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Giant Portraits of Musicians Hold Jam Session in the Windows of an Old Factory in Beacon; BMW of the Hudson Valley’s “Beacons of Music” – April thru August

From April 14 through August 26, a very unique musical “performance” will be held in Beacon, New York.  The “club” is the side of an old factory building and the 28 musical artists will be arriving as striking seven foot tall photographic portraits in black and white to sit in the windows of the building.  These artists live or play regularly in Beacon, and for this summer will be celebrated as a part of BMW of the Hudson Valley’s “Beacons of Music.”  The project will be located at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, 2 East Main Street.

KICK-OFF PARTY SATURDAY, APRIL 14

The wall of musicians will be christened on Saturday, April 14 with a Kick-Off Party in front of the building featuring two music stages and performances by several of the honored artists, from 1 until 6, with a rain date on Sunday, April 15.  A wide variety of styles will be performed celebrating the diversity of genres and range of expressions the world of music has to offer.

In addition, The Poughkeepsie Journal has expanded the experience of the event and will be featuring one of the artist portraits each week in their ENJOY! section of the print paper for the duration of the project throughout the summer.

The wall of portraits and the kick-off party are both free to the public.  For more information, log on to beaconcool.com or on Facebook at Beacons of Music.

AN IDEA COME TO LIFE

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi and photographer Rob Penner, both Beacon artists with national reputations, are taking an old factory building under renovation at the Roundhouse, an hotel, event and residential complex, and are fitting its windows with seven-foot-tall portraits of many of the singers, instrumentalists, teachers and other music makers who provide the vibrant soundtrack of the city’s performance halls, bars, restaurants, festivals, schools and churches. Many musical traditions flourishing within the city are represented, with styles ranging across rock, classical, folk, hip hop, world, avant garde, blues, sacred, pop, jazz and beyond. Onsite signage identifies the musicians and connects the public to them online with more information and listening opportunities at beaconcool.com.

Inspired by publicly displayed historic photos of old Beacon in local banks and other businesses, Bertolozzi had the idea to create photos chronicling the city’s musicians of today.   “What a great way for the citizens of Beacon to recognize how many of our friends and neighbors, even the friendly face we always trade smiles with on the street, is actually spending their time making music, bringing it to our local halls, our national airwaves, and in some cases bringing their sounds of Beacon to international audiences,” says Bertolozzi.  “This project also offers another visual feast at an end of town already enjoyed by so many residents and visitors alike for the beautiful views of the falls and for other public art on buildings like the vibrant Electric Windows.  We hoped when we started that people would like the idea, and from the great folks at The Roundhouse to our many sponsors, so many people jumped on board to make this fun idea a great gift to the public.   We even involved Beacon High School in creating mini video documentaries of several photo sessions. There has been real community involvement from start to finish.”

Though Bertolozzi has a history of creating public art, it had previously been exclusively through musical performances and recordings, with projects for the City of Poughkeepsie, West Point and the New York State Bridge Authority. But a photographic exhibit was new territory for him.  After initially asking Penner to take his picture standing in the water at the base of the falls, the two expanded upon the idea to celebrate ALL of the musicians that are making Beacon a place for music makers and music lovers alike.

Photographer Rob Penner was glad to bring this idea of Bertolozzi’s boldly to life:  “I’m a big fan of Beacon and want to do what I can to help bring interest to our city and our resident artists. The photographs of the musicians are characterized by a strong black and white contrast. By using a stark, white background I am able to create a sense of drama. My intent was to evoke reactions from my subjects that would reveal their character and personality; who they really are behind the incredible music.”  Indeed, through his composition of each subject, some pictured playing or with their instruments, others in conjunction with their musical partners or simply looking out their window at passers by, the effect of the group of photos is powerful, almost rhythmic and musical in its own right.

A CITY-WIDE COOPERATIVE EFFORT

Bob McAlpine, owner of The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, enthusiastically volunteered the side of one of his hotel buildings currently in renovation to host the outdoor gallery prior to opening that building to the public in the fall.  Says McAlpine, “We are excited to partner with Beacon’s extraordinary creative community to bring another inspiring public art installation to our city. Here at The Roundhouse, we embrace all of Beacon’s natural resources, including our local artists. We know that Beacons of Music will serve as a potent reminder of what makes Beacon a creative hub of the Hudson Valley.”

Free to the public is a great idea, but there was still the cost of actually producing and managing this significant public art project. Enter partner, The Rutigliano Group, a local community development nonprofit that focuses on the visual and performing arts as a catalyst for economic growth and cultural tourism.  The Rutigliano Group provided the project with the strategies and materials and technical support to solicit business and media sponsors to make the project happen.  In addition to helping with the portraits and the kick-off party, The Rutigliano Group is producing a book about the event, which also includes Rob Penner portraits of several other musicians in Beacon who were unable to be on the building due to space constraints.  Bertolozzi credits Rutigliano with making Beacons of Music a reality.

In addition to project support, The Rutigliano Group runs beaconcool.com, which will link users to more information about each musical artist, including their upcoming performances and audio files of their work.  Beaconcool.com is also the home of one of the group’s other community projects, the Beekman Street Artist Banners, currently entering their fifth year celebrating visual artists, so expanding to help musical artists with the same exposure was a natural fit.  “The region in and around Beacon is so rich and diverse, and the quality so high, in all of the arts,” says Rob Rutigliano, the group’s founder, “that this is another reminder to area residents and visitors to check out all the amazing, world-class art, right in their own back yard.”

BMW of the Hudson Valley generously stepped up to become the project’s major underwriter and Presenting Sponsor.  Other area sponsors include Gold Level Sponsors The Poughkeepsie Journal, Max’s on Main, Royal Carting, La Bella Rosa Florist and Gifts, and BACA, the Beacon Arts Community Association.  Silver Sponsors include Antalek & Moore Insurance Company, the Back Room Gallery, The Costellos, Dr, Jane McElduff, Ela Bella, Ferriera’s Automotive, Giannetta Salon & Spa, Manor House Reality, Pleasant Ridge Italian Restaurant and Palisi Auto Body, with Hudson Baylor and Party Time Rentals sponsoring the kick-off party.

ABOUT THE PROJECT PRINCIPALS

Rob Penner (Photographer) shoots portrait, lifestyle and food imagery. In addition to his artistic work he has done commercial work for such clients as Wendy’s and Elizabeth Arden. Locally, his photos have appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal, Chronogram, Hudson Valley Magazine and Westchester Magazine. Rob started out as a fashion and advertising photographer in 1974, and in 2005 left the advertising business to pursue his passion as a fine art and commercial photographer. Rob owned and operated a fine art photography gallery in Beacon called 400 Square.

American composer Joseph Bertolozzi (Project Director) is forging a unique identity as a 21st century musician with works ranging from full symphony orchestra to solo gongs to suspension bridge. With increasingly numerous performances across the US and Europe to his credit, his music is performed in concert halls and conservatories, and he himself has played at such diverse venues as The Vatican and The US Tennis Open. In 2009 his album “Bridge Music,” which used only the sounds of New York’s Mid-Hudson Bridge, reached #18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Music Chart. He is currently developing a similar project, “Tower Music,” on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Rutigliano Group develops local economies in and around Beacon through the visual and performing arts. They are currently in their fifth year producing the Beekman Street Artist Banners and beaconcool.com. They also supported the production and presentation of the world premiere of Damon Banks’ jazz odyssey “RESISTANCE: A Maroon Story” in Fishkill, recognized by The Dutchess County Arts Council for artistic excellence. They also built the underwriting team that supported cabot | andcompany’s young company summer theater season in 2011 and produced Trainwreck, a heavy metal concert, at Newburgh’s new Railroad Playhouse.

The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls (Location Sponsor) situated on the banks of the picturesque Fishkill Creek, consists of the adaptive re-use of several historic structures. When complete, the property will feature a 56-room boutique hotel with a luxury spa, fine dining restaurant, lounge, and unique event space. Restored to its former glory and outfitted with modern conveniences, The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls will be a remarkable place to celebrate a special occasion, stay the night or enjoy dinner and cocktails with one-of-a-kind views.

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Comment by Ben Royce on April 9, 2012 at 7:44pm

This is amazing.

Comment by Cabot Parsons on April 9, 2012 at 10:06am

Thanks Randy.  We are really blessed to have so many amazing artists, both visual and performing, in Beacon.  That we also have great folk like the project team and all the great local sponsors who pitch in regularly to make large scale projects like this a success is an embarrassment of riches.  We're going to have to be on the lookout to make sure none of those dastardly folks from Rhinebeck or Westchester don't try and come poach 'em! (grin)

Comment by Randy Casale on April 8, 2012 at 5:03pm
I would like to thank all the people who made this possible. This is another great event that will promote our great city.

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