That’s because the ninth annual Art on the Porches will close the block down to traffic so that more than 45 local artists can display and sell their work on the stoops of perfect strangers who don’t mind hiding their lawn and garden clutter with a myriad of pastel, oil and chalk dust prisms, portraits and abstracts.
“All the artists taking part have preregistered with us,” said John DeMott, board member on the Greater Strathmore Neighborhood Association, organizers of the gala. “The homeowners are all very welcoming and enthusiastic about being involved with the event.”
Neighborhood revitalization: Artist Vincent Fitches will once again participate in Strathmore’s Art on the Porches event this weekend along Ruskin Avenue. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
Art on the Porches takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Ruskin Avenue, which is located between Summit and Clairmonte avenues across from Onondaga Park on Syracuse’s West Side. And while the namesake art is obviously the main attraction, another reason the festival was established was to showcase an area of Syracuse that people might not otherwise visit.
“We thought it’d be a great way to also promote the neighborhood,” continued DeMott. “It’s a great place to live and it’s a great way to showcase the area in a positive light and let people see something they might not have been aware of beforehand. It’s also beneficial for economic development and helping the area grow, which I’ve seen happen with a similar festival, Allentown, near Buffalo, that has done amazing things for that neighborhood.”
In between ambling from porch to porch, visitors can check out several side attractions, among them poetry readings, Irish step and belly dancing troupes, street theater performed by the Roving Pirate Theater and a “hands-on center” where festivalgoers can create their own art. Three stages will be set up: Two private stages are in Onondaga Park and the lawn of one of the participant’s private residents, while the main stage is at the intersection of Ruskin and Clairmonte avenues. More than 15 performers are scheduled to entertain, including Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Music Award Hall of Fame inductees Gary Frenay and Arty Lenin (noon), as well as the Tipp Hillbillies (3:30 p.m.) and The Delinquents (3:35 p.m.).
In case you work up an appetite with all that walking, you can enjoy Thai cuisine served up by Lao Village, by day located at 208 W. Genesee St., near Clinton Square. The Caribbean King, 109 E. Seneca Turnpike, will also be on hand to serve his mean jerk chicken and fried plantains along with other West Indian goodies. And if you just need that good old American nourishment, Tall Paul’s Dog Cabin, a downtown staple in the summer, will have hot dogs, sausages, salt potatoes and the like.
DeMott stated that the first year of the event in 2001, an estimated 200 people showed up, but the event has grown annually; this weekend he expects between 1,500 and 2,000. “This is a fun thing to do on a June afternoon,” said DeMott. “You can see some great bands for free, walk up and down the street checking out art and talk to artists themselves and experience something that doesn’t happen too often in this city. This is the ninth year we’ve done this and it gets bigger each year. Our budget as far as promotions go is pretty low, but organically we get more and more people to come each year just by word of mouth.”
For more information and to view a complete schedule lineup, visit www.artontheporches.com or call 415-1615.
The Art on the Porches event coincides with the 13th annual Tour of Distinctive Homes, also in the Strathmore neighborhood and sponsored by the Onondaga Park Association. Tenants of five of the area’s historic houses will open their doors for one and all to stroll through and view remarkable architecture that presents as a work of art in and of itself. So before or after you view the porch art, a tour of homes tent will be set up in upper Onondaga Park with tickets available at $12 apiece should you want to check them out.