– Interview with Ben Bookout & Camaron Cohen –
There’s a new gallery in town. After a quiet opening in ’21 as the Pandemic was easing, Ithaca-based photographers, Ben Bookout and Camaron Cohen, have launched a truly unique exhibition space in Ithaca New York. Located next door to the renowned State Theatre, and across the street from the Ithaca Commons, The Rest provides a bright and inspired scene for artistic explorations as well as novel experimentation. Bookout and Cohen are committed to showcasing the works of both established and emerging artists. They also bring a collaborative mentality and arts immersion strategies to expositions, heralding change for the local arts scene. Above all, this is a gallery known for its hospitality. The curators offer generous terms to exhibiting artists, and maintain an inviting atmosphere where every passerby feels welcome. “Come in, take a rest,” Bookout voiced their motto when I popped by this autumn to learn about their venture. The below recorded interview and slides of past exhibits explores the work they have begun, and the themes of artistic renewal that underlie their mission.
– Jeffrey F. Barken
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Ben Bookout is a photographer and visual artist in Ithaca, NY. Ben is also the owner of The Rest gallery in Ithaca. Ben grew up in Boulder, CO and went to photography school in Glenwood Springs, CO. In addition to photography and immersive art creation, Ben is an educator and currently teaches art and photography for New Roots Charter School. In his free time Ben cares for his little beagle Urs, bikes, hikes and contemples the finer points of mindfulness. You’ll often see him and Urs in The Rest gallery deep in thought and creating art.
Camaron Cohen received her BFA in photography from Washington University in St. Louis and went on to study graduate level Curatorial Studies & Landscape Architecture at Harvard University. As a photographer and artist, much of her work connects the fine art portrait with the themes of architecture, place, space, and the experience/gaze of the viewer. As a curator, she has also worked in both Seattle and Boston representing public artists and organizations, has acted as project manager on numerous public art projects, and currently acts as an independent curator in the Northeast. Furthermore, she has curated several nationally recognized juried competitions, including “Compassion”, in conjunction with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s “Seeds of Compassion” gathering at Qwest Field in Seattle. She currently lives in Ithaca, and In her spare time, loves renovating old houses, hosting dinner parties (or any party), hanging out with her pup friends, napping, and going for walks in the woods.