Anticipation. The Peekskill Artists Community's biggest weekend of the year begins tomorrow! For months Peekskill's painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, performers and other uncategorizable creative types have been getting ready to throw open their doors to the public for Peekskill's 15th Annual Open Studios weekend.
Last year I had magic gigs and could only attend peripherally. I have no memory of the shows I did those days - a couple of the hundred-or-so parties a year I perform for - but I do remember rushing home to catch the tail end of Open Studios both days. My mind was boggled by the quantity and quality of amazing art behind the non-descript doors leading to tucked-away studios in Peekskill's downtown. These are in addition to the concentrated riches at the Peekskill Art Lofts, the Flatiron Gallery's spaces, and the Hat Factory (to name just a few), where a few steps take you between alternate universes, each more amazing than the next. Last year was wonderful but a little bittersweet - I felt left out.
This year is different. I'm here for the entire weekend, and bubbling with excitement. We have a new leadership team. Maureen Winzig and Toni Quest, both distinguished Peekskill Artists, have been working tirelessly to make this the best Open Studios ever. Maureen is a whirlwind. She seems to be everywhere at once, constantly promoting Open Studios. And she keeps making art. (You can often see her at work in her second floor studio on North Division Street.)
The most significant change this year is the addition of Performing and Healing Arts at Energy Movement Center on South Street. In the past Open Studios presented some challenges for us performers. We could schedule performances at our lofts, but timing was tricky. It was hard to avoid bumping against other events and impossible to know if anyone would actually be there at performance time.
This year there will be continual performances at Energy Movement Center on Saturday featuring Peekskill's musicians, dancers and or course your resident magician. I go on at 2:30pm. Nobody's performing for long. It's a sampling - in the spirit of Open Studios - to pique your curiosity and, hopefully, become a fan!
On Sunday, EMC transforms into a space for the Healing and Movement Arts. I'll switch hats and do an hour of auricular (ear) acupuncture at 1pm and a Qigong workshop at 2pm. There are many other options as well. Check out the schedule!
For me, this year is the best of all possible worlds. I'm participating heavily, but I'll also have time to walk around and see the studios. I'll also be a go-fer, available for any needed tasks. It's a collaborative volunteer effort by all of Peekskill's artists - a huge labor of love. Nobody gets paid in money, but we all recognize the valuable currency of good will, recognition and publicity.
All Open Studios events are free! Stella the Trolley will be carrying folks between studios at a discount rate. And although Open Studios is from 10-5, there are extra events around town, including Alexis Cole's jazz performance at Kathleen's Tea Room Saturday at 7pm. I'll be there.
Hope you can join us for our big party!