The Gummy Bear Project:
A Sweet Celebration of
A Creative Placemaking
Public Art Installation
Town of Riverhead
2016 JumpstART Artist
in collaboration with
East End Arts
Thursday, August 11, 2016
During Alive on 25
Sonoma Grill East
300 E. Main St., Riverhead, NY
Welcome to the Gummy Bear Project!
I'm project founder Elizabeth Wagner, a multi-awarded photographer and multidisciplinary artist from Riverhead, NY. I'm one of 15 artists East End Arts has selected to participate in their 2016 JumpstART program – an innovative professional development program for artists led by East End Arts Executive Director Patricia Snyder.
After 6 months of intensively studying the business side of the arts, I have been given the unprecedented opportunity to design and implement a public art project for the Town of Riverhead! I'm excited to present: the Gummy Bear Project: A Sweet Celebration of Downtown Riverhead.
A Hometown Revitalization Project
I combined my love of photography with my love of my hometown to create a public art installation showcasing downtown Riverhead’s rebirth as a vibrant destination-downtown.
A Public Art Collaboration
I created this piece under the guidance of East End Arts Executive Director Patricia Snyder and JumpstART mentors Caitlyn Shea and Jessica Valentin, as well as in collaboration with my fellow JumpstART artists, community leaders, local businesses, East End Arts, and the Town of Riverhead.
A Sweet Unveiling
Join me during Alive on 25 on Thursday, August 11, as I transform Sonoma Grill East's into a living candy art studio in a colorful celebration of downtown Riverhead’s sweet spots via gummy bear photography. Don't miss this event, it'll be tons of fun for the young and young at heart!
Read on for more information, including:
Unveiling at Alive on 25!
In a historic move, East End Arts has scheduled this year’s JumpstART unveiling date to coordinate with Riverhead's inaugural Alive on 25 summer festival!
Alive on 25
Expect a monumental turnout as Alive on 25 is co-developed and cross marketed with Patchogue’s wildly successful Alive After Five, which averages 10,000 visitors per night. It is also tied to East End Tourism Alliance’s “Taste the Towns” campaign and the Nile Rodgers Fold Fest.
Evening of FREE Public Art
The Gummy Bear Project will debut in conjunction with 15 other projects in the JumpstART series during East End Arts evening of free public art. Both JumpstART and Alive on 25 are entirely FREE to attend!
Mark your calendars, you won't want to miss this exciting event!
Get Involved - Photo Features & Sponsorship
We're 100% funded by you donations.
Please contribute to bring this project to life!
JumpstART: An Innovative Public Art Project
East End Arts: A Community Resource
East End Arts is a multi-award winning 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts organization serving the five East End towns of Long Island, NY since 1972. It provides professional development and resources for both emerging and established artists through workshops, cultural arts forums and access to resources through social media and the web serving over 6,000 individuals. Click here to learn more about East End Arts.
JumpstART: An Innovative Public Art Project
This year marks the 3rd installment of JumpstART, Each JumpstART artist is required to design, propose, fund, publicize, and implement a public art project for the Town of Riverhead over the course of an intensive 6 month intensive professional development program led by East End Arts Executive Director Patricia Snyder.
As a creative placemaking endeavor, the JumpstART series aims to harness downtown Riverhead's creative energy to act as a powerful catalyst for economic and cultural revitalization. It capitalizes on the power of collaboration - uniting artists, various levels of government, civic groups, private business and non-profit entities to create projects which strategically shape the community. Click here to learn more about JumpstART.
Past JumpstART Projects
Purpose of the Gummy Bear Project
I want to influence public perception of downtown Riverhead while invigorating the area with beauty, inspiration, civic pride, and interactivity.
Revealing the "Revitalized Riverhead"
I’m bringing awareness to the “revitalized Riverhead” that is emerging as a result of the community’s tremendous efforts over a great many years. I will highlight the success of the revitalization efforts thus far while creating a dialogue about how we can further leverage the town’s natural beauty, historic character, and cultural resources to fuel future revitalization projects.
Exploring Downtown's "Sweet Spots"
Photos will depict the bears exploring downtown Riverhead’s “sweet spots” in an effort to highlight downtown’s diverse and unique amenities. The exhibit is meant to encourage viewers to explore these sweet spots for themselves, thereby spurring economic activity and influencing tourists and residents alike to view the town in a new light.
As people engage with my installation and consequentially go on to visit the locations depicted, downtown Riverhead’s incredible transformation will reveal itself to them. The audience will see downtown as the family-friendly vibrant community that we’ve all been working to create.
A Project Close to My Heart
I was born and raised in this town, growing up only a few minutes from downtown Riverhead. I’ve proudly watched the area evolve with each passing year and I’m beyond excited about the opportunity to take part in it!
My Contribution to My Community
I’ve closely followed the revitalization efforts as both a resident and as an urban planner – I even wrote my grad school thesis on the revitalization of downtown Riverhead! I’m thrilled to be donating my skills as an artist, urban planner, and creative entrepreneur as I work to capture the tenaciously optimistic spirit of progress that has characterized downtown’s incredible transformation over the past few years.
A Grateful Tribute
This project is an expression of my gratitude to revitalization leaders, a tribute to downtown’s progress thus far, and a reminder of our ability to continuously grow as a community.
Downtown Riverhead's Renaissance
Downtown Riverhead is in the midst of a glorious rebirth.
A Brief History
Downtown was once the urban hub of Long Island’s East End, until 1972 when the Long Island Expressway expansion bypassed downtown and big-box retailers drew business away from the area. Unable to compete, downtown fell into disrepair.
The Revitalization Plan
The Town of Riverhead adopted a revitalization plan in the late 90’s, and since that time has been collaborating with various levels of government, civic groups, local businesses and private investors to continuously work towards its mission of reinstating downtown as a bustling center of social and economic activity.
Revitalization Success Stories
While revitalization can be a provocative subject, there have been many success stories - especially as of late. These are just a few examples of the most recent or most impactful revitalization initiatives - some of which will be featured in the Gummy Bear Project.
Riverhead on the Rise
Riverhead is revealing itself as an up-and-coming hotspot of cultural tourism – a must-see destination for visitors to the East End, the Hamptons, and Long Island Wine Country. It has come such a long way in recent years, and is continuously proving itself to be a family-friendly place to live, work, and play.
Click here for more on the town’s revitalization efforts.
Click here for the Riverhead Business Improvement District's Website.
What is the Gummy Bear Project?
The Gummy Bear Project is a colorful photography exhibit featuring anthropomorphic scenes of gummy bears living it up in their natural habitat of historic downtown Riverhead!
Throughout July, I'll be staging and photographing gummy scenes in downtown’s iconic events, attractions, and businesses. Locations include the Suffolk Theater, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, the Peconic Riverfront Boardwalk, the East End Arts Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, Grangebel Park, and many more.
Riverhead's newest (and most delicious) residents may be small, but they’ll pack a powerful message: downtown Riverhead is open for business as an exciting place to live, work, and play!
Sneak Peak of a Gummy Bear Project Photo:
Help Make The Gummy Bear Project A Reality!
While East End Arts has matched fundraising efforts in the past, they were unable to provide funding for JumpstART projects this year. This means my project is entirely dependent on outside funding – the success of the Gummy Bear Project is in your hands!
I have recently received some generous donations from family and friends (thank you for your support!), and I hope to raise enough additional funds through GoFundMe to be able to complete my project.
How You Can Help
Donate today! My number one need is funding. With your generous donations I’ll be able to print photos and publications, hang the art, stock the candy art studio, purchase & develop the disposable cameras, and bring my vision to life!
No amount is too small as every dollar gets me a little closer to my goal. I will be including different rewards for each donation level soon. Thank you in advance for your kind donation. Every little bit helps me reach my goal of making Riverhead a better place to live, work, and play!
Other Ways You Can Help
Share, share, share!
If you can’t donate, that’s okay! You can still make a huge impact by getting the word out about the project. The best part about this is you can do it for FREE!
So tell your friends, tell your family, your boss, your neighbors, even your mailman! The more people we reach the more successful the project will be. Please donate, share, and spread the word today!
© ELIZABETH WAGNER ART 2016