By any measure, RIOC support for Fall for Arts 2023 was atrocious, the worst ever, but creativity held its ground. The art still stands, tall, colorful and proud around the Rivercross Lawn.
by David Stone
Off to a Slow Start
After bad luck with the weather, Fall for Arts got off to a slow, chilly start on Sunday morning.
But you can’t keep artists down for long. Every canvas was eventually filled with colorful brushstrokes. And the art still stands, mostly along the perimeter of the Rivercross Lawn.
But little credit goes to RIOC, the state agency that finds enough money to lure tourists for cheap thrill Tram rides that force Roosevelt Islanders off.
Sure, they paid for the canvases and the paint, but they didn’t bring in any community engagement. They put no muscle into promoting, and they stiffed their local partner. Unless you consider food trucks community engagement.
Shrinking But the Art Still Stands
In 2019, the last year before the Cuomo-Hochul/Haynes takeover, Fall for Arts extended across Main Street and down into Southpoint Park. Murals went up everywhere, it seemed.
But after firing capable staff who managed the event for years, President/CEO Haynes tried canceling the event in 2021. He was talked out of it as too drastic but his managers talked him out of it.
He did the one better though. Instead of assigning the work to existing staff, he persuaded RIVAA to do all the work for him. According to sources, he mumbled about compensating the needy nonprofit.
That didn’t happen, not that year, not this year.
The artists came out anyway. Weeks-long delays and chilly winds could not stop them.
Every mural canvas got loving, creative attenttion. The artists, many of them Roosevelt Islanders, refused to quit.
And thanks to them, the art stands tall today and will until winter bites hard enough to force them to come down.