WARWICK-The Warwick Summer Arts Festival comes to a close with flourish of performances and activities on July 17th, 18th and 19th at sites throughout the Town of Warwick. This weekend residents will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the arts n from pottery to painting, from singer/songwriters to dancing horses and everything in between. They can tour the studios of working visual artists, sample various healing art forms, take a song-writing workshop, make a float for the parade and each evening attend a concert under the stars. The theme for this year's festival is "Voices of Dissent/Voices of Healing."Holly Near epitomizes both. She will perform with pianist John Bucchino on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Stanley-Deming Park. Near is a unique combination of entertainer, teacher and activist. She has released over 20 recordings. Her strength as a performer lead to creative collaborations with such artists as Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Mercedes Sosa, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Inti- Illimani, Bonnie Raitt, Cris Williamson, and Linda Tillery. She has received numerous awards for her work for social change, including honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, The National Organization for Women, NARAS, Ms. Magazine (Woman of the Year), and the Legends of Women's Music Award. Holly is also an author and teacher -- she teaches master classes in performance craft and song writing. On Saturday, July 17th, from 1-2 p.m., she will lead a workshop at Christ Church on South Street. Reservations are encouraged as it may fill up quickly. Anyone who has seen Tom Chapin perform knows what Billboard Magazine means when they say he is "one of those natural-born entertainers who, with nothing more than guitar in hand, can totally captivate." His remarkable musicianship, great songwriting and personal warmth shine through whether he's performing in a major concert hall, an outdoor festival, in front of a symphony orchestra or in an intimate coffeehouse. Chapin will perform at Stanley-Deming Park at 7 p.m. Sunday following the Art Parade down Main Street. Tom Chapins concerts span generations and stereotypes. He says: "Mine is not a traditional music, but it comes from a tradition. My musical heroes are people like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie who wrote and sang real songs for real people; for everyone, old, young, and in between." Chapin has gained widespread critical and popular acclaim for his recordings aimed at 4 to 11 year-olds and their families. Tom and his collaborators John Forster, Michael Mark and Jon Cobert have created a body of songs which are quickly becoming children's classics. A collection of environmental songs titled This Pretty Planet (2000) also received a Grammy nomination. Tom's most recent recording, Great Big Fun for the Very Little One (2001), a unique collection of songs aimed especially at his youngest fans and their families, received the 2002 Parents' Choice Gold Award. On Friday evening at 7 p.m., an eclectic group of performers will create an evening of theater, dance and music inspired by the beautiful setting at Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center on 17A across from Mt. Peter. The performance piece, entitled TO DUST
, features the choreography of Linda Mensch, Conductor David Crone and the Children's Festival Choir, the beautiful singing of James and Jody Weatherstone and Robert Vincent Smith, dressage rider Ute Frevert and the work of five local poets. "The performance is like a collage piece," explained Artistic Director Elizabeth Reese. "We all riffed on the theme and then wove the pieces together." On Saturday and Sunday, The Artist Open Studio Tour will take place throughout the Town. Maps and tickets can be purchased on those days at Railroad Green in the Village of Warwick. Participants go on a self-guided tour of the various studios, which include some of the finest working artists in the area. The work includes pottery, painting, jewelry, glass blowing, woodworking, and more. In addition, all of the artists have their work displayed at the Gallery at Port of Call on Main Street in the Village of Warwick. On Saturday, in-between the studio tour visits, drop by the Healing Arts Expo at Stanley-Deming Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sample the work of different modalities from yoga and pilates to massage, reike, Alexander technique, and acupressure. Demonstrations and sample sessions will be held throughout the day. "It's a great gathering place to refresh, reorganize and inspire you," says organizer Lisa Wolfe.