ArtsWestchester Awards $42,000 in Arts Grants to Fund Cultural Activities Throughout Rockland County

Local Rockland Officials Join ArtsWestchester in Presenting the Awards


Thanks to $42,000 in funding from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Grants Program, more festivals, creative workshops, art exhibits, music concerts, youth performance classes, film screenings and other cultural activities will be available throughout Rockland County this year.


ArtsWestchester today announced and presented 18 Decentralization Grants to support artistic expression and community involvement through the arts in Rockland County by helping to fund proposals from local artists and organizations.


“The Decentralization Grant Program is truly keeping the arts alive and vital in Rockland County,” said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “We especially thank Rockland’s representatives in the State Senate and Assembly for continuing to support the arts through the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Grants Program and we are thrilled to see the range of vibrant cultural programs and arts activities that are being presented thanks to this funding.”


Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell, State Senator David Carlucci and State Assemblypeople Kenneth Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee joined ArtsWestchester’s Board of Trustees for a private breakfast today at Rockland Center for the Arts to present the Decentralization Grants to organizations and artists.


The Decentralization Grants are awarded in three categories: Project Grants provide Rockland-based organizations and artists with financial and technical support for projects at a grassroots level; Artist Grants support works that relate to the community in a significant way; and Education Grants provide support for partnerships between individual artists or cultural organizations and Rockland public schools (grades K-12).

The grants this year include:


Grantee Project Title Project Description
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Drumming In Harmony A series of weekly drumming classes for youth ages 6-15 that celebrates the cultural heritage of African American, Caribbean, and Latino youth. This series culminates with community performances to showcase student talent.
Haverstraw RiverArts Fund Haverstraw RiverArts & Music Festival A free music and arts festival at Emeline Park in September 2018. Activities include music performances, art vendors, puppets and storytelling, hands-on art projects, crafts, children’s activities.
Suffern Free Library Recovering Henry Varnum Poor A four-part project including a photography exhibit of Crow House (studio and home of Poor), a ceramics exhibit of H.V. Poor’s original ceramics, six lectures, and a tour of Crow House.
Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture, Inc. Extravaganza–African Dance and Drumming Open-to-public African dancing and drumming classes. Tentative location Louis Kurtz Civic Center. Children/Teen/Adult African Dance Classes; Beginning and Advanced African Drumming
African American Historical Society of Rockland County The Legacy of Rhythm: Exploring the African Diaspora through Dance A one-day program at Rockland Community College, including two performances exploring African Diaspora through dance, singing, drumming, folktales, and spoken word, plus a photography exhibit.
Piermont Straus Foundation Art-in-the Park 2018 A free one-day arts festival in Flywheel Park in Piermont in September 2018. Festival activities include exhibits from up-and-coming artists and art vendors.
Garner Arts Center Outdoor Shorts – NY Film in Historic Spaces The screening of four curated short films on two evenings over a single weekend in June 2018 by up-and-coming New York/Rockland filmmakers.  Screenings include a post-film curator’s talk at multiple locations within Garner Arts Center.
Nyack Parks Conservancy Music on the Hudson Program A series of eight free music concerts in Nyack’s Memorial Park during summer 2018, including local and regional musicians.
Garner Arts Center An Evening with Katayoun Goudarzi A one-night concert featuring Iranian vocalist and performer Katayoun Goudarzi, accompanied by pianist Kevin Hayes in February 2018 at Garner Arts Center.
Hillel of Rockland County Songs of the Holocaust Recital and interactive song workshop at Rockland Community College during Jewish Heritage Month/Holocaust Commemoration Week (March/April 2018). The recital includes an explanation of songs composed during the Holocaust.
Katie Elevitch Women’s Storytelling Project 12-16 free monthly writing workshops for women with the opportunity to present stories at 6-8 public events. Documentation of performances to be presented at a film screening at end of the year.
JAMCCAR (Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland) Steel Band Fusion Year-long, twice weekly free steel drum music classes for youth ages 7-18. Culminating event showcasing children’s new skills at the end of the year.
River River Writers Circle 2018 Readings Series Series of six readings in Nyack featuring guest writers, including an open mic session, a formal reading by the guest writer, followed by a Q&A and discussion, book signings when appropriate.
Grantee Project Title Project Description
Heather Cornell Body Percussion Workshop at Spring Valley High School 3 session in-school body percussion/dance workshops each with 4 separate multicultural dance classes in February 2018. 140 students reached. Residency will continue after school once a week through the spring during Dance Club meetings. Culminating student dance concert in June.
Grantee Project Title Project Description
Lisa Levart Women of the Ramapough Lenape Nation Creation of 13 digitally altered/enhanced photograph portraits of women from the Ramapough Lenape Nation expressing stories of their ancestors. Photographs will be exhibited at the Historical Society of Rockland County.
Diana Green Rebellious Rockland – Tales of Curious Characters in Rockland’s History Theater – Development of 5-6 theatrical vignettes based on the lives of Rockland County historical figures. Historical research assistance from the Rockland Historical Society. Confirmed performances at the Nyack Artwalk in June 2018.
Jennie Chien The Memron Project Visual Art – Six workshops to gather stories and artifacts to create three multimedia Memron Boxes to be exhibited at Rockland Center for the Arts. The boxes may include music, scent, written or spoken word, painting and sculpture.
Glynis Sweeny “Grit” Creation of 5-10 2D collage images and 5-10 3D sculptures made from materials gathered from the Hudson River during the 2018 Riverkeeper Sweep. Written word from interviews with local residents, fisherman and River Sweep participants will be incorporated into the pieces.


The Decentralization Program (DEC) is a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.


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.