Hundreds of art lovers from as far away as Kingston descended on Peekskill's Paramount Center For the Performing Arts Thursday night to celebrate the kickoff of the Eighth Annual Arts Along The Hudson program. For the first time ever, the City of Peekskill hosted the annual reception under the 2011 theme 10 Communities, 10 Celebrations.
The celebration featured a reception catered by 12 Grapes, presentations from participating groups and an art show with nearly 40 representative paintings, photographs and mixed media art created by Hudson Valley artists. Now in its eighth year, Art Along the Hudson celebrates the arts in ten artistically-focused communities on the Hudson River, including Peekskill, Garrison/Cold Spring, Newburgh, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Rhinebeck/Red Hook, Kingston, Hudson, and Woodstock.
Linda Hubbard, chairperson of the program, said Art Along the Hudson links the ten towns along the river into "100 miles of art It's a year-long event," Hubbard said. "We have second Saturday [events] year-round, we have musical performances, each of the ten communities has a whole series of events that they do. The website, www.artalongthehudson.com, leads you to all the cities and you can see all the events happening up and down the Hudson Valley."
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said the program has helped promote the city's thriving arts community and hoped the event would encourage its upstate visitors to come back soon. "We get a lot more mileage out of the combined marketing budget," Foster said. "We joined three years ago and we have benefitted immensely and I'm excited to host it because I get to talk about our galleries and all our restaurants and invite people to come back over and over again."
One of the night's hosts was Dutchess Arts Council President Benjamin Krevolin, who said getting people to appreciate and pay for art in their community was the program's main goal. "The point of this is to help artists make a living and to be able to stay here and sell their work," Krevolin said. "It's like a farm stand for organic farming. Everybody now knows to buy a four dollar lumpy weird tomato, and now it's time for them to spend $100 on a nice watercolor that was done by someone a couple of towns over."
Krevolin said he was concerned about the arts budget in Albany which had been cut by 40 percent in the past four years and said he hoped the governor would restore some of it. "[Governor Andrew] Cuomo is going to have to pony up and stop cutting the arts or somebody has to start cloning Nelson Rockefeller," he said.
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