Get your creativity on for upcoming street-painting festival
The Springville Street Painting Festival, a concept that was originated years ago by Springville resident Joanne May, has been held in the village before, but is being revamped this year to coincide with the bicentennial’s Fiddle and Bluegrass Festival on Aug. 4.
SCA Executive Director Seth Wochensky said that, while he believed holding a street painting event in town was a good idea, the festival needed “a little tweaking” to bring back to the village. “It is sometimes hard to keep people there during the event,” he said. “There wasn’t enough of a nucleus of activity to keep people there all day. So, we had been trying to figure that out.”
The Bicentennial Steering Committee approached the SCA to request that the street-painting festival be resurrected in the village, after the annual event experienced a year-long hiatus. The Fiddle and Bluegrass Festival will be held in Fiddlers Green Park, with the street-painting event’s taking place simultaneously on either Mechanic or Franklin Street.
Wochensky said that eight artists have been recruited to add decorative flair to the streets. “An open call went out,” he said. “We will have some local artists and some more regional.” The participants were given a “pretty loose” theme, focusing on history, and pitched their concepts to the SCA and the steering committee.
On the day of the event, each artist’s space will be outlined and prepared with a base coat for him or her to work on. Oil pastels will be used to create the temporary pieces of art that festival attendees are invited to watch evolve. “That’s the beauty of the whole thing,” Wochensky explained. “Watching the art grow. You get to see them making something beautiful out of a blank canvas. That is the real clincher, being right there to see it.”
Children from the area are invited to join in the fun and add their own artwork to the street. A competition will be held for the kids, with prizes to be awarded to the winners. Participants do not have to pre-register; materials will be supplied on-site.
While Springville is fairly new to the street-painting scene, the original concept stems from an Italian tradition dating back to the 16th century.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. A potluck and barbecue for the artists, which is open to anyone who wishes to attend and bring a dish, will be held on the SCA grounds immediately following the festivities.
Bands participating in the Fiddle and Bluegrass Festival, which will also begin at 11 a.m., include Pete Boberg, the Sunset Bluegrass Band, the United Heritage Fiddlers Association, The Volunteers, the Mudcat Dulcimers, Joe Wagner, the Fiddlers Green Band, the Niagara Frontier Fiddle Club, the Middle Road Misfits, Alex and Judy, Eric Lawton and the Mercantile Musicians.
Wochensky said that this year’s upcoming mini festival is a “nice way to get the machinery going for next year,” when he and the rest of the SCA staff members said they hope to create a full-scale art festival in Springville.
Other events at the SCA include the Musical Theater Workshop 2 for kids in third – eighth grade July 30 – Aug. 10. Following the two-week workshop, young participants will perform a full production of “Oklahoma!” Interested parties may sign up at Springville Youth Inc. through the first day of the event, although they do not have to be SYI participants to join. “This is a great program,” Wochensky said, crediting the SCA’s four interns with managing this “ambitious undertaking. This program has been so worth it.”
Those interns will put on a production for family audiences on Aug. 18 in a “culmination of their program,” Wochensky said. They will be presenting “How to Eat Like a Child.”
Max Collins will be returning to Springville to teach his wheat-pasting technique to the community’s young people in a SCA-hosted mural camp Aug. 30 from 1 – 4 p.m. “Murals beautify the community and are a point of interest,” Wochensky said. “The kids will come up with the concept and help out with the designs.”
Although a concrete location for the wheat-pasting mural has not yet been set, Wochensky noted that this camp is a way to “prime the pump” for a large-scale mural project the SCA has in mind for the village.
The idea of an extensive 25-mural venture, including a walking tour of the mural sites following their completion, was broached at a recent Village of Springville Board meeting, with Wochensky’s explaining that the SCA is currently applying for grants to cover this project and the proposed future arts festival.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently assigned a new pot of funding for the arts, acknowledging the “heightened role of the arts within the community,” according to Wochensky, who recently completed the application process for state-consolidated funding for the upcoming projects. “The arts council realized it was time to change the way they do business,” he said. “They are seeing the benefit of the arts for the many.”
Philip Morris from Schenectady’s Proctors Theater will present his concept and story of success to the Springville community on Aug. 16. Wochensky explained that, when Morris first created the Schenectady theater, there was a 90 percent vacancy rate in the playhouse’s surrounding downtown. Today, the theater receives 60,000 visitors annually and supplies heating and cooling to the entire block. “They provided activity to spur business growth in the area,” Wochensky said. Thanks to the theater’s presence, there is now 90 percent occupancy in the previously-deserted district.
“He will talk about how we can contribute in a meaningful way to the success of our community and help spur activity to generate business and support the economy,” Wochensky said. The Downtown Springville Economic Development Group will partner with the SCA to present Morris.
For more information about any of the SCA’s events, call 592-9037 or visit www.springvillearts.org. The SCA is located at 37 North Buffalo St. in Springville.