Attendees may have conjured up memories of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" as the golden barrel, filled with dozens of name cards, churned quickly onstage at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. But these "golden tickets" did not grant entry to a land of infinite confectionary wonder; they offered possible entry to a land of infinite artistic promise in Patchogue.
Lottery winners earned a chance to rent 45 affordable live/work apartments for artists in a new five-story building set to open downtown in March 2011. Artspace - a Minneapolis-based nonprofit real estate developer that creates affordable space for artists and arts organizations across the country - helmed the $18-million project, which includes commercial and gallery space.
As a village that has reinvented itself over several decades, Patchogue is evolving once again as "a community focused around the arts," says Mayor Paul Pontieri. "I want to see us create an identity that says to people 'this is a great place to be.' "
Many attribute Patchogue's burgeoning art scene to the arrival of Artspace. Once the development became a reality, area artists and community members formed the Patchogue Arts Council in 2008 and have been at work ever since.
Here's a sample of recent undertakings:
- Patchogue Arts Biennial - 44 Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens-based artists exhibited work last October at Briarcliffe College.
- The Third Annual Patchogue Arts Festival - Long Island performers, musicians, artists and poets shared their work with the community in a daylong celebration last month.
- The Third Walking Arts Tour - 40 local artists displayed work in 35 Patchogue storefronts and restaurants and neighboring areas this August to November with a downloadable art dossier podcast.
- Community Connections - Artwork such as sculpture and quilts is being displayed in vacant storefronts South of Main Street in a project that launched last month.
WHAT ARTISTS SAY
John Cino, 53, a woodcarving artist and art professor from Patchogue, is excited about building an arts community in his area. "I jumped at the chance that something would happen close to home, rather than out in the distance," he said, adding that there is a void in galleries between New York City and the Hamptons.
For Debra Peck, 41, a mixed-media artist from Patchogue, the art influx has elevated a sense of community and collegiality.
"It's just helping people step a little outside of themselves through their work, and meet others and share and make different contacts," she says.
Community members have pointed to the village's features - a walkable downtown, access to the LIRR, affordable property values, proximity to water and nature - as perks that will continue to attract artists.
"Bringing artists in, I think is a catalyst toward the next phase of Patchogue," says Bill Miller, architect and principal of WH Design Studio, which opened gallery space in its architectural firm two years ago and added an artisan retail shop last month.
Chip Hunter, co-owner of C2 Fine Art Gallery, which opened last year, agrees, saying the arts movement engenders optimism about the future. "For Patchogue to be revitalizing and have such a growth spurt in a bad economy, you can only imagine what's going to further develop in an economy that levels off and is more positive."
Affordable Art and Holiday Gift Show
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (through Dec. 21), at C2 Fine Art Gallery, 22 W. Main St., Suite 11, Patchogue
INFO 631-627-6500, c2gallery.com
Browse smaller pieces of art that range from $50 to $150.
'The Kids are All Right' movie screening
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, presented by Plaza Media Arts Center in the Loft space above BrickHouse Brewery, 67 W. Main St., Patchogue
COST $10 includes soda, popcorn, 15 percent off dinner at the brewery
Independent and mainstream film screenings every other Monday; proceeds benefit Plaza Media Arts Center as it endeavors to open a film center.
2010 Artist Showcase & Holiday Gift Show reception
WHEN | WHERE 4-8 p.m. Dec. 9; show runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends and weekdays by appointment through Feb. 3 at WH Design Studio, 11 N. Ocean Ave., Patchogue
INFO 631-289-0033, whdesignstudio .com
See work by Long Island-based artists across various mediums.