Celebration In The Park

Hasbrouck Park will be bustling with artists, musicians and writers over Columbus Day weekend.

The sixth annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COTA’s regular venue, Huguenot Street, was not available for this year’s date, so Fine Arts & Events Coordinator Melanie Cronin said they will return to the park where the event was held for the first time six years ago.

“We feel that keeping the date consistent is important to encourage people to pencil it on their calendars to come year after year,” Cronin said.

COTA is produced by The Arts Community, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making art accessible to Hudson Valley residents, who have also helped raise money for the event through fundraising.

“The Arts Community…is an incredible group of individuals who support the event from the organizational…as well as the fund raising aspect,” Cronin said. “The SUNY New Paltz Print Club will be joining us this year and just recently collaborated with COTA and Snug Harbor Bar and Grill to do a fundraiser.”

Cronin said the event’s turnout has increased every year with 1,400 visitors last year alone. Despite the increased exposure and attendance, COTA has stayed true to its roots.

“We stick to the original mission and that is to create a platform where artists of all disciplines and skill levels can come together on one day and celebrate what they do,” she said. “Success in the fine and performing art world comes…through exposure and networking, and that is what COTA is all about.”

COTA’s Writer’s and Poet’s Coordinator Chris Whitaker has been the panel curator for four years. He said it has gotten easier each year to find writers who are willing to read at the event.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I think the word is getting out,” Whitaker said. “People are more enthusiastic than when I first started.”

Whitaker said that unlike last year’s readings, which consisted of poets and fiction writers, this year’s focus was on young adult literature from the Hudson Valley. He said writers will be given a half hour to read from their books and do interactive activities of their choosing.

“How they structure their time is up to them,” Whitaker said. “This year [the readings] are going to be story-oriented [to] encourage families to come because it will interest parents and kids.”

Whitaker said COTA worked closely with Deborah Engel at Inquiring Minds, so that all the authors’ works would be available for purchase.

“She’s ordered all the books so people can have them signed,” he said. “After the authors read, they will be at the book tent, so people can get to know them better, ask questions and see their work.”

COTA puts out an open call to shine a spotlight on as many artists, performers, musicians and authors of all disciplines, ages and skill levels in the community as possible.

“We will have several large sculptures throughout the park [and] live graffiti painting by some of the most well known NYC subway artists,” Cronin said. “We are…thrilled to have Rhett Miller [lead singer of the Old 97s] join us as our closing act on the performance stage. Rhett is a member of our community, …and we are fortunate this year that he will be in town and will be joining us.”

Cronin said the community amazes her with their continued outpouring of support and interest in COTA.

“We are a dynamic community and I think COTA reflects our spirit,” she said.