Tivoli to hold Street-Painting Festival this Saturday

tivoli @It’s first-come, first-served to register for a space to paint on at the Tivoli Street-Painting Festival on Saturday, October 5. From North Road to Pine Street, Broadway will be closed to traffic, its pavement marked off with eight-foot squares for adults to embellish along the edges of the road and smaller squares down the middle for kids. Adults will get a black tempera backdrop as their canvas, while the kids’ squares will be painted white. Free pastels and sidewalk chalk are provided to all participants. But do come early; there’s no charge to take part in the Festival, but there’s a limit to the number of squares that will be available. At last year’s event, about 275 squares were painted, including the kids’ squares, says Festival chair Susan Ezrati.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. To speed up the process and get onto a square more quickly, download a registration form online at www.tivoliny.org/pdf/streetpaintingfestival/2011/11thannualtivolistreetpaintingfestivalartistapplication.pdf ahead of time, fill it out and bring it to the registration area on the morning of the Festival. The form requests basic name-and-address info and a brief description of the image to be created, which can be anything from an original design to the reproduction of a masterwork. Everyone is welcome to create a square, be they professional or amateur artist or just kids. (Those under age 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.)

“We have some people who come back year after year,” says Ezrati. “The woman who founded the Festival, Linda Murphy, will be there this year painting a square, and Joel Griffith, who is the ‘painter laureate’ of Tivoli” – an honorarium awarded to the artist by the village of Tivoli in 2003 – “will be in his preferred spot, Square Number One, in front of the Madalin Hotel.”


If an artist wants to draw on a specific space and it’s still available, the request may be honored; but any square not used by an artist by 11 a.m. may be reassigned. Artists may draw until the street is reopened at 5 p.m. Observers are welcome all day.

Ezrati says that the event began in 2001 when the originator of the event, Linda Murphy, proprietor of the Bird’s Nest Bed & Breakfast in the village, came up with the idea after having participated as an artist herself in various street-painting events throughout the country. The first Festival in Tivoli had just 13 people, says Ezrati, but has grown so much over the years that they’re now getting close to 300 participants each time.

As the artists paint their squares, they’re accompanied by live music, set up in a way that everyone up and down the street can hear. This year’s entertainment will be a variety show of sorts, Ezrati says, about a half-dozen acts organized by local musician Joe Tobin. He will also perform with his Acoustic Medicine Show, a Hudson Valley-based group who play a style of music that they call “mountainfolk grass.” The band members play fiddle, guitar, stand-up bass, accordion and mandolin.

As for sustenance to keep the artists going, Tivoli has about a half-dozen restaurants, along with a deli and bakery, says Ezrati, most of which will be open for business; and organizers of the Festival will have bottled water and apples to give participants as well.

Heavy rain may cause a postponement (a rain date has yet to be announced as of presstime). The Festival maintains a Facebook page under “Tivoli Street Painting Festival” for last-minute updates. Light rain shouldn’t shut things down, but a heavy downpour might. And of course, the rain will eventually wash away all traces of the Street-Painting Festival; but until then, the images will remain on the street.

Tivoli Street-Painting Festival, Saturday, October 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free, Broadway from North Road to Pine Street, Tivoli; (845) 757-2393, www.tivoliny.org.