If you plan to take a walk through downtown Riverhead next Friday night, August 8, you might be accosted by a crowd of ghoulish dancers right out of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” You might find yourself caught up in a parade of peaceable creature-loving people en route to the River and Roots Community Garden. You may stumble on hidden alcoves filled with talented musicians. Or you might wander into a circle of revelers gathered around a bonfire discussing mysticism from every corner of the world.
Wherever your night leads you, downtown Riverhead arts organization East End Arts is hoping you’ll be inspired by their first ever JumpstART!, an evening of free public art projects throughout downtown.
The evening kicks off at 5 p.m. with the opening of East End Arts’ Third Annual National Show in their East Main Street gallery, a Martha Clara Vineyards wine tasting in the Carriage House behind the gallery, musicians performing on the street throughout town and a poetry open mic at the Blue Duck Bakery.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., there will be ballet from the Peconic Ballet Theater at the Grangebel Park stage, followed by step-dancing by the Blue Spruce Cloggers through the East End Arts grounds and down along the Peconic River beginning at 6:15. Riverhead Teen Idol takes the stage in Grangebel Park at 7 p.m. and the “Thriller” performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the parking lot along the river just east of East End Arts’ grounds.
At 8 p.m., there will be a fire ceremony at East End Arts, followed by light murals projected on the backs of the buildings facing the river, which will be dotted with “River Fires” sponsored by the Riverhead Business Improvement District.
From 5 to 7 p.m., East End Arts teachers George Cork Maul and Jeannie Woelker will be playing on Main Street near Haiku restaurant, and piano teacher Andrea Modugno and East End Arts student vocalists and keyboardists will be performing on the front porch of the East End Arts School.
From 7 to 9 p.m., Bryan Campbell will be playing guitar and Jerry Liggon will be playing African percussion in a gazebo on the riverfront, and Stan Wright, Mark Gatz and Ahmad Ali will be playing blues and R&B on Main Street.
JumpstART! was originally designed by East End Arts to highlight the work of 14 visual artists who have been working on public art projects since the beginning of the year.
Among the artists are Ginger Balizar-Hendler, whose “The Adventures of Gingerella” is a whimsical dreamscape that will grace the windows of a vacant downtown store; spoken word artist Susan Dingle, whose “Poetry Street” will be featured at the Blue Duck Bakery; Lorraine Manzo and Tina Folks’ sacred circle, where the fire ceremony will be held; and Miranda Gatewood, whose “Light Murals” of her landscape photographs will be projected on the backs of the downtown buildings.
Kristina Howard’s “Prettycrabs” will be on display in a surreal aquarium in a downtown storefront, while Charles Manfredi’s “Baldies Visit Riverhead” is a diorama of the Suffolk Theater with baldies standing in as the merchants and patrons of downtown, and painter Barbara Maslen’s mural columns celebrating Riverhead’s agricultural heritage.
Carolyn Munaco’s “Surf Art in the Barn” will take over East End Arts’ barn, Karen Noack will paint window murals in the symbolic language of flowers, and Charlene Pulsonetti will provide a “Sanctum,” where visitors can experience peace and positivity.
Painter Caitlyn Shea’s hummingbird mural will become a permanent fixture on the side of a downtown building, while Jessica Valentin will present her “Ratgirl Royalty Project,” an epic visual treasure hunt with the message: “We are all Kings and Queens: A Royal Family.” Painter AnneMarie Waugh will present the multi-media project “Lost Long Island.”
“JumpstART is a great example of how the arts can directly inspire a community with positive energy and support the economy by bringing visitors to downtown,” said East End Arts Executive Director Pat Snyder. “The JumpstART artists are delighted to be sharing their creativity with the public. It’s going to be a terrific night.”