The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York recently presented Lewiston artist Michelle Marcotte an individual artist grant for Niagara County in the amount of $2,500.
This fall, Marcotte was named artist-in-residence by DiMino Tops Lewiston to produce a continuing series of paintings of food on location at the supermarket's carryout café.
Marcotte said, "I paint the most important things in life - people, food and the land that sustains us. I think making and eating a meal with family and friends is the best part of the day. These paintings are about the importance of preparing and eating a meal with family and friends; about family; the swirl of a lively kitchen and life's important moments."
Although Marcotte has already started painting at the Tops café, the project will begin in late April and run until December 2016. During that time, she will paint one or two days a week at Tops.
Anthony DiMino, president of DiMino Tops Lewiston, said, "We are a progressive company with a deep commitment to community involvement. Since the focus of Michelle's current paintings is food, home cooking and family, and since Michelle's art will involve the community, her approach is a good fit with our business and values.
"Michelle will gain inspiration from our store, its offerings and our customers. She will use this inspiration to create paintings while in our store. As she paints, Michelle also plans to talk to people about their approaches to home cooking and their interest in food and art, recording snippets of conversation (with permission) for use in later exhibitions of her food paintings."
The grant is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Regrant Program and is designed to support quality, community-level arts and cultural programs. In making the grant announcement, Jennifer Swan, ASI associate director of Western New York, wrote, "We anticipate that Michelle painting at the DiMino Tops Supermarket will enrich the artistic and cultural atmosphere for the citizens of this region. By investing in Marcotte's artistic project, we continue to strengthen and diversify the artistic offerings to both citizens and tourists alike."
When preparing her grant proposals to ASI, Marcotte received advice from Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce. Some of the ASI grants require sponsorship of a local not-for-profit organization.
"Knowing how community-minded the DiMino family is and how Tops supports that commitment, the River Region Chamber of Commerce was happy to assist with this project," Pauly said. "Since our chamber sponsors both the Garden Festival and the Harvest Festivals in Lewiston, the focus on food and agriculture of this art project really fit with our focus of supporting local business and agriculture."