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Arts Fest Returns to New Rochelle

A weekend of free art exhibits, events and performances is coming to New Rochelle on October 2nd and 3rd.

"Arts Fest" returns to New Rochelle the weekend of October 2 and 3, and this year will include free art exhibits, events and performances at 19 venues across the city.

Once again a free trolley will offer "hop on/hop off" transportation between sites, according to Judith Weber, President of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts who said that this year, for the first time, seven downtown restaurants will join in the festival by offering live music and menu specials. 

"From visual artists like illustrator Norman Rockwell and sculptor Frederic Remington to writers like E.L. Doctorow and Cynthia Ozick to performers including Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Frances Sternhagen, New Rochelle has a long history of attracting artists," said Judith Weber, President of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts.  

"That history continues today, and Arts Fest is a great way to showcase the variety of artists living and working in New Rochelle right now."

 One of those artists is internationally-acclaimed 3-D pop artist Charles Fazzino, who is opening the door to his Museum Editions studio at 32 Relyea Place during Arts Fest.

Fazzino, one of the most-collected pop artists of the last 30 years, is known for creating vibrant, brightly colored three-dimensional works around themes that range from cities to sports. He has also become known for his works commemorating special events, including the last 11 Super Bowls, the Olympic Games and the 2010 World Cup.

While Fazzino says his artwork can be found in the private collections of  celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell, Michael Eisner, Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, Paul McCartney,  Michael Jordan and Julia Roberts, he remains one of New Rochelle's best-kept secrets.

"I exhibit all over the world, and most people know I'm from New York, but many people don't realize I'm right here in New Rochelle, and have been since 1987," said Fazzino.

A graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts, Fazzino employs more than 40 artists to help create 20 to 30 new editions of art each year, as well as private commissions and official works for special events. Fazzino said that opening his studio to the public for Arts Fest will give people a chance to see "how the work is made, how I draw and how I make the work three dimensional."

The studio will be open Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3 from noon to 5 pm; in addition to learning about the artist and his process, visitors will participate in an interactive 3-D art project.

 Fazzino said that the participatory art project is part of a bigger "Arts Initiative" that will kick off this fall, with students at local schools getting a chance to create their own 3-D works. According to Fazzino the idea grew out of similar art projects he's done in the past.

"When I do work for the Olympics or the Super Bowl I often partner with a host committee in the city where the event is held," said Fazzino, "We create a piece of art and then auction it off to support the host committee." Fazzino said he plans to do the same for local schools, starting with Ursuline, his daughter's alma mater.

Among the other venues are "open studios" at Media Loft and Knickerbocker Lofts, two artists' work/live spaces on Webster Avenue, as well as the Business Improvement District's Artists' Spaces at 81 Centre Avenue.

Several more traditional galleries will also be open for Arts Fest, including the Backstreet Gallery, Iona College's Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery, the Empty Hand Zen Center, the Museum of Arts & Culture, and the College of New Rochelle's Castle Gallery and Mooney Arts Center.

In addition, New Rochelle Public Library will be hosting events all weekend, including the 95 annual exhibition of the New Rochelle Arts Association, performances by the National Circus Project, New Rochelle Opera and the Big Apple Playback Theatre, and a Lego building activity at the Huguenot Children's Library. For a complete listing of all Arts Fest events, click on the attached PDF.

Editor's Note: Theresa Kump Legorn is Director at Museum of Arts & Culture at New Rochelle High school and a former board member at the New Rochelle Council on the Arts. 

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