Retrospective: 15

BeaconArts / Inspiring and Supporting our Community [Through Arts]

Founded as a non-profit organization in 2002, BeaconArts is the artery through which much of the city’s creative efforts flow and manifest. Our mission is to foster and encourage the advancement of the City of Beacon, and its environs, as a center for arts and culture. By doing so, we enable resident artists, makers and others in our creative community to continue to live and work here. We also develop and facilitate inspiring creative experiences and programs that promote a vibrant community and enrich the lives of our local citizens.

In addition to catalyzing our community around large-scale public events like Second Saturday, the Bicycle Christmas Tree/Menorah Lighting and Windows on Main Street, BeaconArts is fiscal sponsor for independent grassroots projects including Beacon Open Studios, Beacon Independent Film Festival, Beacon 3D, Keys to the City, Beacon Arts and Education Foundation, Electric Windows, HEFeSTUS, Beacon Riverfest, and other smaller projects that have had a big impact over the years.

BeaconArts updates and publishes a printed map of Beacon four times a year for galleries and business members, plus an online calendar and weekly e-newsletter of cultural events.


  • The Beacon Arts Community Association (BACA) is formed in September of 2002, with Ricardo Diaz as President.
  • Second Saturday is conceived by Thom Joyce and launched in November 2002; after 15 years Second Saturday has become an integral part of Beacon’s identity. Galleries, shops, organizations and ad-hoc events all use the monthly event to promote community and bring visitors to Beacon.


  • Dia:Beacon opens, putting Beacon on the international art map.
  • The “Second Saturday Beacon Gallery Guide” is first published. The “map,” as it is affectionately called, remains one of the most important fundraising tools for the organization. Cultural events, art galleries and applied arts businesses are all featured, along with Main Street Businesses and organizations that support the arts in Beacon.
  • Dutchess County Tourism provides funds for promotion of a Main Street Arts Festival which draws visitors from Dia:Beacon to Main Street.


  • Beacon joins with Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Kingston to create Art Along the Hudson, a marketing collaborative to promote the arts in the Hudson Valley, and chaired by Linda T. Hubbard.
  • Robert Rodriguez, Jr. creates and launches the first website to promote the arts in Beacon.


  • Sara Pasti becomes president.
  • The first Windows on Main Street is launched in Beacon storefronts, organized by artist Christopher Albert and Karlos Carcamo.
  • Windows on Main Street 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, the aim is 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.
  • BACA applies for and receives a grant to place 16 benches along Main Street.
  • The Beacon Hat Parade is sponsored by BACA in celebration of Beacon’s history of the “Hat Making Capital of the North East.” BACA raises money for Main Street holiday decorations.


  • The Second Hat Parade and the Second Edition of Windows on Main Street both take place.


  • BACA becomes incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Its mission is “to promote Beacon as an arts destination.” This was a huge effort and gave BeaconArts the ability to be a fiscal sponsor for art activities.
  • Sara Pasti receives the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award “Special Citation” for her work with BACA and other cultural organizations in Beacon.
  • Windows on Main Street and the Hat Parade are organized for the third year.


  • The first Electric Windows exhibition is organized by Kalene Rivers and Dan Weise of OPEN SPACE along with Nicole Romano and Jeff Ashey. Twenty artists with diverse backgrounds descended upon Beacon to transform an old electric blanket factory into an art destination. 8′ x 12′ work was displayed in the boarded-up windows of One East Main Street, turning the concept of gallery literally inside-out. The painting and installation were open to the public, with most of the artists live-painting in front of the building during a street festival.
  • The Clara Lou Gould Fund for the Arts, founded initially by BACA as a separate fund under the Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley holds its first fundraiser at the Howland Cultural Center. Named after the former Beacon Mayor, the fund was set up to sponsor arts projects by local artists that benefit the community. Windows on Main Street and the Hat Parade are organized for the fourth year.


  • Linda T. Hubbard becomes President. She receives the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award “Special Citation” for her work with BACA and Art Along the Hudson.
  • Rick Price’s mural River Beacons is commissioned for New York’s Hudson-Fulton Quadricentennial by the Beacon Sloop Club. The mural celebrates Beacon’s river town heritage and lifestyle, the Beacon Sloop Club’s replica sloop Woody Guthrie’s 30th anniversary, as well as the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage on the Hudson River. The mural was funded in part by the Clara Lou Gould Fund for the Arts, administered by BACA, as well as the Dutchess County Arts Council, The Puffin Foundation, The Woody Guthrie Foundation, Michael Benzer (Hudson Beach Glass), and many private supporters.
  • Beacon Open Studios is launched by Theresa Gooby. Arguably the city’s largest cultural event, in terms of number of participants and locations, the mission of Beacon Open Studios is for all resident artists to have public access and maximum exposure. Held in various locations throughout the city, most of which are individual or shared work spaces, BOS attracts hundreds of visitors every year.
  • 2009 marked the 5th and final year of the Hat Parade; Windows on Main Street continues for a 5th year.


  • Beacon Riverfest is organized by Stephen Clair. Produced by Clair’s Local 845, now known as Beacon Music Factory, Riverfest was the city’s homegrown outdoor music festival, showcasing both local musicians of varied genres and renowned artists on tour. The last event, in 2015, featured 15 bands on 3 stages. The first Beacon Arts Awards is held at Dia:Beacon, honoring Florence Northcutt of Howland Cultural Center and Carl Van Brunt.
  • The second Electric Windows exhibition is held in July. Thirty artists convened festival-style on Main Street, adjacent to One East Main Street. The exhibit expanded to include abandoned storefronts along the other side of Main Street and East Main Street, including what is now The Roundhouse complex, at Two East Main Street. Windows on Main Street continues for a 6th year. Beacon Open Studios continues for its 2nd.


  • BACA joins forces with Dia:Beacon and the Chamber of Commerce to form Beacon Allied Community Objectives Network (BACON) to promote Beacon, coordinate efforts and improve communications.
  • The 2nd Beacon Arts Awards is held at Scenic Hudson’s River Center, honoring George Mansfield and Terry Kusileck.
  • Electric Projected, organized by Dan Weise and Cary Janks takes place, adding a new dimension to Electric Windows. Moving animations by 20 video and graphic artists were projected on the face of the electric blanket factory, each one starting and finishing from an existing Electric Windows installation, accompanied by a musical soundtrack.
  • Beacon Riverfest is mounted for a 2nd year. Nearly 50 Art Guitars were created for an auction in support of the event.
  • Windows on Main Street continues for a 7th year.
  • Beacon Open Studios continues for its 3rd.
  • Art Along the Hudson was awarded the Dutchess County Business Executive Award for Tourism.


  • BACA rebrands itself as BeaconArts, and celebrates its 10th Anniversary.
  • The 3rd Beacon Arts Awards is held in the Waterfall Room on Beacon Falls, the event space at the newly-opened Roundhouse. The event honors Susan Sayre Batton of Dia:Beacon, Margery Groten of Scenic Hudson, and Thom Joyce – musician and one of the founding members of the Beacon Arts Community Association.
  • BeaconArts provides fiscal sponsorship of Beacons of Music – inspired by historic photos of old Beacon, NY, composer Joseph Bertolozzi and photographer Rob Penner celebrate the musicians who provide the soundtrack for the community. The windows of an historic industrial building (The Roundhouse) is outfitted with 18 oversized photographs of the many singers and instrumentalists who play in Beacon. The project and it’s organizers went on to win a Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award.
  • The first Beacon Bicycle Christmas Tree conceived by sculptor Ed Benavente is installed at the pocket park at Cross and Main Streets, in conjunction with the theme “ReInvent, ReCycle and ReJoice.” Businesses were encouraged to decorate their windows that season, using recycled materials.
  • Windows on Main Street continues for a 8th year. Beacon Open Studios continues for its 4th year. Beacon Riverfest continues for its 3rd year, expanding to include a family tent.


  • Dan Rigney becomes President.
  • Beacon celebrates its Centennial, and BeaconArts sponsors the creation of a graphic design to brand the event.
  • Beacon 3D is organized by Eleni Smolen and is launched to commemorate the city’s 100th year, and in its 9th year, Windows on Main Street takes on the Centennial as its theme.
  • BeaconArts sponsors the Beacon Two Row Wampum Festival Totems. As part of events honoring the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between New York’s Haudenosaunee Indians and Dutch settlers, a fleet of more than 200 Native and non-Native canoe and kayak paddlers traveled more than 140 miles on the Hudson River from Troy to Manhattan. For their stop at Beacon’s Riverfront Park, Kalene Rivers organized the production and installation of fifteen totems created by artists with their interpretations of the epic journey.
  • The first Beacon Independent Film Festival (BIFF) takes place in September. Held in the woodland outskirts of the city at Beacon’s University Settlement Camp Theatre, the Beacon Independent Film Festival boasts three days of screenings of feature-length films and shorts, panel discussions and Q&As with directors, as well as live music, food and drink.
  • Beacon Open Studios celebrates its 5th Anniversary.
  • Raising the bar again for its 4th year, Beacon Riverfest presents 14 bands on three separate stages.
  • BeaconArts expands its holiday celebrations by teaming up with the City of Beacon to light the Beacon Bicycle Christmas Tree, and with the Beacon Hebrew Alliance to celebrate Hannukah with the first Beacon Bicycle Menorah. Santa arrives at the celebration in a pedi-cab for the first time.


  • The 4th Beacon Arts Awards honoring Linda T. Hubbard take place at Dia:Beacon.
  • BeaconArts sponsors Karen Michel’s “Live? Kill? Die?” performance documentary.
  • In it’s 2nd year, Beacon 3D expands to twelve sculptures placed along Main Street; wins the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award for “Art in Public Places.”
  • BeaconArts agrees to sponsor Joshua Kogan’s NODE project in order to run a series of workshops centered around
    ecology and art.
  • BeaconArts partners with the Beacon Arts and Education Foundation (BAEF) as fiscal sponsor, offering stronger administrative support and closer ties as an organization to the Beacon community. BAEF raises funds through private donations and grants to support a more comprehensive education for the students of the Beacon City School District. It is expected that BAEF will attain its own 501(c)3 status in 2018.
  • Nestor Madalengoita’s “Songs of the Hudson” – a mural created with the artist and children from the Beacon City School District – is installed at Cliff and Main Streets as a tribute to Pete and Toshi Seeger.
  • Windows on Main Street celebrates its 10th Anniversary. Artists installations are judged and awards are given, including the $1,000 Grand Prize and Gallerist’s Pick Awards given to Tess Elliot for her suspended “exploded” three-speed bike in the window of People’s Bicycle.
  • The Beacon Independent Film Festival celebrates its 2nd year.
  • Beacon Open Studios continues for its 6th year.
  • The Beacon Bicycle Christmas Tree and the Bicycle Menorah lighting moves to Polhill Park next to the Visitor’s Center.


  • BeaconArts is awarded a strategic planning grant from the Dyson Foundation, as well as a working retreat at Omega’s “Strengthening Communities Summit.”
  • BeaconArts is awarded a “Dutchess County Arts Partners” grant through Arts Mid Hudson and Dutchess Tourism.
  • BeaconArts sponsors the first “International Artists’ Residency” organized by painter and curator Basha Maryanska. The project continued in 2016 and 2017.
  • BeaconArts sponsors HEFeSTUS, public iron pour organized by a team of friends and co-workers from the Polich-Tallix Fine Art Foundry, and a business with roots in Beacon from the 1970s. 1,600 pounds of scrap iron melted at 2,800 degrees and poured into 80 molds carved by members of the public. Live music performances, a pig roast and a burlesque show complemented the evening’s pyrotechnics.
  • BeaconArts sponsors the American Center for Folk Music, facilitating their ability to fundraise and establish their headquarters at Scenic Hudson’s River Center in anticipation of receiving their own 501(c)3 status.
  • BeaconArts member Melissa McGill launches her artwork CONSTELLATION and BeaconArts partners with the artist to locally promote and support this conceptual work installed on Polepel/Bannerman Island. BeaconArts organizes shuttle buses from Beacon Riverfest for attendees to witness the official opening of CONSTELLATION on June 28, 2015.
  • Fifteen bands converge upon the newly dedicated Pete and Toshi Seeger Park for the final edition of Beacon Riverfest.
  • Beacon Open Studios continues for its 7th year with a new Director, Amy C. Wilson.
  • Beacon 3D places 20 sculptures along Main Street.
  • The Beacon Independent Film Festival celebrates its 3rd year.
  • Windows on Main Street continues for an 11th year, and sparks a highly charged yarn-bombing incident.


  • BeaconArts commissions a musical composition to commemorate the installation of the Margaret Fuller “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” historical marker. The song, written for soprano and violin, is composed by BeaconArts member Debra Kaye and is based onFuller’s poem “Freedom and Truth.” The Margaret Fuller historical marker will be part of the Women’s Rights and Suffrage History Trail. The trail recognizes and promotes women’s heritage in New York State in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote that came to fruition in 1917.
  • Beacon Open Studios continues for its 8th year.
  • Beacon 3D places 13 sculptures on Main Street.
  • BeaconArts is awarded its second “Dutchess County Arts Partners” grant through Arts Mid Hudson and Dutchess Tourism.
  • The Beacon Independent Film Festival celebrates its 4th year.


  • Kelly Ellenwood becomes President.
  • BeaconArts enters language into the City of Beacon Comprehensive Plan that will shape the organization’s mission and vision going forward.
  • Second Saturday Live is launched in collaboration with the Beacon Music Factory, featuring a free concert every Second Saturday at the Visitor’s Center from June through October. The concerts provide a musical gateway to Main Street and Second Saturday, and spotlight local professional and community members performing in a variety of styles including Beacon Music Factory rock band camps.
  • BeaconArts sponsors the Keys to Beacon (formerly Keys to the City) project, offering a fully accessible, fun musical opportunity across the City of Beacon by placing 12-15 pianos around the city for in the Fall of 2017. The project is spearheaded by Ed Benavente and a committee of volunteers that includes Jesse Stacken, Ian Murdoch, Akiko Sasaki, Rick Rogers, Tim Daley and Linda Pratt Kimmel.
  • Kelly Ellenwood receives a Special Citation from the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Awards for her work with BeaconArts.
  • To celebrate five years of public sculpture in Beacon, Beacon 3D purchases Lori Merhige’s “Effluence” to be sited for the first time on City of Beacon property at Beekman and Route 9D.
  • Welcome to Beacon 3.0 becomes a sponsored project of BeaconArts. The project, conceptualized by George Mansfield and Kalene Rivers, creates an unusual, eclectic and colorful welcome sign on Beekman Street directly across from the train station entrance. This will likely be the last time this now iconic artist-community collaboration occurs, as the property upon which it is sited is slated for development.
  • BeaconArts and the City of Beacon enter into an agreement to install artwork at the City’s five bus shelters, as a tangential project to Windows on Main Street. The project was met with huge support from the City Administration, and will continue in 2018 to include a branding component for the Dutchess County “Art Loop” (G) bus and better information to serve tourists and City of Beacon residents alike.
  • Now in its 12th year, Windows on Main Street re-launches as an integrated, mission-aligned program of BeaconArts. 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. The Beacon Independent Film Festival celebrates its 5th year.
  • Beacon Open Studios celebrates its 9th Anniversary, and Samantha Palmeri takes over as Director.