The Armonk Outdoor Art Show has been canceled for this fall because of safety concerns and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcement of the organizers’ decision was made at Wednesday evening’s North Castle Town Board meeting and on the art show’s website. This year’s show, which would have been the 59th annual, was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3 and 4 at Community Park.
“After weeks of alternative planning, assisted by town officials and staff with the hope of presenting a high-quality art experience in a safe environment, we had to reconsider based on New York State guidelines limiting attendance, current conditions of the pandemic and unknown future developments,” Anne Curran, the show’s executive director, said in a statement that was read last night by Town Clerk Alison Simon. “While this is disappointing, we know this decision is necessary to preserve the health and safety of artists, volunteers, patrons and sponsors.”
About 185 artists and thousands of visitors converge for the nationally acclaimed juried show that is held one early autumn weekend every year.
In May, Curran had told the Town Board that the art show would need more room than is typically afforded on the smaller track field at Community Park if it was to be held safely this year. Organizers proposed using the outfield portion of Field 1 and the area between Fields 1 and 2 to have maximum spacing. However, that would have displaced youth sports for the weekend of the show, causing pushback from community members who argued that children needed recreation after the scrapping of virtually all spring sports seasons and many summer opportunities.
Ultimately, town officials said they couldn’t take a chance of risking spread of the virus by patrons and artists coming to town from around the United States and abroad.
“It would have been much more unfortunate to expose the town to the risks that would have been exposed to them, I think, if we would have continued with the art show, so I think it’s the right decision,” Councilman Saleem Hussain said.
Councilman Jose Berra added that there was the potential for “a disaster” for the community, the visitors and artists had the town pressed ahead with the event.
Curran said that supporters can view and buy the works of the artists who would have been at the show this year or they can make a donation on the website at www.armonkoutdoorartshow.org. Proceeds from the art show are donated for programs at the North Castle Public Library. Over the past five years more than $700,000 has been raised for the library, Curran noted this spring.
Supervisor Michael Schiliro said cancellation of the show is a major disappointment but it will return better than ever in 2021. Next year’s show is scheduled for Sept. 25-26.
“The art show is so personal to everybody and is such a big part of life in this town,” said Supervisor Michael Schiliro. “So the show will go on and they’ll resume next year.”