The street in downtown Riverhead becomes the canvas for inspirations in chalk on Sunday, May 29, when East End Arts hosts its 20th annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, inviting artists to use street squares to create artwork.
Since its launch in 1996, artists have created images of pop-culture icons and historical figures as well as elaborate city and other landscapes.
“The beauty of the Community Mosaic is that it reflects the community in every way,” says Patricia Drake Snyder, East End Arts executive director. “The street painters are a mix of professional artists, first-time street painters, families and children.”
Squares can be purchased in advance at a discount or on the day of the festival for $20 a piece.
These days, the event takes place on the grounds of East End Arts and along the Peconic River.
The family-friendly daylong event, intended to welcome the unofficial start of summer, includes a fine-arts and crafts fair featuring local artists and artisans, food trucks and live music.
As a celebration of art in all its forms, the festival also features a drum circle, interactive art activities and performances by Bridgehampton School’s Tewa Marimba Ensemble, the FemFire! Belly Dancers, poets and others.
It’s a remarkable growth from the inaugural festival, which did not close down Main Street. The street painting was limited to the roadway along the Peconic River and attracted just 1,500 people. In 2000, when the canvas expanded to include Main Street, so, too, did the turnout.
Last year’s event drew a record 5,000, people and organizers say they expect a bigger crowd Sunday.
Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival
WHEN | WHERE Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, May 29 on East Main Street between Roanoke and East avenues, and at East End Arts, Riverhead. Rain date 2-5 p.m. Monday, May 30.
INFO 631-727-0900, eastendarts.org
ADMISSION Free ($20 to paint chalk square)