The act of creation, in a myriad of forms, can do something that ignites the senses and lifts morale. To this end, almost 60 New Paltz residents, of all ages, helped to paint their vision of a “Winter Wonderland” on more than 23 windows of local businesses this past Sunday.
The idea was the brainchild of Phoenix Kawamoto, director of Community Education the Town of New Paltz, who fondly remembered her time painting windows as a child growing up in Saugerties. “I was brainstorming with [New Paltz Youth Program director] Jim Tinger on things that we could do to engage the kids that were positive and low-risk, because of COVID. I flashed on this time when I was in sixth grade and was able to participate in this communitywide holiday window-painting festival. It made such a lasting impression on me because it was so much fun, and we got to be creative and the business owners entrusted us with their storefront windows!”
Kawamoto and Tinger and other key players involved with New Paltz youth and the community decided to put this together for Halloween. It was a great success, and this time around, they had more businesses and even more students and families participate. “It was incredible,” she said. “The participants did a fantastic job! Some were completed by individual New Paltz student artists, some as a team with a friend, others as a family, and a few were created by adult artists in the community. They vary in style and are extremely colorful and creative.”
The window paintings stretch all the way from Shop Rite and the Health and Nutrition Center, Beck’s Hardware, Fleet’s Service Center and the Rhinebeck Artists’ Shop to the downtown area, where festive images delight the storefronts of Jack’s Meats and Deli, Kon-Tiki, the Main Street Bistro, The Bakery, McGillicuddy’s, Karma Road and Handmade and More. There are snowmen and holiday gnomes, winter mandalas and birds with scarves, Christmas trees and presents and snowflakes falling from the sky on top of the Shawangunk Ridge.
Kawamoto, Tinger and New Paltz Middle School and High School advisors Brennan Woods and Krista Pachomski all circled around to each business to check in with the painters and make sure that they had everything they needed to let out their inner Van Gogh or O’Keeffe.
“Both community window-painting projects [Halloween and Winter Wonderland] would not have been possible without the financial support of the New Paltz School District’s Foundation for Educational Enhancement,” said Kawamoto, noting that the Foundation helped to support the budget for all of the supplies of paints and brushes, drop canvases and snacks to keep the artists fueled.
“People were so excited to be involved in the holiday painting, and I think it just provides some joy in a time when we can use all the light we can get,” she said. If you want to go on a tour around town and experience the wild and varied visual delight of these glass-canvassed works of art, get out and do it while shopping locally! They will remain on the storefronts until January 1, 2021.