Friday, April 22, 2011
April 21, 2011
Market Street Arts Festival: Where Art, History, Heritage Meet as One
BROWNSVILLE, Pa. – The Market Street Arts Festival is emerging as a regional destination for the May 20-22 National Road celebration, building on its past as the only riverfront community along Pennsylvania's 90-mile stretch of historic highway.
As an 18th and 19th century commercial hub, Brownsville's streets will again come alive with arts, history and music as the focal point for activities on the historic North and South sides, downtown Market Street and wharf. The Market Street Arts Festival revives Brownsville's once active participation in the annual National Road Festival and highlights the community's significance as a historic crossroads for river, road and rail in America's Westward Expansion.
"The Market Street Arts Festival is an important first step in our vision to create a Pennsylvania 'Chautauqua' as part of Brownsville's rebuilding process," says Dr. Fred Lapisardi, chairman of the festival's operating committee and local businessman. "As our plans evolved, it became evident the arts festival was gaining momentum as a regional destination for the numerous groups seeking a different type of venue to participate in the National Road Festival."
The first annual Market Street Arts Festival kicks off May 20 with a ceremony feting writers and artists at the award-winning preservation project, Thompson House Restaurant & Tavern. The next two days – May 21 and 22 – will bring together a wide variety of artists, musicians, exhibitors and specialty food vendors set against a backdrop of special events and an archaeological dig at the site of an 1860s steamboat captain's house.
Both days will feature art exhibits by Dr. R. Scott Lloyd, "Artists on the River" of select works from art majors at California University of Pennsylvania; weekend reception and unveiling of the "2011 Artist of the Pike: Art Educators" at the Frank L. Melega Art Museum; and the public's first chance to go inside the historic Rose Mansion (built in 1872 as the Monongahela Bank) and a "sneak peek" of select photography from a 1,140-piece donation to Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp.
Sunday's lineup will be highlighted by the recreation of the historic visit to Brownsville by Jenny Lind, P.T. Barnum's 19th century Swedish Nightingale, as portrayed by Emily Lapisardi, www.historicalimpersonations.com, and "A Note in Time," a musical and historical perspective created by Mark Kovscek as a festival premiere.
Appearing for the first time in Fayette County and only the second time outside Pittsburgh will be Green Gears Pedi-cabs, which will transport festival-goers in the downtown and South Side as an integral part of the Market Street Arts Festival's green initiative. Transportation on the North Side, including rides to the downtown area, will be provided by Brownsville Bus Lines Inc.
Moving across the Mon, the Market Street Arts Festival is supporting activities at Paci's stagecoach stop, built in 1822, and surrounding businesses. The weekend kicks off the opening of the Paranormal Museum, featuring the Biography Channel's film of Paci's "Ghost Story," which first aired in August 2010.
Other highlights of the Market Streets Arts Festival will be:
■ the opportunity to participate in an archaeological dig at the corner of Bank and Prospect streets in the downtown or learn more in classes at the Brownsville Library – sponsored by the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology Mon/Yough Chapter
■ 18th century encampment and tours at Nemacolin Castle
■ 19th century encampment and artillery display at the Thompson House Restaurant & Tavern, where the staff will be dressed in Colonial garb
■ plein air artists at several locations
■ historic church tours
■ book signings by local, regional and national authors at several locations
■ concerts by Outpost, Mr. Hand, Mad Hats, 2 Edged Sword and others
■ strolling musicians, including professional bagpiper, David Olson
■ chuck wagon-style food court with traditional and ethnic cuisines