PLATTSBURGH - When Tavish Costello came to the State University of New York at Plattsburgh to study art, it was only a matter of time before he got plugged into the local arts scene.
Through the connections he's made with artists, musicians and people both at the university and in the community, he's learned about the growing desire to build the area into a Mecca for artists and art enthusiasts like himself.
"There's just been this kind of ongoing conversation about how we need to further the arts in the community. We see towns surrounding us, like Burlington, really thriving in the arts, but Plattsburgh isn't quite at that level," said Costello.
Organizations like the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts and the university's arts department have done much to further that endeavor, but Costello said he and many others are looking to take things a step further when it comes to promoting more contemporary artwork and music.
"There's been a need building for a place that's both a studio and gallery and also a music venue for more eclectic kinds of artists and musicians," said Costello. "We want to do that - something new for Plattsburgh or at least something we haven't seen a lot of."
Over the past few years, Costello and a group of his friends and peers have been keeping a serious ear to the ground for ways and opportunities to make that happen. The perfect space became available on Clinton Street in a location that housed the former business "A Different Blend," and, in January, Costello and his friends worked to develop the space into what is known as The ROTA Studio and Gallery.
The idea behind ROTA, said Costello, is to provide the additional space for contemporary artists to perform, create and gather. Ideally, Costello said he envisions ROTA becoming another organization that will help connect artists with art-enthusiasts and do more to establish even more art spaces and displays in the community.
"It's not that there aren't any," Costello said of art pieces displayed publicly in common spaces. "There are a few here and there, but it's something that the ROTA Gallery could possibly facilitate. Just help in connecting these other organizations and help get the word out."
Only open for a matter of weeks, ROTA has already developed quite a buzz, drawing bands like Withered Remains, Trinity Park Radio, and For the Kid in the Back, and several artists ranging from painters to sculptors and creators of other medias.
"We've been hearing from all walks of life," said Costello. "We've had artists from all over the area stopping in and students from the college seem to be quite interested - especially the ones in the art department and the English department. They're interested in doing a poetry reading night."
That mix is exactly what Costello and his friends want.
"It's a great space for artists to get together and for the community," said volunteer Anastasia Lewis.
"The great thing is it's open to everyone," added volunteer Matt Hall.
Though the local arts community is starting to grow, Costello said he feels Plattsburgh can one day become like Burlington - "a place that's culturally flourishing with a myriad of galleries and places to display."
"It's still quite early, though," he added, with a laugh.
The ROTA Studio and Gallery, 19 Clinton St., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The gallery can be reached by calling 586-2182. For more information, search for "The ROTA Studio and Gallery"on Facebook at www.facebook.com.