SKARTS launches “Creative Conversations” with Laura Austin and Patience Brewster

2 February 2013

Artist and entrepreneur Patience Brewster was the first guest in a new series of Creative Conversations presented by the Skaneateles Area Arts Council (SKARTS).

The program, moderated by actress and CNY arts leader, Laura Austin, was held March 5 at The Loft at 42 Genesee St., Skaneateles.

The two discussed Brewster’s art and her business. She then took questions from the audience.

“SKARTS launched this new series to feature local artists and thought leaders in our community,” says Joe Strodel, Jr. the organization’s president. “Each Creative Conversation will feature a thought-leader moderator conversing with an artist, musician, performer or writer. The audience will explore how artists create, live and draw inspiration.”

Since signing her first book contract at the age of 25, Brewster has illustrated more than 34 books. Working in pencil, watercolor and gouache, she has developed a style that is immediately recognizable and highly prized. Her drawings have been featured on greeting cards, holiday ornaments and other products.

In 2008, Brewster formed her own company to create a line of handmade sculptures. Today, the company, of which she is the sole creative force, has sales around the world.

“Sometimes, a passion or a person has a strong hold on my consciousness and that transforms into a drawing,” Brewster says.

Austin is a founder and associate artistic director of Redhouse Arts Center. In 2003, she developed and implemented the Redhouse Capital Campaign, which raised $1.4 million. She also managed the renovations of a three-story historic building in downtown Armory Square.

At Redhouse, she has been responsible for selecting, casting, directing, acting in, promoting and commissioning works, along with fund-raising. She has served on the boards of numerous arts organizations and has a wide range of acting credits, both nationally and internationally. She is an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity.

The Loft at 42 Genesee St., Skaneateles, is owned by Dr. Robert Kiltz and has recently been renovated to include five levels of meeting and living space. The space features architectural lighting, original brick walls and a glass elevator.

Sponsors include Dr. Robert Kiltz, Group M Communications, Skaneateles Talk, and Vincent McCabe Inc.. Brewster and Austin have also graciously contributed their time to the event.

SKARTS, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, works to celebrate the visual and performing arts by creating an environment where cultural activity thrives in our community. The council presents cultural programming, free concerts in the gazebo in Clift Park, and issues grants to artists and arts organizations in the Skaneateles area.

For more information, contact Jean Vincent at