Upstate Art Weekend returns with full menu
Upstate Art Weekend kicks off its fourth year on July 21 and runs through July 24.
Since the multi-county, multi-venue weekend celebration of the arts began in June 2020, it has evolved from an initial 23 participants to more than 130 spread around the Hudson Valley and Catskills.
Helen Toomer, a Kingston resident and creator of Upstate Art Weekend, is astonished at the growth of the event “into a beautiful beast.”
The first year, Toomer contacted local artists to gauge their interest. Organizations began reaching out to become involved in the program, and applications came from as far away as Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Not only were artists, galleries and museums interested, but based on attendance that first year, the public also thirsted for such an event. “The response from visitors and organizations was really positive,” said Toomer, who with her family runs Stoneleaf, an artist residency and creative space for women and families. “People really wanted to be a part of it [Upstate Art Weekend].”
Participating this year will be art organizations, galleries, museums, residencies and creative projects in Dutchess, Putnam and eight other counties: Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.
Accompanying the art will be music and performances. Restaurants and other hospitality businesses are also recognized as participants, with some providing discounts to attendees.
“About 90 percent of this is free, which is incredible,” said Toomer.
Among the places taking part in Dutchess and Putnam are several from Beacon, Cold Spring and Garrison, some of them returning from last year and others signing up as newcomers.
The Garrison Art Center, which will be hosting the work of sculpture artist James Murray and open from dawn to dusk the whole weekend, is a first-timer. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is also participating for the first time, with performances of Love’s Labor’s Lost and Henry V each night at 7:30.
Both Magazzino Italian Art and Studio Tashtego in Cold Spring will be part of the weekend programming, as will BAU Gallery, Dia:Beacon and the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon.
In reflecting on the last few years of Upstate Art Weekend, Toomer notes that the event would not be possible without the collaboration with the art centers, galleries and other venues, and the interest from visitors. She is already looking ahead to the fifth year.
“It was just a little idea I had in my pajamas in the woods,” said Toomer. “It’s definitely bigger than anticipated.”
Visit upstateartweekend.org for a full list of exhibitions and events, including a map showing each participating venue.