That's what I kept thinking while I was a presenter at the Goshen Art Walk on Friday, the 10th of June, because the Chamber of Commerce and the Goshen Art League are trying to build something even better than we already have. They created a wonderful evening and the people came; all types of people gathered under the lights to bond over books, art and great music.
On the second Friday of June, 2016, the town of Goshen, NY hosted a very unique event to bring artists, and the community in which we live, together. This event took months of planning, and a last minute change in dates due to rain certainly did not give this particular date an easy start. Originally scheduled for the first Friday in June, it was rained out and the artists scheduled to appear were scattered into their busy summer schedules. I didn't even have an easy go; my spot was occupied by a dump truck for most of the set-up time. While my fellow artists and their helpers were nearly done setting up amazing displays, I paced nervously, hoping I wouldn't be scrambling when the first perusers arrived. The tensions were high, and feathers ruffled, but magic was about to happen.
My table was simple, and my display was VERY open. I wanted people to come in and enjoy what I do; to look for a long time, stay and chat. That's exactly what happened. The tight grimaces of nervous artists softened to genuine and welcome smiles. People gasped, awed and laughed while enjoying the art. Children played, young people were inspired and the secrets to building a community began to hum in the streets. A band played the entire time, making a classic mix of '70's and 80's sound like thier own; it became a balance of sentimental and newly relevant all at the same time. People danced in the streets.
Hudson Valley is famous, for art, wine, hiking, culture, being family friendly and a wealth of fantastic day trips. Not a weekend will pass in this fertile valley that does not offer a stimulating, and memorable activity. At the show, I talked to as many people as I could and the more conversations I had, the more people stepped forward to share with me. Many of us agreed that the Goshen Art Walk rebuilds connections we once had with neighbors; and recreated the thread of familiarity and hospitality that ran down every street in the towns of memory. This type of event is exactly what we need more of.
When you dream of a place to live, a wonderful notion of a town like Mayberry with the zest of of New York City may come to mind. It is events like this, and "Music on the Green" in Warwick, NY that rebuild the much needed connections for our communities to be thier best. Young, aspiring, artists who were intimated by art school prices and the judgement of others, walked away from Goshen intent to draw more. Artists were able to connect, open a dialog and share opportunities as well as new resources for stronger careers. By fostering the arts, we create a lasting impression and aesthetic that can bring growth to the community.
The more we talk as neighbors, the more we come to respect and care about each others wellbeing. If you create a neighborhhood worth staying in on a Friday or Saturday night, that money stays in that community and the loyalty stays there too. I think this is what the Goshen Arts League is building; a lasting contribution to its residents and to Hudson Valley.
I want to personally thank Julie Saltzberg of the Goshen Arts League for calling me to let me know if a last minute opening at the event. I also want to thank Gerry Hluchan of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce for helping support the event.
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