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Phoenicia Festival of the Arts Jennifer Zackin

VARGA Gallery Presents the First Annual Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

By inside + out | July 23, 2023

Save the date for an exciting, new art festival coming our way the weekend of August 4th through the 6th. The brainchild of local gallery owner and artist, Christina Varga, Phoenicia Festival of the Arts spans the entirety of Main Street Phoenicia NY. This free, three-day event features a Main Street Market for Artists and Artisans and plenty of family-friendly activities and happenings including an eclectic mix of musical, theatrical and visual events.

Phoenicia Festival of the Arts 2023

The Main Street Market kicks off with a Night Market on Friday and Art Markets on Saturday and Sunday. The market will enjoy live outdoor music, poetry readings, open mics and artist demonstrations as well as artisan-made gifts, artwork, curated vintage collections, ceramics, sculpture and more.  Street performers and buskers will be dancing, playing and performing live street cabaret at the market and around town.

Acacia Fusco at the Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

VARGA Gallery presents the Phoenicia Festival of the Arts
Friday, August 4th – Sunday, August 6, 2023
Main Street Phoenicia New York

Here are some of the highlighted activities:

  • “Glittered Honesty” by actor/performer Valentin Shauger 
  •  Musician David Laks will perform on his groundbreaking digital Emeo saxophone and harmonicas with special guests
  • Dancer Emma Quinones will perform freeform improvisational dance
  • Artist/activist Richard J Treitner will present his true form as a Wandering Gypsy Tarot Faerie Witch
  • Eliot O’Clair will appear as a shapeshifting, wandering art creature from realms unknown traveling the worlds to spread wonder and trade trinkets
  • Art Life phenom Linda Mary Montano will be Singing The Chakras
  • Artist Jennifer Zackin is offering a community weaving project on the Boardwalk at 60 Main Street. Festival goers who will have an opportunity to participate in a Communal Vortex Weaving that functions as meditation, mediation, and connection by bringing people together. Jennifer will be joined by crochet artist Nicole Strafaci who creates site-specific crochet installations, fiber and wire figurative sculptures, vibrant crochet tapestries, mixed media collages, drawings and one-of-a-kind couture garments.
  • Outdoor community art installations by Jennifer Zackin, Nicole Strafaci, Michael Hunt and more will complement the outdoor happenings
  • Psychics, mediums, tarot card readers and diviners will be available to festival-goers who want to delve deeper into the mystical arts
  • Community Tai Chi, Yoga, Gong Baths, Hula Hooping, Meditation and more will be offered in the Phoenicia Park Field by donation
  • There will be activities for kids such as Sasquatch Walks, Arts & Crafts, Fairy Wand making and more
  • Drumming sensation Fre At Last will lead a community drum circle on Saturday and Sunday at Phoenicia Park
  • Patricia Laufer will guide a community movement with Group Hoops: Hula Hooping or Hoop Dance Activation as she describes it, an incredibly playful movement modality that activates our energy towards how we want to live in the world.
  • Tai Chi Practitioner, Peter Fein, and will guide community movement with Ashley Miles. FRE AT LAST will guide community drumming  on Saturday and Sunday and there will be guided meditation, quiet walks and more for those seeking to connect with nature.
  • VARGA Gallery is curating two exhibits for the festival:
    • Pop Up Exhibit for August at the Arts & Antiques Center at the former Pharmacy Building on the corner of Route 214 and Main Street
    • Exhibit in the Zebra Room at the VARGA Gallery & Studio of smaller and more salacious works.
    • The exhibitions will include works by notable artists: Paul McMahon, Linda Mary Montano, L.A.-based artist Patrick Dennis, Scott Ackerman, Adam Zaretsky, Melanie Delgado, Noel Chrisjohn Benson, Mimi Young, Peter Head, Amy Ackerman, Michael Hunt, Christina Brady, Acacia Fusco, Michael Esposito, Bronson Eden, Faheem Haider, Don Bruschi, Scott Cronin, Michael McGrath among others.
Anna hafner in "The Oneironaut" at The Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

Anna Hafner presents “The Oneironaut” at the Phoenicia Playhouse

Communal Weaving at the Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

Community Weaving Workshop with Artist Jennifer Zackin

The historic Phoenicia Playhouse will host 3 days of performances:

  • Friday, August 4th, 7 PM – The opening night features local luminaries Sparrow X. Carter and Paul McMahon as Masters Of Ceremonies and a number of artists, including multidisciplinary artist and designer Anna Hafner who will present “The Oneironaut” – a multimedia performance about a dream-traveler who comes to Earth to save us from ourselves. The event is free. Donations to the Phoenicia Playhouse are gratefully accepted.


  • Saturday, August 5th, 7 PM –  The Phoenicia Playhouse presents Hudson Valley Improv (the premiere improv training center in upstate New York) in a 40 minute set opening for founder and award-winning actor and improviser Samantha Jones’ one woman production “Butterfly Suicide.” The fiercely funny characters in BUTTERFLY SUICIDE are a culmination of Jones’ solo performance career and comedic collaboration with co-writer and sister Rebecca Lally. Jones explores the cracking facade of mid-life by portraying wild creatures with the fearless comedic abandon for which she is known. The event is free. Donations to the Phoenicia Playhouse are gratefully accepted.


  • Sunday, August 6th, 2 PM – The Phoenicia Playhouse presents a literary panel of publishers, authors, poets and bards sharing their insights and experiences with a live audience with a Q&A after. Participants include Suzan Saxman author of “The Reluctant Psychic”, Sparrow X. Carter poet and author, Shiv Mirabito publisher of several Chapbooks of note by diverse authors, poet activist Amy King, author Abigail Thomas and publisher James Conrad of Golden Notebook Press among others. The panel and discussion is followed by Moth Radio Hour awardee Heather Dell’Amore, who hosts a personal journal podcast called “That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen.” Heather presents guests who have experienced a fork-in-the-road event that changes the course of their lives. Dell’Amore’s show “No Hope For Oz” is a series of monologues/stories from different life-defining and changing moments on topics ranging from childhood enchantment to the desire to run away from it all.  After the overwhelming response to a story about breastfeeding twins that unexpectedly won a Moth StorySlam “No Hope for Oz” was drawn like a moth to a flame toward wrestling topics Dell’Amore never wanted to wrestle.

Come one, come all!

Christine Moss at the Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

Amy Ackerman at The Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

Artwork by Amy Ackerman

Christine Varga Studio in Phoenicia NY

All photos courtesy of Varga Gallery / The Phoenicia Festival of the Arts


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