Color me inspired: Organizers look ahead to 24th Colorscape

The Evening Sun, July 30, 2018: https://www.evesun.com/news/stories/2018-07-30/29772/Color-me-inspired-Organizers-look-ahead-to-24th-Colorscape/

NORWICH – As the days gradually become shorter and summer stumbles on, Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival organizers are hard at work preparing for the 24th annual event slated for Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9.

Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival Executive Director Celeste Friend said between activities for children, activities for adults, performances on three stages, and 120 artists scattered through Norwich’s East and West Parks, the 24th annual Colorscape will have something to offer for everyone.

“There’s no single way to enjoy Colorscape,” said Friend. “It can be as participatory or as passive as you want it to be.”

Colorscape, which has been dubbed by organizers as “a sensory experience for all ages”, drew roughly 13,000 people to East and West Park in 2017, which was Friend’s first year as the festival’s executive director.

Before becoming executive director, Friend was an artist at Colorscape, giving her a unique perspective and understanding of the festival.

“There’s a sense that the entirety of the community is embracing you, embracing the event,” said Friend. “There’s an amazing amount of community buy-in. The community has really bought into this show in a way that I have never experienced in other shows.”

This year’s show will feature some of the festival’s same perennial favorites, including about 100 returning artists, participatory art zones and a literary arts tent, the festival’s annual poetry slam, and performances by some of Colorscape’s most well-received musical acts.

Located alongside the library facing main street during the festival this year will be the literary arts tent under the direction of Guernsey Memorial Library Director Connie Dalyrmple, who will walk participants through an altered book contest.

“Books can be torn, cut, folded, drawn on, painted on, dyed, and combined with other media,” said Dalyrmple. “The possibilities are endless.”

The tent will also host local authors who will be signing and selling their books and talking to festival attendees.

In art zone one located on the Chenango Arts Council lawn, event volunteers will help children aged 10 and under create art projects. Art zone two will be located beside art zone one and will offer the same opportunities to older children and adults.

New this year, Friend said the Guernsey Memorial Library park will be reserved as a quiet family zone for festival goers to have a spot to unwind.

“The goal is to make Norwich a place to go for the whole weekend,” said Friend. “So if you come for the day with your kids and you need to take an hour and go somewhere quiet, we’re going to encourage people to use that park.”

At noon on Saturday, September 8, 2018 event poet Shannon Matesky will perform from the main stage in East Park before the poetry slam kicks-off at 2 p.m. Matesky is an actor, writer, producer and director from Berkley, CA.

Friend said she invites the community to come out and participate in the slam, which will be MC’d by Matesky.

“The idea of a poetry slam is that anybody can get up and recite their poetry,” said Friend. “It’s as much performance as it is literature and the idea is that the audience judges it and we have prizes.”

11 musical acts will also take to the main stage over the weekend, including past-event favorites the Adam Ezra Group at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, as well as the festival’s closing act The Slambovian Circus of Dream at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Friend said attendees at the 2018 festival can expect to see more food vendors than in previous years in the Chobani Culinary Court, including the Chobani cup truck, Cowboy BBQ, and 10 other vendors.

For more information about the 24th annual Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival, visit www.colorscape.org or call (607) 336-3378.

Pictured: Attendees at the 2017 Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival participating in the Drum Zone, a festival activity which will return to the 2018 event. PHOTO by Frank Speziale.