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Serious Fun Arts Fest

Christopher Rios working on his East Post Road mural for the Serious Fun Arts Fest

Arts lovers will be in their glory when the arts will take over White Plains this month during the Serious Fun Arts Fest (Oct. 12-16). The festival brings 15 new public artworks and 20 live music performances, as well as gallery events, family art-making activities, pop-up dance performances, an art fair and a concert featuring on-the-rise Brooklyn band Sammy Rae & the Friends. Artsy events will enliven the streets of the City’s downtown area morning, noon and night. ArtsWestchester will present the five-day festival with help from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism, presenting sponsor Montefiore Einstein, the City of White Plains, and White Plains developers and business owners. Guests can pop in for an afternoon of fun or stay overnight and discover the food, culture and happenings that the City has to offer. Click here for a map and day-by-day schedule of what’s to come.


OCT. 12-16

Among the live music, art fair, dance performances and family activities, Serious Fun Arts Fest-goers will experience nearly two-dozen public artworks in the form of murals and sculptures. 

Murals by artists Yuke Li and Andrey Kravtsov enliven the walk for incoming commuters by flooding nearby walls with whimsy. A short walk away, Scott Chasse and Kenley Darling of Signature Unknown, as well as muralist Misha Tyutyunik, bring bold geometric shapes and movement to otherwise blank walls.  Meanwhile, Bianca Romero’s nine-story mural pays tribute to the Indigenous inhabitants of White Plains. Wane One’s street mural transforms a drop-off lane into a welcome mat to ArtsWestchester’s building. 

White Plains resident Erwin Ong transforms construction walls with a fanciful underwater scene just steps from Oscar Lett‘s surrealistic landscape and Tim Grajek’s nod to modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan. 

Several other artists harken the region’s natural habitats: a “Painted Lady” butterfly by Chris Soria, a hummingbird from Christopher Rios, and an elephant headed toward Martine Avenue, painted by Eileen Stodut. 

Art comes off the walls and into the round with a selection of “Insta-worthy” sculptures. Artist Georgi Minchev‘s large-scale reflective teardrop sculpture signals the downtown business corridor. Just a stone’s throw away, viewers can walk among the shapes in Shelley Parriott‘s colorful site-responsive work. Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong’s installation creates a new community hub for sitting, snacking, gathering and socializing. Meanwhile, Emil Alzamora’s elongated figure quietly surveys his surroundings and invites visitors to take a pause from their day. Tom Fruin’s stained glass house-like structure invites viewers to walk in and around it while contemplating ideas of home and urban versus suburban landscapes. Textile artist Amanda Browder’s monumental fabric sculpture drapes six stories of ArtsWestchester’s historic building (read more on page A15).  

Visitors can find their way to new artworks by following Sarah Divi’s yarn-bombing-inspired installation. This map included in the October issue of ArtsNews can also serve as an art walking tour. 

ArtsWestchester has been documenting the progress of these murals on its Instagram account. Visitors can follow using #SeriousFunArtsFest to get updates and tag their own photos to join the fun.

Meet the Artists: October 15 (12-2pm)

Sarah Divi
(location TBD)

Oscar Lett
(250 Mamaroneck Ave)

Jackie Meier
(100 Westchester Avenue)

Erwin Ong
(250 Mamaroneck Ave)

Shelley Parriott
(1 North Lexington)

Margaret Roleke (Renaissance Plaza)


OCT. 12-16

While taking in the many components of the Serious Fun Arts Fest, guests can visit the former Macy’s Backstage space in Galleria White Plains on all five days of the festival for the Serious Fun Art Fair, a series of five pop-up galleries exhibiting artworks for sale by local established artists. The 6,000-square-foot space will also feature live mural painting. Here are the exhibitions on view at the Serious Fun Art Fair from October 12-16:

(image courtesy of Blue Door Art Center)

Blue Door Art Center:
Mood Indigo

Yonkers-based nonprofit Blue Door Art Center will be presenting a sampling of large scale works (all 36” and larger) by its member artists, including both 2D and 3D pieces, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography and more.







Luangisa African Gallery:
Out of Africa Collection

The Mount Vernon-based Luangisa African Gallery shares African culture and heritage by bringing handmade products from across Africa into Westchester. This curated collection includes handmade and artisan-made jewelry, home decor and other exclusive products handmade by African artisans.



Mimi Czajka Graminski, All Together Now (image courtesy of Inspiration 
Art Group International)

Inspiration Art Group International:
On the Happy Side

Inspiration Art Group International is a collective of artists “united with the common objective of positive interchange, collaboration and fellowship.” Its exhibition, curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis, showcases six women artists whose works match the sentiment behind the group’s ‘Joy, Hope and Creativity’ motto.







Marisa Boan, Orchid (image courtesy of New Rochelle Art Association)

New Rochelle Art Association:
The Queen City Shines Her Light

New Rochelle Art Association will display works from 10 of its artist members that celebrate the rich art history of New Rochelle. The exhibition title refers to the City’s nickname, “Queen City of the Sound.” Works include photography, painting and more. 







Sarah Lutz, Snow Globe (image courtesy of Alexi Rutsch Brock)

SPECTRUM, curated by Alexandra Rutsch Brock

For this exhibition, more than 100 artists worked on 12×9” panels to create works that will be displayed together in a rainbow “spectrum,” creating a harmonious visual flow made from diverse processes, media and ideas. Brock has decided to donate half of all proceeds from the $300 artworks to Planned Parenthood. 









Rendering of Metropolis Sunrise

Artist Amanda Browder’s community art project has been three years in the making. The monumental fabric sculpture, which will be draped along the front of ArtsWestchester’s historic building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, was started in 2019 before being halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it will officially be unveiled during the Serious Fun Arts Fest. Metropolis Sunrise was created with repurposed fabrics sourced from community members who also helped to cut, pin and sew together 10,000 square-feet of fabric. In all, nearly 1,000 people helped to assemble the six-stories-high artwork, which has become a beacon of cultural engagement in the community.






EVENT HIGHLIGHT: Serious fun gallery hop

Open Studios at ArtsWestchester
In The Wings by Carol Gromer (Studio 401)

The Serious Fun Gallery Hop on Thursday, October 13 provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the arts in White Plains during special evening hours at three different locations – all free, and all within walking distance. Gallery events allow guests to mingle with fellow arts lovers, meet the artists, sample refreshments and dance the night away while browsing hundreds of artworks. 











3 Gallery Hop locations to visit:

(31 Mamaroneck Avenue) 

Metropolis Sunrise:
Before even entering ArtsWestchester’s historic building, visitors will encounter Metropolis Sunrise, a colorful six-story-long fabric sculpture on the front of the building that hangs like a beacon to welcome all arts lovers. The work was created by artist Amanda Browder with the help of 1,000 local volunteers. 

The Social Fabric:
Once inside, guests will be welcomed by the opening reception of a two-floor exhibition, The Social Fabric, where music by a DJ will make it easy to mingle with fellow arts lovers. This show features recent works and site-responsive commissions by artists who use textiles and fabrics to explore issues of broad social consequence. The exhibition will be on view through January 22, 2023. 

Shop at ArtsWestchester:
Attached to ArtsWestchester’s gallery is a gift shop that allows guests to support the arts by purchasing items by local artisans. The current display, curated by 914PopUps founder Melissa Tomlin, includes wearable art, handbags and accessories, cards, home décor, paintings and more. 

Open Studios:
While ArtsWestchester’s building includes a gallery, the other floors of the nine-story building are home to a host of artists and creative businesses. During the Gallery Hop, guests can meet several of these artists in their studios on the fourth and eighth floors of the building. 

One Martine Gallery 

(1 Martine Avenue)

On view at One Martine Gallery will be Food for Thought, an exhibition that showcases artworks by Beverly Shipko and Nancy Cohen featuring food as the subject matter: “From farm to table, fields to gardens, land to sea – food sustains the body as art sustains the soul.” Also on view will be works by Simone Kestelman, Marla Beth Enowitz, Dave Bradford, David Tobey and Andre Baranowski. One Martine Gallery’s Gallery Hop reception will include wine and hors d’oeuvres.






Serious Fun Art Fair

(Main St. & Court St. at the former Macy’s Backstage space at Galleria White Plains) 

The Serious Fun Art Fair features five curated art displays in the 6,000-square-foot former Macy’s Backstage space in Galleria White Plains. The fair will feature live mural painting and pop-up exhibitions from Blue Door Art Center, New Rochelle Art Association, Luangisa African Gallery, Inspiration Art Group International, and a special presentation curated by Alexandra Rutsch Brock. On the night of the Gallery Hop, visitors can also sample mocktails crafted by Drinks by Kay.  See pages A10-11 for more details about these exhibitions. 

EVENT HIGHLIGHT: Family Fun Offerings

Everyone deserves some Serious Fun. There are plenty of happenings throughout the week that are appropriate for children: explore the public art murals and sculptures, groove to the live music, watch the dance performances, and more. However, every festival day, there are also dedicated “Family Fun” art-making activities designed to engage visitors of all ages. The ArtsMobile workshops are all led by professional teaching artists, but no experience is needed to participate. 

Wednesday Oct. 12 (3-5pm)

Visual art activity with teaching artist Ann Ladd
– at Renaissance Plaza

Thursday Oct. 13 (3-5pm) 

Contribute to a communal watercolor artwork and/or create a painting to take home with teaching artist Erin Carney – at Renaissance Plaza

Friday Oct. 14 (3-5pm)

Participate in building a community sculpture from recycled boxes with teaching artist Miguel Cossio
– at Renaissance Plaza

Saturday Oct. 15 (11am-2pm) 

Ceramics/clay activity with teaching artist Vicky Youngman
– at Renaissance Plaza

Visual art workshop with teaching artist Aisha Nailah
– on Mamaroneck Avenue 

Paper animal sculptures with teaching artist Richela Fabian Morgan
– on Mamaroneck Avenue

Visual art activity with teaching artist Ronit Levin Delgado
– on Mamaroneck Avenue



Serious Fun Block Party

Will Evans (photo credit: CJ Favino)

While pop-up performances take place throughout all five days of the festival, the Serious Fun Block Party on Saturday, October 15, is a day of free live music with a dedicated stage on Mamaroneck Avenue between Main Street and Martine Avenue. The Party begins with a “Family Fun” event: songs from the Middle East with Matt Turk & Friends. The music continues throughout the day, featuring everything from soul to pop for more than six hours of music.  A free pop-up dance stage in nearby Renaissance Plaza features Westchester Dance Artists’ “hype squad,” which will respond to the music.

More activities in downtown include family art-making workshops, a hula hoop & Chinese fan workshop and pop-up performances. Outside the Serious Fun Art Fair (at the corner of Court St. and Main St.), Westchester County Poet Laureate BK Fischer will lead “The Poet Is In,” a six-hour poetry writing jam, based on the live contributions of participants.



EVENT HIGHLIGHT: Sammy Rae & the Friends

(photo credit: Mia Aguirre)

The festival all comes to an end on Sunday, October 16 – but not before a party. Taking center stage will be the Serious Fun Arts Fest headliner concert with on-the-rise Brooklyn band Sammy Rae & the Friends. In a recent interview with ArtsNews, singer Sammy Rae called the band’s sound “story/song driven, jazz-influenced rock and roll… with a touch of punk. Or a touch of disco.” This high-energy band, which NPR called “musicians to watch in 2022,” brings with them rhythm and horn sections, keyboards and backing vocals for a well-rounded explosion of danceable songs.  

In her ArtsNews interview, Rae also described a Sammy Rae & the Friends concert experience, saying: “[Our shows are] the place where you come, be yourself, dance how you like, wear what you want, make friends… It’s like ‘Let’s throw a party every night.’ You’re more than welcome. We can’t wait to have you.”

The band will be preceded by two opening acts. First, ANDROMEDA presents Emerging, an immersive concert experience that combines live original music with dance and immersive theater. Then, The Brighton Beat takes the stage with dance-worthy tunes, vocals and a bumping horn section that will get audiences dancing in the street. 


Shop & Dine on the Festival Concert Block 

The Serious Fun Arts Fest brings arts and entertainment to downtown White Plains – but the main concert block, Mamaroneck Avenue between Martine Avenue and Main Street, is home to bustling businesses and restaurants that serve their community every day.

Asian Legend

23 Mamaroneck Ave

An authentic Asian fusion restaurant serving oriental cuisines

Buffalo Wild Wings

1 Mamaroneck Avenue

A popular chain that dishes out wings, tenders and burgers, plus sauces ranging from sweet to very spicy

City Center Shopping Mall

75 Mamaroneck Avenue

A large mixed-use development shopping complex in downtown White Plains

Cold Stone Creamery

25 Mamaroneck Avenue

Ice cream chain offering design-your-own creations hand-mixed on a granite slab, plus shakes and more

Famous Famiglia

48 Mamaroneck Avenue

Pizza chain offering NYC-style pies and other familiar Italian fare in a counter-serve setting

Holy Crab Cajun Seafood

32 Mamaroneck Avenue

Cajun seafood restaurant and bar decorated with modern fixtures and nautical murals/accents

Morton’s The Steakhouse

5 Mamaroneck Avenue

Upscale chain for aged prime beef, seafood and other traditional steakhouse fare

Shah’s Food

40 Mamaroneck Avenue

Serving family recipes for a wide variety of Halal food

The Melting Pot

30 Mamaroneck Avenue

Fondue restaurant chain offering heated pots of cheese, chocolate or broth for dipping and cooking


46 Mamaroneck Avenue

Wireless provider offering cell phones, data plans, Internet devices and accessories

The Painted Lady cocktail (photo courtesy of Greca)

Greca Mediterranean Kitchen + Bar
189 Main Street

Paired with its rustic and reimagined Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, Greca presents a cocktail inspired by the new public artworks enlivening White Plains. 

“The Painted Lady” contains Redemption Rye, Sombra Mezcal, Rakomelo infused with Allspice berries and Roots Davino with a smoked rosemary garnish.




Serious Fun Arts Fest Sponsors:

Serious Fun Arts Fest is organized by ArtsWestchester with the support of presenting sponsor Montefiore Einstein and New York State Department of Economic Development / I LOVE NY.

ArtsWestchester thanks Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting the arts in Westchester County with this $500k New York State Department of Economic Development / I LOVE NY grant. This has allowed ArtsWestchester to produce the Serious Fun Arts Fest, highlighting public art in White Plains with more than a dozen developers as our partners and more than 225 participating artists.

A version of this article first appeared in the October 2022 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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