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Wassaic Project

WASSAIC — This year’s Wassaic Project Summer Festival, held Aug. 5 to 7, featured more than 100 artists and 23 bands, as well as poetry readings, dance performances, film screenings and artist talks.

Inside the stately, renovated seven-story Maxon Mills (formerly a grain mill, now the center of the Wassaic Project), art was found in nearly every nook and cranny.

Standing by her installation, “You Are My Anchor,” Sarah Hardesty explained the process of incorporating her work into this unique and intimate space.

The dark woods lining the interior walls offered a contrast to Hardesty’s fluorescent pink installation of acrylic, wood and string.

The artist described the challenge of adjusting one’s artistic vision to fit this unique space and create site-specific pieces, which is a goal of the annual Wassaic shows.  

Sena Clara Creston, originally from New York City and currently living in Troy, N.Y., invited attendees to take a ride on her installation, “The Knowhere Machine”— a stationary bicycle that, when peddled, spins a series of painted canvases to simulate a  ride along a country road.   

The top of the stairs on an upper level saw a great deal of traffic as people stopped to have a drink from Ben Thorp Brown’s “Refuse, Refuse,” which included 123 water jugs arranged in rows on the floor.

A sign indicated that, for every jug consumed, another would be brought to the Arizona-Mexico border, where deaths of immigrants have been on the rise.

The work of Gala Narezo and Shamina de Gonzaga also referred to immigration, through a series of portraits and interviews blown up and displayed on the walls.

On the mill’s seventh floor, Jeila Gueramian’s “You Are Where You Are” literally transported visitors into what can only be described as a magical forest.

Colorful fabrics draped a space that was teeming with flowers, trees and hanging lights. Scott Anderson’s audio set the tone for this mythical scene, where children were invited to dress up in green cloaks and play.

Even for adults, this enchanted scene was reminiscent of a classic fairy tale.  

Once inside, it was hard to leave the mill. The enticement of the artwork drew people up the narrow stairs, despite the heat.

However, the scene outside, with the vibe of an outdoor music festival, was also not to be missed. Area residents and visitors of all ages from New York and other nearby cities melded together to enjoy good music and food.

Click here for another photo from The Wassaic Project

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