More than 30 years ago, a group of like-minded creatives regularly gathered in the cramped apartment of a budding young local artist, working together to promote each other’s work and bring artistic vibrancy to our community. Looking back, the Tri-County Arts Council has moved from a 400 square-foot apartment to a 3,300 square-foot storefront as a proud participant in the revitalization efforts of downtown Olean. We have exciting plans for the future and are committed to propelling this legacy forward.
Formally founded in 1997, after receiving grant funds from New York State Council on the Arts, the Cattaraugus County Arts Council established itself at a space in the former Allegany High School building. At the time, our founders were interested in providing the region with access to arts funding through the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization program, and bringing quality arts programming to the residents of Cattaraugus county. Administration for the NYSCA Decentralization Programs in Allegany and Chautauqua counties were added in 2003 and 2009. This program administered by us on behalf of New York State, brings thousands of dollars of funding to small arts and cultural organizations throughout our region every year and is one of the cornerstones of our organization.
In the years to follow, our mission grew, striving to improve the quality of life across the region by elevating the place of arts and culture in our area through education, advocacy and events. However, lacking a street presence was a hindrance to the further growth of the organization, and a move to a new location on Main Street in Allegany was initiated in 2011. At that new location a retail space was launched for artists to sell their work and allowed for an expanded pottery and studio space. Classes for both adults and students, professional development for artists, and partnerships made with the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce helped to provide us with increased visibility and recognition.
In 2018, after 20 years of service to the region, we officially changed our name to the Tri-County Arts Council, to better reflect the three county (Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua) communities we serve.
In 2019, we underwent another exciting milestone, moving to our new home in a restored 1920s building at 110 W State St in Olean. A building, which was previously set for demolition. This move reinforced our desire to showcase the important impact that the creative economy can have on economic development and community revitalization.
We hope you’ll join us in taking a class, shopping in our Artisan Market, or becoming a member in support of our local arts and culture!
The Tri-County Arts Council advocates the creation and appreciation of arts and culture in the region.
We’re open: Tuesday – Friday 12-6 & Saturday 12-5 at 110 West State St in Olean, NY 14760