UTICA – From art prints created by a real steamroller to ‘smoke painting’, the annual sidewalk art exhibition and performances by local artists, the Munson’s Summer Arts Festival -This year’s Williams-Proctor Arts Institute promises to be bigger than ever, with events and activities for the whole family.
The show dates for the event are scheduled for Tuesday, July 12 through Sunday, July 17.
“The Arts Festival is our way of hopefully inviting the community to enjoy all that the institute has to offer – putting our best foot forward for everything we do here,” said Bob Mortis, Director of Performing Arts and Head of Special Projects. “There will be gallery experiences and things to do for families, educational opportunities, classes and performances. We invite the community and encourage their participation.
Each year the cornerstone of the festival is the Sidewalk Art Show and in recent years visitors have been able to take part in the judging – take notes and vote for the special People’s Choice award.
The show features over 200 works by local artists in a colorful array of media, open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Sidewalk Art Exhibition is a juried exhibition where artists can submit a piece of their work created within the last five years. The submission must be an original and cannot have been previously presented at the Institute or the annual exhibition of the School of the Arts.
Mortis explained that the annual show is open to performers residing within a 40-mile radius, and in recent years community members have had the opportunity to help select the winner of the People’s Choice award.
Participants “will write down the numbers of the works, write notes and the ballots will come back with scribbles,” Mortis noted.
“It’s nice to see people taking a close interest in this process, and sometimes the ratings are great – most people wish they could vote for more than one.”
He said: “As someone who has been part of the voting process for several years now, favorites start to emerge after a day or two. It’s surprising that the top two or three performers in each category take the lead and stay ahead. The talent is so evident in some works, that they really shine.
The MWPAI pop-up library is also featured during the festival, which highlights the services provided by the arts institute library and is open to the public.
The Head of Research at the MWPAI Library will be available to members, students, as well as the public, for a showcase inside the Root Sculpture Court. There will be a selection of books to peruse and attendees can ask questions about the resources available at the library.
The pop-up library is “returning to our campus, but it’s very accessible, and the library staff are always helpful and will answer any art questions or reference needs,” Mortis explained. “We have weekly visits and library attendance is strong, not just when students are here on campus. The library even has recordings, videos, films and CDs to borrow and has plenty to offer.
Each evening of the festival at 7 p.m., local and regional performing artists and musicians will be featured on the festival stage.
“We try to bring in artists from the community to showcase the talent that is here in our area,” Mortis said.
A special highlight of this year’s festival will include The Big Ol’ Steamrollin’ Print Invitational, with some prints possibly going on sale after the event.
On Thursday, July 14 starting at 10 a.m. on State Street, MWPAI has invited between 20 and 25 artists who will receive a 4-foot by 4-foot sheet of plywood and be encouraged to create a design. Mortis said the volunteers would then ink the wooden signs and place them flat on the sidewalk in the museum’s parking lot.
“Then we’ll cover the panels with canvas and then we’ll go over them with a steamroller – it will make indentations on the canvas,” Mortis explained.
“He makes big, beautiful prints that will be on display at 4 Elements Studio (1607 Genesee St., Utica) at an exhibit, and some will eventually be available for sale. There will also be a family craft at the same time, where attendees can do mini draws, and there will be a DJ to share some fun music.
The annual festival continues to grow, and new this year will be the Blue Sky Forklift Smoke Painting, featuring New York-based artist Rosemarie Fiore, known as the “pyrotechnic painter”, on Saturday, July 16.
Fiore was previously artist-in-residence at Sculpture Space in Utica and she will be back in the area to showcase her pyrotechnic work.
“We worked with the city to close Genesee Street — the block in front of the museum — for the weekend so we could prepare the space for Saturday,” Mortis said. “Fiore will use a forklift and a carving tool of his own design, which fits over the forks of the forklift. The tool converts pyrotechnic smoke bombs onto the sidewalk, and the pigment in the smoke canisters allows it to make prints and designs on the sidewalk.
A DJ will also perform while Fiore creates her block-scale masterpiece.
“It’s really fun to watch. It takes a few hours to create – it’s temporary art – and festival attendees can see it being made, then they can enjoy it for a day or two, and then it’s off,” Mortis said, noting that the artwork will be removed from the street post party.
The rain date for the activity will be Sunday July 17th.
“The city was very supportive of the event and granted the necessary permits to close the street and add signage to make this all happen,” Mortis added.
The festival will conclude with the annual Classic Car and Motorcycle Show starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 17. The reservation period to participate in the show has been extended for vehicle enthusiasts until July 14.
After curtailing some activities at last year’s MWPAI arts festival during the pandemic and having to cancel the 2020 show, Mortis said the arts center and museum are excited to add exciting new events to the lineup. of 2022.
“We held the festival last year and scaled down some events due to pandemic concerns, and it was a real joy to get it back, even in limited capacity,” Mortis said. “But this year, not only are we back in full force, but we have so much more to do, even compared to before the pandemic. The Boy Scouts have even been invited to participate and Troop 4 will organize a carnival on the grounds of the museum. The Oneida County Youth Bureau will also be holding a chalk art contest, which we have never done before. There’s so much going on for families too, whether it’s craft hour or story time. People can come and spend the whole day.
While there’s a lot going on in the summer sun, Mortis said the art museum will also have plenty of indoor activities, in addition to being open for tours of the Norman Rockwell exhibit, local artist Sandra Z. De Visser “In Retrospect”. Showcase, as well as tours of the period rooms and galleries of Fountain Elms.
Inside, “there will be a STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) workshop and a meet-the-artist program for artists who supply items for the museum shop who will offer demonstrations of what they make, like designing and making jewelry,” Mortis said. “And the Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club will have a wonderful display in one of our conference rooms and over the weekend they will be holding a demonstration. The bonsai trees are so beautiful and created with love, and the club appreciates the display.
To see in the museum and the fountain of the elms
- Norman Rockwell (entry fee required)
- Permanent collection including Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole
- Rooms and Galleries Fontaine des Ormes Period
- Showcase of local artists: Sandra Z. De Visser, “In Retrospect”
For more information visit: https://www.mwpai.org/arts-festival.