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‘Spring Into Art’ celebrates upcoming relocation

Fernanda+Media%2C+a+visual+artist%2C+paints+during+the+Spring+Into+Art+event+held+at+Hair+Color+Art+on+March+1.+
Shelby Riley-Cherubin
Fernanda Media, a visual artist, paints during the “Spring Into Art” event held at Hair Color Art on March 1.

Hair Color Art hosted their bi-monthly “Spring Into Art” gallery and pop-up shop March 1, with unique artwork, live music and delicious drinks.

A few dozen people attended the event, enjoying drinks from Open Spaces Cider, live music from DJ West Fox and diverse pieces from seven different artists, with work ranging all the way from clothing made with hand-spun yarn to on-site charcoal portraits.

Though the event was lively and brought together many artists from nearby communities, it was a bittersweet day as well, as this was the last event Hair Color Art hosted in their current location before the establishment makes the move to South Hill Business Campus later this month.

Owner Kristin Dutcher, who opened the business in 2019 and has been hosting galleries for five years, said the idea for the move came when her lease ended and she realized she needed more space for her growing team and ideas. 

“I just thought, before I sign another lease here, let me look around and see what else is available just to see if I can realize more of my awesome dreams,” Dutcher said.

“Spring Into Art” was organized by two of the featured artists, Yen Ospina and Sarah Lopez, who approached Hair Color Art with the idea for a gallery and reached out to find a variety of emerging artists to participate in the showcase.

“It’s my first time putting together an event like this and being able to bring other artists from the community together,” Lopez said. “Not only to showcase their art, but to support one another and create these beautiful spaces. I feel really proud of the work we’ve done here today.”

Her display showed off and sold a variety of canvas fiber paintings created from handspun yarn. She said the inspiration behind her work comes from a deep family history with the art.

“I was originally inspired to get involved with the fiber arts because of my grandmothers from Mexico and Poland,” Lopez said. “They used to use plant and animal fibers to knit clothing for their families out of necessity, so I initially started my fiber journey knitting scarves so I could feel a connection across generations.”

Ospina, who has curated events for emerging artists in the past, was responsible for inviting artists to participate, reaching out through Instagram and directly messaging artists whose work she admired.

“This community has a really big art scene, and with me being here since 2013, it’s been much easier to know a lot of artists that live in and around the Ithaca area,” Ospina said. “Sarah also knew some people that we should add to the mix as well.”

Ospina’s own display table contained various art forms like stickers, coloring books and zines. She said her tropical and vibrant color choice stems from her own background and identity.

“I lost my job during the pandemic in 2020, and I had a lot of time to figure out my style which arises from folklore fairy tale fantasy art with a mix of my indigenous South American background,” Ospina said.

One of these featured artists, Carrie Kathryn, joined the event after being invited by Lopez, and set up a display full of clothing and accessories made from handspun and hand-dyed yarn.

“A lot of it is based on sustainability and trying to reduce textile waste, as well as keeping these ancient arts alive with hand spinning and dyeing and knitting and crochet,” Kathryn said.

Another artist, Rachel Feirman, who has lived in Ithaca since she was five, said the area has inspired much of her work, including stickers, bookmarks and prints.

“I grew up locally, and nature has had a big impact on my life,” Feirman said. “A lot of the flora and fauna that I was surrounded by most days was just an ever present inspiration for me.”

Yamilka Portorreal, another featured artist, said they only moved to Ithaca from New York City about six months ago. Their display featured a variety of woodcut prints, and they spent much of their time creating on-site charcoal portraits for attendees who paid and sat down to be drawn.

“I didn’t study art in school,” Portorreal said. “This is just something I’m super passionate about. I love drawing, and I love looking at different things from life, whether it’s people or landscapes, and trying to put that on paper.”

Other featured artists included Audra Linsner, who displayed a variety of mural prints and graphic design pieces, and Fernanda Medina, whose skills were on full display as she did a live painting during the event.

Mitchell White, who knew of some of the featured artists beforehand, attended the event with the intention of checking out what the local art scene has been up to lately.

“I always like seeing what’s going on in Ithaca,” White said. “These kinds of events are really fun, just getting to see what the local art scene is doing and what people are using spaces for.”

Hair Color Art’s new space will be used to host even more events, like art galleries and costume workshops, which Dutcher said will be easier to pull off with more room.

“Up at South Hill Business Campus, it’s four times the size of this space, so we’re expanding substantially,” Dutcher said. “I’ll have space for yoga workshops, for art workshops, I can still host gallery events like this and have music. I feel like it’s the final form of my business. It literally will fit everything I want to do in that space.”

This also includes a continuation of Hair Art Color’s Hair Grant Program, which accepts donations from community members and uses them to provide free haircuts for adolescents from marginalized communities and homeless youth. According to Dutcher, the program raised around $4,500 in 2023 which they were able to use to cut and dye hair for 17 kids.

“The nice thing about collecting funds for a program like that is we’re able to turn around and give it right back to the community,” Dutcher said. “We also get paid for our time, so it’s a pretty good system.”

With so much on the horizon, Dutcher said it’s hard not to look forward to what is in store for the business’ future, even as the team leaves their current space behind.

“May 4 is our big grand opening celebration,” Dutcher said. “We’re going to have a burlesque show happening that day and we’re talking about having a red carpet event, so everyone gets all dressed up and we have a photographer. That’ll be really fun, and that’s just the beginning.”

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