How many plastic water bottles does it take to make a water dragon? Members of the Shout Out Saugerties Committee know, at least, that the effort will require more than they’ve amassed thus far. Called “Flotsam and Jetsam,” a chicken wire frame for the beast-to-be is already outside the Reformed Church in the village, awaiting scales of clear plastic and accents of donated corks. At 136 Partition Street, outside the former site of ‘Cue restaurant, labeled bins beg for single-use plastic water bottles — those amassed thus far, even with the addition of recyclables harvested from the Garlic Festival, just won’t cut it. Edith Bolt, a local artist and champion for the participatory sculpture, is calling for sea-hued nail polish from community members to add color to the clear material — apparently, it adheres to plastic better than typical paints.
The community sourced and built sculpture is just one facet of the new and ever-evolving Shout Out Saugerties Festival, which begins with events Friday, October 5 and continues all weekend, and on subsequent weekends throughout the month of October at various locations in the Village.
The concept for the sculpture came from an atypical piece on the New York City High Line, a city-scape in flux built gradually and collaboratively using laid-out white Legos formed by passers-by. Suzanne Bennett, Shout Out Saugerties founder along with Robert Langdon of Emerge Gallery on Main Street, described the object of inspiration to the festival’s committee — what better way to show festival-goers the importance of art than to solicit their assistance in a project?
Bennett started the program last year in response to the looming shut down threat to the National Endowment for the Arts (and for the Humanities). Members of the Indivisible Saugerties group came together to plan a festival highlighting the ‘indispensible role that the arts play’ in our daily lives, and the importance of securing funding to support those arts.’
“Shout Out’s goal is to build community and something like this — making a sculpture together and working together — is different from having a conversation about something. You’re creative together, it takes a little time and you’re focused on a communal goal to make something attractive and raise awareness about what’s happening in our world,” explained Bolt. “A lot of people are using plastics and they’re seemingly indispensable right now but they’re also causing a threat to our health. There are too many plastics in our world and there’s no big garbage can to put them in. Working together is very different than anything else that people do — adults don’t play like that in our society anymore. We go to parties, we talk to neighbors, but this is different — we’re making something together. It’s strengthening community. You get to know each other’s ideas and pace and whatever, spend time and build friendships and make connections.”
The public can contribute to the structure this weekend, 9:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, October 6 at 173 Main Street, outside of the reformed church, and on subsequent Saturday afternoons in October between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The day before, on October 5, organizers’ attempts to include a wider scope of art forms will be made apparent at 114 Partition Street, at an exhibition called “Design Saugerties: Furnishings and Home Decor,” which will parade the craftsmanship of area furniture makers.
“I wanted to highlight Saugerties as a design center,” said Bennett. “Furniture stores that we have in town, the consignment store and the number of local furniture makers — we’re much more of a center than people realize.”
Also taking place at 5 p.m. Friday, October 5 at Cross Contemporary Art, 99 Partition Street, is an art exhibit, Portraits in Jazz by William Horberg,; a lecture on the history of gardening in the Hudson Valley will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 6, in the Saugerties Library.
A 5 p.m. Saturday, October 6 reception at Emerge Gallery, 228 Main Street, entitled Tell Me a Story includes art exhibitions with “strong narratives”; and there will be an opening reception for The Village is a Gallery at Bosco’s Mercantile, 89A Partition Street at 6 p.m.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, October 7, local artist Joan Reinmuth will teach attendees how to make wearable art. Later, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, October 7, two films by local artists will be screened at the Saugerties library. Starting at 9 a.m. Monday, October 8, writer Maureen Cummins will begin writing her memoirs in the window of the Pig Bar and Grill, 110 Partition Street, where she’ll return periodically as a live, living art installation throughout the month.
The unveiling of the finished “Flotsam and Jetsam” product will culminate the four-week festival, preceding the “Makers and Doers Fair,” also at the Reformed Church, Sunday, October 28 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Inside the building, in a forum called “Saugerties Stories,” locals will expound upon the history and make-up of the town. Outside, local doer Rae Stang’s “Tiny Carnival,” replete with games, will stand. According to Sydnie Grosberg Ronga, organizer of the fair, there will be a “corpse drawing workshop,” craft projects, handmade puzzles for visitors to puzzle over and henna. The event will have a Creative Entrepreneurs Panel and an area “Creativity Begins at Home: Don’t Despair, You Can Repair” where some fabulous doers will help attendees learn to repair things, and wrap up with an unveiling for 2019 festival concepts.
Numerous film screenings, including those joining us from the Woodstock Film Festival, will be held at the Orpheum throughout the month, alongside more than a handful of writer’s workshops, history lectures, art walks, and open readings by local writers. For the locations of these events, as well as up-to-the-minute news about additional events, the Shout Out Saugerties website maintains a both a schedule and calendar, as well as plenty of information about how interested parties can help further their mission at www.shoutoutsaugerties.org. Those who would like to contribute nail polish or bottles to the in-progress community sculpture can contact Edith Bolt at 917-453-2082.