Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $100,000 in federal funding will be awarded to the Hudson River Museum of Westchester. This funding will be provided through the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) “Our Town” grant program, and will be used to help the museum partner with the City of Yonkers to host the first-ever Downtown Yonkers River Arts Festival. As a part of this festival, the museum and city will be working to support local artists in the creation of public art pieces. The festival will also include a major sound installation and separate lighting installation, plans for which will be developed by a series of community meetings. Additionally, the festival will recruit artists to lead public workshops and performances, offer training to artists on how to engage the public in their work, and include a series of post-event evaluations to determine successes and areas for improvement. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that this new, annual event will engage a diverse group of Yonkers residents in a variety of high-quality, interactive arts experiences through the community meetings, workshops, and performances, as well as the resulting art installations.
“The Hudson River Museum is a perfect institution to host the first-ever Yonkers-based River Arts Festival, which will enrich quality of life and be a major boost to the local economy,” said Senator Schumer. “These kinds of local festivals foster creativity, provide a wonderful opportunity for our local artists to display their work, and give our communities more chances to experience and enjoy various art forms – not to mention the glorious Hudson River. I am confident the Downtown Yonkers River Arts Festival will be a ‘can’t-miss’ staple on the calendar for years to come, and this federal NEA funding will give this festival the kick-start it needs.”
“The City of Yonkers is filled with artistic talent. Whether it be painting, drawing, singing or acting, it is important to the area’s economy that we promote the community’s artistic culture,” said Senator Gillibrand. “A local community event like the Downtown Yonkers River Arts Festival, will encourage local residents to experience a variety of cultures that they might have otherwise not been able to experience. This investment in the arts will help the Hudson River Museum of Westchester begin a new life-enriching tradition for the people of Yonkers.”
“Our Senators and Representatives have always been supportive of the Museum’s activities. We are particularly grateful to Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for their encouragement and efforts. The Senators have been a long-time ally in our efforts to harness the arts together with the community as a productive spur to development,” said Michael Botwinick, Director of the Hudson River Museum of Westchester. “Their awareness of the effectiveness of these kinds of partnerships is what leads to the real gains of programs like NEA’s Our Towns. Their continuing support for downtown and waterfront development in Yonkers has given us another tool with which to make progress. Projects like this will change the face of New York’s fourth largest city and we are proud to be a part of it.”
The museum will partner with the City of Yonkers and Groundwork Hudson Valley and will work with the light artist Erwin Redl and sound Artist John Morton as well as with numerous local artists and community groups throughout the course of the festival. Schumer said this festival has the potential to draw tens of thousands of people, creating an exciting community event and potential boon for the local economy and tourism.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts and bringing the arts to all Americans. Established by Congress in 1965, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts require at least a one-to-one match and generate, on average, seven dollars for each dollar awarded.