“Serious Fun” is a Marriage Between Public Art & Tourism

“Serious Fun” is a Marriage Between Public Art & Tourism
New State Grant will Support Economic Recovery Efforts in White Plains Through the Arts

WHITE PLAINS, NY (April 13, 2022) — Artists in the Hudson Valley are cheering with the news that ArtsWestchester has been awarded a $500,000 grant to use the arts to support economic development and promote tourism in the city of White Plains. The Market New York grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism was awarded to ArtsWestchester through the state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

The state grant will help ArtsWestchester mount the Serious Fun Arts Festival from October 12-16 of this year, a five-day celebration of the cultural community where art and music will take over White Plains. Video announcement here: https://youtu.be/6eX0D-rXS38

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam said, “The Market NY grant gives ArtsWestchester an opportunity to showcase the vast talent that exists in the Hudson Valley Region. The Serious Fun Arts Festival is the capstone project of more than five years of work and planning in public art. We know this investment in public art and placemaking will enliven the city for years to come.”

Westchester muralist Daniel Carello said, “I’m thrilled to hear the news about the arts festival grant. It will certainly help the arts community which has greatly been affected by the pandemic – with financial support and aid in restoring enthusiasm and an espirit de corps among artists during this challenging period.”

The Serious Fun Arts Festival will brighten the city with arts activities ranging from concerts to live mural painting, a public art walking tour to dancing in the streets. There will be sculpture, performance art, massive public art unveilings by renowned artists, fun family art-making and more throughout the downtown.

The timing of the festival capitalizes on the fall foliage period when consumers seek accessible, exciting destinations for long weekends. The event will be a perfect outing for locals and visitors coming to White Plains by bus, train or car and traveling up the Hudson Valley. Successful “mural fests” in urban settings like Jersey City, Miami and Brooklyn inspired the strategy behind Serious Fun.

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “The Serious Fun Arts Festival will bring the arts outdoors in a fun and innovative way for residents and visitors alike. Paired with local museums and historical sites, outdoor activities on the nearby Empire State Trail, and farm-to-table food and craft beverage offerings, it will make for a great weekend getaway, and we encourage everyone to come be a part of some serious fun.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach and Janet Langsam were on a recent MTA panel to select a major new work of art for the Metro North Train Station, which just completed a $94 Million renovation. Visitors coming to White Plains by train are now welcomed to the city by two major art installations by Barbara Takanaga commissioned by MTA Arts & Design.

Mayor Tom Roach explained, “A number of years ago, Janet Langsam and ArtsWestchester articulated to me their vision of weaving art into the city’s downtown landscape by incorporating it into mixed use development projects and other public improvement projects occurring in the city. Since that time, they have pursued making this vision a reality with laser focus and steadfast attention. Clearly, their efforts have paid off and White Plains is the better for it. “Serious Fun” aims to coalesce the variety of public art projects that have been completed and launch several new ones in a 5-day event that will attract new visitors and position White Plains as a creative force in the county well into the future.”

In addition to Takanaga’s luminescent mosaics at the train station, the 2022 fall arts festival will spotlight new, landmark artwork, including:

  • A two-story reflective stainless steel tear drop sculpture by Bulgarian artist Georgi Minchev.
  • A nine-story vibrant fabric installation by internationally renowned artist Amanda Browder.
  • A skyscraper-high landmark mural by a celebrity of the street art scene.
  • Three sculpture installations by Hudson Valley artists.

ArtsWestchester has been working with multiple major developers such as Ginsburg Development Companies; LMC, a Lennar Company; the Beitel Group and Trinity Financial to incorporate public art into new residential housing projects.

The Festival is ArtsWestchester’s latest investment in a public art program that since 2020 has provided artists with more than $700,000 in grants and commissions and delivered two dozen new works throughout Westchester County. ArtsWestchester’s recent public art commissions include:

  • A dynamic sculpture entitled Current at the Westchester landing in Tarrytown of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge composed of 12 illuminated steel arches by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong. (part of a series of 10 major works of art on the bridge path)
  • Five vibrant murals at the Ridge Hill shopping center in Yonkers.
  • Six colorful murals around the former Westchester Pavilion mall in White Plains.
  • Two murals at the White Plains Housing Authority’s Winbrook residences.

Contact: Ernie Garcia, Thompson & Bender, ernie@thompson-bender.com or 914-762-1900

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About ArtsWestchester

For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to create an equitable, inclusive, vibrant and sustainable Westchester County in which the arts are integral to and integrated into every facet of life. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue. artsw.org