Young artists win praise at Keuka Arts Festival

Kris Pearson, Arts Center of Yates County
Lindsey Dean and Sam Castner, of the IDEA Collective, were First Place winners with their kid-friendly sculptural kits designed to engage youngsters in eco-conscious activities.

PENN YAN – Bright skies and gentle breezes added to the general air of good cheer at last weekend’s Keuka Arts Festival, organized by the Arts Center of Yates County.  More than 40 artists, vendors, and entertainers participated in the annual event, rescheduled from its traditional June date as a result of the pandemic. 

The rescheduled Keuka Arts Festival attracted over 40 artists, vendors, and entertainers Sept. 18 and 19.

“We didn’t want to cancel the festival for the second year in a row,” says Festival committee co-chair Karen Morris, “and we thought we if we moved this year’s event to the fall it would help artists and provide a safe and fun activity for visitors and members of the community.”  

The festival included a mix of familiar and new artists from around the region.  This year’s show judge, local artist Bob Gillespie, happened to choose three first time festival exhibitors for the annual awards, which recognize fine artistry and creative presentation. 

The Keuka Arts Festival's judge, Robert Gillespie, was particularly impressed with the quality of the models as well as the way Sam Castner and Lindsey Dean’s products incorporate both art and ecology to engage children.

Barrington sculptors Sam Castner and Lindsey Dean’s I.D.E.A. Collective booth won Best in Show. The artists sell a range of kid-friendly sculptural kits that combine “Innovation. Design. Education. Art” in colorful and unique ways.  Gillespie was particularly impressed with the quality of the models as well as the way Castner and Dean’s products incorporate both art and ecology to engage children.

Anna Pausch, of Trumansburg, won Second Place for her colorful abstract paintings and structured drawings and technical printmaking.

Second place winner Anna Pausch, of Trumansburg, Gillespie noted, “had an interesting combination of work that indicated a wide range of talent,” showcasing abstract paintings alongside structured drawings and technical printmaking.

Ben Mayer-Fried won Third Place with his pottery featuring fresh glazes and motifs. His family shared his booth, and his delight in the day.

Hammondsport potter Ben Mayer-Fried of BMF Pottery brought home third place with work that combined unusual glazes with classical motifs. 

A full schedule of musical entertainment, ranging from rock and pop from the John Bolger Band and Emily Angell to the Latin sounds of the Anthony Santiago Band to the Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe corps, added to the festivities. 

The Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe corps added to the variety of entertainment at the Keuka Arts Festival.

“We’d like to thank all the volunteers who worked so hard to make this year’s festival a reality,” says festival committee co-chair Cindy Kowalski, “as well as the Village of Penn Yan and our sponsors. We hope to see you all again at next year’s Keuka Arts Festival.”