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10 Days Away: 47th Annual AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival to Showcase Talents of 165 Artists in Columbus Circle

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Syracuse, NY – In ten days, historic Columbus Circle will come alive with the presentation of the 47th annual AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, featuring 165 artists, craftspeople and entertainers. Presented by AmeriCU Credit Union and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc., the three-day festival is one of the signature events of ArtsWeek, a partnership among several organizations committed to celebrating the arts throughout Downtown Syracuse. Starting Friday, July 28 through Sunday, July 30, the festival will showcase the wares of some of the country’s most talented artists in and around Columbus Circle and surrounding streets. This year, the festival is bringing in international artists from as far away as Israel and Canada. Domestically, artists from 25 U.S. states are represented, including artists from as far away as California and Washington State. 

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Rain or shine, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Friday, July 28 and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday, July 29 and Sunday July 30, visitors will find contemporary arts and crafts, functional and decorative booths including two-and three-dimensional works including ceramics, computer art, painting, fabric and fiber, sculpture, photography, glass, jewelry and more. The Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival is recognized as the most prestigious show of its kind in Central New York, and hailed as one of the premier festivals in the northeast.

The selection process to be part of this event is highly competitive. Applications were screened from hundreds of artists who applied to participate. Ultimately, 165 artists were selected through a jury process. This year, approximately 20 percent of the artists are from Syracuse and surrounding communities. *You may preview the artists’ works by checking the Downtown Committee’s website, where you’ll find a list of all artists. 

One theme that is prevalent this year is that several featured artists use unusual media to create pieces that are unique and functional. For example as seen in the chart below (in order from left to right), Mark English welds steel and stainless steel including flatware, incorporating other metals, glass and enamels to create beautiful sculptures. English won an Award of Distinction at the festival in 2015 and 2016. Charles Adams creates decorative lawn pieces using Minnesota field stone for character and shape. Kathleen Scranton creates purses, clutches, as well as covers for journals, laptops and eReaders from vintage books. And, Chuck and Kim Peashey reclaim musical instruments and vintage lamps and repurpose them into music-themed artwork and décor:

Web Mark English Web Charles Adams Web Kathleen Scranton Web Kim and Chuck Peashey

With a variety of professional performers – including costumed dance groups, unique street entertainers and local singers and songwriters – as well as summer refreshments and a Children’s Activity Area, the family-friendly festival attracts an estimated 50,000 people each year.

“The AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival is one of the summer’s most-anticipated family events across our region,” said Nick Cray, Vice President of Member Relations and Marketing at AmeriCU. “AmeriCU is honored to support an event that reflects the goals of our organization by strengthening our community culturally and economically.”

“Downtown Syracuse is the epicenter of arts and culture in our community, and we always look forward to the last weekend in July as an opportunity to showcase Downtown through an artist’s lens,” said Merike Treier, Executive Director of the Downtown Committee. “Between the high-quality talents of the artists, musical performances of strolling musicians, family-friendly activities in the Kids Tent and unique food experiences, the AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival offers something for everyone. We hope that festival-goers will fall in love with all of the unique amenities Downtown Syracuse has to offer while they’re here, and discover new reasons to return.”

Building on the success of this workshop last year, the Downtown Committee will once again host “Activating Downtown’s Alleyways” - a free, interactive workshop where participants may decorate lanterns to depict their vision for the future of Downtown Syracuse. The decorative lanterns will be mounted on string lights and displayed Downtown later this summer. People of all ages are invited to stop by the lantern-decorating station located on the green lawn across the street from The Mission Restaurant between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 30. Participants will be encouraged to share photos of their artwork across Social Media platforms using the hashtag, #stARTcuse.

Keeping with tradition, the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation will present the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival in Clinton Square, while the Stage of Nations Eco Festival will bring Native American crafts, food, live music and dance to Hanover Square, during the same weekend. Meanwhile, the Syracuse NewTimes Chalk Painting Festival, scheduled for Saturday, July 29 along Montgomery Street, is also always a fan-favorite of the weekend. The Arts & Crafts Festival and the events mentioned above are all anchor events of the multi-faceted ArtsWeek celebration. ArtsWeek, which begins Saturday, July 22 and runs through Sunday, July 30, is a joint project among several organizations committed to showcasing the arts throughout Downtown Syracuse. The CNY Jazz Arts Foundation, The Erie Canal Museum, Downtown Writers Center, Syracuse NewTimes, Onondaga Historical Association, the YMCA, the Armory Square Association and the Syracuse Parks and Recreation Youth Program are all involved. The Downtown Committee will release the second installment of its Art in the Windows program to coincide with ArtsWeek, debuting Monday, July 24. For a complete schedule of events and activities, please visit ArtsweekSyracuse.com.

Funding for the Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival is provided by AmeriCU Credit Union and grants secured by Senator John A. DeFrancisco. The Downtown Committee would also like to thank Dunkin Donuts for supplying coffee and pastries to participating artists and craftspeople as they begin each morning at the festival. For additional information about the Arts & Crafts Festival, please visit www.SyracuseArtsandCraftsFestival.com

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