Summer Arts Festival attracts hundreds to art and music programs

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    For 10 days this month, Warwick became a center for the arts in Orange County. Workshops in the Warwick Summer Arts Festival included costume, dance, artworks and construction with natural materials. Music was provided by Eileen Ivers's Immigrant Soul, Cyro Baptista's Beat the Donkey, Nth Degree, Meeting House Jazz Orchestra and Cigar Store Indians. The MeetingHouse Jazz Orchestra was joined by dancers from The Moving Company Modern Dance Company of Warwick. CrowKula, a troupe of itinerant artistic jesters, has been holding workshops, mischief making and "Kula" gatherings around the region over the past few months. They led a "Debris Hut" building in Stanley Deming Park on July 23. CrowKula invited the public to join them in building a room from materials gathered in the woods. CrowKula also held story creation workshops at the Albert Wisner Library during the entire 10-day festival, from July 15 to July 24. An art-making workshop, led by Stacey Rosen, was based on the book, "To Stand Under a Yellow Tree Imagining," by the group's founder Renie Garlick. The book tells the story of Crow, who created all the alphabets and languages we received for the gift of story telling. Members of CrowKula, painted up as "Mud People" began handing out copies of the story, along with the dates of the festival, several months ago. A "ribbon dance costume workshop," led by Daniamaria Martin, focused on creating costumes to wear while marching, or dancing, in the parade on Sunday, July 24, that ended the festival. Warwick's street-theater group, Drama Dragons, led the parade with a huge banner that read, "All Together Now, Let's Create Peace." About 300 people remained in Stanley Deming Park after the parade to listen to Cigar Store Indians, from Crabapple, Ga., a country/rock/jazz band. "This was our smallest turnout," said festival producer Liz Reese. "We had 500 to 600 at most of our concerts. And we had art workshops throughout the 10 days, and exhibits in village store fronts." One of the exhibits was mask art from children at King's School. The list of festival supporters reads like a "Who's Who" of Warwick business and government. In addition to the Town and Village of Warwick boards, the festival received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, and additional state funding through state Sen. Thomas P. Morahan. Local business sponsors included ShopRite, WVT Communications, Orange and Rockland, Orange County Tourism Board, Provident Bank and Warwick Savings Foundation. Reese also acknowledged Scenic Technologies, Union Square Group, Mark and Pat Damia, the Warwick Village Chamber of Commerce and Warwick on Line for their help.