Whimsical Windows Of Work

This September, COTA Corridors participants occupied storefronts all over New Paltz with their artwork.The sixth annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) event will take place in Hasbrouck Park on Saturday, Oct. 6, but another COTA-associated event was in full swing for most of September.

COTA Corridors, now in its fifth year, is a month-long storefront exhibition of artwork designed to help generate interest in the annual festival.

Curious art fans can find a list of participating artists and businesses on the COTA website, as well as the COTA Corridors Maps around town, Eileen Hedley, co-curator of the exhibition, said.

Hedley said these maps can encourage people to visit the stores, which is part of the exhibition’s art-business dynamic.

“[Businesses] are printed on the COTA Corridors Maps that are all over town, so if you take a tour of each business, then most likely you will stop in and visit a number of the local businesses as well,” she said.

This year, Hedley, an experienced Hudson Valley artist and three-time COTA Corridors exhibitor, displayed her work in the Main Street windows of Water Street Market.

“Artists apply and, based on their work and what they propose to do, [co-curator April Warren] and I carefully pair each artist with each business,” Hedley said. “It is a great working process that both April and I enjoy.”

COTA Corridors, like its corresponding festival, showcases art in a variety of mediums. Two exhibitors this year include local artists Rick Holland and Kate Hamilton.

Hamilton, a third-time exhibitor, displayed a garment piece at Rambling Rose.

“This year, I’m exhibiting a wearable shelter outfit. It’s a project to make a wearable garment out of materials associated primarily with shelter,” she said. “The resulting ‘dress’ is whimsical and yes, you can wear it…and move in it….It’s a piece about scrounging and making do but with a very playful spirit.”

Hamilton has participated in various storefront shows. She said there are many reasons why she enjoys COTA Corridors, including its town-wide locale.

“I enjoy the interaction with the storekeepers,” she said. “I like the idea of a show that is dotted over a map. I personally like to see store windows that convert the usual merchandise advertising into something that could make a passerby reflect rather than want to consume. And I like that it’s there for everyone to see, not just people searching out a viewing experience in a gallery.”

Holland, a first-time exhibitor who will not have a booth at the festival, displayed an “acrylic painting of a single-frame gag cartoon” at Rhino Records. He said he loved the way his storefront looked.

“I only did the one piece because Rhino only has one prominent window,” Holland said. “I think it was a perfect fit though and I have received a bunch of compliments!”