Bay Ridge festival showcases visual & performing artists

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Even after 32 years, the preparation for the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts is still as arduous as ever. But the effort is more than worthwhile, according to festival organizers.

A week before the April 22 opening of the 33rd annual festival, organizers were busy sorting through the hundreds of paintings stacked on the basement floor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 7420 Fourth Ave., where all of the festival events will be held.

The paintings were selected from among the hundreds of submissions that artists brought to the church earlier on the festival’s receiving day of April 16.

Artists were permitted to bring in three framed paintings and a portfolio of 10 unframed paintings to be considered by the festival’s jury, according to Rochelle Broadman Wade, who sits on the organizing committee. The jury then decides which paintings it wants to display in the festival’s gallery space.

"The art has to be created by the artist and professionally acceptable," said Wade. "The content can be anything."

After the selection process is completed, the organizers have to decide how to hang the art on the walls of the church’s community room and neighboring hallway, which will serve as the art gallery for the duration of the weeklong festival.

"We spend a whole week getting the paintings hung properly," said Wade. "The paintings have to be tastefully hung in order to sell."

Although the festival serves as a showcase for artists from throughout the tri-state area, the organizing committee takes a 25 percent cut from the sale of all artwork and puts it toward a scholarship fund, which it eventually awards to local high school students who excel in the arts.

"We are trying to promote the arts in Bay Ridge," said Wade.

Indeed, this year the festival will include daily instructional activities and musical performances in addition to the weeklong showcase of art.

The festival will open at 2 pm on April 22 with a reception for the artists and patrons of the event. The reception will be followed by the public opening at 4 pm, where members of the organizing committee will address the festival.

On Tuesday, April 24 at 2:30 pm, there will be an art demonstration titled, "Simple Crafts Anyone Can Do." Later that day the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy will perform.

On Thursday, April 26, there will be a jewelry and craft demonstration at 2:30 pm. Also on the 26th, classical pianist Michael Boshell will perform at 8 pm.

Children’s Day at the festival will begin at 2:30 pm on April 27, and will include face painting and storytelling. The week of concerts will conclude with "An Evening of Song," which includes performances by Bay Ridge mezzo soprano Phyllis Falletta with Kevin Carlson, Richard Paratley and Maxim Pakhomov at 8 pm, also on the 27th.

The final two days of the festival have been reserved for a craft fair, which will be open from 1 pm to 7 pm on April 28, and from 1 pm to 5 pm on April 29.

During the week, the gallery will be open concurrently with the scheduled events from 2 pm to 5 pm and then from 7 pm to 9 pm. All of the special events and entrance to the festival are free of charge.


The 33rd annual Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts exhibition and sale runs April 22-29 at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd (7420 Fourth Ave.). The gallery hours are 4-7 pm on April 22; 2-5 pm and 7­9:30 pm on April 23-27; 1-7 pm on April 28; and 1-6 pm on April 29. For more information visit on the Web. Free admission.

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