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Past Exhibits

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July - Sept, 2021

Lifetime Achievement Exhibit

Cortland Arts Connect established the Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Art in 2009.  A committee appointed by the Cultural Council chooses the recipient.  The intent is to recognize and honor outstanding artists for their contribution to the cultural fabric of our community and to build a permanent visual record of an important aspect of our artistic heritage.

Cortland Arts Connect periodically displays this ever-growing collection in exhibits around the community and is currently exhibiting the collection at the McNeil Gallery. The recipient for the 2021 Visual Art awards is Lolita White.

This year, Cortland Arts Connect has decided to broaden our scope and include a Lifetime Achievement Award for Music.  A committee appointed by CAC chooses the recipient.  The intent is to recognize and honor outstanding musicians for their contribution to the cultural fabric of our community and to build a permanent record of some of the individuals who have expanded our musical heritage.  An honoree has been chosen for the first time, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Music recipient is Paulette Fry.

Oct - Nov, 2021

Plein Air: Cortland & Beyond

Artist Statement: 

Rain and oil paint don’t mix well, I discovered as I created my first works in plein air, set up around Dingle Ireland in 2007. After moving to Cortland in 2010, I picked up watercolor - a medium I had abandoned in college.

I spent the next few years painting plein air watercolors around Cortland County. In 2014, David Beale and I started leading plein air workshops around the country and internationally, with a favorite regular trip to Ireland. In 2020 I started a project called Plein Air Cortland, creating plein air works in different parts of the county.


This show is a collection of 14 years painting plein air (painting outdoors). There are works from Cortland, Finger Lakes, Sedona Arizona, Ireland (Dingle, Cork, Galway) and Barcelona Spain. The pieces are painted in watercolor, oil and casein.


Plein Air Cortland is a continuing project. I am still looking for suggestions on places to paint!

Shoot me a message and visit my blog at 


This exhibit is dedicated to two fine painters and teachers, George Dugan and David Beale.


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July & Aug 2023

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients Sherry Dans and Stephen Wilson

Join us for an evening of celebration as Cortland Arts Connect (CAC) presents the 14th Lifetime Achievement Awards on July 14th at 5:30 pm. The awards will be held on the beautiful back patio of the McNeil Building, located at 17-29 Main Street, Cortland.

This year's distinguished honorees are: Sherry Dans for Visual Art and Dr. Stephen Wilson for Music. Both renowned and esteemed artists have left an indelible mark on our local arts scene, enriching our community with their remarkable talents.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards pay tribute to exceptional artists and musicians who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of our cultural landscape. Established in 2009, the Visual Art Award acknowledges outstanding contributions to the visual arts, while the Music Award, added in 2021, recognizes extraordinary achievements in the realm of music. The honorees are chosen by a committee of their peers, who evaluate their accomplishments and contributions.

Sherry Dans, an esteemed photographer, and retired Computer Graphics Specialist, graces our board at Cortland Arts Connect. Specializing in wildlife and landscape photography, Sherry possesses a unique ability to capture the essence of nature without disturbing its harmony. Through workshops and volunteering her time and talents for CAC, she generously shares her passion for photography with the community. Sherry's award-winning work has been exhibited at prominent venues such as YWCA Cortland and McNeil Gallery. Additionally, she is an active member of the prestigious Syracuse Photography Club, one of the oldest photography organizations in the United States.

Dr. Stephen Wilson, our distinguished honoree for Music, served as a professor of music at SUNY Cortland from 1985 to 2016. During his tenure, he taught choral music, music theory, conducted various performances, and accompanied numerous students and faculty colleagues. With a Doctor of Arts in conducting from Ball State University, Dr. Wilson's exceptional choral arrangements have resounded throughout the eastern seaboard and the Midwest. Furthermore, his musical expertise extends to being a pianist and music director for numerous musical theater productions. Notably, he is also a cherished member of the JazzHappensBand.

The celebratory evening will be enhanced by refreshments, accompanied by harp music performed by harpist Lisa Fenwick. In conjunction with the event, the McNeil Gallery will host a collaborative exhibition featuring works by both honorees throughout the month of July. We cordially invite you to join us on July 14th as we applaud and honor the extraordinary achievements of our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award winners.


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