PATERSON, NJ - At Paterson’s fifth annual Art Walk Saturday, Ivanhoe Artists' breathtaking canvases displayed along corridors in the Great Falls National Park visually changed Paterson’s scenery. Forty-five painters, artwork fashionably draped The Great Falls Park’s historic concrete walls as poets, musicians, sculptors and Shakespearian actors added flair to the annual outdoor event.  

Despite rain, the festival sponsored by The Spirit of Arts Foundation and the Ivanhoe Artists Mosaic Inc., attracted local and out of town art connoisseurs who were amazed at the view.

“My personal art is based on historic facts significant to the world at large and globally,” Art Walk coordinator Christine Conforti said. “To show the community this is a safe place to come, National Park Rangers, created unique letter boxes that were hidden for children to find history in.  Community and volunteers from Paterson and other cities, donated time to make this happen.”

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Cornelle Drizen, an abstract artist and pianist from Hamont Belgium came to Paterson just for the art walk. To assist with Ivanhoe’s funding, the renowned artist donated three 8-foot by 8-foot paintings and 60 hand-signed, 3-foot by 3-foot prints to be sold within the community.

“Paterson is a very nice town, I’m very happy to be here and happy that it is close to New York,” Drizen said.  “What I liked most about Paterson was the mills, the beautiful Belgium building, beautiful mail house and Hot Dogs from Libby’s.”


Paterson Falls Film Festival

In addition to spearheading this year’s film festival, three young visionary artists, Frank Saya, Tazio Ruffilo and Hiram Ramos, are raising funds for the financial restoration of their hometown’s art community.

“We're really fortunate that the community has embraced us with open arms. The festival would not be possible without support from organizations like the Passaic County Film Festival, Ivanhoe, Grass Roots Arts Commission (GRAC), the North Jersey Federal Credit Union, and businesses like the Shepherd and the Knucklehead Pub and Fabian 8," said Frank Saya, the festival's director of marketing and advertising. "Working with the local groups will bring all different types of artists together, converging on Paterson at the same time."

Two winners of the student film category will receive a $1,500 scholarship award sponsored by the North Jersey Federal Credit Union. For the second scholarship, Saya personally donated $500.

Saturday, The Fabian 8 Cinema Theater in Paterson’s Center City Mall opened its doors to showcase nine of the sixty three free varied films nominated at the Paterson Falls Film Festival.

“Paterson has a rich cinematic and art history we are here to be a part of that, we are interested in promoting anything that has to do with any community developments in Paterson and helping out in any way we can,” Thomas Arnold, Managing Director, said. “Promoting community awareness from May 18, to August 31,  2013, The Fabian 8  will be providing “Kids Free Movie Days most Saturday mornings." 

The festival  film  screenings included It Wasn’t for Love by Dwane Harris, The Thin Line by Edward  Charrette, Carried Love by Alex Hutchinson, Silk City by David Simonetti, I Love you Apple, I Love You Orange by Horam Kim, Greg’s Guardian Angel by Dan Kowalski and Silent Invaders by Dianne Brothers. 

Filmed in Paterson about Paterson, Filmmaker David Simonetti’s short documentary virtually captured the beginning of his life on the big screen.

 “When I heard about the Film Festival, for me it was a personal piece, of that dialogue was truthful,” the Paterson native and owner of Forgotten Films Production Company said. “Making Silk City seemed like yesterday. It was the story of my life, going to John F. Kennedy High School and graduating at Hinchcliffe Stadium. The old times were best times," he said. “Filming Silk City was the greatest shoot I ever had. This is a great area, and filming inside the city, we had no problems.”

Inspired after taking a class in Pequannock High School, Mike Mee chose film making and television as his career.

“My father is a Paterson fireman and he has always told me about the mental impact of being a fireman and what it does to you as a person. I thought it would be a good premise for a short documentary about what it means to be a fireman," he said.  Internal Flame, directed by Mee, received rave reviews.  “It always good to see your name on the big screen, but, I think everybody, no matter who you are, has an appreciation for fireman, cops, and EMT’s and what they do for us.

“Those films were incredible,  the quality and story were there,” said Tanesha "Chynna" Littlejohn, Chief Executive Officer of Golden Girl Film Works Studio. “Paterson is a beautiful city, if you sit back and look at it, motion pictures actually started in here, and most people don’t know that,” the Rosa Park High School graduate said. "I want to be that filmmaker to have my premier in Paterson; that is my dream.”

"This Art Festival brings people together and creates history,” Marcia Julian, Paterson’s Cultural Affairs Liaison said. “There is an amazing display of art here, and we are trying to make Paterson a mecca for artist. The fact that we have Great Falls National Park and art combined is what makes Paterson the hidden gem of Passaic County.”