Embrace Winter Festival shows off the artistic beauty in Bay Ridge

Businesses on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge displayed artwork from local artists for the Embrace Winter Festival.
Businesses on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge displayed artwork from local artists for the Embrace Winter Festival.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Third Avenue businesses in Bay Ridge got into the winter spirit over the weekend and treated patrons to a day filled with art, treats, and discounts for the 10th rendition of the “Embrace Winter Festival.” 

“We wound up having beautiful weather we didn’t expect,” said Victoria Hofmo, executive director of Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Association, which puts on the festival every year.  “We had about 13-20 businesses do promotions, which was very good, especially after COVID.” 

The weekend-long event, on March 19 and March 20, was sponsored by Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Association, an organization that launched in 2011 to promote the artistic and cultural richness in Bay Ridge, in partnership with Third Avenue Merchants Association. 

Their goal is to broadcast some of the art by local artists, which were posted in venues along Third Avenue since Feb. 26. 

Participating businesses hosted a piece of art in their store through the month, and on March 19, offered discounts and special treats — such as mimosas, a chance to win a $100 gift card, and a free scalp treatment with a massage purchase — to patrons who mentioned “Embrace Winter Festival.” 

The handful of artists involved, often returning from the festival’s previous nine years, show work inspired by their experiences, such as being an immigrant as in Hildos’ Inside Out, the St. Lucy’s Day Festival in Sweden in Whitney Hamiltion’s St Lucy and Black Phillip, as well as historic photo installations at the Scandinavian East Coast Museum showcasing Norwegian Brooklyn’s Maritime History. 

The organizers hosted an “Art Walk” which gave a guided tour of the displayed artwork and ended with a reception.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Association hosted a guided “Art Walk,” during Saturday as well, to explain the history and meaning of the several art pieces on display, and to give attendees the opportunity to have a meet-and-greet with the artists.

The price of joining the “Art Walk” was $20, which launched at Owl Head Yoga on 73rd Street and continued to 89th Street where the tour concluded with a reception at Third Avenue newcomer Cellary, a wine cellar, with noshes from ALC Italian Grocery. 

Hofmo extended her gratitude to the many participating artists and businesses who make the festival possible each year, and a special thanks to the business owners who helped put on the reception. 

“I just want to say thank the merchants who decided to partner with the artists,” she said. 

She said she hopes for the return of activities and performances they have had in previous years, which they decided against having this year to play it safe since the pandemic.