Coming together for another artsy affair
By Osjua A. Newton
A day that started with a cloudy drizzle ended in hundreds from the neighborhood and beyond basking in the sunshine to the sounds of classical, jazz, rock, blues, theater and folk tunes.
The amalgam of creative and musical activities featured along Mosholu Avenue and West 255th Street as part of the third Riverdale Festival of the Arts’ on Sunday, included eight art institutions, 12 individual artists, a host of childrens’ activities, local businesses and several live musical performances, including musical talent Suzanna Choffel, this year’s third place “songwriting performance contestant” of NBC’s The Voice.
“To stand in front of the artist and talk to the artist, to stand in front of the musician and listen to their music and to interact with the people you live with, that changes people and I think it makes the community hum,” said Linda Manning, one of the three founders of the Riverdale Festival of the Arts Group.
The first fair was held in October 2011, with a subsequent event that spring. Elisa Contemporary Art, Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation and Linda Manning Productions sponsored this year’s event.
“So far we’re all entertained,” said Cynthia Rivera, who said she has attended each of the arts festivals and brought her son Jonas, 2, to paint pumpkins on Sunday.
“It brings our neighborhood and community closer,” she said.
Riverdale Children’s Theatre kicked-off the fair’s musical performances with a duet performance of “Wheels of a Dream” sung by 14-year-old Travis Harley and 16-year-old Kaitlyn Sheehan.
“I was happy to do it because I love Riverdale Children’s Theatre,” said Travis Harley. “They’re a good chance for kids who actually want to be in the arts programs…and be in shows.”
Singer/Songwriter Marc Campbell, the Joe Farnsworth Jazz Trio and the Bronx Arts Ensemble were among the other local musicians who performed.