The Perfect Atmosphere for an Artist: The Armonk Outdoor Art Show

By Tanya Postian

Surrounded by expressions of imagination, thousands of worlds captured in oil, graphite, and clay, walking through the rows of white-pillared booths allows you to lose yourself in the vast array of art pieces at The Armonk Outdoor Art Show. This year’s event took place on September 29 and September 30, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The 57th annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show presented an art lover’s paradise, equipped with all types of exhibits ranging from intricately woven baskets to elegant jewelry, and black and white snapshots of everyday life. The Armonk Outdoor Art Show, which was ranked as the nation’s second-best art show by Sunshine Artist Magazine (2018) and one of Westchester Magazine’s “Must-Do Events” this year, selected 185 artists to be featured in this two-day event. One of those acclaimed artists, Karin Connolly, a distinguished photographer, said that this particular Art Show, “feels a little more homey, since it’s in a park setting,” when comparing it to other Art Shows that she has exhibited work in. The artwork brought the community together and was truly a special event.

The Armonk Outdoor Art Show began in 1961 as a handful of artists gathered in the Armonk Methodist churchyard to raise proceeds for the North Castle Public Library. In recent years, however, the Armonk Outdoor Art Show has been held at the IBM Business Park. Earlier Art Shows have traveled from place to place in Armonk, developing and increasing in size each year. Today, the Armonk Outdoor Art Show is one of the most beautiful ways to express creativity and cultures from all around the world.

The event was run by community volunteers and was funded by the North Castle Public Library. Together they were able to make the art show run like clockwork. In turn, all of the Art Show’s net proceeds went towards the library to help make Armonk’s local library more engaging and accessible to the people of the community. Natalya Aikens, director of a public “community piece” made at the Art Show, and this year’s 2nd place winner in Mixed Media, said that “it’s the people who run it, they’re really, really friendly and helpful. It’s a joy to be here.” This type of attitude contributes to the art show’s magical and inviting environment which attracts so many people.

This year’s Armonk Outdoor Art Show included some special, new features. The board introduced an interactive experience for visitors who were inspired by the creative, self-expressive world they were encompassed in, allowing them to create a masterpiece of their own. Visitors were presented with three distinctive artists they could take on the role of temporarily. Visitors were able to explore a water marbling technique while silk scarf dying with Shibumi Silks. After a morning of becoming your own artist, you could find yourself enjoying live music played by Armonk’s very own Saul Rivers from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. It was truly a wonderful production!

Aside from adding fantastic new features, the Armonk Art Show continued the tradition of holding a prestigious competition between all registered artists. Each artist vyed for a place of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, or an Honorable Mention in their specific category of art. There are seven mediums in which each artist was categorized –  fine crafts, mixed media, painting, photography/digital art, printmaking/drawing/pastel, and sculpture. Alongside medium awards, two awards were bestowed to artists throughout the whole Art Show who exemplified creativity in their artwork (the Best In Show Award) and ingenious new talent (the Best New Artist Award). This year’s two winners were John Deng, who won the Alan C. Solomon Best In Show Award for one of his photographs, and Thomas Wargin, who won the Sylvia Rogers Best New Artist Award for one of his sculptures.

The Armonk Outdoor Art Show was a wonderful opportunity to explore art, benefiting anyone who wished to come to enjoy its wide-scoped collection. Hetty Metzger, 1st place co-winner with her husband Norman Metzger in Mixed Media, said that the portrayal of art to the public is important because “it’s exposing people to color and design” and it “increases their appreciation for art and design.” At the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, people came to learn and appreciate all the art in the world around them. “Art is beauty,” Natalya Aikens commented, “and I think it’s important for everyone to see beautiful art. Which is, of course, different for everybody, and at a show like this, there’s something for everyone. It makes your life much more pleasant when you see beautiful things.”

Be sure to stop by next year to be impressed by talented artists and their amazing work, and to experience a little more beauty in the world around us!