By Kristin Schultz
NISKAYUNA — The trees are budding, the tulips are blooming and the Niskayuna Arts Station in Lions Park is open. Perched on the river’s edge, the old train station (complete with ticket window), serves as both a studio for Maureen Sausa and gallery for other regional artists.
Artist and curator Sausa has been leasing the station from the town since 2014. For the last three seasons she has hosted artists in residence, but this year she wanted to do something different.
On Saturday, May 27, artists will pop open their tents on the lawn between the parking lot and the Station and display their work. Sausa is looking for up to 20 fine artists and photographers to participate.
“I used to go to art shows,” she said. “I like to show others’ work and this is a fun park. There’s always kids and dogs here.”
To date, 10 artists have expressed interest in participating in the show, and six of those have filled out the application paperwork.
“Applicants must submit three examples of their work and fill out a small artist statement,” said Sausa. “The artwork has to be kid-friendly.”
Kids will be able to do more than check out paintings and photos. Sausa plans to have a craft table and, at present, a Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck is scheduled to be at the park. Inside the station is the yearly sketch book in which kids can draw or write poems.
It wouldn’t be a proper festival without music. Folk guitarist Kate Blain will be on hand, playing and picking out tunes for festival goers.
The Station will also be open to visitors who can meander through, taking in the work of local painters and mixed-media artists.
Chinese calligraphy artist Xiaohua Zhang has a desk set up where he hones the ancient visual art of creating Chinese characters.
Former Niskayuna art teacher Frank Vurraro will judge the artists’ works, with prizes given out for best in show and honorable mention in both painting and photography.
Over the course of the summer, Sausa plans to rotate around 30 artists and five or six photographers through the Station. Currently on display are mixed media and paintings by Edie Cannizzo; worksf from Pat Hedden, who paints natural landscapes using only a palette knife instead of brushes; art from Nancy Hunt, who, in addition to displaying her work in the Station is also assisting Sausa with summer programs; and paintings from Sausa herself.
“It’s great because the community really supports this,” Sausa said.
The application deadline for artists wishing to participate in the festival is Monday, May 15.
The festival will be held on Saturday, May 27 (rain date Sunday, May 28) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lion’s Park on Rosendale Road. Admission is free to the public.