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Staten Islanders Prepare for the Annual Art by the Ferry Festival

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On Friday, May 20, a New York artist coalition kicks off its fourth annual Art by the Ferry Festival. The festival, organized by the Staten Island Creative Community (S.I.C.C.), includes poetry, dance, music, art shows and literary readings created by, for the most part, Staten Island residents. The events take place along the St. George waterfront in Staten Island through Sunday night.

Over 600 people were involved in organizing the festival, which opens at 7:15 P.M. on Friday. Events continue from 12 P.M. to 8 P.M. on Saturday and Sunday. Venues such as Karl's Klipper and the SHOW Gallery have been transformed in anticipation of the weekend. The work of over 170 artists will be on display.

“[The festival] is the essence of what communities can do when they work together with creative energy,” said Joyce Malerba-Goldstein, the founder and president of S.I.C.C. “[It’s] the essence of New York City: diversity and creativity.”

The Staten Island Ferry Platform and the Tompkinsville Park will host 28 bands on Saturday and Sunday. Blues musician Robert Ross will play, as will The Shirts, a Brooklyn power pop band that used to play at CBGBs. Local restaurants will also open up their doors to festival goers, with some even hosting artists and events.

Carl Rutberg, Executive Director of the Alice Austen House, a museum dedicated to the late Staten Island photographer, said although the borough is not known for its burgeoning arts scene, events like the festival helped to challenge that notion.

"This presents an opportunity to change this perception of Staten Island and to show that Staten Island is more than people perhaps believe," he said.

Melanie Cohn, Executive Director of the Council on the Arts & Humanity for Staten Island, agreed with Rutberg.

"It brings great visibility to Staten Island," she said, noting Staten Island's common characterization as the "forgotten borough." Cohn also praised the public nature of the festival: "Even if you weren't expecting to go out and find art," you can still enjoy the festival's offerings.

All events in Annual Art by the Ferry are free, and the festival will take place rain or shine. A full schedule can be found here.