What so far has been a stellar month for outdoor arts festivals will wind up this weekend when Binghamton’s Roberson Museum and Science Center revives an old favorite … with a new attitude and a new name.
For years, Roberson Holiday was “THE great event of the summer,” said the museum’s executive director, Terry McDonald, recently, but the last Holiday, an outdoor fest filling the Front Street property, was more than a decade ago. Competing events and a decline in the quality of the arts and crafts contributed to its demise, she said.
However, McDonald continued, it is “mission relevant” for Roberson to “become an energetic hub for the community,” so the museum is giving outdoor arts festivals another try. The Two Rivers Fine Arts & Crafts Festival is a juried show although no awards will be given. The application and vetting process was designed primarily to make sure the items on display this weekend will be of the quality expected from Roberson, McDonald explained.
One reason that some quality artists and artisans became disenchanted with Roberson was that the museum was both charging booth/space rent and asking for a percentage of sales, whereas many other arts fests do either one or the other. This year, there will be a rental fee, but the40 participants do not have to share their profits.
Of course, if Roberson is trying to revive the well-loved Holiday concept, why not still call the festival “Roberson Holiday”? Because in the past several years, the word “holiday” has been associated with the “Home for the Holidays” winter event, and Roberson doesn’t want to confuse the brand, McDonald said. Also, “Two Rivers” plays off the museum’s location, at the confluence of the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers, and the museum’s recent, and very successful, “Confluence” exhibit.
The Two Rivers Fine Arts & Crafts Festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 25) and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 26). There are no rain dates and no admission fee. For more information and a schedule of entertainment, check this week’s “Good Times,” or visit the “Press & Sun-Bulletin” website, pressconnects.com: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20100923/ENT/9230322/1110/Binghamton-s-Roberson-revives-its-arts-and-crafts-festival-this-weekend.
To share your memories of Roberson Holiday (either as an artist or an art lover) or to express your hopes for Roberson’s new venture, please join in the conversation in our comment area.