A colorful confession

Of all the shocking confessions Iíve made over the years, perhaps none has been met with more stunned reaction than this:

Iíve never been to Golden Artist Colors.

Thatís right folks, unbelievable as it may seem, until a couple weeks ago, I had never set foot inside what is surely one of Chenango Countyís most successful and innovative home-grown businesses.

Youíd think being the seen-it-all, done-it-all seasoned newspaper editor that I am, there wouldnít be many thresholds in Chenango that I havenít crossed. Yet, until very recently, Iíd never seen the wonders of Golden Artist Colors.

To clarify, I had been to the Columbus (or is it New Berlin? Hard to tell up in them thar woods) facility before. Sometime back in the early 90s, I pointed my trusty camera at a groundbreaking for one of the artist paint manufacturerís many expansion projects. I lined up the dignitaries, got my requisite posed shot, and left. I canít remember if they invited me inside or not; more likely, I was concerned about following my bread crumb trail back to Norwich as quickly as possible.

So, a decade or so and a couple dozen Evening Sun stories later, it is kind of surprising that Iíd never found my way inside the Golden factory before. Lu Dick, a good friend of mine from her days at the Pennysaver, had been trying to lure me up to her current employer for quite some time. On Nov. 19, I decided to bite on an invitation to a gallery talk by visiting artist Susanna Starr of New York City. Fairly recently, Golden Artist Colorsí expansion project included the addition of gallery space that features a rotating exhibit of artists who use the Golden line of products. Itís named, appropriately enough, the Sam and Adele Golden Gallery (SAGG), after the founders of the company.

I love art. I canít actually do art. I canít always convey why I like or dislike a particular piece or style of art, but I enjoy looking at it. Starrís talk was fascinating. While Iíve often enjoyed the finished product at various galleries in the area, I confess (thereís another one) that I donít as often think of the process that goes into creating it. Starrís lecture, open to Golden employees and the general public, gave a captivating glimpse into one artistís inspiration. Her slide show and comments were presented chronologically Ė you got to see the evolution of how she went from working in one medium to another, and the reasoning behind the choices she made along the way.

Starr uses Goldenís paints in ways Iíd never even thought of. Apparently, thereís a lot more you can do with them besides brushing them on a canvas. I like to fool myself into thinking that Iím somewhat of an artist with words and ink, but this woman truly thinks outside the proverbial box and defines ďartist.Ē Calling her works ďgiant sponges filled with paintĒ is like calling the Sistine Chapel a ďpainted ceiling.Ē Trust me, youíd have to see them for yourself.

Inspired by Starrís talk, I wanted to see more of Golden Artist Colors for myself. Thatís when I confessed to Lu, and later Mark and Barbara Golden, that Iíd never been there before. Surprised they were, yes, but even more so they were gracious and open in their invitation to show me around. Barbara took me on a tour personally, and I tried to absorb as much of the storied Golden history as I could Ė kind of like one of Starrís sponges, come to think of it.

Of course Iíve reviewed countless Evening Sun stories weíve done on Golden Artist over the years, but as they say, seeing is really believing. I was particularly impressed by Goldenís attention to customer service. Iíd say theyíve raised that to an artform every bit as much as the paints and various mediums they produce. Collaborating with the artists who use their products in such an intimate and inspirational way is clearly the key to Goldenís success. Hereís an example of what was literally a mom-and-pop operation growing and prospering into a globally-recognized company Ė all from right here in little olí Chenango County. Weíre lucky to have them here.

My little field trip to Columbus has inspired me ... not to paint, mind you (although I am pretty handy with latex and a roller). If nothing else, my tour of Golden Artist Colors has taught me that I really need to get out of Norwich more often. You never know what youíre going to find up there in the woods.

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