While the amusement parks rides won’t be running, Rye Playland will feature art for arts sake with lots of oysters as well this weekend for what is becoming an annual rite of October –the largest arts/seafood fest in Rye.
The second annual Playland Boardwalk Arts and Music Festival has added Oysters to its name this year.
By any other name, the free artist-friendly Oct. 8-9 event will take place on and around the Boardwalk area surrounding the pier.
Its organizers expect more than 60 artists and entertainers from the tri-state area –almost double the number from last year, the fete’s first –to draw several thousand visitors to the now shuttered amusement park that closed down its rides after the season ended Labor Day.
Artists expected to be on hand include talents specializing in painting, ceramics, jewelry, fiber arts and more, according to Rye artist Heather Patterson, guiding spirit behind the Boardwalk Oyster, Arts and Music Festival.
The colorful event turns the Playland Pier area into a combination of Greenwich Village and Paris’s Left Bank. Ms. Patterson expects the displays–including her own–to spill over from the pier around the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar all the way up to the Administration Building.
The seafood restaurant’s fete emphasis on oysters for this event gives the arts celebration an aura of similar oyster fetes in Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Musicians will perform on the hour from noon to 5 p.m. on both days, adding an entertaining touch as they strut their stuff on two stages –The Fountain Stage as well as the Tiki Bar platform.
The Westchester Children's Museum will also host an activity area including programs such as hands on arts and craft lessons.
The colorful event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. It is intended to give artists and entertainers a badly needed showcase as well as a venue for artists to display and sell their work.
“We’re expanding from last year’s footprint,” said Ms. Patterson, who predicted this year’s fete will be bigger and better than last year’s event –and will continue to grow in the years to come.
She should know. She is an award-winning artist who has been painting for more than 22 years and has exhibited her work in New York City and throughout Westchester, including such venues as Wainwright House and the Rye Free Reading Room. She enjoys capturing the beauty of local (and not-so-local) landscapes from Playland’s Dragon Coaster to Ruby’s Bar and Bistro to sunset over Oakland Beach. She also enjoys working with youngsters as Arts Program Director for Camp Eagle Hill. And she lives close enough to Playland to walk down to the Boardwalk to drink in inspirational sunrises and sunsets and draw energy from the people walking to and fro from the beach to Rye Town Park to the nearby Edith G, Read Sanctuary.
Patterson is an artist as well as a realist, and she understands how difficult and time consuming it can be for artists to arrange for exhibitions as well as showcases to help sell their work. So she took it upon herself to help organize varied arts fetes, negotiating the bureaucratic shoals necessary to stage such events.
In the past, the artist has appeared before the Rye Town Park Commission and Westchester County park officials and gotten their enthusiastic approval for arts fetes on town and county park property. Heather knows her way around the local arts grapevine so she can get the word out to the local artistic community. She is also on friendly terms with Rye’s John Ambrose and his sidekick, Sammy Charnin the restaurant entrepeneurs who own Seaside Johnnies and the Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar in Rye Town Park and Rye Playland respectively.
Ambrose and Charnin know a good thing when they see it and agreed to donate the space around their restaurants for the arts fetes Patterson had in mind, realizing the influx of additional visitors to the area could only help their business. And Patterson took the arts fete from there with the county getting the reasonable fees required for participating artists.
In 2008-09. she helped organize two juried art shows under the pavilions at Rye Town Park, virtually alongside Seaside Johnnnies. In 2010, she helped create the highly successful, first annual Boardwalk Arts & Music Festival at Rye Playland with the initial event drawing 35 artists, 18 musicians and several thousand people to the pier area around the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar.
Patterson hopes to double the number of participants this year when the event comes off as the Rye Playland Oyster, Arts and Music Festival. Rain date is Oct. 10.
In May of 2011, she will produce a new art and music event at Rye Town Park featuring painters on location, a juried art show, an artists' reception cocktail party and live auction, fine craft vendors and continuous live music under the pavilions.
Not bad for a kid who sold her first painting of four dragons at the age of 17 for $75, enough to pay for her Florida high school prom dress back in the day. Today her paintings of the famed Rye Dragon Coaster, among other local oils, sells for around $500.
For more on the upcoming Playland fete, contact Heather Patterson at: www. Boardwalkarts@gmail.com. For more on Heather’s work: www.paintingrye.blogspot.com and www.heatherpattersondailyart.blogspot.com.