GO-Art! intends to open bar in back room

Jul 28, 2017

BATAVIA — New Executive Director Gregory Hallock has been saying for the past year and a half that the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council needs to do more with the bar in the back room on their building. Last year, he helped then-director Jennifer Gray transform the room from storage space into a members gallery.

Now Hallock and GO-Art! are one step closer to turning it into a revenue stream and the means to accomplishing one of his biggest goals: getting more people into the building.

On Wednesday, GO-Art! made its official announcement to the City of Batavia that it intends to open the bar to the public and serve beer, wine and hard cider. Hallock announced the move publicly during the council’s inaugural press dinner Thursday evening.

“I can’t wait until people who are walking around the city come in here at 11:30 at night, get a glass of wine and walk around to look at art,” Hallock said during his presentation to the more than 20 people in attendance. “I’m really excited to have that happen.”

GO-Art! must wait 30 days before submitting their application for an alcohol permit so city officials can consider the plan. During that time, Hallock said, the council will work on bringing the bar are in line with health department regulations.

“When the city is ready, we’ll be ready,” Hallock said.

Another plan for the bar is to transform the alleyway behind the building into a beer garden.

The current plan is to open the bar, and the galleries, from 11 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The bar wasn’t the only big announcement GO-Art! made during the dinner. Hallock also introduced Jodi Fisher as the council’s new program director. Hallock had filled that role until being promoted to executive director two months ago.

Fisher, who lives in Batavia with her husband and two children, was one of three finalists for the job. Hallock said she was “perfect” for the position. She will begin Aug. 1.

Hallock also presented a new art exhibit in what had been the men’s room connected to the bar. Photographer Jim Burns of the Batavia Photography Club, shot a series of photos with a nude model, but covered her body with projected images and designs. It is a nod to the days when the GO-Art! building served as the home of the Batavia Men’s Club. Rumor has it that nude photographs hung on then walls in the men’s club, but were relegated to the men’s room when women were finally allowed to enter the building.

The photo exhibit is part of Hallock’s top priority, to have art hanging on every wall in the building. All that remains for that goal is the upstairs conference room, which is currently being painted to accommodate artwork.

During her address, Vice President Tammy Hathaway debuted new GO-Art! T-shirts with the group’s logo on the front at the tongue-in-cheek message, “I Arted,” on the back. She said they will be the prize for a new community-wide art challenge that encourages anyone in Genesee and Orleans counties to submit a photo to show their artistic side along with a monetary donation.

“We’re always looking for ways to incorporate the community into raising money so we can keep our lights on and our doors open,” Hathaway said. “We could do a campaign to just ask for money, but we’re going to be more fun. This will bring the community into GO-Art! and they can be part of us.”

By Matt Krueger, The Daily News