esfota_120May 2nd marks the fifth anniversary opening of the East Shore Festival Of The Arts (ESFOTA).  This year opening night boasts about 28 Finger Lakes artists and a wealth of music, exhibits, puzzles and food.  Organizer Robin Schuttenberg says the opening will be bigger this year, including all the buildings in the Town Hall Complex.  More than 100 pieces will hang in the Town Hall and the Lansing Community Library until June 21.

"We have some really different stuff this year, a lot of abstracts," she says.  "Really big ones from new artists, new to the festival.  We are striving to be the venue for the person who has never done a show before, to feel comfortable enough to take that big step -- allowing someone to critique your work and say it is in or out.  We have several new artists, and some returning artists."

This year's live guest artist is folk art carver Mary Shelley.  The Community Center will have two special exhibits on opening night.  Local doll makers will display art dolls downstairs.  And musician Ryan Vanderhoof is planning a sound sculpture installation upstairs.

"What is sound sculpting?  I don't know," Schuttenberg says.  "It sounds really interesting.  people are going to be able to move through the upstairs and experience different emotions through the way he has set up and layered music.  I'm excited to try it myself."

Lisa Craig FenwickLisa Craig Fenwick

Musicians will be spread around the Town Hall Campus.  Matthew Ocone will perform classical guitar downstairs in the library.  Lisa Craig-Fenwick returns this year to provide harp music in the courtroom.  Dr. K (Paul Kempkes) will play outside the library.

Food will be provided by by Lansing Market, the Cinnamon Shop, a beer tasting by Rogue's Harbor Inn Brewery and a wine tasting by King Ferry Winery in the Town Hall with deserts in the Library.  Rogue's Harbor Inn will also provide food, as will Crossroads Bar & Grill's Jay Dietershagen

"People don't realize how much Jay does for the community," Schuttenberg says.  "Without making a big fanfare he brings us the most awesome food every year.  It's something different, and people ask 'what is that?'  Then he tells them and they try it and they love it.  This year we will also have Rogue's Harbor offering a craft beer tasting.  They will have finger food to go with the beer."

The library will be 'Desert Central'.  An expanded chocolate tasting and other deserts will be offered in the downstairs gallery.  'Defenders of Our Freedom' will be on display in the Town Archives Building, showing pictures, news clippings and artifacts from Lansing servicemen from the Revolutionary War through World War II.  And, as always, jigsaw puzzles will be spread around the opening, made from art and pictures of Lansing artifacts.


Schuttenberg says she is gratified that the festival heps local artists, not just to show their work, but to sell it and sometimes to help launch their careers.  She sites Lansing artist Trish Coonrod, who shows her work in galleries and museums and has exhibited work at ESFOTA for two years.

"She said 'every time I hang my art in this show good things happen to me'.  That's how she got picked up by a gallery, how she got picked up for different press things," Schuttenberg says.  "She was interviewed on NPR, and gave us a mention at the end.  Our little event is impacting the life of Lansing artists in a positive way.  There are more people doing art.  There are more art camps.  And we've tried to hang art year 'round.  It's the ripple effect coming from the art show."

The 5th annual ESFOTA opening is Friday, May 2 from 6pm to 9pm.  The art may be viewed in the Town Hall and Lansing Community Library until June 21.