Flash mobs and scavenger hunts are coming to Nyack's downtown, all in the name of Edward Hopper.
The Hopper Happens Festival, a summer-long fete put on by the Hopper House and slated to run from May 21 to July 17, aims to spotlight the celebrated realist painter and one of Nyack's most famous former residents.
"It's been in the works for the last three months," explained Kris Burns, the Hopper Happens Festival Coordinator. Burn also has a studio on the Hopper House's second floor, in what was once the painter's childhood bedroom.
It's part of a larger initiative——that's been on the radar since last summer.
"It's going to be fun—we're really focusing on outdoor projections," Burns explained. "We'll be projecting his paintings, and work inspired by his painting, downtown."
But they'll be in and on places you don’t expect—like the sides of buildings, not screens.
"Residents and visitors will encounter them unexpectedly," Burns added. "We're hoping people will have a-ha moments—they'll see a projection and think 'I just saw that house down the block!' So many of Hopper's houses look like homes in Nyack."
After all, the goal of Hopper Happens is to spotlight Hopper's connection to Nyack—from his childhood life to his artistic influences.
"One of most famous painters in the entire world came from our neighborhood, and he paints in way that is evocative of where we live," Burns explained. "People who come here recognize our streets and architecture from his paintings. His subject matter always looks like somehow, it could be Nyack."
"Hopper was the first person to paint a version of America—those kinds of houses, those kinds of streets," Burns continued. "He painted telephone poles and water towers. He helped us see that the landscape was changing, and worth contemplating; to see that you don't have to go to countryside to paint."
The summer's events will also parallel the Edward Hopper, Prelude: The Nyack Years exhibition, the first time in years his work will return to the place he grew up. Some of the paintings were composed in the house itself.
"It's a historical thing that paintings are back in house where they were created," Burns said. It will be the first time some of these paintings emerge from private collections for public viewing. And the Hopper House has planned accordingly: there will be a 24/7 security guard and fastidious humidity control.
Other Hopper Happens events include installations created by local scenic artists and set in storefront windows; screenings of films inspired by Hopper (like Hitchcock's Psycho—details here); flash mobs where folks will emulate Hopper scenes on benches and in storefronts, restaurants and cafes. And a major hallmark is an on-line bulletin board, where Hopper fans can submit Hopper-esque photographs to share with the public.