Lynn Honeysett, executive director of the , has stood back the past few years and watched the New Rochelle ArtsFest blossom into an event that attracts people from all over the area.
But this year, Honeysett plans to do more than watch. She hopes to bring Pelham’s art and business community along for the ride. The ArtsFest, which is in its fourth year, takes place Sept. 22 - 23. There will be a free preview night on Thursday, Sept. 20
The Art Center, Picture House and several businesses are collaborating in an effort to extend the festival to Pelham during this year’s festival. Honeysett is hopeful the partnership will lead to greater opportunities in the town and establish Pelham as an arts destination.
“Ultimately, it’s just in everybody’s interest to work together to make sure that happens...this is a great way for businesses to showcase themselves, particularly the new businesses that are opening up,” Honeysett said. “This is a great way not only to reintroduce them to Pelham residents, but also to show what they have to offer to a larger crowd.”
The ArtsFest, which is organized by the was started as a way to tie all of New Rochelle’s art institutions together through one event. The event provides free art exhibits, programs, performances and activities in an effort to spotlight the city’s cultural strengths.
Sponsors for this year’s ArtFest include Bellas Artes Business Council of New Rochelle, , , , restaurant and .
Judith Weber, president of New Rochelle Council of the Arts, is co-chairing the event with Angela Derecas Taylor, secretary of the art council. Weber said more than 1,000 people participated in the event last year and is confident that the event will draw at least 2,000 this year.
“Pelham is only one long block away from us and we thought that it would be good idea to become inclusive of that community,” Weber said. “We don’t have a Picture House of our own, so we thought it would be great to include them. I go the Pelham Art Center all the time and I enjoy myself. There are only positive benefits to becoming more connected.”
So far, the Picture House has scheduled screenings of student short films on Sept. 22 and screenings of Rudolf Nureyev’s “La Bayadère” on Sept. 23.
The Arts Center will also have the exhibit open to the public, including a free children’s workshop centered around the exhibit on Sunday. David Patterson & The Latin Jazz Express, are also scheduled to give musical performances at the Art Center’s courtyard on Saturday.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to hop on and off the festival’s free ‘Cultural Trolley,’ which will be making the rounds at stops throughout New Rochelle and Pelham. But Honeysett said people should not expect the trolley to run every 20 minutes, due to the volume of people and the amount venues that are planned.
Saturday will be the day when the trolleys are in use the most, Honeysett said.
“It’s fun to pick up the trolley and ride from place to place, but you might want to have a cra nearby if you really want to get around efficiently,” Honeysett said. “But it’s fun and the kids love it. It’s a wonderful, iconic addition to what’s going to be a great arts celebration.”
Honeysett said the she is looking for businesses to partner with during the week of the arts festival. Businesses can offer specials during the week or host artists and performers in an effort to make Wolf’s Lane lively for visitors coming into town.
Honeysett businesses that decide to sponsor the event will have the added benefit of have their names features in all 30-plus venues in New Rochelle and Pelham. Performers are also welcome to participate in the festival.
“If any performer wants to link up with a business that they already know, they can set that up themselves and contact me,” Honeysett said. “I’ll make sure to get the word out.”
Honeysett said she could see the festival extending into more communities, depending on the success of next month’s event.
“I think we’re going to test run this and see how it goes,” Honeysett said. “It would be great to eventually incorporate Mount Vernon or to go up the Sound Shore. There’s different ideas of who else we can incorporate in this.”
Additional information on events and schedules can be found here at the Pelham Art Center’s Web site and here on the New Rochelle Council on the Arts’ Web site.
Any Pelham businesses or artists who are interested in participating in the ArtsFest can email Lynn Honeysett at firstname.lastname@example.org