance troupes. Earlier in the day, 31 artists shared their vision for the project, including community spaces, live/work studios and galleries.

Artspace, Meet Artists!


Meet Artists!

Focus Groups Underway Today, Thursday

Carol Mandigo of Catskill Puppet Theater and the painter responsible for the murals on the side of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society, explains to the visiting members of Artspace that her rented studio space is inadequate and that increased support for working artists is not only wanted but needed in Oneonta.  To her right are James McKilroy, Nathaniel Francisco and Madeline Walker. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Anna Growcott, director, consulting and strategic partnerships with Artspace, keeps track of everyone’s ideas.

ONEONTA – Whether they were painters, metalworkers, glassblowers or sculptors, many of the 31 gathered at the first Artspace focus group had one thing in common.

They were all using their own homes as their creative space.

“I do wood-burning at my dining room table,” said Anne Vrooman.

“I practice my dance and music in my living room,” said Elizabeth Raphaelson, owner of the Underground Attic.

“I’m trying to record music while the garbage trucks are driving around,” said James McIlroy.

Artspace, the Minneapolis-based not-for-profit, is in the city for three days, meeting with focus groups, touring sites and assessing whether or not one of their buildings – which offers low-cost live/work space for artists, community rooms and storefronts – would be a welcome addition to Oneonta’s downtown.

Artspace Plans 3-Day Oneonta Exploration

Artspace Plans 3-Day

Oneonta Exploration

 Tours, Multiple Public Meetings Planned

 ONEONTA – Artspace, which is considering creating affordable spaces for artists and creative businesses in Center City, will be holding “stakeholder meetings: in Oneonta next week.

The visit, exploring the feasibility of a live-work building, including the Oneonta Ford site,  will include a tour of the DRI area, meetings with local artists and businesspeople, and end with a community meeting preceded by performances of local dance groups, musicians and artists.

Here’s the schedule:

Common Council Approves $25,000 For Artspace Survey

Common Council Approves

$25,000 For Artspace Survey

Though initially concerned that the city wouldn’t get their money’s worth, Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward, joined the unanimous vote to give SUNY Oneonta the $25,000 technical assistant grant, through the DRI to bring Artspace to survey the city as a possible site for affordable living and studio space for artists. (Parker Fish/

Full Story In Hometown Oneonta,

On Newsstands Wednesday Afternoon

County Manager Idea Quickly Gains Traction

County Manager Idea

Quickly Gains Traction

The first formal discussion about hiring a county manager for Otsego County government was held Tuesday, Feb. 13, and the idea surfaced to get the question on the ballot by the Nov. 7 election. The county board’s IGA committee scheduled another meeting on just this topic for 9 a.m. Feb. 27. Read exclusive report in Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal. Also, read an exclusive report on the interest of ArtSpace, a national arts-related developer, to creating a site in Oneonta that provides housing for artists AND studio space. In The Freeman’s, find out about the new owners of the venerable Spurbeck’s Grocery, which reopened Monday.
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