2012-05-16 / Front Page

Art Along the Hudson Blows Into Town

And the economy stands to benefit, big-time
By Annie Chesnut

Above: MaryEllen Odell, in sleeveless dress, listens to speakers; Libby Pataki is second from right. Below: Right, Carinda Swann; Left, Libby Pataki; Right, Lisa Robb. 
BOttom Left: performer Daisy Jopling.   Photos by Annie Chesnut Above: MaryEllen Odell, in sleeveless dress, listens to speakers; Libby Pataki is second from right. Below: Right, Carinda Swann; Left, Libby Pataki; Right, Lisa Robb. BOttom Left: performer Daisy Jopling. Photos by Annie Chesnut The crowd was nearly blown away—and it wasn’t just the exciting program— when Art Along the Hudson held its 2012 invitation-only kick-off celebration last week at Garrison’s Landing, site of the Garrison Art Center.

The 9-year-old regional organization promotes and supports the art community in locales ranging from Peekskill to Woodstock.

Artists/organizers Barbara Galazzo, of Cold Spring Arts, and Carinda Swann, of the Garrison Art Center, appeared both relieved and thrilled at the large turnout, despite the threat of rain and a stiff Hudson River wind that rattled the tent poles from time to time and sent paperwork flying. Cold Spring Arts and the Art Center jointly hosted the event.

The program, dubbed “A River of Art Runs Through Us,” included two rollicking performances by animated violinist Daisy Jopling, with speakers Libby Pataki, Director of Putnam County Tourism; Lisa Robb, Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts; Linda Marston-Reid, of the Dutchess County Arts Council; and Mary Kay Vrba from Dutchess County Tourism. Artist Linda Hubbard, Chair of Art Along the Hudson, and president of the Beacon arts organization, was also scheduled to speak, but had a last-minute emergency.

The common thread in all of the remarks was the increasing importance of the creative arts to the local economy, and the importance of intermunicipal cooperation.

“Tourism is big business in the Hudson Valley,” Vrba said, and “the arts…are what make our quality of life here in the Hudson Valley so great.”

Marston-Reid noted, “It brings tears to my eyes to see so many people gathered in one place all for the arts. 200 venues, 135 events and festivals, plus dance, theatre, openings, “a thousand artists combined together to make this happen.”

“Henry Hudson called this the gateway to the world,” Pataki noted. “You can’t say enough about the Hudson Valley.” She referenced the strong Farm to Table movement, sustainable agriculture, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, and of course, all of the creative arts venues in this region.

Lisa Robb, of the 50-yearold NY State Council on the Arts, said that her council represents the largest public partnership in the state, despite being one of the smallest state agencies in terms of budget and staffing. “The arts are a proven … job creator, economic engine, and community revitalizer,” and “the powers that be are tuning in to our message,” and “they love all the numbers.”

In New York state, Robb noted, the arts “provide fast-growth, dynamic industry clusters, and catalyze community revitalization,” and boost tourism, turning around distressed neighborhoods in cooperation with historic preservation efforts.

Among the other notables on hand were Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, County Legislator Vinny Tamagna, Philipstown Councilwoman Nancy Montgomery, Jennifer Maher of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, and former N.Y. State Governor George Pataki.

After the program, County Executive Odell said she was pleased to have Ms. Pataki on board, “putting the wind at our back.” She added that it was wonderful, “as a new County Exec to sit in a room with all these women taking on new jobs and new adventures. Art is part of tourism, which is our economic engine here.”

Legislator Tamagna added, “If we’re going to do things, we need to do them regionally. This is such a great economic driver. We have so much great talent here, and you can feel the energy and excitement.”

Julia Famularo, of Garrison Art Center, said it was a significant challenge to get ready for both the opening at Garrison’s Landing, and the annual Spring Artists on Location fundraiser that was held on Saturday. “It’s a lot of work, but worth it,” she said with a smile.

Carinda Swann explained: “When I first started this job and I saw the Art Along the Hudson brochure…I thought, we [Garrison and Cold Spring] have to be on there.”

That was three years ago, and now, since the advent of Cold Spring Arts, Swann said, she is thrilled with the direction in which things are moving. “I’m exhausted, but I’m happy!”

“There were an enormous number of people who helped,” Barbara Galazzo said. “This group is about people realizing that if you promote [the arts] they benefit.”

Art Along the Hudson celebrates the arts in ten communities on the Hudson River, including Peekskill, Garrison/Cold Spring, Newburgh, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Rhinebeck/Red Hook, Kingston, Hudson, and Woodstock. It is also promotes studio tours offering opportunities to meet artists living and working in the Hudson Valley. The group’s efforts have included brochures, a website at www.ArtAlongtheHudson.com, a social media and radio presence, the yearly kickoff event, and a tourism conference.

It’s not easy hosting a big event at The Landing because parking is so limited, but shuttle vans provided by The Walter Hoving Home carried guests to and from parking spots at the Garrison School and the Desmond-Fish Library.

The celebration continued in Cold Spring, with exhibits up and down Main Street, both in galleries and in business spaces, along with music and special offerings by area restaurants. The annual juried Art Along the Hudson Exhibition, featuring works by artists from the ten participating towns, is at 69 Main Street, and runs through mid-June.

Among the local galleries participating are the Marina Gallery, Terence Donovan Gallery, The Living Room, Chapel of Our Lady Restoration and Gallery 66. Art and music will also be featured at Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill, The Depot Restaurant, Riverview Restaurant, the Silver Spoon Café and Whistling Willie’s Restaurant.

For more details, visit www.artalongthehudson.com

The Value of the Arts to the Economy

Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. This activity creates the following:

* 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs

* $104.2 billion in household income

* $7.9 billion in local government tax revenues

* $9.1 billion in state government tax revenues

* $12.6 billion in federal income tax revenues

NOTE: New York City and Los Angeles were excluded from this study to avoid inflating the national estimates. Figures obtained from the report: Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences.

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