Celebration of the Arts (COTA) celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz.
COTA was founded in an effort to bring together local artists in celebration of creativity and culture.
This year’s celebration included a host of family-friendly events. The picturesque historic buildings with the recent fall foliage provided a backdrop for various events throughout the day.
Taking a tour of the event, one would find themselves under a big white tent admiring an amalgamation of various local artists celebrating their works for sale, a performance tent where local musicians set the mood for onlookers, an author and poet lineup, free sample dance classes, children’s activities and street game installations.
“It’s great,” said Pat Henneberger, performance coordinator of four years. “Everyone here is a volunteer. They just want to give back to the community. Everyone is donating their time to support one another for a greater cause.”
This year’s performance artists included The Dylan Emmet Band, a local band that plays all over the tri-state area that has recently released their second album Collide.
Natyaniketan (School of Kuchipudi Classical Dance) added an interesting twist to the mix. The aim of Kantham Chatlapalli, who is a teacher, choreographer and Indian classical dancer, is to increase awareness of the Indian classical dance form through exposure and education. Her dance school has participated in various performances and workshops across the Hudson Valley.
A not-for-profit Community Theater Company, 90 Miles Off Broadway, contributed to the event as well. They have been performing in New Paltz and the surrounding area for 47 years.
Other acts included Szélrózsa, a Hungarian band who plays a wide variety of music from all over the region. Sean Schenker, an inspiring solo performer and The Trapps, a local rock band, set the sound for the swinging hips of those old and young. Barushka, the co-founder of The Bleeding Hearts Belly Dance company and A Perfect Gift: All That Is Jazz, both based out of the Hudson Valley, rounded out the afternoon.
In addition to the performance tent, there was also Acoustics Under the Tree, which included performances by Jai Dev Bennett, Rich Bala and Los Thujones.
One of this year’s local artists was Laianna Ferruggia, a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz. She was all smiles as she showed off her work to the public.
“It’s great to get the exposure,” she said. “It’s good to meet other artists and network and get my work out there. It’s just a great event that brings artists together.”
The day continued with Church poetry readings, dance classes and sales of homemade jewelry, books, sculptures and a variety of paintings in the Historic Store.
COTA was first started to create a platform for artists to network and share their creativity, Fine Arts and Event Coordinator Melanie Cronin said.
“We’re gearing up to create an artist’s stipend for next year. We had a fundraiser last night at Snug Harbor and that’s why we also have the street game installations,” said Cronin. “We want to be able to give back to the artists that contribute.”