On October 15th, 16th and 17th New Rochelle and Pelham will be alive with art exhibits, live music, great food, films and exciting performances as ARTSFEST returns after a one-year (COVID induced) hiatus. Among the highlights will be the free ArtsFest Music Festival and ArtsFest Dance festival, New Rochelle Restaurant Week, the return of the free Culture Trolley, artists’ open studios, plus activities taking place in dozens of public and private cultural venues all over town, including an Artisan Craft Market, a performance by the Ajkun Ballet and a spoken word event with the acclaimed READ650.
Now in its 12th year, ArtsFest was created by the New Rochelle Council on the Arts to shine a spotlight on the variety of arts — and arts venues — right here in in our community. And this year NRCA President Theresa Kump Leghorn says ArtsFest will be more important than ever, “helping our communities “turn the page” after the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic and underlining the role the arts play in creating a sense of community.”
Leghorn points out that in 2019 hundreds of people visited the 43 participating venues during ArtsFest, enjoying free art exhibits, demonstrations and performances representing the work of more than 120 artists. “Planning was just getting started last year for ArtsFest 2020 ….. And then came COVID, forcing the cancellation of ArtsFest and all of NRCA’s in-person programs.”
ArtsFest 2021 will kick off on Friday, October 15th and continue all weekend with a full calendar of art events and activities, from behind-the-scenes tours of working artists’studios — including world renowned 3-D artist Charles Fazzino’s Museum Editions studio, where visitors can meet the artist and dabble in interactive arts projects – as well as a visit from ArtsWestchester’s ArtsMobile, a performance by Ajkun Ballet, a spoken word event curated by READ650, an ArtsFest Dance Festival featuring performances by five companies and an ArtsFest Music Festival featuring an eclectic group of local musicians.
Also on the menu are art exhibits at the Rotunda Gallery and the New Rochelle Public Library, pop-up art exhibits at local restaurants, interactive activities at the Pelham Arts Center all weekend, and an Artisans’ Crafts Market.
The ArtsFest steering committee includes Leghorn and NRCA Board members Margaret Chadwick, Barbara Davis, Monica Deane, Selena Evans, Charles Fazzino, Beth Feldman, Julie Maner, and Ken Valenti. along with Dave Fabris, Monica Uhm, Charlotte Mouquin, Scott Seaboldt, Victoria Rolett. Alexi Brock, Ed McCann, Lisa Itzkowitz, Kael Littman, Suzanne Nolan, and Catherine White.
An official ArtsFest calendar will be mailed to city residents and available at venues as well as online at NRCA’s website www.newrochellearts.org. “Designing, printing and mailing the calendar, plus the cost of renting the trollies and other equipment really adds up, so we’re very grateful to the generous sponsors who make ArtsFest possible,” added Leghorn. ArtsFest sponsors so far include ArtsWestchester, Twining Properties/Pratt Landing Parnters, Gwendolen Appleyard Trust, New Rochelle IDA, Charles Fazzino, Alvin & Friends Restaurant, New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District, and AJ’s Burgers.