2020 Keuka Arts Festival cancelled by COVID-19

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

After much thought, organizers of the annual Keuka Arts Festival have decided to cancel rather than postpone this year’s event. The annual festival has been held for the past decade along the Village of Penn Yan’s portion of the historic Outlet Trail. The Arts Center of Yates County assumed management of the event two years ago.

“Initially we thought it might be possible to move the Festival to August,” said Festival Committee co-chair Cindy Kowalski. “But with the uncertainties of the current situation, the Committee ultimately decided it was safest for our artists, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and the community as a whole to cancel the event altogether.” 

Work was well underway for the 2020 event, which usually involves 100 artists, performers and vendors and attracts up to 10,000 visitors during the two-day event. More than a dozen free musical performances had been scheduled and a great line-up of new and returning artists had reserved spots for the Festival. For many potters, painters, photographers, woodworkers, jewelry designers and other local and regional artists, summer festival sales represent the majority of their annual income. The cascade of festival and event cancellations will leave many of these artists and performers in dire financial straits.

“We’re exploring ways we can help celebrate the work done by these talented artists,” says Festival Committee co-chair Karen Morris. “We’re hoping to spread the word by highlighting many of them on the Keuka Arts Festival website throughout the remainder of the year and we’re looking forward to seeing them at our 2021 event.”

The Arts Festival’s 2020 poster has already been printed, using artwork created by Arts Center Artist of the Year Fran Bliek. Anyone interested in buying a collectible poster can contact the Arts Center at artscenteryates@gmail.com or 315-536-8226. Planning for the 2021 Keuka Arts Festival is already underway and the Committee welcomes anyone with an interest in preserving this great community event.