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News Briefs: November 2020

Detail of "The Wishing Wall" (photo credit: Kathleen Reckling)

Community Mural Unveiled at Sleepy Hollow Riverwalk

The Village of Sleepy Hollow recently unveiled The Wishing Wall, a temporary mural that celebrates the aspirations of the Sleepy Hollow community. Located near the Tarrytown Lighthouse, the 520-foot wall consists of 65 concrete panels that were painted by local artists and Sleepy Hollow community members. The designs are organized into four categories: air, earth, water and humanity. After this year, the mural panels will be removed as part of what is required to turn the ex-industrial riverfront into a new public open space.

Call For Poets: Westchester County Launches Poet Laureate

ArtsWestchester, in partnership with Westchester County Executive George Latimer, has announced a competitive call for an inaugural Westchester County Poet Laureate position. Westchester’s Poet Laureate will be an advocate for poetry and the literary arts, have significant personal poetic work and will encourage the community to engage with poetry by creating and leading activities that inspire writing and poetry performances among all age groups. They will also initiate a dialogue between local poets, cultural organizations and community institutions.

County Executive George Latimer explains: “When we think about memorializing a time, place, struggle or occasion, we turn to one of the highest forms of expression—poetry. It is this language in the hands of a Poet Laureate that we can reframe and restate the ideals we hold true.” ArtsWestchester CEO Janet T. Langsam adds: “The concept of a Poet Laureate is an affirmation that in our present day society, words matter and that it is important for these words to be truthful, poetic and emblematic of our principles and aspirations. We look to a Poet Laureate to express for us the things we might like to say ourselves, if only we had the poetic license.”

Poets can apply for the 2021-2022 position, a two-year term that will take place from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 20 22. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges, after which top candidates will be interviewed and a final selection will be made and announced by the County. Full eligibility requirements and terms can be found here. The deadline is November 16.

Eighth Annual YoFiFest Goes Digital This Month

The eighth annual YoFiFest (Yonkers Film Festival) will take place virtually this year, with a full lineup of Video on Demand screenings. True to its typical in-person festival, this year’s YoFiFest will include more than just the film screenings. Most screenings will include an invitation to a live online Q&A talkback event with the filmmakers.  These events will give viewers the opportunity to learn more about the movie and its creation. Nearly 140 filmmakers will participate in these programs throughout the festival.  Other events include a Red Carpet Kick-Off event and an Audience Choice Awards ceremony. Ticket configurations include a Full Festival Pass, which allows access to all films, 5-Ticket and 10-Ticket Bundles, and single tickets.

ArtsW Arts Deal: ArtsNews readers will receive a 20% discount when purchasing Full Festival Passes with code YOAW20.

Artist Vinnie Bagwell Receives Inaugural Award From Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) recently announced that Westchester-based artist Vinnie Bagwell will receive its inaugural Jorge and Darlene Pérez Prize in Public Art & Civic Design. This award celebrates and highlights the work of individuals who support, develop and manage the incorporation of art into the design of places and spaces across the United States.

According to AFTA, Bagwell: “has been a longstanding champion for utilizing the arts to drive social, educational and economic growth in her community. She conceives her work ‘to provoke critical thinking, spark the imagination and facilitate the unlearning of hate by giving humanity to the stories of marginalized people.’” Bagwell will be a featured guest on AFTA’s virtual panel about art and civic design on December 3.  A maquette of Bagwell’s upcoming Central Park sculpture is currently on view in Hudson River Museum’s Women to the Fore exhibition.

Bobby Sanabria performing at PJS Jazz Society (photo courtesy of PJS Jazz Society)

PJS Jazz Society Receives Grant from Black Arts Futures Fund

PJS Jazz Society, an institution that has brought jazz to the Westchester community for the past 40 years, was recently awarded a $7,500 board-directed grant from the Black Arts Futures Fund (BAFF). This collective of emerging philanthropists holds a mission to “promote the elevation and preservation of Black arts and culture.” It is for this reason, as stated in a letter of award notification sent to PJS President John Brathwaite, that BAFF’s executive board chose PJS for their grant.

PJS Jazz Society, one of ten organizations to receive funding from BAFF nationally, presents a monthly live jazz series at the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Vernon. The series features young musicians and master artists, many who have roots in Southern Westchester and the New York Metro Area. The organization has become a mainstay for local community – a place where jazz enthusiasts, educators and artists gather to grow, support and promote jazz culture. While PJS has had to cancel its fall season due to the pandemic, a 2021 season is expected.

BAFF, through grant making, board-matching and organization-to-donor cultivation, raises and disburses funds to small nonprofit organizations that are working to enhance and strengthen the future of Black arts. It was founded by DéLana R.A. Dameron as a philanthropic initiative of Red Olive Creative Consulting in 2017, and operates as a donor advised fund with the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

A version of this article first appeared in the November issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNewsis distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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