Beacon Arts President Receives Special Citation from the Dutchess County Executive
The persistent drum of artists and their collective hum have been instrumental to the creation of intangible as well as economic value in Beacon, New York. Whereas in the past BeaconArts fiscally sponsored the independently produced “Windows on Main Street,” this year the nonprofit will produce this annual event as an organizational project, in alignment with its mission to preserve, nurture and promote the cultural vibrancy that has become the trademark of this city.
“Windows on Main Street” (aka WOMS) is a special public exhibition in which artists partner with local businesses to transform Beacon’s streetscape. Artists work with business owners to use storefront displays as a means to engage the community with their work. By pairing these two distinct groups, BeaconArts aims to foster dialogue at multiple scales: between the artist and business-owner for the creation of site-specific work; between the specific work and passersby; and between the collective exhibition and the greater community at large. This year’s request for proposals encouraged artists to explore themes of art as cultural currency. As the economic landscape of this city changes, WOMS is an opportunity to raise awareness of the vital but sometimes invisible role artists play.
WOMS has been happening in the city of Beacon for 12 years, making it the longest running event presented by BeaconArts after Second Saturday. By the deadline to submit proposals on July 22, 36 businesses signed on to showcase 40 artists this fall. The project culminates in a citywide exhibition of the collaborative work that will run from September 22 through November 12, accompanied by print and online catalogs and maps.
“The response to the project’s return after a hiatus last year has been encouraging – in a climate of so much conflict, the exhibit is a great physical reminder of the space we share from different perspectives,” said Pamela Dailey, the event’s organizer and a Board member of BeaconArts. “We’ve got a great mix of repeat participants and brand new people, both artists and businesses, who are committed to being present to the arts this fall.”
Recognizing Leadership in Arts and Culture
Kelly Ellenwood is one of two recipients this year of the Dutchess County Executive’s special citation award, specifically for her work on behalf of BeaconArts. She is the 5th President to serve on the volunteer Board of Directors for the nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2002. An artist with award-winning performances on Broadway and concert stages, Kelly has been an involved advocate of the arts and arts education, regularly dedicating her time to bring quality arts education programs to public schools in New York State. She is on the music faculty at SUNY-New Paltz and has lived in Dutchess County with her husband Timothy and two daughters for 15 years. BeaconArts was founded 15 years ago in response to a need to attract tourism to Main Street by leveraging its burgeoning arts community. Today, Ms. Ellenwood is leading a strategic planning process for the organization that reflects the changing landscape and needs of a culturally vibrant city that is undergoing unprecedented growth and development. WOMS is the first public event BeaconArts has endeavored to self-produce (as opposed to fiscal sponsorship) and represents a concerted effort to ensure a home for high-profile projects in Beacon that promote creative cohesion.
Founded in 2002, BeaconArts is the artery through which much of the city’s creative efforts flow and manifest. Our mission is to enable artists to continue to live and work in Beacon, New York, by promoting their work to audiences at-large and to develop inspiring and creative experiences that enrich the lives of our local citizens. We currently have 160 artist members and 90 business members on our roster who benefit from our marketing and advertising efforts. Second Saturday, organized and promoted collaboratively between these two groups, draws hundreds of visitors over two days each month. Citywide events draw thousands more from the tri-state region and beyond: Beacon Open Studios, Windows on Main Street, Beacon Independent Film Festival and Beacon 3D. These artist-run projects are made possible through BeaconArts’ 501(c)3 non-profit status, with additional planning and promotional support provided as part of fiscal sponsorship. Three levels of membership are offered: Artist, Friend and Business. For more information visit www.beaconarts.org.
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Board member, BeaconArts
Photo of Ms. Ellenwood by Liam Goodman.