The Community Arts Network of Oneonta held its 17th annual City of the Hills Art & Music Festival on Saturday, with expanded offerings and an art-for-all attitude.
Recently elected CANO Board President Joanna Cacciola, who began her term in July, said the festival exemplifies the nonprofit organization’s founding tenets.
“Our mission is simple—to link artists, promote the arts and educate the community,” she said. “This festival allows us to reach a large audience in one day and hit each of those three points. We have tons of musicians, authors and visual artists and they all get to meet each other and collaborate, plus we’re promoting the arts just by being here and being free to the community.”
“By having artists on Main Street, we’re making it easier for people who maybe think art isn’t for them or that it’s something fancy,” Cacciola continued. “This is an easy way to learn about and see art and like something you’ve never seen or heard before. Art is accessible for all and I always hope this specific event sparks in (people) a curiosity, interest or passion for art.”
Cacciola said festival planning gets underway in January and, this year, was overseen by a five-person subcommittee of four CANO board members and one community volunteer coordinator. The grant-funded festival is one of CANO’s two largest annual events; the second is its January Chili Bowl.
“Because we’re a small organization and we’re all so busy,” she said, “we don’t often start before January and then the bulk of the work happens in March and April and the last weeks of July.”
Cacciola called Saturday’s increased offerings and vendors noteworthy, given the few festival planners. Highlights this year, she said, included a new, three-stage setup, added children’s activities and food trucks.
“It’s huge, even though we had a very small committee,” she said. “God bless (committee members) for believing in…