New GO ART! directors look to build cultural impact

Feb 4, 2016

BATAVIA — Stability may be the first order for the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, following a year in which three different people held the title of executive director. But the second priority is farming fresh ideas to build the group into one of the faces of the region.

To head up that new goal, the GO ART! board has placed its trust in Jennifer Gray and Gregory Hallock. Gray was named the executive director two weeks ago, and Hallock started as assistant director on Monday. With differing backgrounds, they are counting on their balance to help lead the group to new heights.

“We were looking for fresh ideas, new energy,” said Picarro-Hoerbelt, GO ART! president, after Gray was promoted from interim director to the full-time position. “We were looking for someone who would lead the organization in a very community-minded future.”

Hallock was one of the other candidates for the executive director position, but was asked to apply for the assistant director post when a grant allowed GO ART! to increase a part-time position to full-time.

Hallock has long been associated with the theater, working with Squeaky Wheel in Buffalo and even doing some shows in Batavia. He holds degrees from the University at Buffalo, Brockport State College and even Genesee Community College.

“I think the nice thing about Greg and I is that his background is in performing arts and mine is more fine arts,” said Gray. “I think that’s going to balance us well with our upcoming programs.”

“Where my knowledge is lacking, that’s where she is strong,” added Hallock.

Both Gray and Hallock share the goal of building GO ART! with new programming and looking at how best to serve the two-county region. In the short-term, that means polling the community to discover what interests it the most.

“I really want to get better communication with the public,” Gray said. “I want to gauge what it is that our members want out of us. I wrote a grant to try to secure some money to really ramp up our (public relations), so that we can really look at our website, we can do a community survey to really find out who are target membership is and what they want out of their arts council. I think once we can figure out those two things, we can really be dynamic in our programming.”

Of course, GO ART! must find a niche for art lovers, since it lies in such close proximity to larger cultural hubs in Buffalo and Rochester. The idea is to create shows, productions and programming that not only appeals to people in Batavia, but in those larger cities, too.

“I think an arts council should reflect its region,” Gray said. “I think the thing that we are rich in here is traditional arts. I don’t think we should re-invent the wheel, but I think it’s our duty to bring in some more current things, to reflect what’s currently out there. At the same time, we need to understand and appreciate our traditions.”

The first thing both Gray and Hallock want people to know is that GO ART! is now open to any new ideas and looking for ways to better engage all of the people in the area, not just the artists.

“I’d like for us to be a catalyst for the town to really start to embrace the arts as something that is an important part of why people would want to live here,” Gray said.

“If you have an idea, call us, and we’ll talk,” added Hallock.

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by Matt Krueger, The Daily News (2/4/2016)
For online article, click here!