Long Island artists will put on a full-court press across the region next month with the second annual Arts Alive Long Island Festival, a month-long celebration of LI’s vibrant arts communities.
These painters, sculptors, actors, filmmakers, musicians and chefs will fan out across Nassau and Suffolk counties beginning September 27 and continuing throughout October to showcase their talents and prove LI is flush with inspirational artists.
“Long Island takes a backseat to nowhere when it comes to art!” beamed Jack Bransfield, chairman of the Long Island Association, at the festival’s September 25 kick-off press conference, hosted by the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
One-by-one, supporters of the initiative, such as Bethpage Federal Credit Union President and CEO Kirk Kordeleski; Roger Tilles, a member of the New York State Board of Regents and Long Island Arts Alliance; Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz; and Executive Director of Long Island Arts Alliance Theresa Smith; stood firm in their belief that a more lively art community bolsters the local economy and infuses life into downtowns.
“[Art] is an economic engine that matters,” Kordeleski told the crowd.
Rabinowitz, also a member of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, was able to secure a state grant to help fund the festivities and said, “We can’t have a vibrant and thriving economy” without artists remaining on the island.
Leading Arts Alive this year as the official spokeswoman for the festival, with events scheduled all the way to Halloween, is television/music/Broadway star Melissa Errico, who spoke about her love for acting and the obstacles artists typically face.
Errico, most widely known for her performances in My Fair Lady and Dracula on Broadway, smiled as she recalled getting the part as the cockroach in La Cucaracha as a 9-year-old Girl Scout growing up on LI. Errico learned at an early age the value of arts, she said, barely holding in her excitement for the festivities.
“We want to get the word out,” she said.
The festival, with a mission that’s as much about raising awareness as trumping up successful artists, consists of 35 events at various venues across Long Island over the course of the next month, replete with wine tastings, poetry readings, dancing, cabaret performances and comedy nights.
It might just make locals forget about Oktoberfest.
“[Art] makes life sweeter,” said Rabinowitz.