Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Funding Received: 2013
Prattsville, NY
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
September 1, 2013

The Second Annual MudFest was held in Prattsville on the anniversary of the devastating flooding from Hurricane Irene. This celebration of the town’s resilience trucks tons of fresh clean mud into the very community that was nearly destroyed by water and mud, and inviting the public to share in this over-the-top festival of outdoor mud games, crafts, art, food, hayrides, and music.

MudFest speaks volumes about the way Prattsville residents have worked to turn a natural disaster into a process of reclamation and empowerment, and it was exciting to see the ArtCenter once again at the center of this process. The Center hosted 10 Artists in Residence during late August, and the gallery was filled with art, installations and live performances for the two-day festival. The Art of MudFest included films and video by Patrick McGuinn, a durational sound performance by MV Carbon, music and artwork by local youth, and free mud-themed vegetarian fare cooked and served by performance artist Beatrice Glow on our newly restored front porch. The Art Center served hundreds of visitors and locals during MudFest and the festival ended with the premiere of a new play by the RedBagel Collective, featuring a speaking head of Socrates, and performers in diapers, fishnet stockings, and feminists in classical Greek costumes.

Recent Wins
MudFest connected the Art Center with new arts and music groups both upstate and in New York City, including Wave Farm and Silent Barn. Talks are underway regarding collaboration on a future music festival. The new “Made in Prattsville” craft and accessory collective has brought together NY artists, and locals including fishing experts, Main Street shop owners, and unemployed teens to begin production of avant-garde rural designs for the holiday season.

The Art Center renovation is in full swing getting ready for cold weather. The town youth held summer jobs creating the building’s colorful new façade and signage. New windows and a new roof are already in. We are especially pleased to have been able to hire three members of the Karg family, who lost their home during the 2011 storm, to help with renovations and Center staffing, and to congratulate our Program Assistant on the birth of a new baby boy.

This past week I have been fortunate to be able to expose my NYU students to two major public art projects with connections to our Prattsville initiative , Thomas Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument, and Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects. We have planned to build a Halloween installation at the Art Center next month involving students from the city and the Mountaintop. As we continue to develop roles for NYC art students in Prattsville and build connections between the city and rural communities, the examples of these well established artists’ work is a constant inspiration.