Local businesses are supporting this year’s ArtsFest, the weekend-long celebration of the arts that will feature free events and activities at 32 venues in New Rochelle and Pelham on Saturday, September 22nd and Sunday, September 23rd. (Visit www.newrochellearts.org for a complete calendar.) And it’s easy to see why: Business owners recognize the potential of ArtsFest to bring fresh attention and draw new customers to New Rochelle and Pelham, while also building community pride.
This year Bellas Artes Business Council of New Rochelle, is serving as ArtsFest’s title sponsor, while Meridian Risk Management, Sound Shore Medical Center, P.D. Hurley’s The Waterfront, New Rochelle Chevrolet and Fazzino Museum Editions Limited are the event’s “Trolley Sponsors.”
“We sponsor ArtsFest because we are nothing but thrilled to have this event in our own backyard,” explains Julie Maner, spokesperson for Museum Editions Ltd., the exclusive publishing company for world-renowned 3-D pop artist Charles Fazzino. “It’s incredibly important to promote the arts in a way that makes them fun and accessible to all types of people and ArtsFest is an ideal vehicle for doing just that.”
Fazzino’s studio at 32 Relyea Place (www.fazzino.com ) will be open to the public for ArtsFest, with a special exhibition and the opportunity to observe the process the artist uses to create his eclectic work. “Not only is Arts Fest special for the attendees, it’s also special for those of us who participate,” says Maner. “ It’s an incredible example of the way that different businesses and different people from all different backgrounds can come together and create an event that is educational, fun, and of great value to the community. It’s an extraordinary weekend for all!”
Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester (SSMC), the 252-bed, community-based teaching hospital that offers primary, acute, emergency, and long-term health care, is also an ArtsFest sponsor this year. Spokesperson Trish Feather says that “Sound Shore Medical Center values our partnership with the City of New Rochelle. In addition, we are also highly aware of the abundance of art history in City that we feel compelled to be a part of the ArtsFest.”
Other local businesses who contributed support for ArtsFest this year include Iona College, the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence, Patch, transFORM, Posto 22, Alvin & Friends, the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District, Blackboard Pizza, WVOX, the College of New Rochelle and Modern Paint and Hardware.
Alvin Clayton is the owner of the popular downtown restaurant Alvin & Friends, and he is also an artist – his oil paintings decorate the walls of his restaurant at 49 Lawton Street (www.alvinandfriendsrestaurant.com) Clayton says he signed on as a sponsor because “Art connects us to each other. It stimulates conversation and helps us communicate, and it creates connections and builds community. As an artist and business owner it is important to me and my partners to participate in this event, which highlights are wonderful city. The community has been supportive of us and it is important for us to give back.”
Another way businesses are supporting ArtsFest is by offering special events this weekend. For example, AJ’s Burgers (542 North Avenue; www.ajsburgers.com) is sponsoring an antique car show in the Hamilton Avenue parking lot across from its North Avenue site, while The Pelham Picture House (175 Wolf’s Lane, www.thepicturehouse.org) will be screening free films on Saturday and Sunday.
Rhonda Hamilton, jewelry designer and owner of Just Funki Handcrafted Wearable Art (37 Division Street, 738-3822), hopped on the ArtsFest bandwagon earlier this summer. She will be hosting a show of her unique copper jewelry designs as part of ArtsFest, partnering with AOC Fine Wines to present a wine tasting on Saturday, September 22nd from 2 to 7 pm. (The store will also be open on Sunday, September 23rd from 12 to 5 pm.) Hamilton says “New Rochelle is such a beautiful city, and I believe the arts are the heartbeat of New Rochelle. I think it’s important to work together as a team to create awareness, and build a vibrant, fun, community that people enjoy, and where businesses can thrive.”