The Festival is the founding program of the Wassaic Project and is free to all participants. It takes place the first weekend in August every year. The Festival celebrates a diverse range of contemporary visual and performing arts at the highest level and creates a unique weekend-long experience for all who participate. The event continues to grow every year and has become a great source of pride for our local community, thus providing cultural capital in an underserved area. Our goal is to to expand funding for visual and performing artists to ensure full participation.
The Exhibitions Program shows and promotes the work of our artist residents and emerging artists chosen by jury, and provides opportunities for emerging curators to share their visions. The program introduces emerging artists and curators to each other and to the larger local and artistic community. The exhibitions give the community the opportunity to live with free and accessible contemporary art in their midst. When presented in our historic buildings, the artist installations celebrate the unique architecture of the hamlet.
Last Saturdays offers a variety of arts programing on the last Saturday of every month May through October. Beginning with our Community Day Block Party and Artist Parade in May and ending with an Artist-Made Haunted House in the Mill in October, Last Saturdays expand our public offerings and provide a deeper engagement with the community. Artists in Residence Open Studios also take place on these days and allow viewers to walk through the Luther Barn Studios and speak with the artist about their projects and process.
The Wassaic Project is committed to being a dynamic learning center for the surrounding community. The Education Program connects the artists and creative resources at the Project to the greater Dutchess County and Northwest Connecticut community through School-Year Partnerships and summer programing. In the 2012-2013 school year we have piloted a partnership with Webutuck High School, which brings Wassaic Project residents into art classes. We also offer contemporary art classes for k-6th graders in the summer and field trips for school groups throughout the academic year.
Both the facilities and their surrounding community are unique and integral components of our programming. We are committed to preserving our historic buildings and re-purposing them in creative and exciting ways that bring revenue, cultural programming, and tourists to the community. The presence of the festival and residency program have already played an important role in the revitalization of the Wassaic community and we hope to continue this growth ethically and honorably. One area that we plan to invest in is education and education outreach.