by  Dave Warner

Little Falls is kicking off their Festival Season this week with the Art Walk, which will be held throughout the City Thursday, June 20th from 4:30 to 9 pm. Artwork from over 70 local and regional artists will be on display, and many artists will be available to discuss their work. You’ll also be able to experience interactive exhibits and demonstrations as you walk through the City.

The featured artists are John Stehnach at the Berkshire Bank and Robert Willman at The Inn at Stone Mill.

Elaine Cobb, with Think Local, said “Van Meter & Van Meter LLC is sponsoring the Art Walk this week, the Y is sponsoring the music, other businesses have either given space for display or stepped up to the plate in different ways. The non-profit groups are helping with volunteers to work the event. This is a real community effort.”

Tony DeLuca, Chairman of the Tourism Committee said, “certainly, we’ve expanded the whole festival season, and that’s a credit to a lot of cooperation that we’re getting from groups like Think Local, the City, the festival committees and the sponsors. It really is a partnership that has been formed to create these events throughout the year that serve a lot of different groups. There’s literally something for everyone throughout each season.”

DeLuca went on to say “It takes a lot of volunteer effort and sponsors. Businesses and corporate sponsors are rising to the occasion. The Central New York Community Arts Council has helped us again this year with the entertainment expenses with a matching grant. We’ve been fortunate enough to land that grant for the last five years.”

DeLuca feels that without all those components in place, the festivals that we have here would not be as successful. “Budget is always a concern, and no one entity can fund all of this activity.”

With all of the groups working together, they are able to get group rates on things like advertising and promotion for the festivals. “A big help was the grant that we got last year to help build and promote these things. That’s gone away, so now we’re presenting based on the foundation that was laid and all the efforts of the past,” he said.

DeLuca said that volunteers are the backbone of what is going on and that we continually need to look for people who haven’t been involved in the past to help out. “People move away, they retire, or they have done it for years and need be replaced. We need that backfill of volunteers because that’s the key to this thing.”

“The volunteers really make things go,” he said. “There are merchants and business which contribute as well because they see the value of what we’re doing and it’s a good investment. It helps businesses as a whole.”

DeLuca also said that the City and DPW, in particular, have been a critical component to the success that we’ve had. “Without that component in place, the festivals would struggle.”

Cobb stated “I think the whole community is happy to see that our festivals are growing and that we have a good community volunteer base to do this. We’re excited about this season and feel that it will be the best one yet – everything is just pumped up. The Cheese Festival is even going to be on WMAC to promote the event, which will bring a lot of additional attention to the festival.”

The Art Walk will begin at the Little Falls Public Library, located at the corner of East Main and Waverly Streets, continue along Main Street to the American Legion, 100 West Main Street, and then proceed on to Canal Place.

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