Massive 3-day art festival debuts in Phoenicia this weekend

Christina Varga is presenting the first Phoenicia Festival of the Arts this weekend.

Main Street Phoenicia will unveil a mesmerizing spectacle for the senses this August 4th to 6th. Christina Varga, a prominent and beloved local gallery owner/artist, is spearheading the first annual Phoenicia Festival of the Arts. This free, three-day celebration offers an eclectic blend of family-friendly activities, exhibits, performances, and markets – a testament to the vibrant local arts scene that flourishes even in our area’s more sleepy, backwoods regions.

The Main Street Market is the heart of the festival, with a night market on Friday setting the stage for weekend Art Markets. Attendees can immerse themselves in a delightful array of live outdoor music, poetry readings, open mics, artist demonstrations, artisan-made gifts, curated vintage collections, ceramics, sculpture, and more. Along the market’s pathways and around the town, street performers and buskers bring Phoenicia’s streets alive with a dynamic cabaret.

Emerging and established artists across various disciplines will be at the forefront of the festival. Valentin Shauger, a celebrated actor and performer, presents “Glittered Honesty”. Musician David Laks will captivate audiences with performances on his cutting-edge digital Emeo saxophone and harmonicas. Emma Quinones, known for her freeform improvisational dance, will offer a unique visual treat.

Acacia Fusco will be one of many artists with work on display.

Expect to encounter the fantastical: Artist Richard J Treitner’s portrayal of a Wandering Gypsy Tarot Faerie Witch and Eliot O’Clair’s interpretation of a shapeshifting art creature promise to add intrigue. For a touch of the spiritual, art life icon Linda Mary Montano’s “Singing The Chakras” is not to be missed.

Community interaction is a cornerstone of the festival. Artist Jennifer Zackin and crochet artist Nicole Strafaci will lead a community weaving project that encourages festival-goers to participate in a meditative Communal Vortex Weaving. Outdoor installations by Jennifer Zackin, Nicole Strafaci, and Michael Hunt amplify the town’s visual appeal, while wellness activities like community Tai Chi, yoga, Gong baths, meditation, and guided nature walks nurture the soul.

Children are catered for with Sasquatch Walks, arts and crafts, and fairy wand making activities. Drummer Fre At Last will inject rhythm into the festival with a community drum circle in Phoenicia Park, while Patricia Laufer’s Hoop Dance Activation promises fun and fitness for all ages.

Los Angeles-based artist Patrick Dennis, known for his provocative works, will exhibit alongside acclaimed local artists like Paul McMahon and Linda Mary Montano. Mixed-media artist Amy Ackerman will showcase her eclectic work, while Michael Hunt, Christina Brady, and Acacia Fusco will share their visually engaging pieces. 

The talent just keeps coming: Catch Bronson Eden’s distinctive sculptures, Don Bruschi’s expressive ceramics, and Scott Cronin’s evocative paintings. Michael McGrath will present a curated collection of vintage pieces, while the enigmatic Mimi Young, Peter Head, and Melanie Delgado explore the depths of their mediums. Faheem Haider’s politically charged works and Adam Zaretsky’s bio-art lend a cutting-edge aspect to the festival’s offerings. Site-specific crochet installations and vibrant tapestries by fiber artist Nicole Strafaci will complement the outdoor happenings, offering an added layer of texture and color to the festival’s landscape.

Performances at the historic Phoenicia Playhouse add a theatrical flavor to the festival. Anna Hafner’s “The Oneironaut”, Hudson Valley Improv’s comedy, and a literary panel featuring luminaries like Suzan Saxman and Sparrow X. Carter highlight the line-up.

The Phoenicia Festival of the Arts promises an immersive artistic journey, celebrating the creative spirit that permeates Phoenicia and showcasing the remarkable local talent that calls this town home. For more information, search Facebook or Google for ‘Phoenicia Festival of the Arts’.

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