There’s a new festival in New York. It’s called Four Seasons of the Hudson Valley, and the hope is to help revitalize two cities and their waterfronts through the arts. The Festival is a partnership between the The Bardavon 1869 Opera House and a host of Hudson Valley community organizations.
The festival’s purpose is not only to shine a spotlight on the arts and the positive effect on the quality of life in the mid-Hudson Valley, but to boost job creation and economic development. The Bardavon, which owns the Ulster Performing Arts Center, or UPAC, in Kingston, as well its namesake theater in Poughkeepsie, was awarded a $150,000 state grant to do just this, a grant the Bardavon had to match. Each season carries a theme. The spring theme is “Serious Laughs: Art/Politics/Humor”, with two big-name comedians performing at UPAC, and visual arts shows both at UPAC and the Kingston Public Library.
That’s Bardavon Executive Director Chris Silva. He says the edginess of a comedian like Lewis Black, who performs at UPAC April 28, matches the edginess of the art. The UPAC gallery is open till May 12, and includes the works of 25 artists.
He says UPAC’s temporary gallery role, and the entire comedy festival, underscore the importance of the arts to the community and highlight the theater’s contributions to the cultural tourism industry in the Hudson Valley.
The events planned for all the seasons draw from an already existing venue or event.
And here’s how some of that energy for “Serious Laughs” is being expanded.
Then there’s a summer festival on the Rondout in Kingston.
All these performances and art shows and events translate into more jobs.
Jonathan Drapkin agrees that it’s a good thing.
Drapkin, who sits on the regional economic development council but does not vote on grants and projects, says economic development and the arts are intertwined.
Drapkin is also president and CEO of Newburgh-based Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, a not-for-profit policy, planning, advocacy and research organization that promotes regional and sustainable solutions to enhance the growth of the Hudson Valley.
As for the economic development portion of the festival, Silva says it, too, expands from the main events.
He says there will be a harvest festival in Poughkeepsie for the fall, and finally, a Celebration of Lights and winter festival, also in Poughkeepsie. For a complete listing of events, artists and performers, you may visit the Bardavon web site at bardavon.org.